For the Thirsty

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying,
“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
(But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)   John 7:37-39

Remember

In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
Remember Lot’s wife.
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
  Luke 17:31-33

One Mightier

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets,
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.’
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.  And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.  And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying,
‘There cometh One mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.  I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.’ ” Mark 1:1-8

There Shall Be A Shaking

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” [Jesus Christ] Matthew 24:29-31

Wisdom and Understanding Hearing the Words of Jesus

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”  Proverbs 9:10
“He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”   John 12:48

Let those who have heard the words of Jesus Christ believing and receiving Him continue in the wisdom of Jesus Christ and the Father; in holiness.

May those who have not yet believed and received Him, hear Him today, believe and receive Him by grace through faith in the finished word of His atoning death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17

To give assurance of deliverance from the “Day of the Lord” [which is a day or darkness]; and that we should not be troubled by the trials we go through.

INTRODUCTION:
Just how are we to know when the “Great Tribulation” or “The time of Jacob’s trouble” begins? There are some distinguishing signs which show us. There are some who teach that the Church will go through the ‘tribulation’. If so, why did Paul write verses one and two of this chapter? There were teachers [false teachers] teaching that the Church would go through this time of trouble, even then, and were even saying they were already in it. Not only was their teaching bad enough, but they were signing (forging) Paul’s name to the letters saying this was his teaching.
In this chapter Paul tells how we can know, and if the lost would pay attention, even how they can recognize the “Day of the Lord”. There must be something that begins the “Time of sorrow”. Paul says there will first of all be a great apostasy [falling way]. This will happen among many who profess Christ as Savior, but have only joined a club (Church membership). There has never been any relationship with Christ, no joy of salvation, no hope for life, and no exciting expectation of Jesus Christ return. The falling away will occur – I believe – because the Church will endure a time of purification [persecution] and the reprobate Church members will flee from the fire.
Of course there is not much need for the Church to know, because the “Day of the Lord” will begin the day Jesus calls out to us from the clouds (the heavens), “Come up here.” If you know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior you need not fear the “Day of the Lord”.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (KJV)

There is going to be a gathering of the Church. It is stated quite clearly in verse one.
The Church was clearly troubled. They had been troubled by false teachers, and false letters from those teachers, by forging Paul’s name. In doing so they were confusing the people in the Church, and hoping to gain something for themselves. These teachers, and letters were telling the people that the “Day of the Lord” had already come, and they were living in it.
This false message contradicted what Paul was teaching. Paul’s clear teaching, and the Bible’s teaching is that the “Day of the Lord” is a time of great trouble, sorrow on the earth. The day is marked by a sudden disappearance of a certain group of people – namely the Church. Those fundamental, Bible believing, Jesus worshiping, “Blessed hope” watching, born again people will be taken out of the way in order for the progressive way of thought to prevail, and lawlessness to have its way.
The word of “Christ” in verse two is literally the “Day of the Lord.” Though Paul is not saying it was at hand, but that the false teachers were saying it.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” vv. 3-4

This letter was written partly to warn them against the deceivers. Deceivers have a way of robbing people of their hope, joy and peace. Do not let anyone deceive you.
The “Day of the Lord” is not the “Rapture of the Church”. “The day of the Lord” will not begin until after the rapture, or the “Catching away of the Church”; the “falling way” apostasy (which could occur before the rapture) due to persecution; and the revealing of the “Man of sin” (or Anti-christ) which will follow the rapture.
The apostasy is a rebellion against all that is godly. It will even involve professing Christians who do not know Jesus. They are Christians only because their parents were, or they were “Born in a Christian home”; not due to the new birth in Christ Jesus. These will see Jesus as any other religious leader. This christianity to them is only a religion of choice just as the others. Being a Christian is in fact a personal relationship into which one is called in – chosen by God; the Living God, and it is the only way to eternal life in Heaven.
The apostasy is in affect a militant uprising against all that is pure and for all things that are against God, Jesus and His Church. There is even today, an attempt to silence the Church and the Word of God; especially in the public forum; private owner businesses, and in political debate.
There is also, “the man of sin”, also called the “Son of perdition” who will be revealed, probably, very near to either side of the rapture. Jesus mentions “The son of perdition” in John 17:12. He was in the person of Judas Iscariot the betrayer. This man who will come on the scene will exalt himself, call himself “God”, and will sit in the temple of God – this in the city of Jerusalem. This man will be revealed as the Evil one when he breaks his covenant with Israel three and one half years into the tribulation period. His first introduction will be as a man of peace, and seeming ability to end world economic, religious, and environmental problems (See Revelation 6:1-2). He will be a world ruler.

