1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

To show that since the coming of the Lord is a certain event those who are born again will not be surprised at that coming, but will be prepared and ready, by being prepared by God for that great day.
INTRODUCTION:
In the last chapter, the final six verses, we saw the blessing of being in Christ, whether we are alive at His coming or dead.
It is exciting thinking of our Lord’s certain return. There may be many who name the name of Jesus, but call this teaching myth, or someones wild imagination run wild. Jesus, our Savior said that He was returning or “I will come again…” (John 14:3). If He lied about this how can we trust Him for salvation; because this event is a part of our redemption/salvation. We would not be able to trust Him if He does not return. His coming again is further evidence of His bodily resurrection; especially when He raises those who have died as His followers. The only way He would not return is if He did not rise bodily from the grave. He will come again, just as He said.
In this chapter, and the final chapter of Second Thessalonians we find more encouragement for the born again child of God, but it is also a warning to those who do not know Jesus. Verses 1 – 11 tell us of the “Day of the Lord”. The “Day of the Lord” is also mentioned in the Old Testament books of Joel 2:1, 2ff.; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Isaiah 2:12-21. It is also called “The time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7. This is a day of darkess for the reprobate, unbelievers alive in that day. A day of struggle, catastrophe, chaos, torment, and sorrow; unlike any event ever seen on earth.
In verses 12 – 22 we are instructed in our daily lives, how we ought to live. It involves respect to our spiritual leaders, warning those who reject authority, beiing thankful, rejoicing, praying, our responses to the preaching [prophecy] of the Word and other such things.
Verses 23 – 38 is the conclusion of the letter. There is much to this conclusion – our sanctification; the faithfulness of God (v. 24; see also Philippians 1:6), a request for prayer, and the way we are to greet one another.

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 (KJV)

Paul had evidently spoken to the Church concerning times and seasons before he was ran out of town, but here is a friendly reminder.
Why should the teaching of the rapture of the Church and “The day of the Lord” be preached and taught? 1.) For comfort and encouragement to Believers; 2.) For the purity of the Believer (2 Peter 3:14); 3.) For a zeal in the hearts of Believers for those who are lost (2 Peter 3:9, 10); 2 Corinthians 5:11); 4.) “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
Jesus will come like a thief when He comes in the clouds. Only those who know HIm will rise to meet Him in the air. When people suddenly realize a co-worker, a wife, or husband, son or daughter, a friend, the driver of an automobile, the pilot of an airplane (Private or Commercial), the pastor, the deacon, or a Sunday School/Bible Study teacher is missing there will be such chaos as the world has never seen. There are people unaware. These people who are still in darkness.

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” vv. 3-4

The world is longing for peace. We are hungry for it. We can almost taste it. When it appears there is peace; when it appears that economic peace and recovery is here, that there is peace from war and strife; that is when the people will be at ease. Nothing destructive will happen, people believe all is well. Who would dare upset our progress? Jesus will come, and the unprepared “Shall not escape”.
This day will not came “As a thief” for the prepared (See Matthew 25:1-13). This word “Darkness” is used in reference to those who are outside of Jesus. Therefore, if one is in the light he is not in darkness.

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” vv. 5-8

Sleeping is one of the times in our lives when we are unaware. When we are asleep we could almost care less for what goes on around us. It is a dangerous time.
This sleep is of the spiritual sort. Unaware of the darkness. Unaware of the peril that is in the path ahead. It means satisfied with the way things are – COMPLACENCY. Indifferent, uncaring, about what is ahead – you know, bur you are unwilling to act upon it – APATHY.
“Let us not sleep”, but let us be aware, able to control ourselves, watching, waiting for the Lord’s appearing, which is the “Blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Those who are watching are those “Who love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Jesus commands us to watch (Matthew 24:42-43; Luke 12:35-40). The person (The Believer) who is watching is an alert Believer. We are to be “Watchmen” sounding an alarm to the populace (See Ezekiel 33:1-6). The Watchmen must remain awake.
There are all kinds of evil wickedness going on in the darkness. People doing their evil, hate for light to expose it (John 3:19). The ones who participate in the darkness are not people of light. They too need the light.
The”Breastplate of faith” is to turn the fiery darts of Satan, which is constantly hurled at the children of light. The “Helmet of Salvation” is on our head where we have most of our sense – sight, smell, sound, and taste; and the head is also the control centel for the body. We reason with our head. Is it any wonder we must have the Helmet of Salvation”.

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” vv. 9-11

It is pretty evident by verse nine that God has not intended for His Church to go through the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” which we call “The great tribulation period”. It does not stand on the one verse alone though (See Revelation 3:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:7). It stands on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The comfort of these words are not empty. Where would the comfort be if we had to endure “Great tribulation”? We endure tribulation already, but nothing the like of which awaits the “Day of the Lord”, when all living unbelievers will be tried and “They shall not escape”; except through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and very likeable persecution death.

