1 Thessalonians 4
1 Thessalonians 4
The Apostles acknowledge that the believers at Thessalonica live in order to please to God, and then he urges them to do it more and more The Apostles warn the believers at Thessalonica to avoid sexual immorality and control their body in a way that is holy and honorable. Since God called us to live a holy life and not to be impure, rejecting this instruction is rejecting God himself who gave us his Holy Spirit (who enables us to live a more and more holy life through our sanctification). God will punish our sin of disregarding God in this way. The Apostles commend the believers at Thessalonica for loving one another as they are doing across Macedonia, and he urges them to do it more and more. The Apostles urge them to love a quiet life and work with their hands so that they will not be dependent on others and will earn the respect of outsiders The Apostles encourage believers at Thessalonica to be secure in their hope and not grieve for those who have already died in their faith in Jesus. Because Jesus died and rose again, God will raise up those who died in faith in Jesus. Believers still are still alive at his return will not precede those who have already died before that time When Jesus returns (with a loud command, archangel voice and trumpet call of God), the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, those believers still living will be caught up to meet the Lord in the clouds The Apostles finish by encouraging all believers that we will then be with the Lord forever – and to remind one another and encourage one another with these words.
The Apostles acknowledge that the believers In Thessalonica have already shown that they have begun to live in order to please God. He urges them to continue to do that more and more by the instructions given by Jesus. The Apostles call out two specific things here: their sanctification first and then their love for one another. The rejection of sexual immorality is a main part of our inward pursuit of holiness (Holy Spirit enabled transformation) and loving one another is a core element of our pursuit of the work of the gospel, bringing the Good News of God’s Love to them. Neglecting the growth in purity will results in God’s punishment, while neglecting to love one another and live a simple life will win the respect of outsiders and not make you a burden on others. The Apostles point to the hope we have that all believers will one day be with the Lord forever. Those that die before his return will be raised first and those who are still alive when He returns will be caught up in the air with the Lord at His return. For all believers this is our hope and our source of encouragement.
Our life as followers of Jesus Christ should be marked by growth and Holy Spirit transformation both in our personal holiness and in our ministry in the gospel. This is not an either-or proposition. We can’t pour into spreading God’s gospel message and that somehow “makes up” for rejecting God in our personal immorality. The very instructions of Jesus called us to both. And where we are being transformed by God’s Spirit, then we are urged to do it even more until the day or our death or Jesus return because on that day we will be join Him and be with Him forever. This is what we hope for and it is our encourage that enables us to trust God and cling to Him as the source of our daily sanctification and ministry
Dear Father, would you (through your Spirit alive in me) please continue the work of transforming me that you began 22 years ago this month? God, I know I have at times fallen into the trap of feeling that my “works” of loving one another somehow gave me a “hall pass” on growing in my holiness – my purity, my time with you, etc. Lord, would you help me daily to pursue purity in my life AND pursue loving my neighbors? God, would you continue to prompt me through your Spirit on the areas I need to surrender to you more and more and then give me the faith/strength to respond in obedience? I desire to live a life that is more and more pleasing to you and I know that it’s only by your Spirit that I can do that. I look forward to the day when I am with you forever, and that is my encouragement to let you transform me each day until then. I love you, Lord. Amen
Posted on Thu, March 19, 2015
by Tom Greene