“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” v. 5

These were things Paul had spoken to them about when he was with them. This is only a gentle nudge to call to remembrance what they had heard.

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way.” vv. 6-7

It is not yet time for the “Son of perdition” to be revealed. Really, only God knows when that time will be. When God removes the restraints, then and only then can this deceiver who is also the “Anti-christ” have a free hand.
That raises a question. Who or what is the restraint? Whoever or whatever it is must be the greatest power in all the Universe. He is like the wind; unseen, but you can hear Him at work; you can feel Him touch the cheeks of your soul; you hear His still, small, sweet voice, and you can see His effects upon the lives of people. It is a Person who is restraining. Yes! It is the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God.
There is already, and has been since the garden of Eden; the working of iniquity. When the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is gone iniquity will have a free hand for a while. The Holy Spirit is present and powerful in the Church which is being sanctified by Him for the glory of Christ Jesus. Since Jesus said, “I will not leave you Comfortless” (John 14:18), then He will not leave the Church here without His Spirit (the Comforter). The restraining of the Holy Spirit will continue until the Church is stolen away from this earth, “As a thief in the night.”

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming…” v. 8

After the Spirit of God is removed with the Church, the son of perdition the Antichrist, who is the devil incarnate (counterfeiting what Jesus did), will be revealed.
Notice, though, Paul’s encouraging words, “…Whom the Lord will consume…” (See Revelation 1:16; 19:11-21). This, of course, will take place after he deceives the people of the earth; the ones who had rejected the truth of the Lord Jesus.
Out of the Lord’s mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword. The two-edged sword is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). The “Breath of His mouth” referring to the work of the Spirit and the Word. The glory of the Lord is His brightness at His coming.

“…Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” vv. 9-10

The son of perdition will come in the power of Satan. Remember Satan is only a created being, a creature. He will use signs, and miracles to deceive the nations (Revelation 13:13-14). These “Miracles” will have the influence to deceive only “Those who are perishing”. These are people who will have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but had no use for God, His Spirit, or His Word. They are people who are independent of God, and depend solely on themselves.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” vv. 11-12

Because they refuse to love the truth God will cause them to believe the lie. Even today when someone hears the message of the gospel, and rejects it just one time; his/her heart will grow a little harder toward the gospel. Each time they hear and reject it the chances of their being saved grows weaker. To say again: That is so even in this day of grace.
God can at any point in the Christ rejecters life harden the heart. When God hardens the heart it is late, very late for saving grace, and very near to judgment. Do not harden your heart. Believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior before it is too late.
This seems – in its context – to apply to those who have rejected “the truth” after the requirement of the “Mark”. Only those receiving the “Mark”, ie. rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will receive this “Strong delusion” believing “the lie”.
These are also those who, “Had pleasure in unrighteousness” (See Romans 1:18-32). They worshiped and served the creature [self] rather than the Creator.

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” vv. 13-14

We should all be thankful for God choosing us for salvaation – if indeed we have been chosen. How we are chosen, just as all believers are: 1.) Set apart by the work of the Spirit; and 2.) Believing the truth.
It is done by the gospel, and for the purpose of obtaining the glory of Jesus.
These messages to the Thessalonians are as much a part of the gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Receive, and believe the whole gospel or perish.

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” vv. 15-17

“Stand fast” or do not be shaken from – do not be moved from your stand of faith.
“Hold the traditions” is not speaking of religious man made traditions, but truths of God’s Word. Paul is here saying to pass along what I have written to you as being from God – it is Scripture. Pass in on from your generation to the next generation, and on to the next, and the next.
Man made tradition most often goes against the Spirit’s intent of Scripture, and we are to shun those. Many times though we want to hold to these and forsake the Scriptural tradition. God forbid.
There is comfort in heeding the Word of God. We find comfort in His grace, knowing that in Him we have everlasting life.
Our lives are to be established in good words and works; established in God and His grace.
Are your works done to glorify Jesus, and to reflect His image to a condemned, dying, and lost world? Does the lost world look at you and me and see comfort peace, or fear and torment?
May the words of this hymn be also our lives:
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
May the lost, condemned world see Christ, and His love, peace, joy, and all the fruit of the Spirit of God in us and know that something is missing in their hearts and lives…
The “Day of the Lord” is not for those who believe, but for those who do not believe. In this is comfort. Believe!