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” vv. 12-22

Here is listed some things which seem to indicate those who are awake, aware, and ready for the Lord’s return.
vv. 12-13 – Having respect for your pastor, deacon(s), teachers, the ones who are responsible for your spiritual well being. Hold them up in prayer for boldness, love, and encouragement.
This is certainly not an excuse for overlooking a false preacher or teacher, but one who teaches and believes the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, Holy Spirit inspired Word of God.
PEACE = Not constantly squabbling, quarelling, but working in unity for the same cause and purpose. If the Church cannot be at peace with one another there is little hope for the world to be at peace.
v. 14 – The word “Unruly” means insubordinate (in religious matters) which is an unwillingness to submit to authority. We are told to warn such, and not to be in such a case ourselves.
Encouragement is always needed. When others encourage us we are motivated to serve the Lord in a greater capacity. We can minister to others with encouragement.
v. 15 – Always pursue the good. Do good to others even when they treat you wickedly.
v. 16 – Rejoicing is a sign of no fear, a sign of peace and contentment. When we rejoice in our Lord there is also a witness to those around us.
v. 17 – Pray for perseverance. Keep on bringing your requests to the Lord until He answers – He will either give what you ask, or He willl say “No!” or He might say “Wait!”
v. 18 – When others around are complaining, whether about their work, home, family, sickness, or Church, we are to be thankful “In everything” knowing that God is in control of the circumstances and He is using themto make us stronger and better Christians.
v. 19 – The Holy Spirit is likened unto fire. To quench a fire we often dump water on it – we put the fire out. To “Quench the Spirit” is to hear Him speak to us, but determine we will not heed His leading, and do our own rebellous act. This is sin, and one that is very often committed by all of us. We do not have time, or not right now, or somebody else can do it are words often expressed that quenches the fire of the Spirit.
v. 20 – Prophecy is the “Foretelling” of the future and/or the “Forthtelling” of the Word of God. All the prophets of the Bible “Foretold” the future – but even more important they were “Forthtellers” of God’s Word. Many, many times when God’s prophet told of some future event it was confirmed as the Word of the Lord by a present or imminent sign. Today the prophet of God only foretells by the written Word of God, and it is confirmed in that same word. He also forthtells by that same word.
The word “Despised” means contemptible, least esteemed – to have no delight in. It means you may like music in the worship, but you cannot stand the preaching of the word. It makes you uncomfortable, you want to get out as quickly as possible. Ask yourself “Why?” You are uncomfortable in the presence of God, and His holy Word. That is why. Proverbs 13:13 states, “He who despises the Word will be destroyed.”
v. 21 – Goes along with verse twenty. When a man stands to deliver God’s message there is to be a test. Does it come from God, or does it contradict His Word? If it goes against the Bible; it is not a message from God.
v. 22 – Staying away from every form of evil is the Christians calling, ife we are prepared for His coming. If it shows up, and you are tempted by it flee from it; run with all the strength you have – run from it.

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” vv. 23-24

God Himself is the One who sets us apart from all others, and He preserves us blameless for the coming of Jesus His Son.
God is faithful. He started the work, and He has never left His work undone. The work He has began in you He will complete (Philippians 1:6).

“Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” vv. 25-28

A request for prayer, greeting and a charge or challenge to read this epistle to all Christians is given by Paul in closing.
His request for prayer was not just empty words. Paul knew the importance of prayer.
Never short on grace he always left it with others. So ought we as well.
WORD STUDY:
1. Despised = Contemptible, least esteemed (v. 20);
2. Unruly = [Greek At-ak-tos] = Insubordinate, unwilling to submit to authority (v. 14);
3. Complacency = Satisfied with the present situation;
4. Apathy = Knowing the way things are, able to do something about it, but unwilling to act.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-18

As Christians we are to grow in the faith, live a life that honors God and show forth His holiness working in our livs; we are to love one another, and to comfort one another with the words of hope concerning the Lord’s return.
In the Christian life growth occurs as one is obedient to the principles of God’s Word. To participate in the demeaning, immoral activities of the world system, as a Christian is to rob one’s self of spiritual growth.
Verses one through twelve have to do with a Christians growth. The same man who [under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit] wrote about our freedom [liberty] in Christ, also writes about abstaining from certain activities. Paul is here concerned abou their sanctification, as he would be ours as well. Our being separate, peculiar, different, is to be a distinction even others can notice. In the first chapter verse four, Paul recognized some individuals as being, “The elect of God”. He knew this by the way they lived, and so did “those who are outside”. Their lives were different, certainly in the way they loved (v. 9). There had been changes wrought in their lives; dramatic changes.
The growing Christian is changing daily. Each day he is more like Jesus than the day before, at least that is how it should be. Yielding to the Father; trusting Him with lifes ups and downs, ministering to others needs, never taking advantage of a brother’s weakness(es) to profit himself. Paul warned that, “The Lord is the avenger of all such” (v. 6).
The people at Thessalonica were concerned about their deceased loved ones, who had died in Christ and verses thirteen through eighteen handle that teaching for us. These fit together real well, because a clean and holy life is the only one God will accept into His Kingdom (Psalm 15). We can only live that life in the power of God’s Spirit, and that through faith in the shed blood of Jesus and His finished work. Our redemption finished when the bodies of the Saints shall all be redeemed by Jesus’s coming in the clouds.

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. vv. 1-2.

Pleasing God, to even professing Christians is often as difficult as walking a narrow pole across the Grand Canyon. It is not that difficult if one is born-again through Christ Jesus. It is a matter of trusting Him to carry you across the canyon.
This leader (Paul) is calling on them to get nearer to Jesus. The life of a Christian is to be lived as an example to others, keeping the commandments, and being pleasing to God. We are not being saved by keeping the commandments, but being saved we keep the commandments.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. vv. 3-6.

Knowing the will of God is at times difficult, especially when we get confused about what is important, confused about what should take top priority in life, and when we are not giving to God what we already know to be His will.
The Word of God tells us God’s will for our lives. If we shun His Word why should we expect Him to show us His will in what boy or girl to marry, which house to buy, or which job to take? If we keep His commandments, because we love Him (Not for salvation), we will know His will, and can then, seek His counsel in every day questions.
There must be holiness in the Christian’s life. “This is the will of God”. It means abstaining from all forms of immorality, having self-control and knowing how to treat your spouse, caring for the weaker brother, and even the stronger. It means loving the Lord Jesus. Paul warns that the Lord is the one who avenges in such cases.

For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit. vv. 7-8.

God has called us to be holy. Holiness is being clean for this Person of purity [the Holy Spirit] to live in and use for God’s glory. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart [belly] shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). How can the water be clean if the vessel is dirty? If you are living in sin who is going to believe you when you say, “Jesus can set you free. Look what He has done for me!”? No one will. You can count on it.
To reject is to wreak havoc upon your life. These are God’s words, God’s instructions to His people. If you will not believe His Word at this point you do not believe it at any place, therefore, you are lost and condemned to the fires of Hell.

