Our provision of work is also the means He uses to provide for the needs of others. They might call into question our motives, challenge us toward certain spiritual disciplines, question our interpretations of Scripture, or confront us when we choose to deliberately sin. Some apparently were accusing him of not caring enough to come back, or of being afraid to do so. Paul was grateful to God for granting the Thessalonians discernment to recognize that his teaching was “not the word of men” (v. 13). 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. Paul contrasts the children of light with those who “belong to the night.” Those who are “of the day” are alert and self controlled (v. 5). He immediately went to the home of Mary, where he knew the prayer vigil was taking place. Paul said he had already taught the church there about ""the day of the Lord"" (1Th 5:2). Those who reject them are really rejecting God (v. 8). When we realize that prayer is as much a state of heart as it is words, we see how we can be in constant communion with the Lord. Second, they recognized its power. As exciting as this piece of history is, it’s important to remember that the “church” is not a building. He had a right to such support (1 Cor. When we have the privilege of being involved in one or more such relationships, we would do well to invest in them as part of God’s gift of joy to us. They may have pointed to Paul’s failure to return as proof of his insincerity. The age was one of great trial and suffering. Today's prayer can be prayed for all believers everywhere because love and holiness should always be increasing in every believer's life. APPLY THE WORD - People have wondered about the timing of these events for generations. What impacted him most was the spiritual condition of those he loved. 16:16; 1 Cor. In Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. ""And we shall deserve our fate,"" he said, adding that the human race had only ""one thousand years more"" to survive. First, notice the importance of team ministry. One way to do this is through creating a relational map of these spaces, and see how they are related to one another. Paul, Silas and Timothy walked into this major port city of 200ꯠ people with a revolutionary message--the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ! Why? Elsewhere in the New Testament the ability to love one another in this way is described as one of the evidences of God’s transforming grace (see 1 John 3:10). You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. According to Christianity Today editor Mark Galli, this church is “becoming known as the church that feeds the hungry.”. Things got so bad, he remembers with a smile, that friends became hard to find. That's an encouragement no one can take from us. Those who belong to the night engage in practices consistent with the domain of darkness. We also have a responsibility to test what we hear. He devoted himself to Scripture and taught that Christ, not the Pope, is Head of the Church. It is the primary means that God uses to meet our needs. Today’s devotional meditation is taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV). Before we dig into those questions, let’s take a look at today’s Bible verses. The ultimate focus of their message was Jesus, God’s resurrected and coming Son who rescues us from the judgment to come. This gift must be chosen carefully. - 1 Corinthians 1:9. Paul did not need to write at great length to the Thessalonians about love between believers, but this was not because it was natural for them. His concern for the faithfulness of his readers is reflected in a prayer for their sanctification. If the ECFA had been around, Paul would have met and exceeded their stringent standards! Far from anything objectionable, however, Paul's actions were pure in God's sight, without any injustice, and free from any possible impropriety. The difference is hope and the source of which is Jesus Christ (v. 14). TODAY ALONG THE WAY -Those three areas of life--our walk with God, our relationship to other believers, and our reputation in the world--are three important areas of our lives and witness today. The switch from the first person plural (“we”) to singular (“I”) further underscores the pain that Paul felt. ""I told my wife that every man needs at least two good friends--and she bought me another dog."". When they turned toward Christ for salvation, they turned away from the idols they once worshiped. 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? The church isn't supposed to pull away from the world and hide within its own walls. TODAY IN THE WORD. This is more than a command; ultimately it is a promise. The title comes from The Lady of the Lake, a poem by Sir Walter Scott. In these opening verses of 1 Thessalonians, Paul makes it clear that salvation is a work of God from beginning to end. Although Paul's ministry to the Thessalonians was not in providing their material needs, he still worked among them with a fatherly diligence. One program in Tennessee, for example, was credited with helping the county drop its state ranking in teen pregnancies from first to sixty-fourth, accomplished in three years. Parents generally saw themselves as protectors who helped their children succeed in life. They “care for you in the Lord.” This language connotes spiritual responsibility rather than ownership or control. What freedom this gives us! It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. This was true in two ways: in addition to the work of ministry, Paul also worked to support himself “in order not to be a burden to anyone.” Paul was a tentmaker, an occupation he shared with his colleagues Aquila and Priscilla (see Acts 18:2). Every believer has the Holy Spirit who helps us understand the significance of what God has revealed in the Bible (Rom. These verses also include a sober reminder that God will hold us accountable for what we hear. They are a church because they have believed the gospel message (1Th 1:5). The fact that Jesus did not give a precise date when responding to the disciples' question does not mean that we should ignore the subject of Christ's return. Second Corinthians 11 lists the many physical hardships Paul endured for the gospel. 