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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

 

1 THESSALONIANS CHAPTERS 1 & 2

KJV    NAS

1-4 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. 2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, 4 knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;

 

1The 1-1 -- No Entries

1The 1,2-8

(149h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Authority of the rhema given to evangelism >> Preaching the gospel by the power of God – The anointing is the very cause of the new covenant; God’s purpose for us is to carry an anointing to show Jesus Christ to the world. Constantine in the third century (312 AD) carried a cross into battle and overcame all his enemies. Everything about that story is the exact opposite of God’s will, governmental powers controlling Christianity, killing people in the name of Christ and the birth of Catholicism, yet it faintly reflected the image that Jesus envisioned for His saints to go into all the world with the gospel of Christ and save sinners, using the substance of anointing instead of the symbol of a cross. The vast majority of the Church today doesn’t know the first thing about the anointing. Most people have heard the term anointing used in context of old covenant temple worship, as the high priest was anointed with oil before entering the Most Holy Place, but that was a symbol of things to come, and now that the new covenant is here, no one wants to be anointed by God’s Holy Spirit, because though it is the most effective evangelism tool, it also invites persecution. Christians don’t understand that resisting the anointing emasculates the gospel of Christ, as Paul said in Gal 5-12, “I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.” He was talking about those who were trying to get the saints back on the law, and now that Paul has pounded grace into the Church and the law from it, the anointing still hasn’t become visible in the Church. To renounce the anointing is to refuse to walk in the grace of God, but what did Paul say in Gal 5-25? “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

1The 1-2,3

(81j) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> For the Church – Paul begins all his letters saying how much he prays for all the saints, and it meant a lot to them. It didn’t just give them a good feeling knowing Paul was praying for them, but they knew God was paying special attention to them because of Paul’s prayers. This is the power of prayer, that we can direct the attention of God. Whether He can do anything to help the people in their circumstances is another thing, because He cannot violate man’s will. This is why praying for Christians is often more fruitful than praying for unbelievers. In fact, this is the reason the Bible tells us to pray for the saints, because God’s people are generally more open to the Lord’s prodding than unbelievers. Paul always prays the same things. He doesn’t pray for a brand-new camel or a better or bigger house, nothing materialistic but spiritual. He prays for their “…work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.” This is what Paul wants for the Church, and it was also what the early church wanted. God was more easily able to answer prayer back then because He didn’t have to fight anyone’s will. They were all on the same page together, working for the same cause, hoping for the same results that God would be glorified in everything they did.

(100e) Thy kingdom come >> Diligence >> Diligence in the sight of God

(104f) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart shall see God >> Shall see the Father >> Being in the presence of God

(115k) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through obedience of faith >> Through diligence

1The 1-3

(88f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> The purpose of our works done in faith -- This verse goes with verse 8

(98d) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Rooted deeply >> Be steadfast in the work of the Lord

(101h) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Be an ambitious businessman for God >> Managing God’s business – We have all heard the phrase “Labor of love”; it’s a biblical term. The Bible has deeply influenced society in America, being the book that was once used to teach children how to read, how we have fallen from grace. Paul wrote about faith apart from works, using Abraham to say that he believed God before he was circumcised, proving that circumcision (works) is not part of our faith. He taught this way because he didn’t want people to become legalistic in their approach toward God, who does not save us based on our works but based on the work of the cross, though He calls us to walk on a trail of good works that he has prepared for us after we are saved. According to the epistle of James, Abraham believed God, and therefore he picked up his belongings and sojourned to a foreign land that he did not know. Although God saves us by faith apart from works, Abraham obeyed the Lord, and His calling fundamentally changed his life in ways he would not have experienced apart from doing God’s will. His offspring became the sons of Abraham, who would be called Israel, which is not a nation in the Middle East but a people, whom God has chosen according to the flesh. Had Abraham not obeyed the Lord, Israel would not exist, and so there is such a thing as the work of faith. An example of labor of love is this website. I started designing and writing it in 1990 and have been working on it mostly all this time (2020), but God conceived it in me in 1981. Whatever our calling, this is our burden, but the burden is a labor of love. Sometimes it gets in the way of life, and we have to change our priorities to accommodate it. We are willing to make any adjustment that is required in order to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives. Our steadfastness of hope is in heaven, waiting for us. The hope we have in our hearts for that place and time makes us get up in the morning, knowing that every day is another day closer to receiving the promise of our hope, which is paradise with the lover of our soul, who gave His life for us that we might bring glory to the Father and make His heart glad.

(121i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Hope Based On Faithfulness >> Hope based on perseverance

(125ba) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Faith and love in equal measure

1The 1-4

(33m) Gift of God >> Believers are special to God >> We are beloved of God

(219c) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> The elect >> Man is a spectator of his own salvation >> God has chosen us – The concept of predestination comes up periodically in the Bible. Although it is real in that Paul did say that God chose the specific people in the Thessalonian church, yet the Thessalonians also had to choose themselves before they could be Christians. They had to make a conscious choice in order for God’s choosing of them to be complete. The concept of predestination is called Calvinism. Calvin was a man years ago who invented the idea that we are passive spectators of God’s will, and this is simply not true. Instead, God chooses us as we choose ourselves.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

 

1The 1,5-8

(122i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness in adverse circumstances >> Speak the truth in the face of adversity

1The 1-5,6

(132g) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holy Spirit is in God’s people >> Filled with the Spirit >> Filled with the power of God

1The 1-5

(8e) Responsibility >> Prepare to Interact with God >> Prepare to meet Jesus by living a holy life 

(90a) Thy kingdom come >> God convicts us >> Conviction leads us in the way of righteousness – Being an evangelist is not a hobby; it is a way of life. In many respects being an evangelist was the highest position in the Church, but who has the highest position in the Church today? It is the pastor! The missionary who goes into the world and tries to reach lost souls for Christ returns with a report, and we pat him on the back and send him into the field again and basically forget about him until the next time he returns. We throw money at him to help finance his efforts, but all our concerns are at home. If the pastor conducted his ministry the way Paul did and was happy to expend himself for the sake of the elect and for their joy and faith, that would be good enough, but most pastors make a pretty good living, and so how do we really know their motive? Are they pastors for the money or for the cause of Christ? It is possible to make a good living as a pastor and expend himself for the people he is serving, but money does strange things to people; it tends to have a negative influence on our faith and has the power to corrupt the most faithful among us. Money has a way of distracting people’s attention from the gospel and drawing their attention to itself. Money is not alive, but people are alive, and people are more important than money. However, that is not how most people feel. If the pastor felt like most people, how will he be the kind of man that Paul exemplified?