But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. vv. 9-12.

The lack of love was not a problem, yet Paul says, “We urge you…increase more and more”. In what? In love. You cannot love, with God’s love, too much.
It is because of love we are to work, and not meddle in other’s lives, and to take care of our own business. Out of love our work life is to be just as good a witness to the condemned world as our faithfulness to attend worship. Others are watching. Those who do these things will live a life of joy, peace, and lack no good thing.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. vv. 13-17.

These verses speak of the “Blessed hope…”, which Paul writes of in Titus 2:13, and says, “Looking for that blessed hope…”. Paul was looking for it then, why are we not “Looking for that blessed hope” today?
A proper walk with God is not only conducive as a witness to the condemned, but also in preparation for the coming of Jesus.
The Thessalonian Christians were uncertain about their dead loved ones in Christ. What would become of them? For some reason the church – or at least many of them – were afraid that their loved ones who had died in Jesus would miss “the victories and glories” of Jesus’s return. It is made clear that, that just is not true. The word sleep is used in reference to the body, not the soul and/or spirit. “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
There was some ignorance concerning those who “Slept”. Some, evidently thinking it was over for the dead; no hope, no glory, no eternal life.
Verse fourteen clarifies that those who are dead will be with Him [Jesus] when He comes for His Church. Their spirit and soul will be united with a new resurrected body. It will be a body like that of Jesus’s resurrected body.
Verses fifteen and sixteen make it clear the living believers will not go before or without the dead in Christ. The dead will rise first (v. 17); then, the living will rise with them to meet the Lord Jesus; the Lamb of God; the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words. v. 18.

We need this kind of comfort. Knowing Jesus is coming back should cause us to be comforted. Notice though who is to be the comforter – we are to one another; “With these words…”. There is comfort in reading the Scriptures of prophecy in the prophets, Moses, the apostle John, and in Matthew chapter 13, and 24-25. These should be encouraging words for the Christian, and real motivation to warn those who are condemned by sin.

In conclusion of these verses, our lives should be lived for Jesus. This is certainly a world in desparate need, but the child of God can live in comfort and peace by taking heed to God’s Word. We need each others encouragement if we are to live in this “Modern World”. We need to be encouraged to abstain from things that displease God. We need to be encouraged to live clean lives. We need to be encouraged about the return of Jesus.
Not only the people of the world, but the earth itself is in a state of madness. Earthquakes where they have never been before – in recorded history. The weather odd and unseasonal, breaking into storms that cause multi-billions of dollars of damage; thousands and thousands of peoples lives destroyed by death and destruction. Today, in 2020 a pestilence [COVID-19] that is plaguing the world with hundreds of thousands dead from it.
The Christian can live in peace. She/He can live, because they know God has their life in His hands, and we encourage one another to this extent.
THE WALK WHICH PLEASES GOD is when we walk with Jesus Christ our sin-bearer, Redeemer, and expecting His soon return. “Even so, come Lord Jesus”.

Study from 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

To build up the believer to a purity of life and faith in the sight of God, and to be prepared ro the glorious appearing of Jesus our Lord.

INTRODUCTION:
When we are not with our children we wonder, “How are they doing without us present?” We may be away a little longer than expected. Some unexpected traffic jam, or we make a detour to WalMart, or the bookstore, and we are there longer than expected. Parents seem to never end in their wondering abou their kids.
Paul was in a similar situation, only he was being hindered from his “Parental” duties by Satan. He just could not take it any longer, and sent Timothy to be with them in his place, to find out how they were doing.
Timothy brought back that encouraging report, but still, Paul longed to be with and to see his kids; to visit with them and to encourage them.

“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; and sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith…” 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2

The word “Wherefore” means this carries on from chapter two – especially verses 19 and 20. Paul sharing with the Thessalonians how he could not wait to be with them, and find out how they were doing in their lives of faith.

“That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.” vv. 3-5

Many times when afflictions hit us we tend to think that God has forgotten us. When we feel that way we can get to a place where we can not-care, and really get into a state of depression. You could say , “We faith” in the faith.
Suffering for Christ’s sake should not come as a surprise to us. When we live holy in Christ Jesus it will come (See 1 Peter 4:12-14 and 2 Timothy 3:12).

“But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith…” vv. 6-7

There is a mutual love between the parent and the child. There is great comfort,even in persecution for the one who founded the Church, to hear of the people’s desire to see him again as well.

“For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” v. 8

Caring can steal the strength away. Being unable to build up the Church in faith Paul was fearful for them, that they migh fall away. The heart was heavy. Sleep was slow in coming, if it came. When Paul was not working, preaching, or sleeping he was praying for the Church. They were “Babes in Christ” and they needed nourishment and care.
At receiving the news Paul rejoiced. He could now live free from the worry and care of this infant Church.

“For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?” vv. 9-10

A desire to see them and help them grow in the faith. A new born child does not have all it takes to grow. A baby needs to be fed. A baby needs to be nourished, and sheltered from harm; and a baby needs to be loved. The same is true of the spiritual child or Church.
Prayer is for the Church what breathing is for the body. The study of God’s Word is for the Church what food is for the body.

“Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.” v. 11

If we are to care, and to be cared for we must trust our directions to be led by Jesus in us – which is the Person of the Holy Spirit.

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” vv. 12-13

Paul’s prayer:
1. Increase and abound in love (agape’);
2. In order to “Establish” [be grounded] in heart; set them up as stable, unshakeable sanctuaries of peace;
3. Blameless in God’s holiness – To be holy is to be clean and fit for God’s Spirit to use.
We are called upon throughout the Word to be fit, to be holy for His use and service. Here we are told to be “Blameless in holiness” meaning God’s holiness. We must be clothed in that if we are to be caught up with the rest of the saints.
The saints mentioned here are the souls and spirits of the departed dead in Christ referred to in chapter 4:14.
WORD STUDY:
1. Establish (vv. 2 & 13) – To set fast – to turn resolutely in a certain direction.
2. Holiness (v. 13) – Quality; sacredness.
3. Increase (v. 12) – To do, make, or be more.
4. Abound (v. 12) – To be in excess; to excel.
5. Direct (v. 11) – To straighten fully.
6. Moved or Shaken (v. 3) – To wag; to disturb.

