Posts from the ‘1 Thessalonians’ Category

I Thessalonians 5

1 Thessalonians 5

The Day of the Lord

1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Final Instructions

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Thess%205&version=NIV

….

…v1-11 I feel like this first paragraph could be paraphrased thus: We don’t know when Jesus is coming back, but Christ has already given us salvation so we don’t need to worry, just continue to live in love and faith, encouraging and building each other up.

Instead of focusing on when He is coming back and spending all your time figuring that out, or figuring that He said he’d come back forever ago and it still hasn’t happened, so who cares–and we just do what we want–Paul says that those things are not what is important. What is important is that Christ has paid for our salvation, and we should continue to live for Him and love one another daily.

…v12-22 Paul gives a few things for us to remember to do:
(1) acknowledge and respect our pastors and teachers
(2) live in peace with each other
(3) warn the idle and disruptive
(4) encourage the disheartened
(5) help the weak
(6) be patient with everyone
(7) return good for evil, strive to do what is good for each other
(8) rejoice always
(9) pray continually
(10) give thanks in everything
(11) do not quench the Spirit
(12) test everything–hold onto what is good, reject what is evil

I feel like all of that is pretty straight forward. It’s not easy to do, but, it is easy to know what we should do. If you ever wonder what God’s will is for you. Look at the things written out here. That is God’s will for you. Do that, and when you are finished, read on.

…v23-28 are a blessing, in my mind. I imagine someone praying over me, or laying their hands on me saying. May this blessing be prayed over you…
“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

I Thessalonians 4

1 Thessalonians 4

Living to Please God

1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.[b] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Believers Who Have Died

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Thess%204&version=NIV

…v1-12 Paul commends the Thessalonians for their efforts to live to please God and for their love for one another, and encourages them to continue to do so more and more. He then reminds them of several key factors: avoiding sexual immorality, to live a holy life, to control your own body, to lead a quiet life, to work with their hands, and to mind their own business.

I like that Paul encourages them to continue to grow deeper, even in their areas of strength–it’s something we all need to be reminded of, especially when we feel comfortable that we are doing a good job in an area. And the main thing for me would probably be the whole trying to mind my own business and work with my hands. If I hear of problems I always want to step in and fix it, even if I don’t have a clue what’s really going on and I have other issues demanding my attention. And, recently, I haven’t been very good about working with my hands. 😦 But, our daily lives should win the respect of outsiders, so that is what we should probably focus on. Not so much the gigantic life crisis, but the daily little struggles that everyone has, time management, loving your spouse, etc.
…v13-18 These verses are more of an encouragement that those who have followed Christ in life will be alive with Him and us after death. It is not good-bye forever, simply see you later… And we should be encouraged by that…

1 Thessalonians 3

1 Thessalonians 3

1 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

Timothy’s Encouraging Report

6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Thessalonians%203&version=NIV

…v1-8 Paul admits some of his fears, saying that with all the persecution he and those with him were suffering, he feared that those in Thessalonia who heard would waver in their faith. Or perhaps, they had been tempted in others ways. He wanted to hear from them to be sure that they were still strong in their faith and walk with God. I suppose in one way, fear can be a good thing in this case, if it leads one to pray more persistantly and passionately. However, I also wonder if Paul struggled with relying on God to take care of His people vs Paul needing to make sure they were taken care of himself. Obviously Paul isn’t perfect. But I wonder just how much we should take responsibility for and “worry” over, you know?   Anyway, Paul was able to send Timothy, to check up on them, as well as to strengthen and encourage them. When Timothy returned, he brought back good news about their love and faith–and this encouraged Paul. Our faith and love can bring encouragement to others, even when we might not realize it. But, particularly those who have been instrumental in us being where we are today spiritually, maybe our parents, pastors, teachers, or friends–don’t keep them in the dark about how you’re doing.  There’s a very good chance they’ve been praying for you for a long time, and maybe an update on how you’re doing would encourage them in their faith. Who doesn’t like an answer to prayer, right?

