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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 3 & 4

KJV    NAS

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1 Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone,

 

1The 3,1-11

(121a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Content with your way of life >> Content in any circumstance

1The 3,1-7

(1j) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Carrying a false burden >> Weighs you down as you walk in the flesh – Paul had the constant burden of the Church resting on his shoulders (2Cor 11-28). This burden was legitimate to a point, until he became obsessed with it. He began thinking about all the work he put into the Church, and all the jail terms and beatings he received, and then envisioned everyone simply walking away from their faith after all he invested into them. Paul started seeing other visions, not sent from God, about all his labor turning to dust, and began to panic, sending Timothy to investigate the spiritual health of the people, like John the Baptist sending for a word to confirm that Jesus was the Christ shortly before his execution. At this point Paul was walking in the flesh, that is, he was not walking in faith or believing God could take care of his own church. Perhaps Paul started getting possessive about the Church and thinking it was his and not God’s. Regardless, there is nowhere in Scripture indicating that God reprimanded Paul for his doubts, either because it was not serious enough to warrant an intervention (or even a comment) or because God commended him for being "concerned" for the Church.

(20g) Sin >> Doubt is the consequence of the fear of death

1The 3,1-6

(14l) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers fill in the gaps >> Messengers help in communications – Without Timothy Paul would have struggled through prison without any means of knowing how things were going in the Church. He needed to know how God’s people were growing in the Lord, not stuck in bitterness or some other trap of Satan. Although Timothy’s part was to communicate between Paul and the Church, perhaps his greatest accomplishment was to simply encourage Paul in his distressful situation.

1The 3,1-5

(188c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Suffering >> Growing pains >> Growing outwardly

(209h) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Fulfill your calling with difficulty – In Act 9,10-19 God sent a man named Ananias to pray for Paul, but he had questions, asking God why He would select Paul to be His servant, a blasphemer and a persecutor of the Church, and God told him, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." What happened here does not necessarily correspond with the old saying, ‘what goes around comes around.’ That is, Paul was not being persecuted because he was once a persecutor of the Church. Rather, Paul was destined to suffer because he was bringing the gospel to the world. His suffering wasn’t the result of bad karma from the past, that is, Jesus wasn’t getting even with Paul for persecuting His church by making him go through the same sufferings to which he subjected the saints in his earlier days. Instead, Paul had the right mixture of characteristics and abilities, even before his conversion, though he was misguided. Even while he persecuted the Church he had a clear conscience in that he thought he was doing the right thing. Paul had prioritized and protected his conscience throughout his life, and on that level he served God prior to his visitation on the road to Damascus, unlike so many of the other Pharisees who merely defended their religion from Christianity. You could almost say that Paul didn’t have a religion in that he actually believed in what he was doing. He had a genuine faith in God, except that he was wrong in what he believed, because he was indoctrinated that way. Jesus came and straightened him out and turned him into one of his greatest servants, and for this reason he suffered, not because of what he did to the Church prior to his conversion, but because of his zeal in bringing the truth to the Churches of God. Paul was perfectly aware of what was ahead of him. He didn’t walk blindly into a trap of affliction, but knew what was coming when he opened his mouth and breathed the word of God into the world, that he would be heavily persecuted, and so it came to pass.

1The 3-1,2

(9h) Responsibility >> Strengthened by the sword of His Spirit >> Through His word

(107d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Word creates faith >> Believing the word creates faith -- These verses go with verse 10

(139b) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> The adversity of our brothers encourages us

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2-5 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, 3 so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. 4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.

 

1The 3-2

(29i) Gift of God >> God is on our side >> God identifies with us >> Jesus is our brother

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

1The 3-3

(97i) Thy kingdom come >> Attention >> Giving attention to the wrong things

(219j) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Predestination >> God’s calling is our destiny

(239b) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachers "remind" their students >> Recalling the circumstances

1The 3-5

(24b) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Anxiety >> Fear of losing the fruits of your labors – Paul not only endured the physical suffering of persecution, but he also suffered a great deal of anxiety regarding the Churches. He worried that all his blood, sweat and tears would be in vain. Paul’s great fear was to go through all this trouble only to have the Churches fall away from God. Paul was totally committed, sacrificing his entire life, but while he was in prison he was afraid the Churches were worshipping the golden calf, as Israel did while Moses was away. He was more than willing to accept his suffering and affliction so long as it made converts and produced the obedience of faith. Like John the Baptist he became skeptical who sent someone to ask Jesus whether He was the Christ. His answer, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me” (Mat 11,4-6). He could take being stoned, unmercifully whipped, beaten with rods, starvation, exposure and lost at sea, but he couldn’t take the mental torture of thinking the worst about the Churches. However, the Thessalonians were faithful in Christ and so were many other churches in those early days. Paul sent Timothy to discover the condition of their faith, “for fear that the tempter may have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain.” Lying spirits were indeed involved, but they did not come to the Thessalonians, but to Paul and tried to discourage him.

(101i) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Be an ambitious businessman for God >> Investing spiritual currency

(160j) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Temptation to walk in unbelief >> Tempted to abandon your convictions

(170k) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Outward appearance >> Vanity >> Vain effort >> Effort frustrated by failure – Paul talks to the Thessalonians perhaps more intimately than any other church in his epistles about the level of suffering and persecution he had to endure in order to bring the gospel to the world, more specifically to those who would believe in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation. There was a huge price that Paul had to pay in his flesh for his spiritual accomplishments. The man was beaten mercilessly multiple times, and he was thrown in prison and subjected to terrible conditions at times. A comprehensive list of the things he had to suffer is located in 2 Cor 11,23-30. He sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage the believers in the faith while he was away, for fear the tempter came and stole away their faith and all of Paul’s efforts would be in vain. According to this verse it appears that people's fear of death is motivated by a sense of futility. They feel their life is in vain, that it doesn't count for much of anything. Even Paul had this sensation tingling down his spine in fear of the Churches falling away from God, and he would have nothing to show God for all his work.