1 Thessalonians 2:13-20

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13

The Thessalonian Church had received God’s Word, not as some new philosophy, but as the word of truth. They received it as it was a living word from the Living God.
They realized the philosophy and teachings of man has no power, no life, and often leads to guilt with no answer, no way out. They, even more, realized the Word of God offered hope for the hopeless man and woman.
The Word of God to the Thessalonian Church was life changing, “Effectively works in you who believe.” There is great thanksgiving for the people who are in such a case.1

“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

These people were standing for Christ at the peril of their lives. It is Jesus who does the changing in our lives, so it is also He who empowers us to stand in tribulation.
Paul likens the Thessalonians to the Judean Christians who were persecuted for their faith.
No religion is persecuted so harshly as ones personal relationship with Jesus Christ is when it is lived in His presence and power.
The religious establishment are the ones’ who killed Jesus. This by no means is saying that He did not die for our sins. They are also the ones’ who “Do not please God, and are hostile to all men.” This religion also allowed no room for different groups of people, and allowed no one but themselves to be saved. They just keep on heaping their sins, piling them up one upon another, condemning themselves. They bring God’s wrath upon themselves, because they will not accept the salvation God offers to all. “God patiently waits as sinners rebel against Him and He watches as their measure of sin and judgment fills up. When the time is up, God’s patience will end and judgment will fall.” Warren Wiersbe.

“But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18

Many times there are hindrances which come into our lives and ministries. Paul experienced this. He says the hindering was by Satan, for only he would hinder the work of the gospel, but I am sure Paul realized that Satan cannot do any more than God will allow him to.
The saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, is not absolutely false. In Paul’s case especially, he longed to be with them, to teach, and guide them in God’s program for their lives.
While we look at this andknow that Satan was hindering Paul from coming to Thessalonica; we can also know that while he was in Corinth writing this letter, Paul was doing a great work there. We can learn a great lesson here. While Satan may be hindering in one place we need to be at work where he is not. Satan can be in only one place at a time.

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 19-20

Giving of gifts can be a very joyous occasion. The giving of a gift should be as joyous to the giver as it is to the receiver.
What a joy it is to see people come to faith in Christ, especially those where you have been used by the Lord to help that person come to Jesus.
The hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing of a soul-winner will be to see all those he has had a part, “In the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming.” That is our glory and joy. What do you have to give to the Lord when you appear before Him at His throne?

 

1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

This is the second part of LIVING AS CHRISTIANS IN OUR MODERN WORLD. Paul the apostle, an instrument in the hand of God was and still is teaching God’s people how we ought to be living in any age we find ourselves. This second part, will itself be in two parts. In this part we will look at verses 1 – 12.

In these verses we see that caring Chrisitans live, not for themselves, but for the Lord, and those who have come to Christ through their ministry.

Paul calls the Thessalonian church to remember how it was when he came to them. He reminds them how he worked and labored; how he had suffered persecution, realizing they were as well.

The concern Paul had, as any man of God does, is that the people be strong in the faith. There were and are temptations which lure God’s children off the path of living the Christian life. It is especially so in the time of Paul’s letters, and in our time as the time of Christ’s return draws ever nearer.

What joy there is for a mother and father who raise their children in the precepts, statutes, judgments, and commandments of the Lord when their child gives their life to Him. When a father teaches his son how to safely operate the farm tractor, and that boy takes it up like he was born on it, and almost may have been. The joy, the hope of the Christian is when he/she sees one they have taught living according to God’s Word. What joy Paul must have felt and received when word came to him how these had grown in the faith.

“For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: but even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.” 1 Thes. 2:1-2

There is great assurance in these verses. The work of God is never in vain. If one person comes to Christ as a result of our presence it is not in vain. This church was a very active church, and very much alive. They were not in the least way in danger of losing their candlestick.

Even though persecution arises we are to continue to be bold with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we are persecuted for our faith, and because of our boldness of speech we should approach it just like Peter and John, and all the apostles in acts chapter four. They were commanded not to speak in that name (the name of Jesus). They went and told the others, and they all just prayed for more boldness.

“For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.” 2:3-6

The concern of a parent is noticed in these verses. Paul, having been gone for several days, maybe weeks or months, shows his concern for their growth. He reminds them of his work and faithful ness, and the things which the taught them the three weeks he was with them.

“A flatterer can use either truth or lies to achieve his unholy purpose, which is to control your decisions for his profit.” WARREN WIERSBE. Paul did not use flatterery, or manipulation. He was not in it to please Paul or other men. that should also be the heart and attitude of any man who is called by God into a position of leadership and service to God’s people.

If a Christian is to lead he must be sure of his/her motive. If it is to receive glory from man he can be bought off. The man of God does not seek to please anyone, but God and His Son Jesus.

“But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”  2:7-9

Today there is much said about expectant mothers and their drinking of alcoholic beverages. It is because the alcohol gets into the bloodstream from which the baby is sustained and can cause awful deformities and even addiction to alcohol.

The loving caring mother will not eat or drink anything that would bring harm to her baby, either before or after it is born. She feeds, and cares for that child holding it close to her heart.

We are to be as a caring and nourishing to the unborn-again, and the new born-again as an expectant and nursing mother – just like Paul.

“Ye are witnesses, and God also , how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: as ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. ” 2:10-12

Servants of God see themselves not as dominant leaders, but as servants to the people, while remaining faithful to God. The witnesses of Paul’s service was the people which he served. He had faithfully ministered to them the Word of God, words of encouragement, hope, exhortation, and reminding them that they were God’s children in His kingdom.

