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A study of 1 Thessalonians

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul’s 1st epistle, the emphasis is upon the rapture of believers, the coming of Christ to take His church out of the world. The fact that the coming of Christ is a purifying hope should lead to sanctification in our lives. 1 John 3:3: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

 Contents:

  • Selected audio teachings on 1 Thessalonians and link to more through audio teachings online.
  • Occasion of the Writing
  • Theme
  • Purpose
  • 11st OUTLINE
  • 2nd OUTLINE
  • Abbreviated notes.

NOTE. For more details see, McGee, 1 Thessalonians. This study is taken directly from that book. The study is also available online in audio at: 1 Thessalonians. 

Selected audio teachings on 1 Thessalonians and link to more through audio teachings online:

The trinity of faith, hope, and love (Click to go to study). “Remembering without ceasing (1) your work of faith, (2) lobour of love, and (3) patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1.3. This trinity is marvelously explained in this teaching by Dr. J. Vernon McGee. Learn both the abstract and the concrete meanings of this trinity and how they relate together where the rubber meets the road. Paul here gives 3 graces of Christian life. The past is the work of faith. The present is a labour of love. The future is the patience of hope.

Turning to God from idols. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10: “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; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” The church in 1Thess1.9Thessalonica turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. See v. 3. Work of faith (turned to God from idols), labour of love (to serve the living God), patience of hope (to wait for His Son from heaven). Paul preached Christ and they turned to God from idols (not they turned from idols to God). When they turned to God, that is the work of faith; that is what faith did. John 6:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” When they turned to God, they automatically turned from idols—that is repentance. The turning from something is repentance. You can’t turn to Christ without turning from sin. Jesus Christ saves from sin. When a man turns to Christ, he turns from his sin. The message of repentance needs to be preached to the church, as it was preached to the 7 churches in Revelation 2 and 3. The Thessalonians were now serving God, the labor of love. You cannot serve Christ unless you love him. See Jn. 14.15. If you do not love Him, forget trying to serve Him. Waiting for His Son from heaven doesn’t mean sit down and relax. It means get busy for the Lord. A believer is to labor in love.

 For excellent and more audio teachings on Thessalonians, click: J. Vernon McGee teaches on 1 Thessalonians.

Occasion of the Writing
(Apparently, it was at Corinth that Timothy and Silas come to him and brought him word concerning the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 3:6). Timothy also brought some questions to Paul, problems troubling the believers in Thessalonica. Paul wrote this first epistle in response to their questions, to instruct them further and give them needed comfort.)

Thessalonica was located 100 miles west of Philippe and about 50 miles north of Athens. It was right in the center or the heart of the empire and was the chief city of Macedonia. The city is still in existence and is known as Salonika.

The church in Thessalonica, established on Paul’s second missionary journey, was a model church. 1 Thessalonians 1:7: “So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.” This church was a testimony to the whole area that we would call Greece today. Paul speaks of this church as being an example to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5.

You will recall that Paul and Barnabas separated on the 2nd missionary journey. Paul took Silas with him, and along the route he picked up Timothy and Dr. Luke. He revisited the churches in Galatia and then attempted to make a wider circle in the densely populated area of Asia Minor, known as Turkey today. Dr. McGee thinks he intended to carry on his missionary work there, because in his 3rd missionary journey he did make Ephesus his headquarters and did what was probably his greatest missionary work. But on his 2nd missionary journey, the Spirit of God put up a roadblock and would not let him go south. He attempted to go oup into Bithynia, but again the Spirit of God prevented him. He couldn’t go north, and he couldn’t go south. So he moved to the west and came to Troasa to await orders. He had the vision of the man of Macedonia, so he crossed over to Philippi. He found that the man of Macedonia was instead a woman by the name of Lydia, a seller of purple—she probably ran a department store there. Paul led her to the Lord along with others of the city. Thus, a church was established at Philippi.

Then Paul went to Thessalonica, and we are told in chapter 17 of Acts that he was there for three Sabbaths. So Paul was there a little less than a month, but in that period of time he did a herculean task of mission work. Paul was an effective missionary—he led multitudes to Christ there. And in that brief time he not only organized a local church, but he also taught them the great doctrines of the Christian faith.