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

To show that the suffering we endure for our faith is evidence of righteousness, and that contrary to what some believe judgment awaits all who reject God and His Gospel.
INTRODUCTION:
When your hope has been dashed, and smashed to pieces what do you do? Most times we give up, or not, and push forward. We say, “What is the use? Jesus is coming soon I can quit my job; I can quit trying to lead people to Jesus. He is going to come and all this just won’t matter anymore.” God forbid that we feel this waay, and worse practice these thoughts and feelings.
The Church at Thessalonica was praised by Paul for their faith and love. The last verse of 1 Corinthians 13 mentions faith, and love. Why did Paul not recognize and admire their hope? They had lost hope. At least some of them had quit their jobs thinking, maybe saying, “What is the use?” Some false teachers were telling them they were already in the “Tribulation period”. Their faith and love; they had plenty; but hope had been lost in the persecution they were experiencing, and because of the false teachers and their teaching. When your hope is taken away there is just not much left worth living for. Paul is writing to reestablish hope in them.
Sometimes hope is dashed when we look and see evil prospering. God will have His day on the evil wicked of the world. They will not be able to stand the judgment of the wrath to come.
We who are in Christ Jesus, need not lose hope. The very evidence of our endurance in the midst of persecution is evidence of God’s righteous judgment. He gives endurance to those who are His – He strengthens us to persevere to the end (Matthew 24:13).

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2 (KJV)

This is the same introduction as the first letter, therefor, not too much need to comment, except to say Paul was very high on the grace of God. He depended on it. His life, and ours must depend on it for eternity.

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure…” vv. 3-4

Paul has noticed something missing at Thessalonica – hope. They were quitting, just giving up. The persecution they were experiencing even affected their work – their way of making a living. Those who owned businesses were being shunned because of their faith [We would call it a “Boycott”].
They needed hope. Hoe is the life-blood of progress. People who have hope can accomplish just about anything. The only hope for mankind – all of humanity – is faith in Jesus through whom God gave the gift of salvation – eternal life. If we understand hope; hope is the motivation of faith and love.
People who are without hope – especially a Church that is without hope is dead or dying. We preach and teach that Jesus is coming soon, but where is our hope? If we had hope, would we not be telling everyone to get ready? At least as many as we possibly can? Understand, our hope – “The Blessed hope” – is not wishful thinking which has no substance. Faith is the substance of our hope (Hebrews 11:1). God said it, I believe it, so that settles it. One I like better than that one “God said it; that settles it whether you and I believe it or not.” Our hope as Christians is backed up with what God has said; His promises and prophecies will not fail.

“Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer…” v. 5

God uses persecution to build us and make us stronger in faith, and to root out those without faith. Those who endure persecutions because of their faith show the “righteous judgment of God”, and those who do not persevere show it as well. God truly knows those who are His.
Many complain about trials and persecutions in their lives, but does an athlete complain about running till his/her legs ache, lifting weights until his/her arms hurt? If a mountain climber does not hurt he probably has not climbed a mountain for a while. We can think, “Well these people voluntarily do that.” A-men. Do not we the people of Faith volunteer as well? If we are to be strong in faith let us face the weights, the running, and the mountains for the glory of our God, and His righteousness.

“…Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you…” v. 6

Those who fall away are many times the very ones who will cause the faithful trouble. There are some who seem to remain faithful to the Church, but never endure any persecution, because they live outside the Church like everyone else. They are trouble to the Church, whether they actually lift a finger against her or not. It is a righteous act for God to cause them trouble.

“…And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…” v. 7

While the rest of the world will be suffering from God’s judgment the Church will be at rest. During that period of seven years we will be in the presence of our Lord and Savior enjoying His glory. Where will you be when He comes?