That is our calling as Christian leaders. How do our people view our service?

A Study from 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

From July 3, 2006

This will be the beginning of a study through the Thessalonian letters by Paul. The series is titled LIVING AS CHRISTIANS IN OUR MODERN WORLD. I pray these articles will help and encourage you in your walk with the Lord.

I will try to keep them fairly short. If they seem to get a little long I will split them into two parts.

CHANGE, BY THE POWER OF GOD

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

As the second coming of Jesus is drawing near, we as Christians must know how we are to live in the world. “In the world, but not of the world”.
In looking at the first Thessalonian letter it appears that some of the people in the church were being led to believe the return of Jesus being near, they should leave their jobs, sell their homes and lands, and just “Live by faith”. The Scripture, no where, encourages God’s people to be foolish, but wise concerning the times.
The two letters to the Thessalonians teach a complete opposite of the above practice. Jesus’s coming is definitely near. We are to keep on yielding our lives to Him, and going about the daily Christian life as though He might not come for another million years. We are to keep on trusting and believing that He is returning soon.
First Thessalonians mentions the second coming of Jesus at the end, or near the end of each chapter. Chapter four gives us an indepth look at the “Catching away” of the Saints which is commonly referred to as the ‘Rapture of the Church’.
In Thessalonica there was much heathen, pagan worship. The church was greatly persecuted because they were living their faith. They would probably be called radical by even many professing christians of this day.
We live in a society that is quite similar to theirs. People do not mind what god you worship, or if you worship anything, as long as you keep it to yourself. “Keep it in the church building. Don’t take it to your job. Don’t take it on vacation. Don’t take it to your friends”, because if you do you will be tagged as a trouble maker, a rabble rouser, and you will be shunned by your peers.
Our world, society is certainly unfamiliar with God and godliness, and godly things. As Christians we need to be what Christ called us to be, and that is the salt and light of our world.Looking at these first ten verses we see the church of Thessolonica commended for their faith, and the hope that is in their heart. They are challenged, as are we, to live exemplary lives to show forth the change that God has wrought in their [our] lives.
The study actually begins in Acts 17:1-10 which tells of Paul’s short ministry there. It was only about three weeks in duration, but three weeks there was an established church – a body of believers worshipping, praying, studying the Scriptures, and breaking bread together. The believers fearing for Paul’s and Silas’s safety sent them away (Acts 17:10).
Paul is man of God greatly concerned about this young church. He sends Timothy to them and Timothy sends word back to Paul of their growth and stedfastness of faith. Paul is thrilled, and fully knows that it is the work of God’s Spirit. He sends them a letter to assure them of his prayers, to encourage them, and to exhort them to continue strong in the Word and faith, no matter what comes their way.

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” v. 1

In looking at verse one Paul begins the letter in pretty much his normal way. Only he adds Silvanus [Silar] and Timothy. These are men the people at Thessalonica were familiar with. He also acknowledges that they are a church in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what counts. It really does no matter if a board of men or a government recognizes a church; as long as it is in God and the Lord Jesus, it is a church.
Paul sends them a familiar greeting “Grace and peace”. True grace and peace can only come through God and His Son.

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” vv. 2-3

There is thanksgiving in Paul’s heart for this church, and their faithfulness. He also assures them of his prayers for them.
Their faith that works; the love they show to others ministering to others and one another; their patience in God – knowing He always knows best in every situation; these were all known by Paul as their spiritual leader and he remembered them.

“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” v. 4

Paul knows these people as the “Elect of God” – chosen by God to be His representatives to others, and to live an exemplary life holy and pure. That is the life every child of God is to live. We have been chosen by God. We are the “Elect” of God. You have been chosen, and from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). That is one of the blessed things of the gifts of God, ie. knowing that God has chosen us, elected us as His own. As the “Elect of God” we are called to live lives which are holy and pure.

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” v. 5

The gospel, when it is to be effective, is to be not only words, but there is also power [signs of change], and it is in the Holy Spirit – He who convicts of sin is also the One who comforts in Christ.
These messengers of the gospel lived exemplary lives. Paul, Silas, and Timothy kept themselves in the power of the Lord.
People who are messengers of God in the world today should live lives to glorify our Lord as well. There is no excuse for sin, and it should be especially so in the lives of the people of God, and the spiritual leaders whom God calls out. As Paul, Silas and Timothy were living lives that honored Christ and brought no shame on others who were serving Christ Jesus, so too should all God’s people in our modern world.

“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.” vv. 6-7

Everyone needs an example to follow. Everyone [Believers in particular] needs to be an example to others. As Paul, Silas and Timothy were following the Lord, so was the people of the Thessalonian church. Even in the midst of affliction [persecution], they were living int he joy of God’s Spirit, and it had reached Paul that these people were having an impact on others lives.
Many in our modern world like to follow others. The sad thing about that is, many of these people are not people to follow for righteousness and holy living. There are sports figures who many follow, taking drugs, steroids, and indulging in immoral behaviors that would cause shame to the child of God who is right with God.
We as God’s people need to be sure we do not exalt figures in sports, or movies, etc., or even the pulpits of the world who are not living exemplary lives which do not glorify Jesus Christ.

“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.” v. 8

When people have a real faith in God it not only is spoken, but is acted on by others and themselves.
There was no rebuke needed here. Their faith had been heard about, even in other lands.
What have “other lands” heard of the faith of the Christians of the United States of America? It is my fear, that what others are hearing is not good. In looking it appears to me that there is a lack of dedication to Christ Jesus in living and more dedication to gaining the worlds things. There is a great lack of prayer in God’s people of the USA. There is a lack of burden for calling the condemned people of our nation to faith in Christ Jesus. There is more of a push for pleasure, leisure, for entertainment, than there is for the glory of the Lord.
O God, give us a heart for Jesus like those who are suffering for the cause of Christ in other parts of the world.