Now Paul had to leave Thessalonica posthaste due to the great opposition to the gospel. He was run out of town and went down to Berea. The enemy pursued him to Berea, and again Paul was forced ot leave. Paul left Silas and Timothy at Berea, but he went on to Athens. After some time at Athens, he went on to Corinth. Apparently, it was at Corinth that Timothy and Silas come to him and brought him word concerning the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 3:6). Timothy also brought some questions to Paul, problems troubling the believers in Thessalonica. Paul wrote this first epistle in response to their questions, to instruct them further and give them needed comfort.

Theme
(Paul presents the second coming of Christ in relationship to believers as a comfort, and this forms the theme of the epistle.)

Although Paul had been in Thessalonica less than a month, he had touched on many of the great doctrines of the church including to second coming of Christ. It is interesting that Paul did not consider this subject to be above the heads of the new converts. Yet there are churches today that have been in existence for more than 100 years whose members have but a vague understanding of the rapture of the church and the coming of Christ to establish His kingdom here on earth. The Thessalonian church was not even a month old, and Paul was teaching them these great doctrines!

The apostle had obviously emphasized the second coming of Christ for believers and had taught that the return of Christ was imminent. For during the period of time since Paul had left, some of the saints who had come to know and believe in Jesus Christ had died, and this had naturally raised the question in the minds of the Thessalonians as to whether these saints would be in the rapture or not. Paul presents the second coming of Christ in relationship to believers as a comfort, and this forms the theme of the epistle. The emphasis is in sharp contrast to Christ’s catastrophic and cataclysmic coming in glory to establish His kingdom by putting down all unrighteousness seen in Revelation 19.11-16.

Purpose

The epistle has a threefold purpose: (1) to confirm young converts in the elementary truth of the gospel. (2) To condition them to go on unto holy living. (3) To comfort them regarding the return of Christ. Paul’s message offered a marked contrast to the paganism and heathenism which was present in Thessalonica.

1st OUTLINE

  1. The Chritian’s Attitude toward the Return of Christ, Chapter 1 (to serve … to wait vv. 9, 10)
  2. The Christian’s Reward at the Return of Christ, Chapter 2.
  3. The Christian’s Life and the Return of Christ, 3.1-4-12.
  4. The Christian’s Death and the Return of Christ, 4.13-18.
  5. The Christian’s Actions in View of the Return of Christ, Chapter 5 (Note 22 specific commands to Christians beginning at v.11.)

2ND OUTLINE

  1. Coming of Christ is an INSPIRING HOPE, Chapter
    1. Introduction
    2. Gospel Received in Much Assurance & Much Affliction, vv. 5-7
    3. Gospel Results: Turned from Idols to God; Wait for Coming of Christ, vv. 8-10
  2. Coming of Christ is a WORKING HOPE, Chapter 2
    1. Motive and Method of a True Witness for Christ, vv. 1-6
    2. Mother Side of the Apostle’s Ministry (Comfort), vv. 7-9
    3. Father Side of the Apostle’s Ministry (Charge), vv. 10-13
    4. Brother Side of the Apostle’s Ministry (Challenge), vv. 14-16
    5. Reward of a True Witness of Christ, vv. 17-20
  3. Coming of Christ is a PURIFYING HOPE, 3.1-4.12
    1. Timothy Brings Good Report of Thessalonians, vv. 1-8
    2. Paul Urges Thessalonians to Continue to Grow in Faith, vv. 9-13
    3. How Believers Are to Walk, 4.1-12
  4. Coming of Christ is a COMFORTING HOPE, 4.13-18
    (What Death Means to a Christian;
    What the Rapture Means to the Church)
  5. Coming of Christ is a ROUSING HOPE, Chapter 5

Dead Believers are Asleep in Jesus
Living Believers are Awake for Jesus
Call to be Awake & Alert in View of Christ’s Coming, vv. 1-10
1. Call to be Awake & Alert in View of Christ’s Coming, vv. 1-10
2. Commandments for Christians, vv. 11-28

SOME ABBREVIATED NOTES

 Chapter 1
(The Coming of Christ Is an Inspiring Hope)

