Today’s reading is: 1 Th. 1-5
First Thessalonians Chapter One
- Paul was able to give thanksgiving to God for the faith, hope, & love exhibited by Thessalonica Bible Church✝︎ (1st Thess. 1:1-4).
- Although his stay in Thessalonica was quite brief, Paul was thankful that the example was set by he and his companions, and the pattern was imitated by the crossovers and converts (1st Thess. 1:5-6).
- The young local church itself now stands as an example for other local churches to emulate (1st Thess. 1:7-8).
- The work assignment of a believer in the Dispensation of the Church is defined (1st Thess. 1:9-10).
- Turn to God from idols to serve a living and true God.
- Wait for His Son from Heaven, Who rescues us from the wrath to come.
First Thessalonians Chapter Two
- Chapter 2 continues Paul’s gracious, thankful reminiscence over the blessings that Thessalonica Bible Church✝︎ has reaped.
- They were established as a local church under much opposition (1st Thess. 2:1-2).
- Paul gave them the simple, genuine gospel message (1st Thess. 2:3-6).
- Paul and his companions ministered to them as nursing mothers and hard-working fathers (1st Thess. 2:7-12).
- The Thessalonians accepted the living Word of God, and endured sufferings with grace (1st Thess. 2:13-16).
- The Thessalonians could not see Paul’s face, but lived in daily anticipation of seeing the Lord face to face (1st Thess. 2:17-20).
First Thessalonians Chapter Three
- When Paul could not bear the lack of news from Thessalonica, he dispatched Timothy to return there (1st Thess. 3:1-5).
- This is Timothy’s first recorded training assignment. His primary mission was to strengthen & encourage them in the faith (v.2).
- Timothy was also tasked with investigating any Satanic activity among them and reporting back to Paul (v.5).
- Timothy’s report back to Paul provided for the Apostle’s encouragement, and illustrated the reciprocal nature of spiritual encouragement (1st Thess. 3:6-10; Rom. 1:12).
- The chapter closes with Paul’s prayer that the Thessalonians increase and abound in their sacrificial love preparations for the return of Christ (1st Thess. 3:11-13).
First Thessalonians Chapter Four
- Paul went on to exhort the Thessalonians to greater diligence in their spiritual walk (1st Thess. 4:1-12).
- He warned them concerning physical purity (vv.1-8).
- He urged them to increase their labors in spiritual love towards one another (vv.9-12).
- He revealed to them the comforting Doctrine of the Rapture (1st Thess. 4:13-18). Paul evidently received this revelation while ministering in Corinth, as this passage and 1st Cor. 15 are the two greatest rapture passages in the New Testament.
- This doctrine allows believers to grieve their loss of loved ones with the living hope of Jesus Christ encouraging their soul.
- This doctrine empowers believers to comfort one another in the daily struggles of the angelic conflict.
- This doctrine urges believers to greater diligence under the principle of imminency.
First Thessalonians Chapter Five
- The Dispensation of the Church is not concerned with times and epochs (1st Thess. 5:1 cf. Acts 1:7). The περὶ δὲ peri de expression in Paul’s writings introduces a new topic. Day of the Lord (1st Thess. 5:1-11) is not Rapture (1st Thess. 4:13-18).
- The Day of the Lord is a coming event for Israel, with thief in the night urgency for Jewish alertness (1st Thess. 5:2; Mt. 24:42-44).
- The Day of the Lord begins with a period of ultimate Tribulation for Israel (Jacob’s trouble).
- The Day of the Lord continues with the military victory of Christ over the forces of evil.
- The Day of the Lord culminates with the reign of Christ in peace through strength.
- The Rapture of the Church separates “they” (1st Thess. 5:3) and “you,” “we,” & “us” (1st Thess. 5:4-6).
- The issue in this context is one of believers vs. unbelievers. Believers in the Dispensation of the Church are “sons of light” (Eph. 5:8) that need not worry over the Tribulation (1st Thess. 5:7-11).
- Paul then launches into a roller-coaster of imperatives, teaching the Thessalonians how to live their Christian life (1st Thess. 5:12-22).
- He begins with a request for proper grace-orientation towards their spiritual leaders, commanding them to be peaceful with one another (vv.12-13). This is the Scripture foundation for Pastor Appreciation Month!
- He exhorts them with a string of 14 imperatives for operational blessings in a local church (vv.14-22).
- Paul prays for God the Father’s faithfulness to the Thessalonians, and urges them to pray for him as well (1st Thess. 5:23-25).
- Paul concludes with a greetings of love for all the brethren, an encouragement to study His word carefully, and an appeal to the Lord’s grace among them (1st Thess. 5:26-28).
✝︎ Pastor Bob’s nickname for the local church founded in Thessalonica. They didn’t really call themselves that.