12:14). Paul gave them an example of holding to the word despite suffering. She ran to tell the others—forgetting to let Peter in! What we call “happiness” is usually an emotional affect or consequence that depends upon a variety of factors resulting from circumstances that are beyond our control. The chaste person recognizes the beauty of moral purity. There aren't many words here, but a lifetime of challenges: being joyful at all times, keeping our hearts in a constant attitude of prayer, and giving thanks for whatever comes our way. Notice the strong image of being torn away that he uses in 1Thes 2:17. But how would they know whether someone was “ripping them off”? 3:9). Over the course of the past ten years, heated discussions have developed over how government tax money should be used for public welfare. The Spirit was graciously preparing Paul for the suffering that he would experience and had so warned him on numerous previous occasions. The good report about the Thessalonians brought him intense joy; fear of possible spiritual failure distressed him greatly. The third element of Timothy’s mission was to reassure Paul. - 1 Thessalonians 5:24, Charles Spurgeon once wrote concerning God's promises: ""It is a cause of much weakness to many that they do not treat God's promises as realities. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18: 2016-12-15 HOPE IN LIFE AND DEATH: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: 2016-12-07 WAKEFUL HOPE: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11: 2016-11-06 THANKSGIVING IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24: 2015-12-22 BLUE CHRISTMAS merely try to do what’s “right” but instead Timothy’s first-hand account of their continued faith and affection was a source of encouragement to Paul in the midst of distress and persecution (v. 8). Today's passage might be painful for some readers with promiscuous backgrounds. Hearing must be combined with faith before it can have its full effect. Paul said we ""will be with the Lord forever"" (1 Thes. Paul and his companions found something similar in the spiritual realm when they came to Thessalonica with the gospel. This is unusual in Paul's writing, which tells us quite a bit about this church! Here are two questions you might take with you to mull over as you walk. On Monday we talked about the skeptics who ridicule the teaching of Christ's return and see no evidence that He has remembered the people on this planet. This ability to “hear” Paul’s message had two important dimensions. Today's passages show what brought Paul joy and what kept him awake at night. 1Th 1:10 also presents our rescue from the coming wrath of God: Jesus and His righteous response to sin. If we are not trusting in Christ for forgiveness and eternal life, we “have no hope” in death. The Thessalonians don’t deserve the credit and neither does Paul. We suggest the following three resources, available online or from your local bookstore. J. Hampton Keathley, III. Praying too much isn't a big problem for most of us. This kind of language speaks of a concrete event rather than a spiritual or philosophical idea. After you have identified as many relational spaces as you can think of, label them with the various actions Paul mentions in today’s reading. Remarkably, the police had a sudden change of heart, agreeing to protect the pastor from violence. They in turn became a model to the believers in Macedonia and Achaia (vv. For instance, Paul's reference to working hard night and day so as not to be a burden on his spiritual children (v. 9) reminds us of a father's responsibility toward his children. We know that every believer is called to serve. Likewise, the Thessalonian believers were not alone in either their hearing or in their suffering for that message. Now add to these the following commands concerning the Holy Spirit's ministry and the importance of shunning evil. One of the key forerunners of the Reformation was Bohemian John Hus. Now he longed for increasing maturity. Although this teaching might have seemed hopelessly out of touch with reality, Paul makes it clear that rejecting such instruction meant more than ignoring Paul, it was in fact a denial of God Himself and His indwelling Holy Spirit. We have a role to play, not only in our own sanctification, but also for the sanctification of others. Amazingly, they demanded to be let in to continue the party. 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. The gospel is still true even when the character of those who share it is false. Then John drew the logical conclusion from this fact. INSIGHT: In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says that the greatest things are faith, hope, and love (v.13). Prior to meeting his wife, Scott thought he knew how to have fun—parties, baseball games, late nights drinking. Instead, it was the survival and spiritual success of a fledgling body of believers living in the midst of a pagan city. TODAY ALONG THE WAY - Concerning the Lord's return, we must be careful to avoid two extremes. In the ancient church, the holy kiss was a sign to those who were already in the community. In 1Th 3:9, he uses a rhetorical question to underscore the depth of his thanksgiving. They may have noted that Paul had to flee Philippi just as he had left Thessolonica. Paul often relied on the help of others. 