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” vv. 9-10

Jesus had so impacted their lives, that the idols they had previously worshipped had been destroyed. They repented [turned from idols, and turned to God], and decided to worship the living God. The One wo could, would, has and does answer prayer. The One who has promised to deliver from “The wrath to come”.
To wait is to continue living the life until He returns with great expectancy. This “Living God” raised His Son from the dead, and has promised He will return.
Being ready means living by the power of the Spirit of the Lord which is in you who know Jesus as Savior. We must always be ready. We do not know the day or the hour when our Lord will come in the clouds and call us away.
BE READY!!!!

Let’s look at a comparison of verses 3 and 10 –
In verse three Paul refers to “Your work of faith”. Verse 10 says, “You turned to God from idols”
Verse three, “Your labor of love”. Verse 10 “To serve the living and true God”.
Verse three, “And patience of hope”. Verse 10 “To wait for His Son from Heaven”.

Jesus – Abraham and Isaac

For the next few weeks I am going to be sharing some early posts when I first started blogging over 14 years ago. Here is today’s. The title has been changed.

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10c)

We are going to look at a picture of Jesus in Genesis 22 in this study. It is surely one of the clearest pictures of Jesus, the crucifixion, and resurrection that you will ever find in all of the Old Testament.

First of all I want you to put from your mind the old Sunday School picture of Isaac being a small child as he and his father, Abraham went on this journey of sacrifice. It is highly, more probable, that he is a man in his thirties. I will explain that a little later. Now, how do we see the Lord Jesus in the text of Genesis 22.

The command from God to Abraham is, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering up one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (v.2). God the Father offered up His only Son for the sacrifice for sin upon the cross of Calvary. Which is said to be the very place where Abraham came to offer Isaac. It was a planned place, “which I will tell thee of”. Abraham rose without question, “early in the morning” maybe to avoid the questions of Sarah, but he went in faith. If you will notice how many times it is stated rather emphatically that it was a “certain place” (vv. 2,3,4,&9).

After Abraham had gathered all the necessary items, his son, a couple of servants, the wood, and the fire they journeyed for three days (v. 4) and “saw the place afar off.” In the heart and mind of Abraham, Isaac had been three days dead. He had been committed to obey God believing according to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews that God was able to raise Isaac from death (Hebrews 11:17-19). From this point on Abraham and Isaac proceed up to the mountain top alone. What is about to transpire can only happen between the father and the son. What happened on Calvary between the Father and Son was such a transaction that no one will ever be able to describe. Three hours of darkness. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about the event.SEE Matthew 27:45-46; Mark15:33-34; and Luke 23:44-45.

If you will, now, notice the wood that Abraham, “…laid it upon Isaac his son…” Notice also who took “the fire” and “a knife”. By whose hand was this judgment to fall? The father. See Isaiah 53:4-5ff.

Now, back to something I mentioned earlier. Isaac would have been a grown man, not a child as is often pictured in many Sunday School quarterlies. He could have been 37 years of age. I base that on Sarah’s age at the time of her death (Genesis 23:1) 127, and age of Isaac at the time of his marriage to Rebekkah – 40 (Genesis 25:20; also see 24:67). The reason I mention this is because as a grown man he would have been able to overthrow his father, and not be the sacrifice, but Isaac went as a willing participant in the offering. He was submissive to his father’s will. 1) He took the wood (v. 6); 2) He walked up the hill carrying the wood (v.9); 3) He allowed his hands and feet to be bound (v. 9). Does that sound familiar?

Isaac’s typology of Christ ends here at the altar. He was an unworthy sacrifice for sin. Isaac himself needed a substitute, and that would be the ram. At the point where the “angel of the LORD” stops the hand of Abraham from slaying Isaac, in the heart and mind of Abraham Isaac is alive again. He has been resurrected and lives. Three days dead, now living. On the was, alone with his father, Isaac had asked, “…Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”, and Abraham responded, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering… (vv. 7-8). God has provided HIMSELF as a sacrifice for sin in the person of His own only Son.

I do not think it to be an accident that it says, “…and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns…” In Scripture horns represent power and authority. The ram was held by his own power. Christ “…Stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” (Luke 9:51).

May they who have a heart for seeing Jesus see Him clearly here. If you cannot see Him here you will miss Him elsewhere.

The Way We Speak of Our Neighbor

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”  Matthew 5:21-22  (KJB)

Has anyone ever heard of “Assassination by words”? Maybe I am making it up; but I believe that is what is happening in our nation (U. S. of A.) today. Maybe I need to remind my brothers and sisters in Christ who our neighbor is.

Our brother is our neighbor. The man or woman across the street or road; or across the creek  is your neighbor. The people of China, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel are our neighbors. Remember Jesus’s story of the Good Samaritan.

I write this because the Lord reminds me of this quite often. I am not without guilt of assassination by words. May God forgive me; and may those I have assassinated by words forgive me too.

The political climate is hot, very hot, hotter, it seems to me than I can remember. Mean and vicious words from conservatives as well as liberals and in betweens.

Calling another person who disagrees with us a vile, vicious name is a sure sign we have lost the argument. If we disagree with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris that is fine, but they are still part of Adam’s race who deserve the same respect you and I do. We are not authorized to call them ugly and vile names because of their party affiliation.

“Well they do it” does not give us the right to retaliate. God’s love is the greatest power on earth. If we are children of God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are to love our enemies, and that means we have no business, right or authority to assassinate by words the character of any other individual.

By the power and grace of God let us cool this heat of hatred with words of grace and mercy.