(102l) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Tried and true >> Faithfulness

(111b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit and evangelism – The gospel needs to come not in word only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit with full conviction. Paul didn’t mention anything about signs, wonders and miracles. “Power… and full conviction” refers to the word of God making a thud in our hearts when we hear it, because the Holy Spirit was confirming the truth as Paul conveyed it. Paul spoke by the Spirit of God. He didn’t memorize an Evangelical tract or work the four steps of salvation. Rather, the word of God was deeply rooted in Paul’s heart, so when Paul conveyed the gospel, he spoke from his innermost being, where God lives, and the Holy Spirit was actually speaking through Paul, so when people heard the gospel, they were stricken by it, so that great numbers of people turned to the Lord. The Holy Spirit is the persuader of truth. We can preach the gospel, but it’s the Holy Spirit does not persuades men of the truth, how can they believe it? When they hear the word of God, they know in their heart that it is the truth through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

(143a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a reputation for knowing God >> known for walking close to God -- This verse goes with verse 9

(235k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> All things are for your sake >> We are fighting for you >> Our effort is for your sake – Paul said that the word of God spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit with full conviction is directly related to the character of men who speak it. That is, the word of God does not proceed in power from men who don’t live the example of Christianity as Paul and His friends did. Their reputations were devoid of guile; their hearts were trained on God, and their commitment to fulfill His purpose was complete. There were very few things in Paul that was not a direct consequence of his faith. He had no interests but the people of God and no hobbies but preaching the gospel. Nothing made him happier than to see the saints walking in Jesus. Paul’s commitment to them was complete; he lived for the sake of those who would inherit eternal salvation. Keeping his reputation perfect both among the heathen and among the believers was paramount to him, so nobody could discredit his ministry. The importance that he placed on the gospel far exceeded any value or importance he place on himself. He was happy to spend himself on the brethren.

(246f) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Demonstration of God’s kingdom >> God demonstrates His glory >> Demonstration of the Spirit – This verse goes along with another statement Paul made, “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1Cor 2,1-5). Paul was saying something similar to the Thessalonians, that when he came to them with the gospel, it was not in word only but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. That is, not only did the Holy Spirit teach Paul what to say, He also spoke though him to manifest the attributes of God in his preaching. God revealed His truth to Paul by the Spirit, and the same Spirit spoke through him with a divine force. It is one thing to know the truth, but it is another to be taught the truth by God Himself, who then worked with the man to impart the truth to others so the hearers may experience the unction of God associated with the word. Again, it is one thing to believe the truth, but it is another to know that what we believe is true. That confidence comes only from the Spirit of God by revelation, better defined as faith, as obedience is a higher form of merely believing. The demonstration of the Spirit goes far beyond words, though words are always involved; but if they are just words, we need to remember what Jesus said, “Be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near” (Lk 10-11). Without the Spirit it is mere flesh simulating the Kingdom of God. Moreover, just as the Holy Spirit and the word of God operate in tandem, so the Spirit manifests as boldness working with the truth to demonstrate the Kingdom of God in power. In short, we need both the revelation and the demonstration of His kingdom before we can truly believe in Jesus. A hearer of the gospel can rightly ask for a sample of what we are saying, but nobody asked that question to Paul because they got a sample of the Spirit in which he spoke.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

6-8 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

 

1The 1,6-8

(5f) Responsibility >> Discipleship tested >> God tests your faith through hardship

(44ka) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry in evangelism >> Fulfill your ministry through opposition – It sounds like the Thessalonians were good evangelists. Paul was pleased with their efforts in spreading the word, which is rare. It was the only time Paul said to any church that they were faithful in sharing their faith with those in the world. Virtually everyone in the surrounding area knew the Church in Thessalonica loved and served the Lord.

(95i) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Having an obedient attitude >> Attitude of a servant

1The 1-6,7

(11o) Servant >> Example of God’s people >> The Church – It is one thing to do the will of God at your leisure during good times, but it is quite another thing to do the will of God amidst tribulation. We think we are persecuted today, but when they received the word of God it was a life decision in one more dimension than our own. It is a life decision for us too, what we will do with Jesus and how believing Him will affect us in eternity, but for them it could have affected whether they lived or died. So the lines were drawn before they made up their minds to serve the Lord, which means they were a people who were very serious about their faith.

(44l) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry >> Make sacrifices

(71b) Authority >> Believer’s authority >> We have authority in the wisdom of God

(99a) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Enduring the will of God >> Enduring the word of God >> Endure obeying the word of God

(209d) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Righteous saved with hardship >> Righteous saved with adversity

1The 1-6

(125c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Joy >> Joy is the result of investing in the kingdom >> Investing in a life of adversity – With tribulation and persecution comes the joy of the Holy Spirit; they seem to go hand-in-hand. In fact Jesus even said that if you are persecuted it is cause for joy that we have been counted worthy for His namesake, since persecution is one of the strongest proofs that we are walking in the will of God.

(165h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Hardship >> The hardship of persecution – There was persecution back in the early church and lots of it. That not only didn’t stop the gospel; it actually helped it along. Persecution points the finger back at the persecutor and says, ‘You don’t believe in this too much!’ The persecutor doesn’t just doubt the message; he refuses to believe it, and he refuses to let others believe without suffering for it. So, it raises questions more than it stifles the gospel. It makes people ask, ‘Why do some people hate the gospel so much? They must have something to hide.’ Persecutors of the truth believe in the gospel just as much as those who preach it; otherwise they wouldn’t persecute it, hence the subtlety between believing God and believing in God. You could preach that someday all our pet cats will come together and take over the world, and you probably wouldn’t be persecuted for it, because it is unbelievable. They might laugh at you and break a bottle over your head, but they won’t persecute you. The difference is between despising you for being an idiot and hating you for telling them the truth. The world doesn’t persecute the Church today for the same reason, because of its many phony doctrines. The world considers the Church unbelievable like cats taking over the world because of its lack of unity. If it did unite it would be persecuted, because we would then be a threat. The Church does unite around some subjects such as certain political issues, but that is not nearly as threatening as the Church uniting around the Holy Spirit.

(227c) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> God rewards us for obeying Him >> Fruit of the Spirit is its own reward

1The 1-7,8

(44k) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry in evangelism >> Complete your mission – It sounds like the Thessalonians became missions oriented, for it says wherever they went they preached the gospel. Back then the gospel spread like wildfire, and for this reason there were large persecutions too, because they saw that the Church was changing their world. The world wanted to change the world, and the Church was taking over that role. Now people could believe in God for everlasting life, which brought difficulty in explaining the gospel but also salvation to those who were courageous enough to believe it, along with persecution from the fact that the gospel was advancing faster than they could stop it and changing the world in ways that glorified God. This is Satan’s world, and unbelievers are his servants. The Church became the number one change agent of the world, and unbelievers were not about to stand by and let this happen without a fight, and so the world persecuted the church in attempt to take back their power to change the world in ways they saw fit.