14:29). Indeed, you are our glory and joy. Then, like today, the idea of sexual purity seemed ridiculous. By following Paul’s example, the Thessalonians became imitators of Christ and channels of God’s love. Paul’s language is inclusive and probably has both in view. Strong fellowship is a good defense against temptation. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:23. How strong was this conviction? If so, some Thessalonian believers may have resisted even legitimate prophetic gifts. We should applaud any sign that people are practicing prayer in greater numbers. And finally, sexual self-control is important because anything less works against God’s Holy Spirit who indwells every believer (1Th 4:8). 15:4). The humblest believer in ancient Thessalonica knew far more about eschatology--the doctrine of ""last things""--than H. G. Wells and those like him ""know"" about the future of humanity. ... (1 Thes. The believer experiences a new kind of life now and anticipates its fulfillment when Jesus returns. First, it warns against being a “busybody,” or becoming inappropriately involved in other people's business. He did all of the things listed above for these new believers--and much more! The remarkable sales of the Left Behind series, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, have put a spotlight on both the interest and anxiety many feel about the return of Christ. (Notice how often the phrase ""you know"" occurs in these chapters.). Although Paul doesn't recap what he had taught the Thessalonians, the rest of this letter apparently revisits his instruction. Their obedient trust in Jesus Christ was manifest in their actions. 1Th 5:17 comes in the middle of a string of rapid-fire exhortations that help us understand his intent. Sometimes people like the Thessalonians make us envious. In central Asian countries, such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, new Christians are considered traitors both to native religious traditions and to their own families. Love and integrity, not obligation and debt, drove Paul. Whatever your request, pray and ask fellow believers to pray with you. Jesus used similar language in Matthew 24:1–14 when the disciples asked about the sign of His coming and the end of the age. Perhaps inviting someone to share coffee or lunch after a service could extend Christian hospitality and love. The Greek word used for crown here depicts the crowns given in athletic competitions, such as laurel wreaths. How much money have you set aside for those purposes? The first is to become preoccupied with efforts to determine a precise time and date. The background, though, is the same as that in the previous section: Paul's defense against those who accused him of wrong motives. Darkness often portrays moral rebellion in the Bible. To disregard them out of hand was to douse the Spirit's fire. Take some time this week to touch base with a brother or sister in Christ. In his book The Next America, Paul Taylor reports some disturbing trends. The God who has made peace with us through Christ will enable us to stand before Him without shame or fear. When was the last time you admonished someone or invited someone to admonish you? Just as John admonished believers to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1-6), so also Paul urged caution in this regard. TODAY ALONG THE WAY Chastity is a relevant issue for single and married alike. The Second Coming of Christ is a truth that should affect our daily lives! Perhaps you've walked with the Lord for some time, but feel tempted to pull back in your Christian walk. The answer is found in Jesus' charge to be His witnesses by the power of the Spirit (Acts 1:8). Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! But Hus stood firm. It is God who defines what constitutes immorality, not the culture. They didn't add God to a palette of various religious preferences. ""Integrity"" is a political and corporate buzzword these days, much like ""family values."" Second, Paul clarified that his words shouldn't be construed as a defense. The idea is to concentrate on saying a simple biblical idea that through repetition soaks deeply into your heart, mind, and soul. Forty-five years later, there were 200,000! TODAY ALONG THE WAY According to F. F. Bruce, early Christian instruction included three components: a) the gospel (the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus); b) the teachings of Christ; and, c) ethical instruction in godly living. “That survey also found that 70% of Millennials say that they would like to get married one day.” The real shift is not in the institution of marriage as much as it is of morals. Have you seen God work in that person's heart since then? But his love for his people remained strong despite his weak health. Recall that Paul, Silas, and Timothy had to leave Thessalonica hastily. One possibility is that when city officials made Jason and other believers post bond for harboring Paul (Acts 17:9), they legally banned Paul from returning. We prepare by “putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (v. 8). First, it can be a great comfort to you. 24:38–39). Finally, the Thessalonians embraced their mission from God. At the close of Asbury’s ministry, he had recruited over 700 traveling preachers. Additionally, another brother completed the group. “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. First, it is hard work. They send a message of invitation to those who are not yet a part of the church. Famed educator Booker T. Washington recalled the ""entrance exam"" that earned him a place at the Hampton Institute in Virginia as a young man. Paul describes an ethical landscape in which the moral practice of believers is distinct from that of the surrounding culture. 