  1. 1.1: Paul humbly identifies himself with the brethren, Timotheus and Silvanus. He was not aloof, separated and segregated above all the others who were working for Jesus Christ. Remember this. The preacher is to be right down among you. No clergy and laity. There are 2 situations in a church which are dangerous. One is a pastor who tries to exalt himself. The other is a layman who tries to be an authority on the Bible and has not really studied the Bible (the total Word of God from beginning to end, but has gone off on a tangent. Grace comes first, then the peace of God.
  2. 1.2: Paul prayed for all the churches he had founded. He had a tremendous prayer list….
  3. 1.3: Paul associates 3 Christian graces: Faith, hope, and love. Paul takes these 3 words and puts them into shoeleather. See Dr. McGee, 1 Thessalonians for a tremendous study on this. Faith is the response of the soul of man to the Word of God…. When a man responds to the Word of God, he walks by faith, not by sight. (2. Co. 5.7). When one loves the Lord Jesus, serving Him is a “labour of love.” Labor is not labor when it is a labor of love. If serving the Lord is a great burden to you, give it up. The Lord does not want it to be like that. Love to God is expressed in obedience. The patience of hope is waiting for His Son from heaven; that is the “blessed hope.”
  4. 5. It’s the word of God, not weak men, which has power. Weak men giving out the word of God will have an effect. The Spirit of God can cause the Word of God to penetrate hearts and lives and transform people. F=”Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” Ro. 10.17.
  5. 6. The word was rec’d in much afflication (ther was suffering, persecution, and heartache). But there was joy in the Holy Spirit also.
  6. 7, 8. The church at Thess. were examples to all other churches. Their reputation had spread.
  7. 9-10. The church in Thessalonica turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. See v. 3. Work of faith (turned to God from idols), labour of love (to serve the living God), patience of hope (to wait for His Son from heaven). Paul preached Christ and they turned to God from idols (not they turned from idols to God). When they turned to God, that is the work of faith; that is what faith did. John 6:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” When they turned to God, they automatically turned from idols—that is repentance. The turning from something is repentance. You can’t turn to Christ without turning from sin. Jesus Christ saves from sin. When a man turns to Christ, he turns from his sin. The message of repentance needs to be preached to the church, as it was preached to the 7 churches in Revelation 2 and 3. The Thessalonians were now serving God, the labor of love. You cannot serve Christ unless you love him. See Jn. 14.15. If you do not love Him, forget trying to serve Him. Waiting for His Son from heaven doesn’t mean sit down and relax. It means get busy for the Lord. A believer is to labor in love.

Chapter 2
(The Coming of Christ Is a Working Hope)

No matter when you believe Christ is coming, believer, the important question is, “How does your interpretation affect your life?’

v 1. “in vain” means empty, without results.

v 2. “Contention” means conflict or agony.

v 3. “Deceit” means error. “Uncleanness” means sensuality. “Nor in guile”—he did not use wrong methods or lower his standards to accommodate the prejudices and passions of the old nature….

v 4. “Allowed” means tested or approved. God allowed him to be put in trust with the Gospel.

v 5. Paul never used flattering words or a “cloak of covetousness.”

v 6. Paul never sought position or honors.

Mother Side of the Apostle’s Ministry (Comfort), vv. 7-9. Paul was as tender as a woman in his dealings with the church at Thessalonica. Like a mother, Paul loved these people. He labored over them night and day because he loved them. When work is motivated by love, it does not seem like work anymore (as with mother who takes care of her husband and baby).

Father Side of the Apostle’s Ministry (Charge), vv. 10-13. Paul had a duty to God (“holily) and to man (“justly”). “Unblamably” means that no charge could be maintained against the apostle and his companions. “Exhorted” means Paul came to the side of them, to help, to entreat, and to convict them (v11). “Comforted” in v11 means “to persuade.” Paul “charged” them (v11). This has a note of severity in it—it involves discipline. He was not a Preacherette giving a Sermonette. “Walk worthy” … (v12). Live in light of eternity (v12). the Word should go out and be received as the Word of God—if it does not, it will not work in you (v13).

The Word of God, like salt, stings when it gets into a fresh wound of sin in the life of an individual. The Word is also light—men who do evil love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Paul is teaching in this chapter that the church of God should mirror the family of God down here on earth. A church should be a revelation of God to the community just as a family should be. The relationships of husband, wife, and child in the home should reveal the threefold aspect of the love of God and Christ for the world. A child in a home needs to experience both mother-love and father-love. Father-love disciplines. Children are not to be comforted only.