“…In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power…” vv. 8-9

In Hebrews 10:31 the word of God tells us, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” Hebrews 12:29 says, “For our God is a consuming fire.”
Just as surely as Jesus is coming for His Church, He is coming also to take vengeance on the unbelieving – those who obey not the gospel. Many cannot see a loving God doing this. This loving God made a way possible for unholy men and women to become holy, and the unbelieving spit in His face, stomped His blood under their feet, and still proclaim with much hate toward Him, “I don’t need that. God is love. He won’t cast me into Hell.” If this holy, loving God will not cast unbelievers into Hell, then His Word is not trustworthy, there is not salvation, and there awaits nothing but damnation for us all.
Notice the forms of judgment mentioned: Flaming fire, Vengeance, Punishment, Everlasting destruction, Separation from the presence, glory, and power of the Lord.

“…When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” v. 10

What glory that will be when He is glorified in us. What is that glory? That others believe Him through our faith and testimony.

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” vv. 11-12

Hope can often be restored by letting people know you are praying for them, and how you are praying.

How was Paul praying? 1.) That God would count you worthy of this calling; 2.) Fulfill the good pleasure of His goodness; 3.) The work of faith with power; 4.) That Jesus name be glorified in you; 5.) You in Him; 6.) According to His grace; 7.) Fulfilled through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and His coming in the clouds.

It is solely by His grace. There is no other way of salvation.

We can rest in God’s grace that He will deliver us from the wrath to come, when we are in Christ. We have that hope, that promise in Christ Jesus.

If our lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors die in unbelief there will be no rest for them. After Jesus comes, any hope of salvation is gone.

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”.

For, Lo, I Come

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be My people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the LORD shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for He is raised up out of his holy habitation.” Zechariah 2:10-13 (KJB)

Some thoughts from The Biblical Illustrator:

I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee

The restorer of Israel and Judah

Note that the name of “the Lord,” or “Jehovah,” is applied to two distinct persons; to Him who sends, and to Him who is sent.
Note also that in this prophecy the future restoration of the Jews is spoken of, as well as their settlement at Jerusalem after the Babylonish captivity. The words of the text evidently relate to the future restoration. A period is yet to come, of glory to God, and of prosperity to the people of Israel and Judah; and that the Son of God, the Messiah, will dwell among them, acknowledged and honoured as the Lord of hosts. Note some of the circumstances which will mark that season of the fulfilment of God’s promises to His people.

  1. The conversion of the people of Israel and Judah.
  2. The restoration of all the tribes to their own land.
  3. The people of God will be restored to their native land in the midst of wars and tumults. Their return will be preceded by violent convulsions, and by a season of disaster and tribulation, such as the world has never yet witnessed.
  4. The first and most remarkable circumstance in the condition of God’s people after their settlement in their own land, is His immediate presence among them.
  5. God will make a new covenant with them. It will involve a much higher degree of religious knowledge.
  6. The pardon of sin is mentioned as one of the promises under the new covenant.
  7. The consequence of this abundant pardon and superior know ledge is the greater practice of virtue. This superior degree of purity and holiness in the people of God, is the gift of God Himself, the effect of that abundant effusion of the Spirit which will adorn the Church under His own immediate care.
  8. The advantages will not be confined to Israel, but will flow out to other peoples.
  9. Jews and Gentiles being united as one body of faithful worshippers, a pure and holy service will be paid to God in Jerusalem. The people will enjoy all worldly and spiritual blessedness. Let us seek to attain a share of these coming blessings. (T. Bowdler, A. M.)

The joy of the Divine presence

1 No difficulty or strait can take away from the Church the true cause of her joy, nor excuse her for not rejoicing in it, for when the Jews are now a contemptible handful, deserted by their brethren, vexed by their enemies, and some of themselves conspiring against them, yet she is called to this duty, “Sing and rejoice.”

  1. The Lord’s own presence in and with His people, is His choice and matchless gift, which He is willing to give before any other thing, and which, as He will not disdain to bestow in His people’s lowest condition, so it is a gift that should occasion much joy and refreshment to them.
  2. As the Lord’s presence with His own chosen people is perpetual, and will bring intimate familiarity and love; so Himself will be at all the pains to make up this union, He will not, by sin putting Him, as it were, away for a time, be provoked to stay away, and will have this communion still upon the growing hand till they come to full fruition, for He will dwell constantly and familiarly “in the midst of thee.”
  3. It is the great ground of the Church’s encouragement, and the fountain of all other manifestations of God, that the Son of God became man, that her Redeemer is God, that He came and dwelt in our nature, and was like us in all things without sin; and that we may tryst with God in the man Christ, and know our tender-hearted Surety to be also God over all blessed forever, and able to save to the uttermost. This incarnation of Christ is it which this promise ultimately points at as the ground of their joy. “Sing, for I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah.” (George Hutcheson.)

