CALLING ON THE LORD JESUS
It is very significant that in 1:1 Paul inserts the title Father after God and the title Lord before Jesus Christ. It is not sufficient to speak either of God or of Jesus Christ. Rather, we need to say that God is our Father and that Jesus Christ is our Lord. If Jesus Christ is not our Lord, then we have nothing to do with Him in a practical way. But when Jesus Christ becomes our Lord, this means that we are in Him, organically united to Him.
When we call on the name of the Lord Jesus, we should not just say “Jesus”; we should say, “Lord Jesus.” To call on Him only by saying “Jesus” is to call somewhat ignorantly. The Lord, however, is merciful, and He sympathizes with us. He still responds when we call “Jesus” instead of “Lord Jesus,” for He realizes that actually we are calling on Him as Lord. Nevertheless, we need the proper knowledge of calling on the Lord. Instead of saying, “Jesus, I love You,” it is better to say, “Lord Jesus, I love You.” How sweet it is to call on the Lord in this way!
Some Christians like to say, “Praise God!” But in the New Testament the emphasis is on praising God the Father. We need to realize that for us today God is our Father and Jesus is our Lord. According to 1 Corinthians 12:3, when we say, “Lord Jesus,” we are in the Spirit. This indicates that the Spirit honors the proper calling on the Lord Jesus. Many of us can testify that when we call, “Lord Jesus,” we sense the anointing of the Spirit within. The same is true of saying, “Abba, Father.” If we merely call on God, Elohim, we do not have much anointing. But when we cry, “Abba, Father,” we experience the anointing. This is not a matter of terminology; it is a reality in our experience.
THE CHURCH IN GOD THE FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
We need to be impressed with the fact that the church is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. To say “the Lord Jesus Christ” implies a great deal. First, it implies that Jesus Christ is our Lord. Second, it implies that He is our Savior, for the name Jesus means Jehovah the Savior. Third, it implies that Christ, God’s anointed One, is bringing us into the riches of God and is accomplishing everything with us for God. Therefore, to say “the Lord Jesus Christ” is to utter something all-inclusive.
When Paul says that the church is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, he indicates that we have been born of God and have been brought into the organic union with Christ. What is the church? The church is a group of human beings who have been born of God and who have been brought into the organic union with Christ.
WORK OF FAITH
In verses 2 and 3 Paul goes on to say, “We give thanks to God always concerning you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering unceasingly your work of faith, and labor of love, and endurance of hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father.” Here we see that when Paul prays for the church he gives thanks to God for three matters: for the work of faith, the labor of love, and the endurance of hope. Faith here indicates the nature and strength of the work. Our work is our faith. This means that the nature and strength of our Christian work is faith. The strength with which we work and the nature of our work should both be faith. Our Christian work should be of the nature of faith, not of the nature of human knowledge, ability, or power.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)