The House of God

“And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves,
‘Take these things hence; make not My Father’s house an house of merchandise.’
And His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up.’
Then answered the Jews and said unto Him, ‘What sign shewest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest these things?’ Jesus answered and said unto them,
‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’
Then said the Jews, ‘Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou rear it up in three days?’ But He spake of the temple of His body.
When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” John 2:13-22 (KJB)

Why would Jesus get angry over the selling of sacrificial goods in the temple area? Could it have been because it was an affront to the holiness and righteousness of God? That would certainly be one reason. Because of that it entailed the robbery also that was going on.

People would bring their own sacrificial lamb or meal offering, and the sellers would find some flaw on the people’s offering; most generally the poor who would bring the best they had; then they would name some flaw and then sell them one that was available. Then they would take that one and sell it to someone else.

If you think Jesus would never be angry you would be wrong. Read the above verses. Jesus was angry over His Father’s house becoming a place of corrupt business practices which was profiting the well to do and robbing from the poverty stricken.

Unrighteous acts and deeds; yes all unrighteousness causes anger in the One who is holy, righteous and just.

We are all unrighteous, unholy and unjust. We need a Savior and His name is Jesus. He died on the cross taking the judgment of the Father on Himself, becoming our sin, unrighteousness and unjustness; and became forsaken by His Father for us. He went to the grave dead for our sins, and He rose victoriously conquering sin, death, hell and the grave. Because He lives He gives us His righteousness when we by faith and repentance call on His name.

Will you call on Him today?  He will hear and He will save.

Scripture Fulfilled

“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written,
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’
And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them,
‘This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.’ ”  Luke 4:16-21  (KJB)

It was the greatest day in Jewish history. It was, yet some would not recognize the One who stood before them and read from the prophet Isaiah, then told them that that Scripture was fulfilled that day.

The prophecy was one that spoke of the Messiah who was coming, and now had come, and Jesus was Him. He is the Anointed One. He would be the One who was chosen by God because He was perfect, sinless, undefiled; and no one is sinless but God.

The verses which follow 16 – 21 show what they thought of Him. They sought to kill Him by throwing Him off the cliff.

O how the Jewish people had longed for the Messiah. The teachers, the scribes and the Pharisees and priests had taught of the Messiah; but many did not know and/or refused to know Him when He arrived.

Do you know Jesus? He is the One who died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again proving that His work on the cross was finished. The debt of our sin was paid in full.  Call on His name in faith. He will hear and He will save you.

The Need

“And He went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto Him, and He taught them. And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him,
‘Follow Me.’
And he arose and followed Him. And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and His disciples: for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto His disciples, ‘How is it that He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?’
When Jesus heard it, He saith unto them,
‘They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ ”  Mark 2:13-17  (KJB)

Matthew is called by Jesus to follow Him. He leaves the position he holds as tax collector which is a position hated by his fellow Jews; thus, they hate tax collectors. Jesus calls him because He loves him.

As usual the scribes and Pharisees see Jesus eating and drinking with such “low lifes” and begin to criticize Him. They do not get it. They do not see the need. They do not see their great need for redemption and forgiveness.

For a man or woman of any rank in life, any job or profession in life and business to be redeemed from their sin they first need to be sick, lost, without hope. No self righteous individual can come to Jesus for salvation. You can see the result of that by the condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees.

The sick and diseased need a physician. The sick and diseased of heart, mind and soul need the Great Physician. His name is Jesus Christ, He is the Son of the Living God and God the Living Son. He died on the cross, was buried carrying away all our sin, shame and condemnation, and He rose again. He lives.

Call on His name and He will hear and He will heal you, and cleanse you of your sin.

The Temptation

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But He answered and said,
‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’
Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’
Jesus said unto him,
‘It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’
Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, ‘All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.’
Then saith Jesus unto him,
‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’
Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.”  Matthew 4:1-11  (KJB)

If we will look at the above encounter Jesus had with Satan we could learn much in dealing with temptation.

First of all we need to understand Jesus had gone into the wilderness and was many days without food and water, so in His flesh He was weak. He needed to survive. He longed to survive. When that old devil presented Him with the idea o turning stones to bread it would have been quite the temptation for Jesus to do so; but He did not

Jesus realized and knew that for Him to do so would be making Himself a pawn of the devil, and would be yielding Himself to the will of the serpent. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” was His answer. The word of God must be our main source of sustenance and survival.

Secondly, the devil tempted Jesus with security by tempting Him to throw Himself off the highest point of the temple to prove He was the Son of God. In doing so, again, He would have been submitting to the devil’s snares.

Security is very important to people of all times and stations of life. Jesus told the devil, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” and to do so would be to lose the greatest security ever given to the redeemed.

The last temptation  was one of success and worship. If Jesus would bow down to the devil, then He could have all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus knew that He was going to redeem them unto Himself anyway on the cross some three years later, and He said to the devil these words, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Jesus knew that the only worship He could give is to His father or He could not and would not finish the task the Father gave Him to do.

If Jesus would have yielded to temptation then the world would be lost. When you and I yield to temptation we lose our fellowship with God when we are His children, we lose power with Him, and we lose peace, and feel greatly vexed by our lives.

Let us follow the witness of Jesus’s temptation, and greatly depend on the Holy Spirit and the word of God.

If you do not know Jesus as Your Lord and Savior, then  when you realize you are lost in sin, apart from God, then hear that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you, was buried and He rose again – then call on His name and He will deliver you from sins condemnation. Call on His name today.

 

The Following

“The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him,
‘Follow me.’
Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, ‘We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph.’ And Nathanael said unto him, ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Philip saith unto him, ‘Come and see.’
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him,
‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’
Nathanael saith unto Him, ‘Whence knowest thou me?’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.’
Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, ‘Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.’ Jesus answered and said unto him,
‘Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.’
And He saith unto him,
‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’ ” John 1:43-51 (KJB)

Jesus was beginning to call to Himself those who would follow Him. He is still calling those who will follow Him.

There are too many Christians who need to learn what it means to follow. Too many want to tell Him what they want; and do not listen to what He says, or to His commandments. We are to be followers of Christ and that means to hear, listen and do what He does.