Brother Side of the Apostle’s Ministry (Challenge), vv. 14-16. The brother-side of the ministry within a church is represented by the child in the family. Suffering draws you together and brings you together. They were brothers in suffering. Suffering is a cement that holds brothers together. If suffering came to the church, it would draw brothers together and bring revival. Why don’t we pray for conditions that bring revival—that is suffering and persecution?

Reward of a True Witness of Christ, vv. 17-20. When one is in Christ, he is a brother to all those who are in Christ (v17). Paul had the spiritual discernment to see that it was Satna’s strategy that kept him from going to Thessalonica (v18). One of the great things Paul anticipates when Christ comes to take His church will be the opportunity to see these people he has led to the Lord (vv19-20)

Chapter 3
(The Coming of Christ Is a Purifying Hope)

The great theme of 1 Thess. is the rapture of the church. The great them of 2 Thess. is the revelation of Christ, that is, His coming to earth to establish His kingdom. Paul is teaching practical doctrines, meaningful to life. The coming of Christ will change your life, affect your life-style.

“Wherefore” ties this chapter to what Paul talked about in the last chapter: the family relationship that exists in the church. He had been a mother, father, and brother to them. Paul is frustrated in not being able to return to them. His is a labour of love. Love seeks the welfare of another.

Because of his love, Paul sent Timotheus back to them (“our brother and minister of God”) v.2. “Our fellowlaborer in the gospel of Christ.” Do-gooder “Christians” want the social gospel. But the Word of God brings more good-doing than any social gospel. Do-good liberals actually encourage immorality and license. They haven’t delivered kids from drugs or lifted up  mankind. A believer’s sphere is to be the gospel of Christ; that will produce a whole lot of good. “To establish you…”: Paul sent Timothy to do this—to hold them up v.2. “To comfort you concerning your faith”; “Comfort” means encourage.

v.3-4: “no man should be moved (disturbed) in the midst of afflictions.  See also, Jn. 16.33. ‘”Tribulation” is trouble that all of us are going to have. Believes are going to suffer—they are not going to escape trouble. We won’t miss the storms, but we will go through them and He will go with us.  See also 2 Ti. 3.12 (“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”) and 1 Pe. 4.12-19. If there is no cloud in the sky, no ripple on the sea, and everything is smooth and nice, you might question your salvation.

Paul feared that Satan was giving them a bad time, as Satan was giving him a bad time v.5. Another purpose of afflictions is to test the genuineness of belief. There are true believers and a lot of counterfeit believers.

Timothy gave Paul a good report about the church at Thess. v6. This comforted Paul v7. Even if a believer has trouble, it is going to work out for his good.

Paul urges continuing growth vv10-13. Joy is associated with life v.9. Sorrow is associated with death. But sorrow increases the capacity of the heart for joy. Paul wanted to return to them and teach the Word of God v10.-11. “Abound in love” v12. “Abound means exceed. In this epistle, love is seen in action—“labour of love.” “To the end”—love has a purpose; it is not an end in itself. “He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness—the desired end of their love v.12. “At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” v13.

Chapter 4
(The Coming of Christ is a Purifying (3.1-4.12) and a Comforting Hope (4.13-18))

vv1-12 How believers are to walk.

v2 The Ten Commandments have no part in the sinner’s salvation nor are they the standard of Christian conduct. The purpose of the Commandments is to bring us to the cross. They are like a mirror which lets us see that we are sinners. However, there are commandments for believers. In chapter 5 are 22 commandments for believers.

v3 Three kinds of sanctification in the Bible. Positional: Christ has been made unto us sanctification. We are accepted in the Beloved. Practical: the Holy Spirit working in our lives to produce a holiness in our walk. Total: Will occur in the future when we are conformed to the image of Christ Jesus. Sanctification means “to be set apart for God.”

vv13-18 The coming of Christ is a comforting hope. This section teaches the imminent coming of Christ. “Imminent” does not mean the immediate or soon coming of Christ. Paul never uses an expression like that. He did not want people to assume it would be in their lifetime or shortly afterward. When we say that the coming of Christ is imminent,, we mean that it is the next event on the agenda of God’s program. We don’t know how far away the coming of Christ is. Paul believed the coming of Christ could come in his lifetime. He did not say or believe that  He would come in his lifetime. Paul called the coming of Christ for his church the rapture see v. 17). “Caught up” and “rapture” mean the same thing.

