Such an individual could vouch that Paul's hands were completely clean regarding the collection. He headed for Thessalonica, making that city only the second place in Europe where the gospel was preached! These verses are easy to quote, but not easy to obey. In prayer we make known those things that we need or want from God. That's what Paul wanted his readers to do. - 2 Thessalonians 1:4, On November 9, 2007, Christianity Today interviewed Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, part of the organization founded in 1955 by Brother Andrew. 1 Thessalonians 5:2(ESV) Verse Thoughts The Thessalonian Christian knew all about the coming day of the Lord, which was to be a time of great trouble for Israel, when God's wrath is poured out on a Christ-rejecting sinful world, and there are many prophecies in the Old Testament that foretell of … Also recall from our study on Acts (see September 2007), that Paul's strategy was always to minister first in local synagogues until he was forced to leave, just as he had done in Thessalonica. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5:11, You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. He describes these church leaders as those “who admonish you.” This is a ministry of the word and of pastoral concern. Everyone who has received salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ is appointed to salvation. Having defended his visit to Thessalonica, Paul now defends his sudden departure and the fact that he had not been able to return. APPLY THE WORD - The three negatives in verses 5 and 6 provide a helpful starting point for distinguishing false teachers from true messengers of the gospel. He later recalled how they endured their ordeal: ""Each man found salvation and strength in prayer, and a community of feeling developed which created a liveliness of human fellowship and worship, and a sense of gentle peace."". We do not need to know the day or the time of Christ's return because we are to live every day with the expectation that He might return for us today. For married readers, this passage reminds that sex is a holy gift—one that must be protected and respected. Three phrases describe the ministry of these church leaders. The thought of Christ's return in power was a source of great consolation, and inspired zeal and devotion."". Unfortunately, pain and suffering are nothing new. It also offers encouragement in a more general way that persecutors of the gospel aren't outside the scope of God's sovereign purposes. Following this, Paul offered a closing benediction, underscoring that none of the preceding commands were possible apart from God, who first calls believers. Next, despite persecution, the position of the Thessalonians—in God and in Christ—was secure. This is a miraculous work of God. Ask God to make his will clear and thwart Satan’s efforts to derail you. The language Paul uses in this request also indicates Christ’s equality with the Father. Second, Timothy was sent to reassure the Thessalonian believers, “so that no one would be unsettled by these trials” (v. 3). Consider 1Th 5:16-18. If a friend makes a promise, they regard it as a substantial thing… but the declarations of God are often viewed as words which mean very little… Rest assured [however] that the Lord never trifles with words."". It is faith expressed in the terms of expectation. Planting new churches in remote areas was central to his approach. Unable to find a speck of dust anywhere, she said, ""I guess you will do to enter this institution."" APPLY THE WORD - Thanksgiving and request are a good place to begin for anyone who is well aware that their prayer life has plenty of room for improvement. In fact, in many ways, the Thessalonians exemplify many of the healthy qualities that we have already discussed should be expected of the churches of Jesus Christ. Recall that Paul, Silas, and Timothy had to leave Thessalonica hastily. They had seen all that they needed to know that Paul, not the super-apostles, was the real thing. The hope and promise of our future with Christ should also motivate us to please Him and live for Him now, as Mullins said. 1Thessalonians 2: We wanted to give you our hearts. It will be a victory of His person—His literal embodied self—over His enemies. He was doubly concerned because he had been forced to leave them abruptly (see 2:17). On the night of April 8, 1871, evangelist D. L. Moody preached to his largest Chicago audience ever on the topic, ""What then shall I do with Jesus?"" 