(207b) Salvation >> God makes promises on His terms >> Eternal security? >> Perish By Losing Your Faith >> Perish in deception

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you,

 

1The 3,6-10

(81j) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> For the Church

(101g) Thy kingdom come >> Zeal >> Zeal comes from a grateful heart

(226c) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of the Kingdom of Heaven >> Reserved in heaven >> God crowns us with glory for sharing our rewards

(228a) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> God comforts you in times of adversity >> He comforts you in your suffering – Paul was not just seeking the reward in heaven, but on earth he was comforted, knowing that he had a purpose in this life, and even though he had to suffer, so do a lot of people in order to accomplish the things they want to do. If they succeed, all their suffering is worth it, similar to the analogy of a woman in childbirth. If she can get through the long pregnancy and the pain of childbirth with a healthy baby, then all her suffering is worthwhile, but if the child dies, her suffering is in vain.

1The 3-6,7

(123h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Ministry of the saints >> Caring for each others needs – It is the Churches faith that makes Paul’s suffering worthwhile. Their faith is like gold to him, and so it was to God. Both Paul and God felt the same about many things, which is what made Paul such a spiritual man, and which made him very effective in the world. He had many characteristics in common with God, because he trained his mind to know and understand, and to believe and love the things of God. His entire value system was derailed at his conversion and God set him on a new pair of tracks that led to the will and heart of God.

1The 3-6

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

(125ba) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Faith and love in equal measure – Paul used the words “Faith and Love.” These two words are often mentioned together in the Scriptures for good reason. Faith is the spiritual substance of God, and love is the manifestation of faith. The two of them can easily be understood as one and the same, in many respects like the members of the trinity who are the same, yet different. A person who has faith in God also has love, and a person who demonstrates love is showing his faith, as it says in 1Jn 4:8, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Love is a demonstration of God, which is exactly the purpose of faith, to manifest Jesus Christ in the world. Our faith knows that God is in the world in that He abides in us and is with us, and our love manifests that reality in the world.

(127b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Kindness >> Be kind like God >> Kindness is meeting the needs of the saints

(156d) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of salvation >> Loving your fellow man is evidence of salvation >> Love the brethren

(143i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Popularity >> Sought commendably >> Being sought for your relationship with God

(156d) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of salvation >> Loving your brother is evidence of salvation

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

7-11 for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; 8 for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account, 10 as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith? 11 Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you;

 

1The 3-7,8

(207ca) Salvation >> God makes promises on His terms >> Eternal security? >> God will accept you into heaven if you overcome – We know there are teachings in the Church that say we cannot lose our faith, indicating that we are eternally secure, and in the proper context we are secure, so long as we believe to the end regardless of the circumstances, even if we must die for our faith. With this attitude we need not worry about our salvation; it is secure, but for those who believe in eternal security and have intensions of entertaining whatever sins of their choosing and live as a common heathen while they claim to believe in certain doctrines of the Bible, their faith is less secure than the person who doesn’t believe in eternal security but intends to serve God with a whole heart. 

(226f) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of the Kingdom of Heaven >> Reserved in heaven >> Eternal rewards – We need to remember how Paul always thought in terms of both this life and the life to come. He did not disregard this life but considered it important, mostly because this is the time we have to save souls. He was a soul winner and evangelist, and his primary motivation was to preach the gospel that others may be saved. His other concern was that he was storing up treasures in heaven as Jesus commanded (Mat 6,19-21). This should be the mindset of every Christian. We don’t have to worry about our salvation; therefore all our concerns and interests should be on producing fruit for the sake of promoting the Kingdom of God in the world and for the personal reason of storing up treasures in heaven. It is like a football player whose primary goal is to help the team win games, but he also has interests in his personal record: how many sacks, how many catches, how many touchdowns, etc. If he doesn’t produce, he will be kicked off the team, and if he does produce, he will make more money. This was Paul’s thought process too. Through suffering he gave birth to the Thessalonian Church, and so long as they stayed alive he was happy, but like a woman who would give birth to a child and just a few days later suffer infant death syndrome, this was the kind of thing that most concerned him. Paul said, “Now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.” “If” is a conditional statement; the entire sentence is built around that one two-letter word. If the Thessalonians don’t fall away from the faith, the eternal treasures that Paul and his associates have been storing for the life to come will be secure, but if the Thessalonians fall away from the faith, then what good is all the work they put into them, and how could God reward Paul and his crew for the Thessalonians if they are not in heaven? Would God reward them for trying? Good intensions are nice, but success is better! God weighs the motives, and he could hardly blame Paul for what the Thessalonians do, but neither could He give Paul a full reward if the Thessalonian Church fell away from the faith.

1The 3-7

(165l) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The hardship of affliction

1The 3-8

(97k) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Rooted deeply >> Standing firm together in the faith – Paul was saying that if the people of God will stand firm in the faith, the apostles and the missionaries who carried the gospel into the world will really live, suggesting that if the Church were to fall away from the faith, it would suffer a level of discouragement that would almost kill them. They would turn gray with sadness and frustration. Christians usually don’t just quit believing; deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons carry them away, and they begin to believe things other than what the Bible says, things that are dreamt by unprincipled men, who feel they have authority in themselves apart from God to make up "truth" and then spread it far and wide, though they know they just conjured it. However, all the work and hardship, all the pain and suffering and all the dedication and commitment of Paul and his associates were rewarded, because look! 2000 years later the Church is still here. It has lived and grown among a multitude of religions and variations of ancient belief systems and emerging ideas; the Church has survived them all. The truth of God has remained with us; we have the Bible and we can read it; this is what God has to say to us. We don’t go by what people speak from their fleshly minds as they follow deceitful spirits; we trust God for the strength of faith to believe the truth to the end and successfully enter the gates of heaven. That is what it means to truly be saved. He gives us help through the wisdom of His Spirit by revelation of the Scriptures, so we know what His word says on a level far beyond mere inkblots on a page.