The joy of the millennial Church

The words point to the bright periods when messiah’s kingdom shall so extend as to embrace “many nations.” Three remarks are suggested concerning this joy.

  1. It is righteous. It is not only Divinely authorised, but commanded. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion.” Often we are informed by religious teachers that joy is a privilege, but seldom told that joy is a duty. It is as truly a sin against heaven to be spiritually gloomy and sad, as to be socially false and dishonest. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion.” Similar commands are found elsewhere on the pages of Holy Writ. “Break forth into joy, sing together” (Isa_52:9). “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion” (Isa_12:6). Gratitude is joy; and ought not gratitude to fill every soul? Admiration is joy; and ought not every soul to be filled with admiration of the Divine excellence? Love is joy; and ought we not to love all creatures with the love of benevolence, and the Creator with the love of adoration?
  2. It is reasonable. But here are reasons suggested for this joy. What are they?
  3. The presence of God. “Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.” The highest happiness of an intelligent creature, is the presence of the object it supremely loves. “In Thy presence is fulness of joy.”
  4. The increase of the good. “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day.” Is not this a good reason for joy—to see the clouds of error in the human sky breaking, dissolving, vanishing, and the Sun of Truth rising, spreading, and penetrating the whole earth with its lifegiving beams? Is not this a sublime reason for lifegiving joy—“Many nations shall be joined to the Lord,” as the branches are joined to the roots of the tree, as the members of the body are joined to the head?
  5. The restoration of the Jews. “For the Lord shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.”

III. It is reverential. “Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for He is raised up out of His holy habitation.” “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” The profoundest emotions of the Soul are always mute. Superficial feelings are noisy and chattering. The shallow stream rattles amongst the hills. The deep river rolls by unheard. Deep joy is silent as the stars. It is so with the godly soul. In the presence of the supremely beautiful, it is filled with a joy that cannot speak. If we are loyal subjects of the great spiritual empire, we might well be happy. (Homilist.)”  From THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR on Zechariah 2:10-13

Israel’s Redemption

By the grace of Holy God…

“Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me.

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.

Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.

Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, ‘I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself; that frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; that confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, ‘Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: that saith to the deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: that saith of Cyrus, ‘My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid.’ ” Isaiah 44:21-28 (KJB)

The Redemption of the nation Israel is solely a work of God’s mercy, grace and love through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A great day coming when the redeemed remnant of Israel shall look upon the One whom their forefathers crucified; and they shall call Him LORD (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37; Revelation 1:7; Daniel 7:13).

BF&M – Last Things

The study of “Last things” is one of my own favorite lines for ruminating Scriptures.  There are a vast aray of differences of the understanding of “Last thing”, that the BF&M of 2000, covers most of what we as Baptists believe concerning the return of Jesus Christ.

Studying the Revelation, the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament, and their prophecies concerning the first coming of Jesus, and also concerning the second coming of Jesus is a fascinating endeavor.

There is blessing and reward for those who love the appearing of the Lord: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” 2 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV).  This is clearly concerning the appearing of Christ when He comes in all His glory, and becomes King of Jerusalem, and the world.

Our Statement of Faith:

X. Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.

There are many things which happen before the appearing of Jesus in His glory.  There are several views concerning these events, and some views which do not believe in some of the events that I do.

Some believe in the “Rapture of the Church” which there are probably three views concerning this as to the timing of the rapture.  There is the “pre-tribulation rapture” view; then, the “mid-tribulation rapture” view, and some who believe in a “post-tribulation” view.  There are some who do not believe in a rapture.

There are some of us who believe in a millennial [one thousand year] reign of Christ on earth when He comes in His glory.  There are some who believe that all prophecy has been fulfilled.  I will not get into that study here.  The study of “Last things” is called – “Eschatology”

For my beliefs on these “Last things” you can go to Fire and Hammer, or click Revelation or Thessalonians in the sidebar called Gleanings (categories).