Paul taught the new Thessalonian believers prophecy and other advanced doctrines.

Paul obviously taught Christ’s imminent coming. Paul was answering their questions. One was, “Had the believers in Thessalonica who had already died missed the rapture?” This question would not have been pertinent at all if Paul had not taught them the imminent coming of Christ, if Paul had not taught them that Christ could come at any moment. For Paul’s answer, see vv. 13-18.

v14. There are 3 kinds of death in Scripture. Physical death (separation of the spirit from the body). Spiritual death (separation from God. Adam died spiritually, was separated from God, the day he ate of the forbidden fruit. Ep. 2.1.). Eternal death (eternal separation from God. This is the second death spoken of in Re. 20.14.).

Chapter 5
The Coming of Christ Is a Rousing Hope

In C5, we see the Christian’s actions in view of the coming of Christ.

CALL TO BE AWAKE AND ALERT IN VIEW OF CHRIST’S COMING VV1-10.

v1 The believer is looking for a Person, not for times of seasons. The Lord does not come as a thief to the believer. You don’t look for a thief. However, the Lord Jesus does come like a thief to the world.

v3. The day of the Lord will come suddenly. The pronoun here changes to “they.”

One definition of the day of the Lord: a period of time which begins with the [outpouring of the wrath of God] and runs through the millennial reign of Christ here upon the earth. Many passages of Scripture speak of this: (e.g., Isaiah 13:9 “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.”) It starts out as a day of wrath: Isaiah 13:10 “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” Joel 1:15 “Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.” Joel goes on in C2 to describe it as a “day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness.”

The coming of Christ to take the family of God out of the world is not even mentioned in the OT. It is there by type, of course (as, e.g., the experience of Enoch and Elijah both of whom were taken up alive to be with the Lord.). This glorious, wonderful truth that the Lord Jesus is going to take a company of people out of this earth to be with Himself was revealed the 1st time in the Upper Room when He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3). Paul developed it in 1 Thess. 4.

In 1 Thess. 5, Paul is speaking of something that was well known in the OT. “When they say peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” It is going to be a big surprise to the world. The big lie in 2 Thess. 2 is the promise of peace and safety. Jesus warned, “Take heed that no man deceive you.”

vv4, 5. The rapture does 2 things. (1) Ends this day of grace in which we are today. (2) It begins the day of the Lord.

v6. Because that blessed hope could take place at any time, we should not be sleeping Christians. Christians are instructed to “Watch and stay sober.” We have a duty to perform.

vv7, 8. We are also to put on the breastplate of faith and love; and the helmet of the hope of salvation. This speaks of the soldier’s duty and is a call to that kind of duty. The breastplate of faith and love is to cover the heart, the vital part of the body. This is the 3rd time faith, love, hope have appeared in this epistle. The faith spoken of is saving faith, and saving faith produces works. Faith is past (for the believer), love is present, and the “hope of salvation” is that blessed hope of the future which is the consummation of our salvation (1 Jn. 3.2: “  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”)

v9 “God hath not appointed us to wrath,…” “But to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

v10. Whether we die first or live until His coming, we shall live together with Him.

THE TWENTY-TWO COMMANDMENTS FOR BELIEVERS IN A CHURCH:

v11: Wherefore, comfort yourselves together….. The first commandment is to “comfort yourselves together,” which means to encourage one another in the faith. The second commandment is to “edify one another.” The Thessalonians believers were already doing that, Paul says. “Edify” means to build up one another. Believers in a church should be a team, edifying each other with the Word of God.

v12, 13. These 3 commandments seem to belong together. “”Know” or understand those who teach the Word of God. It means we should recognize them. When Paul wrote this, he had been with them (the church at Thessalonica) less than a month. He had won them to Christ and taught them. A church had been started. There were no believers there before Paul arrived (Acts 17.2,3). Certain of them would have been given the gift of teaching, some of preaching, and some of helping. Every believer has gifts or a gift bestowed on him by God, and that gift is to be exercised in the body of believers to build up the body of believers. As is the general case, some believers have the attitude, “Where did he get the idea that he could teach me?” So Paul is telling them that church members should respect those to whom God has given certain gifts and look to them for admonition.