14:3; 1 Th. Church leadership is demanding. Judging by today's text, Paul was desperate to know how his converts in Thessalonica were doing. Paul’s joy meant that he longed for them and hoped to visit them. In his inspiring book, Too Soon to Quit, former MBI President, Dr. George Sweeting, includes a warm tribute to his boyhood pastor in New Jersey, Herrmann G. Braunlin. One such program, Temptation Island, has contestants who have been in serious dating relationships to spend time with other young men and women in some very compromising situations. As I … What would your check registry reveal about the virtue of brotherly kindness in your life? A person who lives in a continual attitude of prayer is someone who can give thanks in all circumstances (1Th 5:8). Second, everyone in the body of Christ must admonish his brothers and sisters in Christ (1Th 5:14). As you review God's goodness, don't forget to thank Him for the times when being thankful may have been the last thing on your mind. Most books about preaching focus on technique; the same is true of many evangelistic methods, which focus on outlines and methods. Read John Stott’s Baptism and the Fullness: The Holy Spirit’s Work Today (IVP). Similarly, the church in Thessalonica had a reputation as “the church that's known for its brotherly love.” Today's reading from 2 Corinthians 8:1ff outlines how the Macedonian churches, the Thessalonian church being one of them, gave generously out of their extreme poverty to the relief fund that Paul was collecting for the impoverished Jerusalem church. Suddenly, someone cried, “He's coming, he's coming!” By then the batteries had worn down on the flashlights, but the five with extra batteries quickly swapped in the fresh batteries. If there's one object that uniquely identifies Queen Elizabeth II, it's her stunning crown. One dimension of prayer, described in verse 8, is thanksgiving. It's unclear how long Paul stayed in Thessalonica. Third, believers aren't awaiting wrath, but salvation. The Lord Himself will “come down from heaven” (v. 16). But when our joy is in Christ, it's untouchable. He will break his covenant in the middle of this period, unleashing the horrible judgments of the Great Tribulation. “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Holiness is every believer's calling, to be lived out quietly, with love for others and in the power of the Spirit. This morning, Jamie and Patrick go over 1 Thessalonians 5.Have questions about the show? What we should feel is peace of heart, not fearing God's wrath because we have a different ""appointment"" awaiting us--full and final salvation (1Th 5:9)! First, Christianity rests on a nonnegotiable set of affirmations about Jesus Christ—that He was born as a human being, although He is fully God; that He was crucified; that He was raised from the dead; that He now sits at the right hand of God in heaven. In a.d. 381, the church Council of Constantinople drafted one of the most widely cited creeds, the Nicene Creed. On the day of his martyrdom he said: ""God is my witness that the evidence against me is false…In the truth of the gospel I have written, taught, and preached, today I will gladly die."" Unlike young children who need to be prodded to say thank you when they receive a gift, Paul's immediate response to this good report was gratitude to God. Paul's two letters to this church—our focus this month—were likely written from Corinth around a.d. 50 or 51. And we can give thanks in any situation because we know God is at work to bring good from it (Rom. It's also possible that some had an aversion to manual labor, which was looked down upon by many Greeks. Reality TV has come of age. Correction Concerning the Day of the Lord—Part 1 (2 Thes. He took a strong personal interest in their spiritual well being and growth in the Lord. The word of God is “alive and active” (Heb. In addition to rejecting God's Messiah, Jews who opposed the gospel made matters worse by seeking to prevent evangelism among Gentiles. Statements of faith have always been central to the church. Being patient with others is hard when someone else's faults and shortcomings become the focus of our attention. As much as Jewish believers such as Paul suffered at the hands of unbelieving Jews in Judea (vv. APPLY THE WORD - Ordinary work as Paul describes it in these verses is a mode of ministry, the context in which you can bear witness to your faith by simply living out the Christian life. Some Christians believe that the Rapture and Christ's return will occur together, but what's undeniably clear—and a great encouragement for all believers—is that Jesus is coming back for His own. The great tide is bearing up the stranded ship until she floats above the sand bar with neither straining seam nor struggling seaman. We live the Christian life because we are Christians, not in order to become Christians. God expects those who belong to Christ to behave differently. This explains the great care that Paul took in pursuing the Corinthians' contribution to the collection. 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. They have special receptors in their trunk and in their feet that allow them to pick up low-frequency vibrations. “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear,” Lewis observed. Jesus’ return will be preceded by a period of divine judgment that will take the world by surprise. He describes these church leaders as those “who admonish you.” This is a ministry of the word and of pastoral concern. Unlike those fading crowns, however, the true reward that awaits believers comes from investing in the lives of others. This may be a reference to the opposition he experienced while in Thessalonica and later in Berea. “Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent. 