1The 1-8

(86d) Thy kingdom come >> Belief demands a response

(88f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> The purpose of our works done in faith -- This verse goes with verse 3

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

9&10 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

 

1The 1-9,10

(126ka) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Patience >> Have patience for the return of Christ >> The spiritual return of Christ

(149b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> Repentance

(193d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Turn from your evil ways >> Turn from sin to God – Paul made a distinction between serving gods through idols and serving the living and true God through the Holy Spirit. Indirectly worshipping gods through anything but the Holy Spirit is the very concept of idolatry, which is something that God hates. He wants us to directly worship Him, and the only way we can do that is to be born-again, have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, who teaches us about God’s word and giving us wisdom, understanding and revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we know that knowledge has something to do with it, for without it we wouldn’t even know there was a God. Idolatry is so common and easy to commit that all it takes is an attempt to worship God apart from a revelation of Jesus Christ. We do not worship our knowledge but the indwelling Holy Spirit, who reveals the person of God in the image of Christ, who is the exact representation of the Father (Heb 1-3). Someone could whittle on a piece of wood until a shape emerged that he recognized and set it on a mantle and bow his knee to it and worship it, asking it for a good harvest, believing that somehow this would please God. Idolatry is based on paganism, superstition and pride. Idolatry dictates to God how we will worship Him, and it expects God to accept us. This is what they did in the Old Testament; it was called Baal worship. God hates idolatry for two reasons: (1) He did not ordain it, hence it was not based on obedience, and (2) behind every idol there is a demon, indicating that all forms of idol worship are really the worship of demons, which is God’s nemeses. Idolatry therefore worships the opposite of God.

1The 1-9

(107f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing From God >> Truth of the trinity >> Father is truth

(143a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a reputation for knowing God >> known for walking close to God -- This verse goes with verse 5

(195h) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Worshipping other gods >> Worshipping other gods as a servant – Thessalonica was the idol capital of the world, the home of the great goddess Artemis, which was deeply rooted in the city’s culture. People came from all parts of the world to worship their gods and the spirit of that city. The most common form of idol worship in today’s world is religion itself, which is the very institution we have erected for the purpose of worshipping God. Obviously this is not always the case. The problem with religion is that it tries to worship God through liturgy and its many ceremonies without any requirement to know God. For example, The Catholic religion is based on superstition and paganism, being that Rome was paganistic at the time; they integrated Christianity into their former theology and has remained to this day. They perform certain ceremonies claiming they are stirring the spiritual realm, such as communion, (Holy Eucharist), where at the blessing of the priest the bread and wine miraculously transform into the body and blood of Christ. They conduct their ceremonies assuming they are affecting the spiritual realm, yet the spiritual realm was not evoked, at least not on God’s side. This shows the importance of directly worshipping God and making sure we do not replace Him with anything. It is intuitive to every true believer in Jesus that to successfully worship God we must know Him, but most religious people don’t know Him. Even if they had a sincere heart and thought they really were seeking Him through an idol, all God sees is someone praying to pieces of wood; God never recognized them even attempting to seek Him. This is the offense of idolatry: God made man in His image, and for this reason He expects man to pray to Him directly, and if he doesn’t, then God doesn’t recognize him as having been made in His image. Instead, the idolater takes on the image of his idol, becoming less than human, less even than an animal; the idolater has aligned himself with the demon hiding behind his idol!

1The 1-10

(29d) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> Delivered from adversity – First and Second Thessalonians are two of the most important epistles of the New Testament pertaining to endtime prophecy. This happens to be one of the verses that people often quote to defend their pre-tribulation Rapture doctrine that teaches God comes for His church prior to the tribulation, the Rapture being a form of deliverance. The question is: whose wrath is coming based on this verse, Satan’s wrath or God’s wrath? If we interpret it to mean God’s wrath, that wouldn’t make much sense, since God is not against His own people. This then brings us into focus that God intends to deliver us from the wrath of Satan. If it weren’t for God, Satan probably would swallow us whole.

(39a) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death >> Resurrection of Jesus Christ

(83i) Thy kingdom come >> Jesus intercedes for us >> He prepares us to meet the Father

(84b) Thy kingdom come >> Be on the alert >> Remain on duty >> Keep watch – Paul told the Thessalonians to wait for His Son from heaven. We have since waited 2000 years for Him who rescues us from the wrath to come. When He uses the word “rescue,” he’s referring to the rapture, which is something that Paul addresses later in this epistle. So, what is this wrath; isn’t it the endtime tribulation? Paul is encouraging the Thessalonians to stay on the alert because Jesus might come at any time; this is what Jesus told them and us. So, did Jesus lie or mislead them, saying He could return at any time, when in fact He wouldn’t come back thousands of years later? No, He didn’t lie to them; in fact He admitted that not even He knew when He was scheduled to return. Jesus was very adamant about not discussing times or epochs. The question of when things would happen was off-limits to His disciples and it is off-limits to us too for good reason. If we knew when He was coming, we would plan for it; we would plan around it. Essentially, we would plan a huge party. If God let the cat out of the bag and told us exactly when He would return, we would have annihilated ourselves prior to that time with the help of Satan. If Jesus said He would be back in 300 years, we would annihilate ourselves in two hundred. If He said he was coming back in 200 years, we would annihilate ourselves before the first century. No matter what Jesus said, we would use His knowledge as an opportunity for the flesh. This is why times and epochs are off-limits, and He was very strict about it. When Jesus said, “I am coming quickly,” that’s a relative term; “quickly” could mean anything. With God, quickly means 2000 years, but with man that represents a whole lot of generations long after Paul died. It is important that the Church remains on the alert.

(237d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> The rapture >> Receiving the kingdom in God’s time

 

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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

 

1 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER 2

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

1&2 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

 

1The 2,1-13

(148j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Preach even if it hurts -- These verses go with verse 16. Paul begins talking about the environment in which He preaches the gospel of Christ, that of intense hostility. Both Jew and gentile have their separate motives for hating the gospel; it makes demands of change on their lives, which is offensive to most people. God doesn’t want to merely tweak our behavior, but wants to completely renovate our lifestyle and worldview, until He leaves nothing unturned and untouched. The early apostles were not about to be taught by unbelievers how they should conduct themselves in the world.

(152c) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Apostles >> Investment of their lives proves apostleship

1The 2,1-12

(14a) Servant >> Servants of God’s word – Paul was sent by God to preach the gospel to the Thessalonians. He didn’t read anywhere in the Bible what to do or where to go, but at the same time without the Scriptures he would have been hard-pressed knowing any part of God’s will. His specific will sort of "spills over" as we study the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit, who gains greater control and freedom in our lives. The more we do what we know, the more we know what to do. The more of God’s heart we replicate, the more of God’s mind we comprehend. It works like a snowball effect; mass builds momentum, which in turn builds mass.

