I THESSALONIANS STUDY
I THESS. CHAPTER 4, 17.10.19
The study of I Thessalonians is very rich in specific teachings on several topics on more than one level.
First, Paul spends considerable time teaching his people how to live in accordance with God’s Ways and be thereby pleasing to Him. From this it becomes very clear that God’s Laws for Holy Living have not been done away with, as so many denominational teachings promote. It is also obvious that there are behaviours which please and/or displease our Lord and Father. Believers would do well to focus more on loving God with all the heart, soul, & strength, rather than focussing on ways to bypass following His Ways/God’s expectations. Of course, these are not salvation issues. We already have salvation. But realize that upon one’s salvation there are expectations of acceptable/unacceptable behaviour.
Unbelievers of course, are not held to the same standards. They already fail to qualify as children of God; they are by default, not part of the family of God, so household rules do not apply to them. You see, people are excluded from the Kingdom of God, not on the basis of what they do/don’t do, but on the basis of what they believe, for there is no way into the Kingdom of Heaven, unless they believe in the Son of God, in His sacrifice on The Cross, and His resurrection and His return. And if one really believes in what He did, how would it be that there would be unwillingness to “take up your Cross & FOLLOW HIM”?
We point this out because it has everything to do with the believer’s grasp of what will happen when Christ returns. It has everything to do with how one lives in the interim. If one takes seriously what Christ’s return means for your self, there will be some re-evaluation of your relationship with Your Lord & Saviour. Fearfulness of His swift return should be a warning sign that there are things that are displeasing to Him in Your life. Only you can make those right. When we are confident in our walk in relationship to Him, we are excited in anticipation of His return.
If you are holding onto the pleasures of this world, my friends; if you are a person who identifies as a believer, but you are lukewarm, you have one foot in the world, you will be uncomfortable about His return. But think about the temporary fleeting nature of the pleasures you are holding onto. They will quickly be gone, and none of those will matter. What will matter is your eternal destination. And wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to live out what time there is on this earth, in a state of peaceful assurance, confident of your position with the Lord? Since “God’s will is for you to be holy,” (v.3) why not pour yourself into holy living by the power of the Spirit, and “stay away from all sexual sin.”
READ/STUDY THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES, THEN DIG DEEPER W/STUDY GUIDE.
1 Thessalonians 4 New Living Translation (NLT)
Live to Please God
1Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.
2 For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.
4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—
5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.
6 Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.
7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.
8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another.
10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.
11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
The Hope of the Resurrection
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves.
17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
18 So encourage each other with these words.
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