We still have the problem today that very few people in a church pay any attention to the teachers that God has given them. If they believe every word of God, then why cannot they obey it? The problem is many times that believes do not know what is between the covers. It is hypocritical to say you believe it and then be ignorant of what it says.  Therefore, those who are preaching and teaching the Word of God should have the attention of believers.

The fourth commandment is “to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.”

The fifth commandment is “to be at peace among yourselves.” These all come in one package. You can’t have everybody running a church (or any kind of organization). There must be a certain one with authority. There needs to be one who is the leader and who is followed. He should lead to make sure that every member of the body functions fully in the exercise of his gifts. With that arrangement, you can have peace. But when everyone is trying to play his own tune, you have anything but harmony and peace.

v14 gives the sixth through the ninth commandments.

Sixth: “Warn them that are unruly.”  This would naturally follow the fifth commandment. The unruly are those who are out of step.  They are loners who want to do their own little thing rather than suppor the work which God is doing. Warn them.

Seventh: “Comfort the feebleminded.” The feebleminded are those who are afraid to move out for God, not those with mental problems. They need encouraging. Put your arm around such an one and encourage them: “Brother, the Lord is with you and will bring you through, and I am with you and am praying for you.” Sometimes all of us get discouraged and become “feebleminded.”

Eighth: “Support the weak.” These are those who are weak in the faith. They are little babies, not able to march with the rest. So help them, lift them up, and carry them along.

Ninth: “Be patient toward all men.” This means, don’t lose your temper. This is hard with ungodly, unholy, cantankerous, unsaved people who are definitely trying to trip us or to abuse us in some way.

Tenth: “See that none render evil for evil unto any man.”

Eleventh: “But ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” The pagan does evil in spite of good. You get the other fellow before he gets you. the refined, cultured, educated world does good to those who do good to them. The politician is a good example of this. You take care of your own. Luke 6:33 “And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.” The Christian standard is higher. We are to do good to those who do evil to us.

[The next three go together]

Twelfth: “Rejoice evermore.” This does not mean to be happy. Paul is  not talking about happy hour. “Happy” is not a New Testament word. This is a joy in the Lord as Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). The child of God has no right to go around with a sour puss, to be cantankerous. That is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.—love, joy, peace. If you cannot rejoice, begin reading the Word of God and calling on God to put joy in your heart. He will do it.

Thirteenth: “Pray without ceasing.” Have a constant attitude of prayer and pray regularly.

Fourteenth: In every thing give thanks.” This means give thanks in all circumstances and all the time. “For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This is the will of God for you: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything.

Fifteenth: “Quench not the Spirit.” How do you quench a fire, which is one figure used for the Holy Spirit? You dampen it down and don’t let it burn. You refuse to do the will of God. You are not listening to the Holy Spirit and to let Him guide and lead you. You and I quench the Holy Spirit when we take matters into our own hands.”And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). You cannot grieve a thing; you grieve a Person. The Holy Spirit is a person, and He is grieved by our lives. He is quenched when we step out of the will of God.

Sixteenth: “Despise not  prophesyings” (that is, the teaching of the Word of God). Do not look down on Bible study as something that is beneath you. Do not be indifferent to the Word of God. One’s ministry (if it is for God) does not last long without Bible study.

Seventeenth: “ Prove all things.” Don’t be taken in. Don’t be a sucker. Don’t be misled just because somebody sends you a picture of pathetic looking orphans. Don’t contribute to things you know nothing about. Don’t fall for some promotion job. Investigate anything to which you give your support. Christians ought not to be gullible. This also means that we are not to be taken in by flattery. There are many deceivers in this world.

Eighteenth: “Hold fast that which is good” meaning that which is true and genuine.

Nineteenth: “ Abstain from all appearance of evei.” If there is any question in your mind whether something is right or wrong, then it is wrong for you.

Note. Man is a triune being (verse 23: “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.”  “Sanctify you wholly”—not perfectly, but to a place of maturation. We should not continue to be babes in Christ. You can depend upon God: “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (Verse 24).

Twentieth: “Brethren, pray for us” (Verse 25). Pray for those who give out the Gospel.

Twenty-first: “Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss” (Verse 26). Just make sure it is a holy kiss. In our culture, a warm handshake will do.

Twenty-second: “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren” (Verse 27).

“  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (Verse 28). And to you, my beloved.


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