(44ka) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry in evangelism >> Fulfill your ministry through opposition – Paul did not tailor his manner of speaking to fit people’s hunger for entertainment. He wasn’t looking for approval, a handshake or a ‘well-done.’ Instead, he preached the gospel in a way that he got all these things from God. If they did not receive his gospel, he would move to the next town, but he would not change his style of preaching. He would not have abandoned the will of God or resorted to a means other than the one God showed him. In contrast, we today pick a strategy that works best regardless of God's will. We have no choice but to entertain people into the Kingdom of Heaven after we have rejected the Holy Spirit from ruling over us. God had Paul on a course that was highly productive; he established many churches that totaled thousands of saints without entertaining a soul, because he listened to the Holy Spirit. As it was then, so it is now, and it will remain the best way to administer the gospel.

1The 2,1-6

(7d) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defend the word by preaching it – As a rule, the more it costs to preach the gospel, the more it bears fruit. It peaks the curiosity when people meet someone who really believes in something. Paul and his companions had been mistreated in Philippi, and instead of giving up and quitting they went right on preaching in Thessalonica. They didn’t cower under their enemies, but their mistreatment emboldened them to preach all the more. It showed their enemies they were ineffective in silencing the message. If Paul didn’t have enemies, how could he point and say, ‘These who are persecuting us prove what we are saying is the truth, that the Jews did in fact crucify their messiah by the predetermined plan of God!’ In other words, those persecuting the gospel were doing as much to spread the message as those who preached it. To witness a man risk everything just to tell them about the love of God immeasurably empowered the gospel to become perhaps the greatest act of love the Thessalonians had every seen, so naturally many people believed and were saved. The Thessalonians were by no means ignorant of Paul’s suffering in Philippi; people knew what was happening around them, that Paul had the boldness in his God to come to Thessalonica, and it demoralized the Jews who were persecuting him. It made them realize there was virtually nothing they could do to stop the gospel, only to advance it. That is, to stop their persecutions would be the most effective tactic to hinder the message of Christ. You would think the people persecuting Paul from town to town would at some point have stopped and wondered why he so strongly believed his message, but their hearts were hardened beyond repair.

(233k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> Seek His glory without wavering >> Seek His glory through hardship

1The 2-1,2

(100b) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance >> Persevere in preaching the gospel

(122i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness in adverse circumstances >> Speak the truth in the face of adversity

(188c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Suffering >> Growing pains >> Growing outwardly -- These verses go with verses 14-16

(209h) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Fulfill your calling with difficulty -- These verses go with verses 14-16

(239b) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachers "remind" their students >> Recalling the circumstances -- These verses go with verses 9-11

(242c) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecuting God >> Persecuting the word of God -- These verses go with verses 14-16. 

1The 2-1

(170k) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Outward appearance >> Vanity >> Vain effort >> Effort frustrated by failure

1The 2,2-6

(11l) Servant >> Paul’s example of ministry – There are many good pastors and evangelists out there doing a fine work for Christ, yet it seems that the bigger they get the fewer they are with integrity and pure motives. It is a strange bird who can become popular in the times we are living and it not go straight to their head. Paul was very well known in his day (to say he was popular might be stretching it), yet it never went to his head, simply because he never appealed to the people as a celebrity, and they consequently never considered him one. In other words, celebrities are celebrities because they appeal to the public as such. They want to be popular and hold worship status with the people to bolster their egos, but they always have an option to simply be well-known. It is okay to be a well-known pastor or evangelist, but it is not okay to be a Christian celebrity.

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3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;

 

1The 2,3-13

(3m) Responsibility >> Parents for their children >> Paul feels responsible for those he brings to the faith

(78f) Thy kingdom come >> Sincerity >> Embracing your first love >> Single devotion – Paul worked night and day to establish the Church in the faith. He wasn’t a man to go on vacation, but was completely devoted to people. His number one goal was to be an example to the children of God, because he knew that after him, savage wolves would “come in among them not sparing the flock and draw away the disciple after them” (Act 20-29), but also that they should know how they should live as Christians.

(102k) Thy kingdom come >> Loyalty (Faithfulness) >> Tried and true >> Loyal – Paul was the kind of man that when you met him for the first time, after coming to know him he was the same person you originally thought of him. He had no hidden agendas or conducted a duel lifestyle; he had no collection of masks that he kept in his closet and picked one depending on his audience. He was a man who simply wanted to please God, and believed that to listen to the Holy Spirit and do whatever He says would get him further ahead in his spiritual walk with God than any creative idea he might conceptualize in his heart. He didn’t want anything from anyone. He just wanted the opportunity to tell people the truth about God. He didn’t want their money, though he needed resources to conduct his ministry; God made sure those things were always provided, so he never had to beg anyone for anything. He made people aware of his needs, and that was all he had to do. The Church reached into their pockets and gave whatever was needed, because they believed in God; they believed in the direction of the ministry, and they believe in Paul. He made a distinction between asserting his authority as an apostle and seeking the glory of men.

(142h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Reputation exposed to slander >> Protect your reputation

1The 2,3-12

(75b) Thy kingdom come >> Motives of the heart >> Good motives for doing the will of God – When we compare Paul’s statements with churches these days, some of the motives that people have for being a pastor often have to do with money and a career choice. Obviously there are many godly pastors who have genuine hearts and a sincere faith, who want nothing more than to advance the Kingdom of God in their communities and mature the saints under their care. They do this simply by sharing their faith and shepherding the people of God, protecting them from wolves, and modeling how they should conduct their spiritual lives. They can’t help but effect positive change and promote godly principles, but when pastors enter the ministry for monetary reasons, they are incapable of effecting positive spiritual change in anybody, because their motives are wrong. They will never take the time in their personal lives to develop a relationship with Jesus, and will therefore be unable to lead anybody in that direction, because for them Christianity is about money and prestige. Paul is saying that he did not choose to be a minister of the gospel but God chose him, and we know about his manner of conversion in the book of Acts when he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus, and at that moment He made Paul His minister. If a person decides in himself to be a pastor, most likely he will not accomplish much of anything, but if God has called him to be a pastor, he can’t help but effect change in his community and among the people allotted to his charge.

(240c) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Pastor (Shepherd) >> Paul has a shepherd’s heart

1The 2,3-6

(21i) Sin >> Premeditated sin >> Intending to abuse the grace of God

(22a) Sin >> Greed tries to satisfy man’s need for security >> The deception of greed

(77e) Thy kingdom come >> Humility >> Refusing the glory of man >> Refusing to be exalted by men

(85d) Thy kingdom come >> Words that are spoken in faith >> Powerful when spoken by the Spirit >> The spoken word of God -- These verses go with verse 13. Paul and the early apostles did not bother with some of the deceptive practices that we in our generation employ to communicate the gospel, such as street mimes and Christmas plays to try to attract an audience. They did not use any ploys or props, and they did not try to trick anyone into believing, not even for their own good, but they simply preached the gospel in a straight forward manner, and they left the bells and whistles to those who don’t have the substance of Christ.