1The 3-9,10

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

(9g) Responsibility >> Strengthen us by the sword of His Spirit >> Through prayer

(99l) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance (Working to keep in motion) >> Persevere in prayer

(125d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Joy >> Joy is the result of investing in the kingdom >> Investing in a life of service – Paul didn’t know how to thank God enough for the incomprehensible joy he experienced from the Church’s stability in the faith. It was a daunting task to fully give thanks to God for the joy that resulted because of them. What did the Thessalonians do to make Paul so happy? They didn’t give him a Maserati or a new camel; they didn’t even bail him out of jail. They just continued serving the Lord. That was all he wanted, and that is all God wants from us. Paul attempted to fully give thanks to God for the blessing of the Thessalonian’s faith by praying day and night most earnestly that he might see their face and complete what is lacking in their faith. This is the only thing he knows to somehow pay back the Thessalonians for the joy they have given him. This is true also with God. He too most earnest desires to see us face-to-face, even as Jesus continually intercedes with the Father on our behalf to complete what is lacking in our faith. The moment our eyes lock with His our faith will indeed be complete. The level of love that Paul had for the Church was unsearchable, and so it is with God. Paul was an extremely deep man; he not only had deep feelings, he also had a deep spirit that searched the mind of God, and he loved the people of God with a love that was incorruptible. Paul wasn’t very concerned about what was lacking in the Thessalonian’s faith, because there will always be lack if there is room for growth. He wasn’t saying there was anything wrong with the Thessalonian’s faith; he was just saying that he can’t wait to see them so that he might impart to them even more knowledge, truth and wisdom that disseminates from the Holy Spirit, so that their relationship with the Lord might deepen all the more.

1The 3-10

(44d) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Complete >> Finish the course

(107d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Word creates faith >> Believing the word creates faith -- This verse goes with verses 1&2

1The 3-11

(105h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit >> Into The will of God >> Led to the right people – Verse 11 seems to be the theme of this chapter, if not the entire book of 1st Thessalonians, God directing their way to Him. The next chapter talks about the rapture, which is a literal directing of His children to Himself.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

12&13 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13 so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

 

1The 3-12,13

(11m) Servant >> Paul’s example of love for the Church

(30k) Gift of God >> God’s favor qualifies you for heaven – This verse shows the concerted effort of both God and the Christian working together just like Paul said in 2Cor 6-1, “Working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” It says that the Lord causes us “to increase and abound in love toward one another,” and we ultimately manifest His love. God can cause love to rise in our hearts, but if we don’t manifest it, then it is in vain. God causes the desire in our hearts and we demonstrate the love of God, first to our immediate family members, then to the people in the Church, and finally to those in the world. Once we demonstrate the love that God has placed in our hearts, then He will establish our hearts without blame in holiness, in that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1Pet 4-8), ultimately preparing us for heaven.

(42a) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Blameless before God >> Prepare for His return – This is Paul’s whole desire and purpose, that he might present the Church to God at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He looked forward to the coming of Christ, believing that He would come in his own lifetime, and the way to preserve the Church for the day of Christ is through love and unity. We can be doomsday preppers and spend all our money on supplies; build a bunker underneath the ground and fill it with canned foods. We could go though all that trouble and expense preparing for the second coming of Jesus Christ, or we could love the brethren. People will collect weapons to defend themselves from looters during those days, but we don’t need weapons; we need tools, and the best tool in our box is love. In the last days when everything falls apart before Jesus comes the fastest way to get killed is in attempt to kill somebody else. Before anarchy reigns the streets maybe the cops will come to the door and haul us to jail because we broke the law while defending ourselves, because we thought it was the best thing to do, but the Bible didn’t tell us to hurt or kill anybody in our defense or to buy weapons or to be doomsday preppers; he told us to walk in love. That might get us killed faster than doomsday preppers, but at least we can go to heaven with our head up, knowing that we did the will of God. The doomsday prepper will meet God without faith that what he did was the will of God, but the one who walks in love knows what he did was pleasing to the Lord. Whether or not we make it through endtimes doesn’t really matter; we will go to heaven by Rapture or by death either way. If a person gets murdered in the last days doing the will of God, he will join the ranks of the martyrs, who are promised a better resurrection, so it is a win-win situation for the saints. There are no doomsday preppers who will be martyred, because they are not walking in faith. The one thing the Bible reiterates more often than anything is that God wants to catch us in the last days doing His will. People think about the apocalypse and all the horror it entails, but the only thing that should be in the mind of Christians during those days is being pleasing to God, because we are about to meet Him.

(60c) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> The second coming / End time revival It is the manifestation of God’s love that He uses to establish our hearts in an environment of holiness before our Heavenly Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Paul is saying that these things must happen throughout all time and history, but especially during the days of the second coming of Christ. However, we also know that apostasy is prophesied in the last days (2The 2,1-4), so we can’t have both, or can we? Paul is depicting just the opposite of apostasy, the demonstration of God’s love resulting in His people being established in the faith, and Paul is placing it within the framework of endtimes. This suggests that both apostasy and revival will be happening at the same time.