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. The duke looked at it blankly and asked, ""Now what do I do with this?"" The story of Paul's experience in Philippi (Acts 16) is so familiar that we often forget to read on and find out where he went next. As we wrap up this month’s study of Prayer: A Life of Wisdom, take a look back at “Today Along the Way” for November 1. We must be made holy before we can live holy lives. The passage from Corinthians shows that they also loved those whom they had never met. His use of ""we"" (v. 17) shows that Paul fully expected Jesus Christ to return in his own lifetime. Serving and waiting may seem contradictory, but for the Christian they are complementary concepts. “I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid.”. 1 Thessalonians 2:11 2 Corinthians 12:11-21, We dealt with each of you as a father. But in some areas of India, believers endure exactly that risk. Author J. M. Barrie observed, “The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”. Idlers need to be warned (1Th 5:14). True, the ""everywhere"" of the first century was a smaller world than today's ""global village."" William Barclay once said, “The man who is in the family of the church has friends all over the world.” We see this demonstrated in Acts 21. It's always important for Christians to be grounded in the “basics.” To get started, Campus Crusade for Christ offers a great resource called “10 Basic Steps toward Christian Maturity,” (10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity -- Cru). And verse 23 promises more than forgiveness of sin. - 2 Corinthians 11:28. 1:10). In this text, Paul links the armor to his favorite trio of godly virtues: faith, love and hope (1Th 5:8; see also 1Th 1:3). These words would have been a timely encouragement for the Thessalonians, who needed the reminder that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. Bible colleges like Moody Bible Institute often distinguish themselves from Christian colleges that focus on the liberal arts by emphasizing that their mission is to train students for “vocational” ministry or “full-time Christian service.” This does not mean that paid professionals are the only people doing ministry in the church or that most of the church serves Christ on a part-time basis. Some criticized Paul for this practice (1 Cor. Mankind had failed because evolution had failed to produce in us the right kind of brain. - 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, Archaeologists in Syria recently unearthed what is believed to be one of the largest ancient Christian churches ever discovered there. We do this by comparing what is preached to what God has revealed in the Word (cf. I am coming soon. Three out of ten said that they hoped Christ would return in their lifetime—but not yet. Seen from this perspective, to neglect prayer is spiritual foolishness of the highest order! 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 > NIV KJV ESV NKJV. Followers of Jesus Christ are often distinguished from those who are not by their actions. Is it not you? But the temptations these believers faced were every bit as intense. Bonnie Williams, Carl’s niece, suggested to me a few days ago that 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 is a suitable description of her uncle’s life. The expression “passionate lust” has the idea of taking something, almost violently. This certainty is both a source of comfort and a motivation for holy living. 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. 23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. Hidden under the spiritually frozen surface of this pagan port city, they found another reality--not pristine waters, but Jewish and Gentile hearts made ready to hear and respond to the message of salvation. Let's not ""put out"" the prayer fire He wants to kindle in us. The lack of knowledge these early Christians displayed toward some basic truths of the faith is understandable. Faith, love, and hope can't be seen physically in the way that height, eye color, or hair style can be. When Paul finally arrived in Corinth (where he received Timothy's report), he was beat down: “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling” (1 Cor. 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. These individuals were apparently relying upon the generosity of others within the local body of Christ. They say it's lonely at the top, especially when things go poorly. When Paul spoke of the Thessalonians being imitators of him, he likely meant both their faith and their being persecuted for that faith. This term covers a long period of time, from the Rapture through the Tribulation and on into Christ's millennial kingdom. . To open the pattern package, unfold the tissue, and then read and make sense of the corresponding instructions is a feat itself! The father of Louisa May Alcott was prone to impractical investments, keeping the family in poverty. In a sense this report was like the gospel because it attested to the life-changing power of Jesus Christ not only to bring people to saving faith but also to preserve them in that faith. He was a faithful listener! (1Thes 2:1) God doesn't bless a sham! No one has ever seen God: but if we love one another … his love is made complete in us. 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. / Privacy Policy Based on 1 Thessalonians 5:3 and all the reference verses above, here are the lessons and actions for today’s devotional:. That's what Paul wanted his readers to do. Three Views on the Rapture (published by Zondervan) has contributions by noted Bible scholars Paul Feinberg, Douglas Moo, and Richard Reiter and is edited by Gleason Archer Jr. Additionally, the following books contain chapters or sections on the Rapture: Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns and The Great Doctrines of the Bible by William Evans (both from Moody Publishers).