(92j) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way connects you to God >> It demonstrates your relation to Him

1The 2-3,4

(110d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit speaks through His ministry in us -- These verses go with verse 13

(138j) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Exhorting the people to remain true to the Lord -- These verses go with verses 11&12

(182j) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Being deceptive with people >> Telling the truth with an evil motive

1The 2-3

(134i) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Immorality >> Adultery >> Spiritual adultery

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4-6 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. 5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed -God is witness - 6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.

 

1The 2,4-13

(81a) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> The priesthood >> We are a type of Jesus’ priesthood

1The 2-4,5

(71h) Authority >> Ordained by God >> Ordained by His sovereign will >> God chooses to work in you – This is a short list of things to beware in a cult leader: flattering speech, a pretext for greed and seeking the glory of men. When we see these things, we know they have not been called to the ministry but have called themselves with ulterior motives, and for this reason they have nothing to offer. In contrast, Paul wasn’t in it for himself but was considered a watchdog of the Church, protecting the saints from this kind of people. Paul only cared about serving Christ, seeing the Church grow both numerically and spiritually, and seeing the people of God mature in the faith both in the world and in the Spirit. People trusted him with their lives. It takes someone who has proven his motives, purpose and zeal, not just doing the will of God but also enduring it. There are consequences in the world for doing the will of God, and if they are willing to endure them, these become the brand marks of Jesus (Gal 6-17); for Paul they were scars left by the whippings he received for doing the will of God, which became his certification as a genuine apostle, not the number of churches he established but the number of stripes on his back. This is what it takes to build a church: a level of commitment that transcends any human interest or desire, a God-given dedication to the grace of God, driven by the Holy Spirit with a compulsion to do His will, and see it to the end. This is what it takes to be a genuine Christian: love God and live in a world that hates Him, serving Him in spite of the world and to spite the world.

(105d) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart >> Secrets of His heart are disclosed

1The 2-4

(45h) Judgment >> Judgment of believer’s sin >> God will judge us if we don’t heed His word – God ordained Paul to become a minister of the gospel, and He sent Paul on a straight and narrow path, and commanded him to do the good works that He had prepared for him, so Paul ventured into the will of God preaching the gospel of the kingdom throughout the known world. In the process of fulfilling God’s plan and purpose for his life, Paul received God’s approval in the manner in which he fulfilled his calling, not as pleasing men but God who examined his heart. When Paul administered the gospel, he preached as it were to God Himself, because He was the one who judged his heart as being worthy of His approval. He did not preach to men in hope of receiving their approval; that would be a losing proposition. All that would come of it would be failure, since men generally do not approve of God's true thoughts.

(69i) Authority >> Righteous judgment (Outcome of Discernment) >> Judging the flesh by the Spirit

(212g) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> God is all knowing >> Nothing hidden >> God knows your heart – Some people want to be a preacher, and so they go to seminary school and come home with a degree that earns them a pulpit in a church somewhere, and everyone assumes that God has approved the man and the process he used to achieve his pastoral position, but Paul became a minister of the gospel in just the opposite way; instead of striving to become a minister, God sought him and pushed him into service. Not against his will but according to God’s predetermined plan Paul was slated to become an apostle of Jesus Christ and a minister of the gospel. God appointed him, but those who appoint themselves and those who decide they want to be a pastor wrestle, either in a small way or in a large way, whether God appointed him, or whether they are appointing themselves. Some people get saved and they are very excited about their faith, and they love God with all their heart, and sadly it immediately draws them to the conclusion that they should become a pastor, but what does that say about the people sitting in the pews? Don't they love God too? Pastors are assuredly ordained by man; they receive diplomas; they’re patted on the back and sent on their way. God knows the pastor’s heart, but does he know his own heart? Most people don’t do a lot of soul searching; some do and get lost in it until they don’t know how they feel. They lose touch with their real thoughts, don’t know what they are imagining and what is real, and so it is better not to search our own heart but to search the heart of God, and we do that by developing a relationship with Him through the word of God and prayer. He promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him and His will for our lives. There are many people who want to know their calling in life, and they never find it and eventually give up and just live their lives the best they know and hope for the best. If they are not fulfilling their calling, then maybe they have done something to please God, but for them, whether they fulfilled their calling is immaterial; it is the fact that they don’t know it that is at issue, for it is just as important to know our calling as it is to fulfill it, because without knowing it we cannot be confident in what we are doing. In our confidence we become very good at what we do, and so we cannot very well serve the Lord if we don’t know what He wants from us. This is the struggle with so many Christians. They studied the Bible and they prayed. The problem is, they set the standard of study and prayer on their own, fifteen minutes here, fifteen minutes there. They didn’t seek God according to His will but according to their own, and they receive their will as a result, and they went out and did it, and then they attributed their will to Him. Believing in Jesus’ blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin is not the same as knowing His calling; these are two separate things.

1The 2,5-13

(72l) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> Authority makes you accountable >> Parents are responsible for their children – Paul was a man of compassion, which is a word that would describe a mother tenderly caring for her children. This was the metaphor that he used to describe his true feelings about the people of God. He felt that they were his own children, because they were born of God through his ministry. Therefore, he felt both privileged and responsible for them as his spiritual children. He had a fond affection for them and built strong bonds with them, much more so than churches of another man’s ministry. His affection compelled him to impart not only the gospel, but also his own heart, and was willing to sacrifice his life for the spiritual health and growth of the ministry. No matter what it took, he was going to make sure the people of God had everything going for them. He used all his strength and energy and time and resources to build up the body of Christ, because they had become so dear to him. This deep love that Paul had for them communicated God’s love. When we look at our church leaders, we can see the love they have for us, and that love should communicate the fact that God loves us too, far more than anyone could communicate.

(123c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Compassion >> Compassion is the emotion of the Spirit

1The 2-5

(155h) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> The Father bears witness of the believer -- This verse goes with verse 10


7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

 

1The 2,7-14

(7h) Responsibility >> Defend God’s cause >> Protecting the Church – See Ephesians 4,11-16 for commentary.

(92m) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Walk it for the sake of your brother

1The 2,7-13

(30f) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Favor with God through His word

(123l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Being in love with the body of Christ >> Affection of Christ

(234d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> Seeking the glory of the body of Christ

(234h) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Sold out >> Placing no boundaries on your commitment to God >> Going to any extreme to fulfill the will of God

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1The 2,7-12

(11m) Servant >> Paul’s example of love for the Church – The trait that made Paul’s ministry so effective was his boundless sincerity. He honestly and truly cared about people. He only wanted what was best for them and was literally willing to go to the ends of the earth to tell them about Jesus. This is another side of Paul’s ministry that God used to further weed out the wolves who would attempt to lead the Church astray. A false apostle (or pastor) would have to fake loving the people of the Church with an emotional kind of motherly affection, which would be very difficult for a heartless pathological liar, whose life is based on deception and selfish gain.