(74a) Thy kingdom come >> The heart >> God wants you to bless your brother from the heart – The best way for God to establish our hearts in holiness without blame is to increase and abound in love for one another and for all people. Love covers a multitude of sins. We can unwillingly do all kinds of things against the Lord’s will and make up for it by loving the brethren. If we do things for and against people, that does not accomplish much; however, some of the sins we commit are against our conscience and not against our fellow man. Maybe we cussed or maybe we drank a beer, defiling our conscience, drinking beer is not a sin if we don’t get drunk, but if we think it is wrong then for us it is wrong (Rom 14,14-23). The best way to compensate for the sins we commit against our conscience is to walk in love toward the brethren. It is better to have a good conscience toward people than to have a good conscience toward a can of beer. Be kind to people and God will overlook the stupid things we say and do.

(98c) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Rooted deeply >> The lord establishes us

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

(129h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> love perfects unity >> Genuine love

(133f) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holiness >> The body of Christ is holy >> God has made His people holy

(229b) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Kingdom grows by itself >> Growing In Numbers Corresponds With Spiritual Growth >> Kingdom grows in strength

(237f) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> The Rapture >> Rapture of the blameless

1The 3-12

(216g) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces us by His love

1The 3-13

(228h) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> God works in you to keep you in His will

 

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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 4

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

1&2 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk ), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

 

1The 4,1-12

(10c) Responsibility >> Bring order to the Church >> Dealing with immorality – We are talking about immorality in the Church, not in the world. Paul prefaced these things, saying that the Thessalonians lived rightly before the Lord; however, if there were no immorality among them, there would be no cause for saying, ‘if we act like those who don’t know God, who’s to say we do know Him?’ He calls us to sanctification, to be set apart from those who practice immorality. There are many other sins, but this one is perhaps the most destructive in that it always involves other people. It virtually influences every aspect of our lives, and ultimately, those who do not repent of it could easily lose their faith. We cannot believe in Jesus and walk in the lustful passions of our flesh at the same time, for the two are in opposition to each other. The one we defend will kill the other, for either sin kills our faith or faith deadens our temptation to sin.

1The 4,1-8

(4i) Responsibility >> The choices you make >> Accountable for your sinful nature

(11a) Servant >> Standard for a servant >> A changed lifestyle – This passage pertains to a changed lifestyle as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ. However, there are people nowadays who adhere to the doctrines of easy-believism who say God is our friend, which He is, and that He welcomes anybody, which He does, and that anyone who believes in Him for eternal life can be saved, which is also true. Nevertheless, there seems to be a problem in Christendom of bridging the gap between our faith and our works, so that this changed lifestyle has been very cleverly truncated from the gospel of Christ. What has replaced it is an overemphasis on grace. Go to some churches, especially evangelical churches, and all you will hear is grace, grace, grace. This is good in a way, yet we all know that man has the ability to corrupt virtually anything. It seems impossible, but people have found a way to overemphasize the grace of God by teaching that sanctification is no longer necessary, but what does Heb 12-14 say? "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord."

(92l) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Our holy conduct along the narrow way – If we wonder what sanctification means, we shouldn’t anymore; Paul explicitly defined it. There is more to sanctification than this, but sexual immorality is certainly part of it, and when people resist this word, it gets them into trouble with God and men, having the potential to erode our faith to nothing more than clinging to a few doctrines. There is a difference between genuine faith, which requires no response, and asserting certain doctrines to be true (believing), which does require a response. Faith is a substance that comes from God; it is our very first gift that we received when we were born-again. We were born of God through a combination of faith and believing, responding appropriately to the call of God and committing our lives to Him. However, when we quit responding to the gospel, we regress to a mere set of doctrines we believed from the start. If we remain faithful, God promises His kingdom to us and imparts a measure of faith so we can believe in Him through the Holy Spirit. However, the person who rejects the notion of abstaining from sexual immorality, this gift of faith that they received from God will begin to erode until it disappears altogether.

(113m) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> The anointing >> Guard the anointing – God lit our lamps once, but the problem with allowing our faith to wear to a nub, it is very difficult if not impossible to return to faith once the flame smothers, since God must relight our lamp, and the Bible just doesn’t give any indication that He is willing to do this. This gift of faith that we received when we first believed represents our salvation, as a glowing candle or a lamp, God requires us to be good stewards of this flame and keep the lamp burning in our hearts, because we don’t have any way of relighting it. God has an attitude about relighting our lamps; He said, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Mat 7-6). God is reluctant to relight the flame after we have shone our distain for Him and let it die. It makes Him think we have been paying more attention to the world than to Him. Accepting a life of bondage without seeking freedom from sin is evil. Heb 6-7,8 says it is like a field that has gone fallow and produces thorns and thistles; it is close to being cursed and ends up being burned.

(135b) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Immorality >> Fornication – People in the Church these days confuse the word “immoral,” with “unethical.” Unethical means there are things people do that are wrong, whereas immoral means that too, only it is a word that has been set apart to specify sexually sins. Paul is commanding us to set ourselves apart, so we don’t sexually violate one another in the Church.

(138k) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> The discipline of exhortation

(184f) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Abusing the grace of God >> Spending His grace on your pleasures >> Trying to take advantage of God’s kindness – It does not end well for those who would abuse the grace of God; Paul said that God avenges Himself for the sins they commit against the Church and against the truth, posing all the while as Christians and upsetting the faith of many. They teach by their lifestyles that they can live however they want and still be pleasing to God because they believe a set of doctrines. We page through the Scriptures and find this rendition of the gospel nowhere. Although the Bible teaches that we are retched sinners, and in believing that Jesus died to take away our sins we are forgiven, it doesn’t teach that it is hopeless to repent so not to bother trying. Many so-called Christians today are leading an ungodly lifestyle while they wait for heaven; this is not what the Bible teaches. Rather, the Bible teaches that repentance is not only attainable, God even expects it of us. God has given us a measure of faith through the Spirit, and we are to treasure that faith. The Holy Spirit who dwells in us for the purpose of believing in Jesus, is innocent of all sin. We are to live for Jesus by protecting the Holy Spirit from sin through repentance.