To Philip, Jesus said, “Follow Me.” Philip followed Jesus then went and found his brother Nathanael and brought him to Jesus.

I find it encouraging to note that Jesus knew Nathanael even before they were personally introduced. Jesus also knows us; each and everyone of us and when He calls us to follow it is by His great love and marvelous grace.

Others will come to Jesus as we tell them about Him. Who is Jesus? He is the one whom Philip told Nathanael, “We have found Him”. He was speaking of the Messiah/Christ. He is the Son of God, God the Son; the God-Man. He desires you to follow Him. Do you hear Him calling?

Call out to Him in repentant faith and He will hear and He will save you from your sins.

 

The Business

“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the Child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it. But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed: and His mother said unto Him, ‘Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.’ And He said unto them,
‘How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?’
And they understood not the saying which He spake unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:41-52 (KJB)

At the age of twelve Jesus had more knowledge and understanding than the wisest of the scholars of that time. They were awed by this boy who was asking questions and listening to their answers.

He said to His mother and to Joseph that He must be about His Father’s business. Just what is the Father’s business. Jesus would say when His ministry began,

“For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10).

He would also say,

“This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29).

It should be quite clear to all that the reason for Jesus coming the first time was to redeem a people to Himself; to redeem us from our sins by His death on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection. That is the business Jesus was and is still in.

Call on His name. Believe Him and be saved for all eternity.

The Kingdom

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying,
‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’ ”  Mark 1:14-15 (KJB)

John the Baptist preached the message too;  preparing the way for the Messiah. I have thought for years on the topic of “the kingdom”, “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” and wondered, “What is the difference?” or even, “Is there any difference.

I have finally come to a conclusion of the matter of the kingdom. The terms are synonymous referring to the same thought. If you disagree that is fine. We can still be brothers in Christ and disagree.

We must realize that the people of God – Israel – had for years turned their back upon God. They were “Looking for the kingdom of God” but completely missing it; especially the religious leaders; and then, along comes the prophet John, and he is preaching, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” Matthew 3:2. It is not that the kingdom had suddenly appeared, but that it had always been present and at hand.

With the coming of Jesus and His message He says the same thing as John. Now that Jesus is here the kingdom has took on Personhood, and He is the Son of God, God the Son; the God-Man and praise God He Himself is here.

Just some things for musing; The gospels of Mark, Luke and John call it the “Kingdom of God”. Matthew is the only gospel which calls it “The kingdom of heaven”.

What is the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God?

The kingdom or kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God is referring to all that is under the sovereign, superintending hand of Almighty God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. So, we must conclude that even evil, evil deeds, and evil people are also superintended by His mighty hands and Omniscient mind. He does not do evil; neither does He approve it; He does set its limits and says to it when it reaches its limit “This far and no farther”. Think of where God cut off the evil acts of the Pharaoh during the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. According to John Baptist and Jesus the kingdom is at hand.

There is however, the Kingdom coming with Jesus Christ ruling and reigning over the world sitting on His throne in the City of Jerusalem; and His kingdom and rule will be forever.

You can be with Him in that kingdom by submitting to Him, His cross confessing your sins, that He died for you, was buried, and He rose again.  Repent – turn your back to sin. Call on His name. He will hear and He will save you to be with Him through all eternity.

 

The Righteous

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest thou to me?’  And Jesus answering said unto him,
‘Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.’
Then he suffered Him.  And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying,
‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ ”  Matthew 3:13-17 (KJB)

This near the of the ministry of our Lord as He came to present Himself as the sacrifice for the sins of Adam’s race. To fulfill all righteousness, and the demands of the law Jesus presents Himself, and submits Himself to the laws of God His Father.

Why? He gives John that answer; to fulfill all righteousness. What is righteousness? To be right and just before God the Father, and to be found without guilt, or shame of sin.

Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, God the Son and the Son of Man; the God-Man in flesh humbled Himself and became obedient to the requirement of the law (Philippians 2:6-10).

At this time He is presented as the righteousness of God in Person. The Father even declares it to be so by saying,

‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’

When any member of Adam’s race; that is any human being; calls on the name of Jesus Christ for  forgiveness of their sin, and believes Him we receive the righteousness of Jesus Himself.

When Jesus died on the cross He took our evil, our sin, our unrighteousness and shame upon Himself and when we believe by grace we receive His righteousness. We are declared righteous by the Father Himself (Rom. 5:1).

Will you call on the saving, righteous name of Jesus? Will you do it now? Now is the time.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 21:20-25

“Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, ‘Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?’ Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what shall this man do?’  Jesus saith unto him,
‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me.’
Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, ‘He shall not die;’ but, ‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?’
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”  John 21:20-25  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 20:19-23

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them,
‘Peace unto you.’
And when He had so said, He shewed unto them hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again,
‘Peace unto you: as Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.’
And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them,
‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.’ ”  John 20:19-23  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 19:28-30

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith,
‘I thirst.’
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said,
‘It is finished:’
and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.”  John 19:28-30  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 18:19-24

“The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him,
‘I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou Me? Ask them which heard Me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.’
And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, ‘Answerest Thou the high priest so?’ Jesus answered him,
‘If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou Me?’
Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.”  John 18:19-24  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 17

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said,
‘Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.
I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.
I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee. For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that thou didst send Me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves.
I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.
As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved Me.
Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.’
”  John 17:1-26  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 16:25-33

‘These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
At that day ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.’

His disciples said unto Him, ‘Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee: by this we believe that Thou camest forth from God.’ Jesus answered them,
‘Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ ”  John 16:25-33  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 15:18-27

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, ‘The servant is not greater than his lord.’ If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
He that hateth Me hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning.”
  John 15:18-27  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 14:15-21

“If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.
He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
  John 14:15-21  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – John 13:31-35

“Therefore, when He was gone out, Jesus said,
‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him.
Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek Me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.’
”  John 13:31-35  (KJB)