(33g) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Children need a Father to care for them – Paul greatly suffered to bring the gospel to the world, but when it came to actually delivering the message, it always helped to be nice to him. He would have delivered the gospel message anyway, but he was more effective if the people treated him well, and this is also the case with every pastor and his congregation. God has called every pastor to minister with a shepherd’s heart, and so he will preach the gospel regardless of how he is treated, but if the congregation treats him well, he can perform his duties that much better. He will open his mouth and the word of God will float from his lips. Not every church is good to their pastor, and it is usually because of doctrinal issues, but if they want the word to flow from the man of God, everyone would benefit if they determined in their hearts to become a blessing.

(36m) Gift of God >> Adopted >> We are adopted in the flesh

(41l) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Blameless before God >> Prepare to enter His presence – Paul is both a father and a mother to the believers at Thessalonica, according to verse 11. He was a mother of compassion and a father who taught his children the trade of Christianity with a sincere heart. He had the end goal of matching God’s expectations as to how they should walk, in a manner worthy of the one who calls them into His own kingdom and glory. Just like the parents’ goal is to prepare their children for the world, so Paul’s goal was to prepare the Thessalonians for the day they would meet God for the first time. To fall short of His expectations and to hear that their lives were not up to par would be devastating. Paul was shooting for his children to hear the words from their heavenly Father, ‘Well done good and faithful slaves, enter into your master’s glory’ (Mat 25-23). These are the words we are all seeking from God. We want His favor and are willing to sacrifice our entire lives just to hear those words, not just to be saved but also to be pleasing to the Lord. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear God say to us, ‘Thank you for caring for the things that matter to Me, for making faith a top priority.’

(96c) Thy kingdom come >> Positive attitude toward God >> Good attitude about the word of God – The relationship that Paul developed with the Thessalonian Church grew very strong and intimate, because they were willing to receive from him without complaint, and the potential arguments that did arise were manageable and easily resolved. Thus, the gospel grew in their hearts, because of their love for Paul and their willingness to respond to him in the proper way as saints toward their pastor. The Thessalonians were some of the most mature Christians of all the epistles that Paul wrote in the New Testament; he had very little negative to say about them. Had they lacked maturity, Paul would have addressed it, as he did in all his letters to other churches.

1The 2-7,8

(128f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Gentleness >> Be gentle in all your ways >> Be gentle toward one another – It is a medical fact that when a mother nurses her infant child, if the baby will lay in her breast and suckle affectionately, she will get more milk from her mother than if she is irritable and fussy. This causes undue stress on the mother and shuts off her mammary glands. The same is true with the congregation and their pastor; if they will settle down and open their hearts, they will get more from him than if they became fussy and irritable. Moreover, just as the child lies in her mother’s breast and quietly suckles, they will build a relationship together, but the fussy baby is neither fed nor happy. The relationship does not grow under those conditions, nor does it form between pastor and congregation if the people regularly criticize him.

1The 2-7

(123i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Being in love with the body of Christ >> Emotional situations -- This verse goes with verse 18. Paul had a deep compassion for the Church, not only in Thessalonica, but also for all the Churches. He was mirroring how God feels about His own people. The Bible says that God loves the world, even in its depravity and earnestly wishes to pull them from their sin and establish them in Christ.


8-10 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. 9 For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;

 

1The 2,8-12

(100d) Thy kingdom come >> Diligence >> Diligence in your service to others

(101h) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Be an ambitious businessman for God >> Managing God’s business

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1The 2,8-10

(165k) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Hardship >> Struggles of this life

1The 2-8

(187b) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man>> Die to the flesh >> The ministry of dying to self >> Die to self to minister to people >> Die to self to encourage the strong

1The 2,9-12

(62f) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Lure in your prey

(63d) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Righteous deception >> Church deceive each other

(89f) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Deeds of wisdom

(235k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> All things are for your sake >> We are fighting for you >> Our effort is for your sake

1The 2,9-11

(239b) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachers "remind" their students >> Recalling the circumstances -- These verses go with verses 1&2

1The 2-9,10

(2j) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> get out of His way >> Do not touch the apple of His eye >> Take advantage of no one

1The 2-10

(42b) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Blameless before men

(104f) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart shall see God >> Shall see the Father >> Being in the presence of God

(155h) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> The Father bears witness of the believer -- This verse goes with verse 5


11-13 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, 12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

 

1The 2-11,12

(71e) Authority >> Ordained by God >> Worthiness of man >> Perfecting the worthiness He has given us

(91g) Thy kingdom come >> The called >> Walking along the narrow way >> Responding to the call of God

(138j) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Exhorting the people to remain true to the Lord -- These verses go with verses 3&4

(139c) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Urging the disciples to continue in the faith

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1The 2-13

(79i) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word >> Practice listening to God’s word >> The word you heard perfects God’s work in you Paul wanted his letter to the Colossians to be read to a handful of churches (Col 4-16); so does that mean he was unaware that he was writing the word of God and that it would survive these two millennia? He knew it was the word of God, but he could not have known just how long it needed to survive, since he expected Jesus to return in His own lifetime. Paul wrote more than just words or merely his opinion. These are not just organized inkblots on a page, but life-changing truth. The Holy Spirit followed Paul even as Paul followed the Holy Spirit, confirming His word through signs, wonders and miracles and through strong conviction, so that those who heard became Christians and followed the Lord Jesus Christ through Paul’s ministry. Without the Holy Spirit Paul would have been ineffective. There is a difference between what we think and what God tells us. What God reveals to us is something more than our own opinion. The revelation of Jesus Christ stands alone in our hearts as the one influence that has affected us more than anything else to the point that it virtually changes our identity, even as it changed Saul into Paul.

(81g) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> Study the word through continuous prayer

(85d) Thy kingdom come >> Words that are spoken in faith >> Powerful when spoken by the Spirit >> The spoken word of God -- This verse goes with verses 3-6

(86j) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Be doers of the word >> Clothe yourself with the word of God >> Walk the truth

(106j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Means of hearing from God >> Through the Bible

(107c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Word of God creates faith

(109e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Revelation of the word of God >> Revelation of the meaning of God’s word

(109i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit the teacher >> Spirit trains us to be like Jesus

(110d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit speaks through His ministry in us -- This verse goes with verses 3&4

(111k) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Living and active word of God

(229a) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Kingdom grows by itself >> Growing In Numbers Corresponds With Spiritual Growth >> Kingdom slowly spreads and overtakes darkness – When the early apostles heard the word of God coming from Paul, a former blasphemer of the Church, they could not afford to throw him away or dismiss him, but he was someone to conserve as a valuable resource and a treasure, to protect and nurture him by giving him place in the ministry. People like Paul was something the Church needed in order to grow and be further established in the faith. The early apostles were working for God, not for themselves; they weren’t trying to protect their place in the ministry from someone who would replace them. Paul became lead apostle and replaced no one; instead, the ministry grew to accommodate him. Paul was someone the world needed in order to overcome the lies and deception of the evil one. The world needed Jesus and still does, and the early church was determined to bring the gospel to the people of their day, so when they saw that God had chosen Paul to help carry the torch of God’s word they immediately snatched him up.