(204d) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Back-slider >> Practicing sin >> The apostasy – Paul was never satisfied with the Churches’ progress; if they were doing well, he wanted them to do better. We will always have room for a deeper, fuller relationship with Jesus who dwells in us. There will always be a lack of commitment in our faith; there will always be room for growth. So long as Paul was alive, he would continue to push them to have a closer relationship with God, because someday the Church would cease serving the Lord, and he wanted God’s people in his day to testify against future generations who would decide that serving the Lord was no longer fashionable. He wanted to give the early church a good sendoff, and allow that beginning to coast for a long time. Many good doctrines remained for a long time before they were misinterpreted and replaced by gibberish designed for people to walk in their flesh. These are the doctrines of demons that have led the Church into apostasy, yet some good doctrines have survived to this day.

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1The 4,1-7

(247i) Priorities >> God’s priorities >> God’s interests >> Things that please God

1The 4-1,2

(72l) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> Authority makes you accountable >> Parents are responsible for their children

(239c) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachers "remind" their students >> Repeating instructions -- These verses go with verses 9-12

1The 4-1

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

(102b) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Ambitious to fulfill God’s calling >> To please Him

(137l) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Maturing with our brothers >> Maturity is tested by our relationship with others -- This verse goes with verse 10. Our number one goal in life as Christians is to build up one another in the faith, and we edify one another through the word of God and prayer, allowing God to administer the revelation of His truth, which we use to edify the Church.

(222k) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Do not give what is holy to dogs >> Give to him who has >> Whoever has shall more be given – Paul is giving the Thessalonians what they already have, “for whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance” (Mat 13-12). As the Thessalonians obey this word, they will continue to increase in fruit and knowledge. Much as they increase, Paul will tell them all the more, but those whom he has given instruction, and they have not heeded him, he tells them less, for “whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” The less Paul instructs them, the less they think they’re sinning and the less they seek the freedom of Christ, and the less fruit they bear and knowledge they understand. It is a snowball effect that works against them. There will always be room to grow for those who seek the wisdom and knowledge of God and strive to apply these things to their lives, but to those who find no need to apply the truth, their knowledge of God will diminish until they won’t know what they believe.

1The 4-2

(68a) Authority >> Doing God’s work under His authority >> Ministry of helps >> Help God’s people

(73b) Authority >> Respect your leaders >> Those in charge of the word

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3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;

 

1The 4,3-8

(22j)

(45b) Judgment >> God judges us for not judging ourselves >>

(45g) Judgment >> Believer’s sin >> God will judge us with the world if we live like them – Every church had its problems, and Paul would address them in his letters. He said to born-again Christians that God is the avenger in all these things. Of course we know that God will avenge His truth from the world’s disobedience and unbelief; He will judge the wicked for their sin and send them all to hell, but Paul was not talking to unbelievers here. He was talking to devout Christians, not complacent believers like the Corinthians, taking preventive measures against immorality in the Church by speaking against such things. Paul told those in the Church that if they live contrary to Scripture and to their conscience, God would avenge His truth on them, perhaps even in this life but most definitely at the believer’s judgment, even if they claim to believe in Jesus. If we confess Jesus as our Lord and Master and if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, then we are heaven-bound, so the believer’s judgment does not determine whether we will go to heaven or hell. The believer’s judgment is something that is rarely mentioned in the Church, and for this reason it is not well known, though it is clearly mentioned in the Bible. All sin is offensive to God, and it all pertains to idolatry, which is why God hates it, the worship of something other than God. For example, immorality worships the flesh of another human being. When we go to heaven there will be all kinds of pleasures for us to enjoy in His presence, and there are pleasures in this life that are not sinful, but the things we do that are contrary to the will of God, we will have to account for them at the believer’s judgment.

(48j) Judgment >> Levels of judgment >> Judged by withdrawing rewards – If we believe in Jesus and live for Him, the question is not whether God will let us into His heaven; the question is what level of reward will we receive when we get there. God has a certain trail of good works that he wants us to walk (Eph 2-10), and to the degree that we walk on this trail, will be the degree of our reward, and walking this trail also proves that we are the true children of God, and hence guarantees that we are going to heaven. If we walked this trail perfectly, He would give us a full reward, but we all have sinned and deviated from this prearranged trail. In the ways that we did not fulfill the purpose and calling of God, He will subtract from our reward, and that is the believer’s judgment. God calls it an avenging on His people; He will spare no one. Most of the people in the Church pooh-pooh the rewards; in fact, they are almost never mentioned, but when that day comes and our judgment is at hand, and God pulls out our record and begins processing it and chopping at our reward and hands us what is left, appending it to our resurrected body so that everybody will forever know by mere observation to what degree we served the Lord in this life, we will then wish we served Him more.

(51f) Judgment >> Judging the Church with the world >> God warns the immoral man – Paul said that the Lord is the avenger in all these things; He avenges Himself on those who practice sin. Why would He do that? Doesn’t sin avenge itself on those who practice it? Sin has a destructive power of its own to dismantle our lives and disintegrate our faith, so why does God need to judge us on top of it? Contrary to popular belief, God is a good God and His judgment is proof of it. God avenges Himself against all that is evil. If He didn’t do that, then how could He be good and allow evil to go unpunished? Some say that good and evil can only be understood in contrast to each other, but that is not the case. Rather, good is defined in terms of its power to build up and edify, while evil is defined in terms of its power to tear down and destroy. Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.” God commands us not to be destructive, and if we do it anyway, we have violated the commandment of God, which is evil. In this way evil is not defined in terms of what is good, but in what is right. It is not right to do things that are destructive to our fellow man, and sexual immorality is destructive. Some might argue that sexual immorality is not destructive, that we can be sexually permissive and there be no consequences. That may be truer in the world than it is in the Church, since it erodes our faith. Nevertheless, to the man or woman of the world, come back in twenty years and we’ll talk about the innocuous effects of sexual immorality, if you are still alive.

