These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
Wow this speaks to me!
We know God is choosing those we share his word / the gospel with when God does a work of His Holy Spirit on their end.
I look at it this way:
We have 2 main “wings” in our witness:
- Our words
- Our works
We speak the gospel and live according to the gospel by the Spirit within.
But I’m Gods end he converts their hearts as he wishes. Thus we are trying to speak and act in such a way that the Lord would be pleased to convert their heart. That’s what I’m praying for in the family I testified Jesus to yesterday.
For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?
1 Thessalonians 2:19
I find this profound. Out of so much Paul, Sylvanus, and Timothy could potentially boast of before the Lord, the MAIN thing is those they discipled and raised in the faith. Like a father with his children (spiritual children in this case). If that is the barometer of what we have to boast of, what does our boasting look like? That is, what is the spiritual condition of those we’ve raised in the faith? Takes a lot of time and energy to raise kids. Same with children in the Lord. But our children (spiritual and physical) will be a main thing we point to for Jesus (and He points to for us) to determine how well we’ve been faithful to our mission before Him.
1 Thes 3 (the first section) really speaks to me about Paul-Timothy wanting to be there in person to walk through hard times that the church was going through (even though they already warned the church they’d go through these times). Challenges me to walk through hard times more directly with those I’ve helped in the faith
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Talk about needing the Spirit to fulfill this!
but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
I’m challenged by EVERY. It’s used 2 times here—so absolute. Really speaks to those areas that we sort of hold as “off-limits”. Not so with God
Before moving ahead wanted to touch on 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in passion or lust as the gentiles who do not know God.”
Again, spells out God’s will. For our sanctification. And to not fall into the traps of sexual sin in our culture where sexual sin tries to trip us up every day and porn is at our fingertips.
Also, wondering if any of you have any thoughts on the coming of the Lord passage (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). This one is tough for me to reconcile when I think about us immediately being with the Lord in heaven after death. This passage certainly seems to imply we are all “caught up” at the same time and I know is commonly the passage argued for this point of view. Any thoughts?
I believe that when we die Christians are instantly with the Lord as disembodied spirits/souls —see Phil 1 about Paul dying and being with the Lord.
And non-Christians are being held in a place of suffering also as disembodied spirits. See Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16.
Whereas 1 Thes 4 references the time of Christ returning. At that time all people (the righteous and the wicked) will be given new bodies (see John 5 and 1 Cor 15). Then is the ultimate judgment where our non-decaying bodies will dwell forever—both heaven and hell are the final destinations given after this judgment —see Rev 20.
The diff is the temporary abode of spirits (now) versus the permanent abode of bodies (later, when Christ returns). We will all be part of that at the same time
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
This is one of those verses, like Colossians 3:23, that I try to hold on to while I’m working. Cool story this week:
On Friday I got a text totally out of the blue from an old coworker that I haven’t seen in about five years. When he texted me I immediately felt the tug of the Holy Spirit, so I decided to lean in and see where he was leading. He ended up calling me and we talked for over half an hour. He shared with me that he has met the Lord through the horrible circumstances of his wife passing away in a freak accident, leaving him with two young boys (he is roughly 32 years old). He said that he set out to disprove Christianity, and had become a believer in the process. He is a very new Christian, and is still in search of a community. I invited him to church and he said that he is going to come, so please pray for Chris that God continues to work in his life!
I never overtly shared my faith with him when we worked together, but he says that he knew I was a Christian. 1Thess. 4:11 comes to my mind because sometimes even just working hard and doing a good job at work can be a witness to others.