(230e) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Partaking of the power of God >> Partaking of the word of God

(239d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachable students >> The teachable submit to the word


14&15 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men,

 

1The 2,14-18

(146f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Deliverance from demon possession >> Casting out violent demons

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1The 2,14-16

(17a) Sin >> Continuing in sin to avoid the light >> Man hates God

(18b) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Condemning God’s people

(21k) Sin >> Premeditated murder – Paul is virtually equating his experience of Christianity with persecution, saying that in a world like ours if we are not persecuted for our faith, perhaps we don’t believe, since the Bible promises that those who believe in Jesus will be persecuted. There are various levels of persecution. On one end of the spectrum we have silent persecution, which is an effective form of hindering Christianity. On the other end we have martyrdom, which is ironically least effective in silencing Christianity in that it does more to propagate the faith. Satanic activity is always involved in martyrdom by evidence that it rests on the principle of death and destruction and produces the opposite effect of its intent.

(24i) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Jews are envious of the gospel – The word “Jew” is somewhat misunderstood. Anybody who was a Hebrew was a son of Abraham, so they sought a word to denote this meaning and settled on the word “Jew.” If a person originated from any one of the twelve tribes of Israel, then he was a Jew. The Jews were not about to teach Paul that he had no right to preach the gospel in their world. There are many things wrong with this idea, first of all this is not their world. Secondly, the gospel was meant for the Jews and they rejected it, so they made their choice. Finally, they did not have the right to make the decision whether others should hear the word of God. Paul was not about to give into them, no matter how often he got beaten or how many injuries he would sustain from the Jews hatred of the gospel that they hated without a cause. Their hatred was and still is based on jealousy and has its roots buried in satanic deception, being the cause of resisting the gospel in the first place. They’re steeped in demonic oppression and are unwilling to seek freedom from it, since they are getting something from it, being leaders of their own religious sect, called Judaism. So, they have incentive for believing contrary to the gospel. There are other people who are victims of the Jews, namely those who go to their synagogues and sit under their teachings and are led astray by their false doctrines and their bad theology. The Jews tried to silence the gospel so it didn’t conflict with their business of religion. The worst part of it was that the Jews actually believed in what they taught. That put the capstone on their deceptions in that they were self-deceived. A person who is self-deceived is hard to reach if they are reachable at all.

(25g) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Killing Jesus – Everything Satan does blows up in his face, like the schemes the Wile E. Coyote concocted against his nemesis in the cartoon, Roadrunner. For example, Satan crucified our Lord and inadvertently released upon himself the judgment of God, and opened up to us His mercy and grace, the very opposite effect of his intent. Anyone who serves him is ultimately doomed to the same failure.

(40m) Judgment >> God is glorified >> God defends His righteous ones through judgment

(48g) Judgment >> Levels of judgment >> Judged according to your standard of measure

(49e) Judgment >> Enemies of God’s church are destroyed – Israel's religious leaders considered themselves keepers of the truth, though they showed no regard for the truth; that is why it deformed so terribly. Had they cared about the truth they would have sought the truth and found it. As it was, however, they only cared about money, prestige and power. All of Israel depended on them for an accurate interpretation of Scripture, yet there was always a conflict between them and their prophets, causing most of them to be murdered. For example, Jesus could not show his face in public in fear of the Jews (the Pharisees) who sought to have Him killed, because He was disrupting their business of religion, persuading the people to follow Him instead of those in charge of Israel's belief system, which was completely and utterly flawed. For the same reason the Jews also hindered Paul from speaking to the gentiles so that they might be saved. The Jews did not get away with trading the truth for personal gain, Paul saying, “that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost,” and they lost their place and their nation. How valuable is the truth? Without it we will lose everything. God created a world that will crumble if we despise His truth. Since Christ the word “Jew” has inadvertently taken on the connotation of persecutors of faith in Christ.

(64d) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Limits of God >> God cannot help but judge sin

(64k) Paradox >> Anomalies >> God helps Satan >> God’s judgments accomplish the devil’s will

(81i) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> Sinning from a lack of prayer

(98m) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Endurance invites the Holy Spirit into your life >> Endurance invites the judgment of God

(186i) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> The reprobate >> Man’s role in becoming a reprobate >> Having a perverted sense of justice – Throughout the centuries the Jews changed their understanding of God to a concept of their own making, degrading the intent of the original Scriptures so that what they believed didn’t even resemble the word of God, not even in Jesus day. If we can hold the Scriptures in our hands, then it was available to them too, erasing any excuse for rejecting the truth when they had every opportunity to embrace it. The Pharisees and Sadducees were actually experts in the Scriptures; many of them could recite the ancient manuscripts verbatim, but they interpreted it improperly and thus failed to understand what any of it meant. This misinterpretation happened gradually throughout the generations through motives of self-interest, which directed them to have Christ nailed to a cross. Their theology has continued to mutate over the last 2000 years, which is now modern-day Judaism. They made up their own ideas, putting their stamp of approval on it, and then believed it as though it were the truth from God. This kind of mentality is common among all religions and denominations of the world. People are either unable or unwilling to monitor their own thought process. Our minds are always looking for shortcuts, and those shortcuts often lead to false logic and wrong conclusions, and ultimately to building entire mindsets based purely on delusion. This is what happened to the Jews. They have completely lost touch with themselves and with who they are and what they believe, leading them to reject their own Messiah.

(188c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Suffering >> Growing pains >> Growing outwardly -- These verses go with verses 1&2

(209h) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Fulfill your calling with difficulty -- These verses go with verses 1&2

(211c) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Gentiles steal the kingdom from Israel through obedience

(242c) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecuting God >> Persecuting the word of God -- These verses go with verses 1&2. The more they persecuted the gospel, the faster it spread and the more gentiles believed in it. When people witnessed Paul accepting so much ill-treatment from his own countrymen for the sake of preaching the gospel to them, it got their attention and communicated a commitment of love that Paul had for those he was trying to reach. The gentiles clamored to hear the gospel the more he was persecuted. Persecution is ironically a motivator for evangelists to continue preaching, because it literally proved the gospel. What if God promised the apostles would be persecuted and they never were; wouldn’t the enemies of the cross make God a liar? The Jews however, were faithful in proving God true, though themselves liars.