(134b) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Mediator between the natural and the spiritual realms >> Manifesting the kingdom of darkness through disobedience

(153g) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Shame >> Walking in condemnation >> Walking in sin

(156K) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Living an ungodly lifestyle >> Practicing sin – If we live like those who don’t know God, how can we prove to anybody that we do know God? Most of us have had long bouts with sin, yet God was patient, because He knew there was something genuine in our hearts that made us desire freedom. God gives us time and eventually we emerge from our bondage, having learned our lesson and serve the Lord in righteousness and freedom as expected. In contrast, those who live a life of bondage under the title “Christian” without seeking freedom or repentance are resisting God’s voice until they develop a reprobate mind, and now they just go to church with a veneer of Christianity, but inwardly there in nothing in them that is capable of faith. It is quite likely that every church has a few of these. Spiritually, they are like the walking dead; we must beware of them, because the more they infiltrate the ministry, the more they poison the well.

(168b) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Do not conform to the world >> Do not conform to the world’s version of love

(191i) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Set apart >> Set apart from sin – Sanctification means to be set apart for the purpose and glory of God. Being set apart is the very concept of repentance, but the so-called believer who lives no different from the world considers himself set apart in some other way, perhaps by the notion of his faith. He believes in Jesus for the salvation of his soul, and by that he feels spiritually set apart from the world, but what about a more physical sanctification. In combination with our faith, we also need to set our behavior apart from the world.

(203g) Denying Christ >> Dishonor God >> Dishonor God by dishonoring your brother – In verse 6 when he said “brother” that doesn’t mean neighbor. The New Testament doesn’t use the word “neighbor” nearly as often as the Old Testament. The Bible therefore makes a distinction between our brother and our neighbor. Brother means brother in Christ, our fellow Christian, whereas neighbor means the person closest to us in the world. Paul is saying he doesn’t want us having casual sex with our fellow Christians, so does it matter if we have casual sex with people in the world? Yes, of course it matters! The reason Paul didn’t address having sex with our neighbor in the world is that God intends for us to have few dealings with people in the world, much less have sex with them, and so it seemed irrelevant at the time for Paul to warn the Church of having casual sex with people in the world. The Church in the beginning spent almost all of their free time fellowshipping with one another, so that they rarely interfaced with the world. Like us, though, many people had their working careers in the world, but when they weren’t working, they were fellowshipping with the brethren. Today, however, we go to church on Sunday mornings and sometimes Wednesday evenings, and that is about the extent of our Christian fellowship. There is more immorality in the Church today than ever, usually people calling themselves Christians, venture into the world and having sex with unbelievers, and then they return to church and consider themselves Christians. We all make mistakes, and we all commit sin, and for this reason it is understandable that they still feel like Christians, but the line becomes sullied when a so-called Christian has sex with an unbeliever, in that they are both performing the same act together, one as a Christian and the other as an unbeliever.

1The 4,3-5

(42h) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Transformed >> Conform to the purity of Christ

(145j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Demon possession >> Human state >> Their behavior >> Immoral spirits

(209b) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Personal relationship >> Counterfeit relationship through religion >> Knowing about God, but not knowing God – Since the Bible associates obedience with belief, any contradiction in our faith is therefore a type of unbelief. A person can actually believe and still commit sin, because we are fallible creatures; it’s the reason Jesus died for our sins, but there must be a point where being set apart from the world occurs. If that never takes place, then James is bold and asks what the difference is between our faith and the faith of demons, who also believe and shudder (Jm 2-19)? Paul is saying that sanctification is not an option but a requirement. It should be a natural by-product of our faith, because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts, who gives us the will and desire to obey God. As with the case of many people in the Church today, if this aspect of their salvation never transpires, it is time to question if the Holy Spirit even dwells in them. Didn’t Peter urge us to have a little introspection to make sure we are true believers? “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble” (2Pet 1-10).

1The 4-3

(247k) Priorities >> God’s priorities >> The will of God >> We play our part in the will of God >> Doing the will of God

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4-8 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

 

1The 4-4,5

(32h) Gift of God >> Father will honor you if you die to self >> Your obedience

1The 4-4

(61b) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> Vessel—Your body / Your wife

1The 4-6

(1b) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God/man >> follow the golden rule

(238h) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachers "remind" their students >> Strong reminders – Paul was very harsh with the Thessalonians; he minced no words with them as a good teacher of the Scriptures. Anybody who would mince his words with the people of God, hoping to gain their approval is not serving Christ but themselves (Jn 12-43). If the people of God appreciated hearing the truth, they would congratulate the teacher for being straight with them, but if they persecute their teacher for telling them the truth, then they don’t deserve a teacher. Those who teach the word of God in an assembly like that ought to leave and go someplace where they are appreciated.