…v9-13 The second part of this chapter is all about prayer. Paul exudes his joy over the faith of the Thessalonian Church and cannot stop thanking God.   Paul continues to pray for them as well, praying that he might be able to supply what else they need spiritually, praying that he would be able to see them again, but more importantly he prayed that their love would overflow, and that God would strengthen their hearts to make them holy and blameless before God.  So my questions are: how often do we thank God for what He’s doing in the lives of those around us? Do we ask God to meet their spiritual needs through us, and give us those opportunities to help them grow? Do we pray for their spiritual growth? Just some thoughts…

 

 

I Thessalonians 2

1 Thessalonians 2

Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica

1 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children[a]among you.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.[b]

Paul’s Longing to See the Thessalonians

17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=i%20thess%202&version=NIV

…v1-12 Paul says several things to this church about how he and those with him ministered to the Thessalonians that just blow me away.
(1) With God’s help they preached despite strong opposition
(2) They were not trying to please people, but God
(3) They never used flattery
(4) They did not use a mask to cover up greed
(5) They were not looking for praise from other people, not the Thessalonians or anyone else
(6) They did not assert their apostolic authority
(7) They cared for the Thessalonians, and shared not only the Gospel, but their lives as well
(8) They worked super hard, preaching and providing for themselves in order not to be a burden to anyone
(9) They encouraged, comforted, and urged the Thessalonians to live lives worthy of God

Okay, after reading that, think about our lives. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often share the gospel even if I’m scared, much less under some sort of opposition. I clam up and don’t say hardly anything. But Paul did, he apparently said plenty, and God helped him and used him to bring the Thessalonian Church into existence. …What about pleasing people? Again, I don’t know if you struggle with this too, but when I talk to people, I try very hard to not upset them. I word my phrases very carefully so as not to burn bridges or make people angry at me. I want to stay their friend. Sure, I try to speak only the truth, but I ask questions to make them think and come to their own conclusions instead of maybe speaking the truth more plainly. I really do try to please people. But, Paul didn’t do that. He spoke the Truth just the way it was (and is :P) –perhaps that is where part of the strong opposition came from. He was much more worried about what God would think of him and what he said to the people then of how the people would react….And they never used flattery, I try not to flatter people too much, but seriously, who wants to tell someone how awful of a person they really are? This one goes right back to pleasing people… And greed. How many churches try to bring people in simply for the sake of numbers and extra cash they’ll throw in the plate? This combined with the next one–Paul was not looking for someone to congratulate him on the number of converts he brought in that year, or the status it would give him as the greatest apostle ever. He wasn’t looking for people to interview him or as him to come on their tv show… When we reach out to people, do we reach out with both our words, and our actions? When we preach the Gospel to someone, are we willing to let them be a part of our lives from then on? Are we willing to sacrifice our time and energy and money on them?…When Paul preached, he not only spent his time teaching and spreading the Gospel, he worked full time too. How many pastors do that? How many missionaries? Yes, I think it is important to give them the freedom to minister without the worry of finances and business, but, are they willing to do whatever it takes? Is the mission that God has given them important enough that they are willing to do both? Are they willing to do that for us? Do we mean that much to them? How about those of us in the normal, already-working class. Are we willing to minister above and beyond our 40 hour work week? Are we willing to set aside time to meet with people or help out someplace or bring people into our homes?…and lastly, Paul encouraged, comforted, and urged the Thessalonians to live lives worthy of God. When was the last time we did that–to anyone around us?

As important as the rest of the chapter is too… I feel that those first verses are what I should leave both you and I with… Everything we do, we should do with our hearts and minds in the right place, and remember, that this life and the things we have in it are not our own they are only lent to us in order to bring God glory and honor.

1 Thessalonians 1

1 Thessalonians 1

1 Paul, Silas[a] and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace to you.

Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians’ Faith

2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

4 For we know, brothers and sisters[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Thessalonians%201&version=NIV

…This whole chapter seems to be talking mainly about one thing–the faith of the Thessalonian church.
It began with the Spirit’s power and deep conviction, changing the lives of those serving idols and suffering to lives filled with God and His joy.
Their faith grew as they imitated Christ and His disciples. They became examples to everyone–believers and non. And their work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope are remembered still..

Although I’m sure the Thessalonians were growing out of love for Christ, their example is a challenge to the rest of us, to imitate Christ, and imitate them. When they are remembered for their works produced by faith–what do we have to show as well? What has Christ told you to do recently? How have you grown? What action or reaction to some situation came from Christ through you?  When they are remembered for their labors of love, what do we have to show? Are we not also Christ’s followers? How are we loving others through our words and deeds? What do we do that is self-sacrificing? When their endurance is remembered–is yours? What life situations have been troubling you–are you enduring filled with the hope of Christ? What is your attitude like? When others look at you, do they see Christ in you?

all of these questions are directed to myself as much as to any of you. I know I’ve fallen short in all of these areas, but, I believe that Christ in me can and will begin/continue to change that…