1The 2-14,15

(210c) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Jesus is our sacrifice >> God uses sinners to sacrifice His son

(241h) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecution to the death >> Kill Jesus >> Kill Jesus because of who He is

(242a) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecution to the death >> Killing God’s prophets – When Paul said that the Jews killed the prophets, he wasn’t talking about the most recent prophets of his day, i.e. John the Baptist. Rather, he was talking about the prophets of old, such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel… the vast majority of them were martyrs for the cause of God’s truth. Paul was saying that the ones who martyred them were the Jews. 

1The 2-14

(11o) Servant >> Example of God’s people >> The Church

(99f) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Enduring our circumstances Caused by other people

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16&17 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost. 17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while -in person, not in spirit -were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. 

 

1The 2-16

(148j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Preach even if it hurts -- This verse goes with verses 1-13

1The 2-17,18

(24e) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Waiting creates anxiety

(76k) Thy kingdom come >> Desires of your heart >> Desiring to be among the people of God

(160f) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Led by the devil into the wilderness – Paul blamed the devil for the separation between he and the Thessalonian Church; he wanted to come and see them, but something got in the way; he may have landed in jail again. Paul was always getting himself in trouble; people didn’t like him, because he was changing the world in ways the world did not accept. The Church did not ask the world’s permission to exist but existed by God’s power. The world had no authority over the power of God, which resided in an inaccessible realm, and so the only thing they could do was throw Paul in prison to keep him from preaching the gospel, saving souls, converting people to Christianity and developing whole communities of saints, who themselves were changing the world, making it a better place. If Christianity continued, the world would be dismantled; governing officials would lose their places, and certain businesses would go bankrupt, such as those that built idols (Act 19,24-27). The world doesn’t like people changing the order of things for God’s purposes; it doesn’t want anything to do with the true and living God. He is the object of their hatred and rebellion; likewise, God is the object of Satan’s hatred and rebellion, who is the ruler of the world.

1The 2-17

(6i) Responsibility >> Spiritual >> Ministering to people by being in the Spirit -- A person could go too far and say that Paul had out of the body experiences, when he said, "I was bereft of you – in person, not in spirit." However, I don’t think Paul was speaking totally symbolically either; so again, the truth is somewhere in the middle. I believe the Holy Spirit, who acts as the unity between believers, is able to engage the brethren in a type of spiritual communion, regardless of their geographical proximity. It is up to the individual as to whether he/she is able to pick up on this spiritual union, depending on how in tune they are to the Holy Spirit. Being with them in spirit means that his heart was with them through his constant prayers for them.

(70b) Authority >> Righteous judgment (Outcome of discernment) >> Sensitivity To The Spirit – Paul was taken from the Thessalonians in person but not in spirit; we could say the same about Jesus; He was taken from us in person but not in Spirit. He ascended to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit in His place, and He has dwelled in every believer for the last 2000 years. The Holy Spirit is the exact representation of Christ, not a replica or rendition of Him but literally Him in spiritual form. What about Paul’s case who was not with them in person but in spirit, how literal did he mean that? Was Paul able to project his spirit to the Thessalonians? He said this to the Corinthians: “For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1Cor 5,3-5). What did Paul mean by being absent in person but present in spirit? He was not able to project his spirit, but since God is everywhere, the Holy Spirit revealed to Paul the things that were happening to the Thessalonians and to the Corinthians and to all the churches. God would tell Paul the things that were happening in these congregations, making him sensitive in the spirit about any of the ills of the churches along with their blessings. When they were doing well, Paul would know, and when they did not do well, he could tell in his spirit. Then also, he had messengers who came to him with information about the churches to confirm the things he felt in his spirit. Paul could not project his spirit, but God spoke to him about the churches, because the people were in his heart. God is willing to speak to us only about the things that are in our hearts; He cannot minister to us beyond our hearts, and since the saints were in Paul’s heart, God was able to speak to him about them, so he knew how to pray for them.

(134d) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Composition of our bodies is from the earth >> We are physically subject to this natural realm

 

18-20 For we wanted to come to you-I, Paul, more than once -and yet Satan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

 

1The 2-18

(61c) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> Author—Paul or John / Jesus

(123i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Being in love with the body of Christ >> Emotional situations -- This verse goes with verse 7

(164j) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world is at enmity with God >> The world hates the Church – Paul writes about the other side of the spirit realm regarding satanic activity. He was in prison while he wrote this epistle to the Thessalonians, so Satan thwarted Him from coming to the Thessalonian church by having him incarcerated, suggesting that his prison sentence was a direct result of Satan, though he often called himself the Lord’s prisoner. He said this so no one would attribute the direction of Paul’s life to the devil’s victories. Who were the men involved in getting him thrown in prison but the Jews? So, the Jews were followers of Satan. Whatever the Jews were teaching Israel back then was born of the devil, which is essentially what Judaism is today, twisted and satanic beyond any semblance of good and logical reasoning.

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1The 2-19,20

(50b) Judgment >> God judges the world >> The second coming of Christ Paul made mention of the second coming of Christ; it was Paul’s great hope and it is our great hope, and it was the hope of every generation in-between. Paul was fully expecting Jesus to return in his own lifetime. He wrote extensively about His second coming in his letters to the Thessalonians perhaps more than any other church, perhaps because the Thessalonians were the most interested in the topic of His return. 

(104i) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart shall see God >> Shall see Jesus >> Being in the presence of Jesus

(125d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Joy >> Joy is the result of investing in the kingdom >> Investing in a life of service

(226b) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of the Kingdom of Heaven >> Reserved in heaven >> God crowns us with glory for sharing our rewards >> The reward of a crown The Thessalonians were Paul’s hope, joy and crown. They were his hope in that they were the product of his ministry; they were his joy in that they worshiped the same God he did; and they were his crown, which he will one day receive from the Lord. Perhaps each gem on his crown will represent a church. Rewards are shunned in the Church today for the most part. Those who would shun the rewards are admitting doubt in their salvation. They are earthbound in their mentality and thinking, and they say the only thing that matters in the afterlife is going to heaven. In so many words they are saying they are unsure about their salvation. If they were sure, they would have enough faith in reserve to do as Jesus said, "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Mat 6-20,21). They don’t have enough faith to pursue the treasures of heaven since they are not entirely sure they are going there. This is a sad commentary on the Church today. Very few sermons focus on the rewards of heaven or even heaven itself. This is from caring only about this life. It is not a bad thing to enjoy this life, but we shouldn’t prefer it over our hope of eternal life. If the people of God had the kind of faith they ought to have, they would know they were going to heaven, which would free them to pursue the rewards of heaven as Paul did. He was looking forward to receiving his crown one day, the crown of helping establish the Thessalonian Church and all the churches.

(234f) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> Seeking the fruit of the ministry

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