1The 4-7,8

(111a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit sets you apart by the word >> Set apart through repentance – God has called us to sanctification, that is, to be set apart from the works of the gentiles who don’t know God, for if we behave like them, then who’s to say that we do know God? “Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” Paul is hinting to us how we are supposed to avoid this deathtrap of immorality, saying it is through the Holy Spirit. We must commit ourselves to the word of God and prayer, that is, to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ before this gift in us can take effect. The Holy Spirit has already redeemed us from eternal destruction, and has set a pledge of His kingdom in our hearts. Heaven has already been given to us, but how do we gracefully get through this life to receive our eternal inheritance? God doesn’t want us going from one foible to another or walking through life as failures. Instead, He wants us to have one mind that longs for the things of God, not to be double-minded, but to take possession of our lives by taking the power of the Holy Spirit that He planted in us and putting Him to work, letting His grace strengthen us to rise above our temptations and all the practices of the flesh that erode our faith.

1The 4-7

(90l) Thy kingdom come >> The called >> God’s purpose for us is to fulfill His calling >> Our purpose is to do God’s will

(91j) Thy kingdom come >> The called >> God’s calling transcends the will of man >> It is etched into our spirit

1The 4-8

(35f) Gift of God >> God gives Himself to us >> Father sends the Holy Spirit

(56a) Paradox >> Lose by gaining >> Gain your idea of wealth to lose God’s wealth

(72k) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> Authority makes you accountable >> You are accountable to the one who gave it to you

(132a) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holy Spirit is in God’s people >> spirit of God in the spirit of man >> Spirit of the Father

(200c) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> Rejecting the will of God >> Rejecting God’s purpose

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9&10 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 

 

1The 4,9-12

(4l) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> Being accountable to your brother

(11h) Servant >> Love is our standard of ministry toward each other – Verse 9 corresponds with the golden rule of Lk 6-31, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The truth is self-evident. You don’t need anyone to tell you what love is or that you need to treat people with respect, because you are a person too and know what it is like to be treated otherwise. If you are able to pick up some of what the Spirit is saying to the Churches, you will hear Him speak about love, because this is the only thing He says, since we seem to need often reminders to love one another. One of the best ways to begin fulfilling this Scripture, according to Paul, is to get a job and meet your own needs, so you might have something to offer instead of leaching off someone else.

(89a) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Being sensible is always appropriate

(92m) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Walk it for the sake of your brother – Paul was never satisfied with their progress. He was a man of faith and commitment like no one else. He knew no boundaries in his service to God. He owed God his life, not because he was once a persecutor of the faith, but because he received eternal life and would one day obtain it the moment he passed from his body into eternity. These things hold far more value than any aspect of this life. Paul had the attitude that every moment was an opportunity to serve the Lord. This too is the attitude that we should have, “and to make it our ambition to lead a quiet life… work with our own hands,” for the building up of one another in love. We should have something to offer those in need, instead of being the one with our hand out as an unnecessary burden on the body of Christ.

(101j) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Be an ambitious businessman for God >> Ambitious in the business world of this life

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

1The 4-9,10 

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

(129h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> love perfects unity >> Genuine love

(233d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Seeking the goals of the kingdom >> Seek the goal of love

1The 4-9

(109i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit the teacher >> Spirit trains us to be like Jesus – This verse comes straight out of the Ten Commandments (Exodus chapter 20) and from Heb 8,7-13, which says about the Ten Commandments, “I will put my laws into their minds and I will write them upon their hearts.” Salvation is essentially all about the Holy Spirit taking up residence in our souls. This is what makes us His children. Therefore, our calling as Christians in this world is to be a good host to the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. One of His characteristics is that He is the spiritual equivalent of God’s word, and His word is the written account of God will. In the Old Testament His will was written most succinctly in the law of Ten Commandments, where it says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The Holy Spirit is that ever-present knowledge of God’s will, no longer confined to ink and paper, but is now the new covenant living and active word of God. He continually broadcasts the message in our hearts that we ought to love one another, and Paul says that God Himself teaches us these things.

1The 4-10

(131c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Brother depends on you >> To care for his needs

(137l) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Maturing with our brothers >> Maturity is tested by our relationship with others -- This verse goes with verse 1

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11&12 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

 

1The 4-11,12

(8n) Responsibility >> Prevent sin from coming between you and God

(23j) Sin >> Poverty (Oppression) >> The solution to poverty – Poverty can cause you to sin by being in need, and also by adding frustration, and a lack of self esteem to the already building pressures of life. Therefore, the solution to many sins is to simply get a job. Paul didn’t want people unnecessarily burdening the saints, but to have the attitude of making a contribution instead. This is one of the indicators of imposters in the Church, whether they contribute or not. There are some imposters who actually pay their way into leadership positions, making it almost impossible for anyone to remove them, because of the financial support they provide. On the other end, there are those who never contribute, but only take. So both ends of the spectrum tend to be problematic.

(30d) Gift of God >> Prepare to receive from God >> God supplies our needs under certain conditions

(78g) Thy kingdom come >> Sincerity >> Embracing your first love >> Simplicity of faith – People in the Church should lead a quiet and simple life of faith, or at least exude the attitude of a servant when they are among the believers. They should also be on their best behavior among worldly people and the heathen, whom they are trying to influence with the gospel. The last thing we want is fellow Christians teaching by example that leading the Christian life is an option, as though God does not require us to pattern our lives after the Scriptures and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Treating the Christian lifestyle as an option is a poisonous attitude, and to live contrary to the teachings that we know are from God would be a toxin in the bloodstream of the body of Christ.