11:28). Evidently the charge of greed was also leveled against him in Thessalonica (1Th 2:5). Paul's concern for the Thessalonians underscores the dangers that believers face. We already know enough to be prepared, and so we don’t need to be afraid. A humorous poster sold by Despair, Inc. mimics the motivational art displayed in the workplace. The fact that they ""turned to God from idols"" (v. 9) indicates that this church consisted largely of pagan Gentiles who had worshiped the gods of Greece and Rome. This means that ministry is stewardship more than it is an exercise of political power. This isn't boasting, but rather the deep joy of a life spent serving the Lord, the true impact of which is only visible when He returns in glory. Life Lessons and Actions for Today. It's unclear how long Paul stayed in Thessalonica. - Luke 6:22-23, According to a recent TIME magazine poll, 17 percent of Christians surveyed aligned themselves with some type of a prosperity theology movement. Keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. It also appears that they were doing quite well in the exercise of brotherly love. Rejoicing is linked with two other intentional acts in these verses. Here is where the principle of “discernment” comes into the picture. I read this, especially in context, and agreed. Once in Jerusalem, Paul was warmly received, as was the financial gift from the Gentile churches. We're not talking about trying to keep or earn our salvation; the issue is how we should live as those who already belong to Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Always, continually, and in all circumstances. Today’s passage reveals some of the characteristics of this kind of healthy environment. ... (1 Thes. Today’s Scripture reading can give us some added insight into how we might resolve this dilemma, especially when it comes to implementing brotherly kindness towards other believers. But a defense would have given credibility to their charges and implied that Paul had been wrong. Instead, in today's passage, we find that Paul was working, most likely as a tentmaker, throughout the day and ministering to the new converts well into the night. Today's passage might be painful for some readers with promiscuous backgrounds. In the same way, God wants prayer to be the atmosphere we breathe, the attitude of our hearts. Every believer has the Holy Spirit who helps us understand the significance of what God has revealed in the Bible (Rom. “So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. If you’ve ever told you ever told a toddler you’ll see them soon, you know that “soon” means different things to different people. Jesus warned that it would be like the days of Noah: “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. We've seen that Christ's return and the events that will follow are not at all good news for unbelievers. Patience and kindness should flavor all godly admonition (1Th 5:14-15). At the end of his sermon, Moody urged everyone present to return in one week with a response--to follow Jesus Christ or not. The depth of Paul's love for this church is all the more remarkable when we remember that his stay with them was relatively short. The father of Louisa May Alcott was prone to impractical investments, keeping the family in poverty. There also seems to have been a problem with some Thessalonian Christians believing that the Lord was returning so soon that working for a living was no longer necessary. We are not waiting passively, but rather we are to keep our focus on His return through our active lives of purpose to bring glory to God. Paul's letter to the Thessalonians powerfully challenges these popular ideas by showing that real living is not directed toward ourselves and what stuff we can have but is focused on others. Wilson had hope because he believed that death was not the end. How strong was this conviction? Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. For many people, the idea of “really” living involves fabulous wealth and unlimited consumption of luxury items. Bible scholar G. K. Beale writes, “To be drunk spiritually is to imbibe too much of the world's way of looking at things and not enough of the way God views reality. Since he was not able to visit them, he sent Timothy, even though for Paul this decision meant being alone. Devotional – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 After we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior we need to live Spirit-filled lives, fully surrendered to God and His Will, sanctified and made holy for His divine purposes. Eventually Dad will come home, and there will be a reckoning. For the past year, an increasing number of foreign missionaries and pastors have been forced to leave Jordan, often falsely accused of engaging in illegal activities. Recall, however, that Paul, a Jew, never opposed the Jews as an entire group simply because they were Jewish, but only those Jews who rejected Jesus as the promised Messiah. As Christians, we are all God’s workers, since everything we do is to be done for Him. This gives them an uncanny ability to locate rain, for instance. All rights reserved. Second, Paul clarified that his words shouldn't be construed as a defense. Hearing is also an important aspect of Christian life. Lilya exclaims, “I want to tell others about His boundless love! It was a golden feeling.” Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school. It's likely that some were calling Paul a coward: he came, preached, won some converts, but skipped town at the first sign of trouble. That's why it's essential to understand God's intentions for sexuality and His forgiveness for sins. We act because we have been acted upon by God’s Spirit. Although Paul's ministry to the Thessalonians was not in providing their material needs, he still worked among them with a fatherly diligence. The issue of honor and respect, which was obviously of great concern to Paul, is very important. We had no idea what was happening in villages a few miles away. Possibly a more general reference is in view; undisciplined idleness and despair over the dead would hinder one's ability to hear the Spirit. Later that day, fans lined up for Olympic tickets and the streets and shops were filled with people again. (1Thes 2:1) God doesn't bless a sham! But as the audience left the meeting hall, fire bells were ringing throughout the city. Since Christ's ascension, there's been no shortage of predictions of the year—or in some cases, the very hour—of His return. Other relationships are also often characterized by this kind of mentoring care and joy, including teachers and students, pastors and congregations, and parents and children. Paul sets light against darkness and day against night as symbols of spiritual realities. Why have church leaders put such value on adopting systematic summaries of core Christians doctrines? Earlier in this letter, the apostle made reference to the severe suffering inflicted on the church (1Th 1:6). The same was true for Titus and the other brothers sent by Paul. Jesus will come in the flesh to claim His own. The human temptation would be to seek escape from the pressure of persecution, to back off from their commitment to Christ. Lee was later imprisoned for stealing $4 million from his parishioners. Paul wasn't the only one smiling when he heard of the Thessalonians' steadfastness. Paul’s closing commands in this letter emphasize mutuality. He and his party were in a remote area of the Indian bush, miles from any sign of ""civilization."" Not everyone who hears takes it to heart. ... Reflections on 1 Thessalonians 5:14–18 in Relation to Carl Holmgren. 6, 10). In the first part of today's passage, Paul concluded his “boasting” by stressing that the true marks of an apostle had been repeatedly manifest to the Corinthians. - Colossians 2:6. Notice that Paul prays that the Thessalonians would not only love each other, but also love everyone else. - James 2:17, “I can't imagine a happier life than the one I have now,” says Lilya, a divorced mother of three. It's all that we can handle just to cultivate the prayer habit that God wants of us. Yet Paul’s opponents knew that if they could persuade his audience to question the Apostle’s character and his motives, they would doubt the message as well. Eventually this is what drew Scott to Christ. In the twentieth century, Albert Gamse used the title phrase and melody as a basis for the American anthem. So when the Nazis took my parents and other adults away and told them they were going out to the fields to help in the harvest, we did not know different--until they did not come back."". Based on 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and all the reference verses above, here are the lessons and actions for today’s devotional: Marriage offers us the opportunity to be our best. Given her background, this is remarkable. Most abstinence programs do not use the Bible to convince young people not to have sex before marriage, but their strategy is based upon the old-fashioned biblical value of chastity. This is unusual in Paul's writing, which tells us quite a bit about this church! 1:14-18). Verse 17 begins a different line of thought which carries through to the end of chapter 3. - 1 Thessalonians 2:11. It's true that the apostle accepted gifts of support from some churches (see 2Cor 11:8-9; Phil. While the Games were still in progress, a book about 14-year-old gymnast Dominique Moceanu vaulted onto two major bestseller lists. Now add to these the following commands concerning the Holy Spirit's ministry and the importance of shunning evil. Many in the Thessalonian church probably became believers at the same time, so it's not hard to imagine that some would balk at the idea of fellow believers having spiritual authority over them, even if, as seems to be the case, these leaders had been chosen by Paul and were spiritually gifted. If we understand our entire lives to be an act of true worship, then the place of work is actually a place of worship. In fact, as we've seen before, this church was a model throughout the region (1Th 1:7). The Thessalonians are a good pattern for us to follow because they're following the pattern set before them of Christ Himself. “In a 2010 Pew Research survey, nearly 4 in 10 (39% of Americans)—and 44% of Millennials— agreed that marriage is becoming obsolete.” Taylor notes that this doesn’t mean young people are no longer interested in marriage. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." What did they want? Be encouraged and … But when our joy is in Christ, it's untouchable. Holiness requires yielding to the Lord so that one might give oneself in reverence and love to one's marriage partner. It's the gospel's power working through the Holy Spirit that convicts individuals and changes lives. The commands listed in 1Th 5:16-22 are part of what it means to be sanctified. Notice first the affirmation of Christ's deity. Yes, but the fact that Paul's Jewish persecutors tried to keep him from preaching the gospel to the Gentiles brought those two worlds together. The church of our experience is something else. He is the “God of peace” (v. 23). 1. 13:1–4). When Paul visited Thessalonica around 49-50 A.D. on his second missionary journey, the city was a center of travel, commerce and communication. They “care for you in the Lord.” This language connotes spiritual responsibility rather than ownership or control. The Bible encourages Christians to expect Jesus’s return to happen at any time. When the date passed uneventfully, some committed suicide. Overcoming our false self involves discovering our “oneness” with God, who is everywhere and in everyone. The story is told that in 1943 the Duke of Windsor, former British monarch Edward VIII, and his wife spent a month at a luxurious resort hotel in Virginia. By their response to the gospel. The passage from Corinthians shows that they also loved those whom they had never met. Read verse in New International Version In their September 10, 2006 article on Time.Com, David van Biema and Jeff Chu write that prosperity theology claims, “a God who loves you does not want you to be broke. He also sent Timothy to check on their spiritual condition. The Thessalonians were known for their diligent work in spreading the gospel and for their endurance under severe trial--all of which were inspired by their faith, love and hope in Jesus Christ. He warned of a coming time of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Matt. Three out of ten said that they hoped Christ would return in their lifetime—but not yet. They tend to their own affairs and refrain from meddling. Paul’s language is inclusive and probably has both in view. One cartoon shows two fathers, the one opening the door to his backyard where several kids are seen jumping on a trampoline. - 2 Corinthians 11:28. According to Acts 18:5, Timothy and Silas finally met with Paul in Corinth. This “day” really refers to a series of events that includes Christ’s return and final judgment. Followers of Jesus Christ are often distinguished from those who are not by their actions. This was a love they had learned from God (v. 9). Third, believers aren't awaiting wrath, but salvation. The “quiet life” that Paul has in mind suggests a life that isn't overly driven or ambitious for the things that don't matter. If you feel as though you often fail to measure up in one area or another, join the club! They can approach the end with a sense of confidence because they know that they have not been appointed to endure the wrath of God to come upon the world. Washington later said that this was the turning point of his life. Someone else had always taken care of such matters. This explains his urgency to go to Jerusalem. We still struggle, however, to live up to the high calling we have in Christ. For the rest of his life, Moody regretted not having given an invitation to receive Christ that very night. Our five senses give us some astonishing capabilities. - Revelation 3:11, Theologian and educator E. Y. Mullins said concerning Christ's return, ""Among the early Christians the expectation of Christ's near return was a moral and spiritual incentive of the highest value. By receiving Paul’s gospel as the word of God they became “imitators of God’s churches in Judea” (v. 14). In addition to rejecting God's Messiah, Jews who opposed the gospel made matters worse by seeking to prevent evangelism among Gentiles. Before we dig into those questions, let’s take a look at today’s Bible verses. The switch from the first person plural (“we”) to singular (“I”) further underscores the pain that Paul felt. 16:20; 2 Cor. Because “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (v. 18). - 1 Thessalonians 5:22. This is a call to corporate worship rather than a command to feel a certain way. That's quite a list. One reason Christ's return will be so devastating is that it will come at a time when world peace has seemingly been achieved. As Bible scholar Leon Morris writes, the actions of the apostle Paul and his companions “show that they had been more conscious of their responsibility than of their privileges.”. 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Expository Dictionary states, admonish “ has mainly in view the things that are wrong and call for ”!

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