(91d) Thy kingdom come >> The called >> His purpose answers "Why"

(95i) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Having an obedient attitude >> Attitude of a servant – This describes the attitude of a servant, which is commonly observed in the Church. There are many ambitious people who love to work, and are very generous. This is a tremendous ministry as something Paul advocated, especially in contrast to the alternative, which is to not work and to be in need. This abusive, lazy lifestyle does not fit the biblical model of Christianity. The Church was not built to support lazy people, especially not the early church, who consisted mostly of the poor, who could take very little financial strain, but mostly supported one another spiritually instead. Paul said to lead a quiet life; he didn’t advocate being ambitious, but to work with our hands. Some people work too hard, so that the only thing they have to offer is money, which is useful but is not a solution to everything. The things we offer that are most valuable to the Church come from the heart; these are the things we need from each other more than money and possessions. To pursue a genuine faith in Christ and to support ourselves and help those in need is all Paul asked from anybody. He didn’t want people to seek leadership positions in the Church or to work seventy hours a week; he wanted God’s people to share their faith and rejoice with each other in spiritual fellowship in the loving bonds of unity. The person who commits himself to the Lord full time with the plan of expecting others to support him in the end would have been more beneficial to the Church had he just sought to lead a quiet life and worked with his hands as Paul advised. Paul talked about widows and orphans as those who have bona fide needs, and commanded to reserve the majority of the Churches resources to support them and those who were truly in need. The early church wasn't able to support people who refused to work, and nor should we support them.

(123h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Ministry of the saints >> Caring for each others needs – God teaches His people to be contributors to the saints, but sometimes we hit rock bottom, and for this reason the Church is prepared to help. Once we get back on our feet, we can resume our practice of contributing to the saints. The day may return when we will need further assistance; in general then, God wants us to make sure we give more than we receive. Giving to parasites, however, will attract the wrong people to your church and will eventually explode in your face, for they have no more choice to spread their evil than a rotting corpse has a choice to emit a stench.

1The 4-11

(119g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Debt free

(127h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Goodness >> Rewards for doing good >> Doing good is the will of God

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13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

 

1The 4,13-18

(34h) Gift of God >> God is willing to Give >> The blessed First Resurrection

(38i) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death >> Resurrection of the righteous – There will be many people behind Christ when he comes to gather his elect from the four winds of the earth. Christ will bring with Him all the saints who died in faith. Why will Jesus have all His saints with Him when He comes? The Rapture happens on the day of the blessed First Resurrection! Rev 20-6 says, “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.” The purpose of the Rapture, then, is three-fold: (1)God might protect His people from the terrible judgments of the bowls as stated in the book of Revelation; (2)His saints might receive their new bodies; (3)the event of the First Resurrection/Rapture will kick-off the eternal reign of Christ, including the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the Millennium. The First Resurrection will occur just prior to the Rapture.

(49i) Judgment >> Judgment day >> It will come like a thief in the night Whenever the Bible mentions the Day of the Lord its significance increases, which increases our need to properly understand it. Some people claim that the Day of Christ means what it says in the book of Joel, referenced by fire and smoke, a dreadful time. Other people speak about it as the day of the Rapture, and the fact is they are both right. The Rapture will occur on a day like that which Joel described, smoke and thick darkness, awful and terrible. All these things will be happening on the day of the Rapture, so when someone speaks about the Day of the Lord with one person saying one thing and another saying something completely different, possibly both are right. When God says He will Rapture his people in the clouds, these will not be normal, billowy white, puffy clouds, but an ash plume from a gigantic asteroid that is scheduled to hit the earth on the same day of the First Resurrection. The entire earth will be encircled with a huge cloud of soot, which will kick off the seven bowls of God’s judgment that will be imposed on the world for rejecting Christ's offer of eternal life and for martyring many of His saints. It will not be an ash plume from a volcano, because that would take weeks or months to encircle the earth, but the plume of a giant asteroid would take only hours from the energy pushing it forward. At the crest of this plume stands one who lives forever and ever, catching up his people.

(84c) Thy kingdom come >> Be on the alert >> Be faithful until Jesus comes – It is simply not the will of God that He should take us out of the world just at a time when He could use us most to win many souls to Christ. At the end of days, during these extremely difficult times, people’s hearts will open with the hope that God might help them get through this very arduous period. God promises that the endtimes will hold some of the worst days in human history, and that says a lot. When you think of World Wars I & II and all the horror that took place, it seems impossible that there are days coming that could be worse that that, but there is. The Rapture gives people hope. It will come at a time when the world is in tremendous turmoil, and there will be many who will grieve over their lives because of the difficulties that they are facing. God will keep the Church here for a little longer than most people think in order to proclaim this hope they have in eternal life. For many, once their hope in this life perishes, they will latch onto the hope of eternal life, and they will be saved. They will not have that long to believe before they are taken from their troubles, and for this reason they will have a strong motive for believing in God because of the Rapture. While Satan is destroying civilization as we know it, people will be clamoring for the Kingdom of God and be saved by the millions. There is no reason God would take the Church out of the world at such a time as this, for all these souls would be lost who would have come to Christ. A day is soon coming when people’s hearts will open to the gospel like we have never seen, and there will be a huge influx into the Kingdom of God. Why would God pull His church out of the world just when the greatest opportunity to fill His kingdom was about to take place?

(147f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Divine works of God >> Spiritual manifestations

(182f) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Three causes of interpreting Scripture falsely >> Because they do not understand the Scriptures – This is probably the most popular passage of Scripture in the Bible pertaining to the Rapture. Some think there will not be a Rapture, based on the fact that the word “Rapture” is not mentioned in the Bible, but the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible either, yet the Bible is full of instances of the trinity. Some complain that the rapture shouldn’t be the prize doctrine of certain denominations, that it receives too much attention, while others complain that it is misused to interpret Scripture. However, having a proper understanding of the Rapture is a good way to interpret Scripture so that it unravels for you like a rug. The Rapture seems to help interpret Scripture better than any other doctrine in the Bible, simply because it reveals God’s true heart and motives, His will and desire for His people, and His goal for us in this world. However, that is not to say using the Rapture to interpret Scripture is a good thing. Based on the very nature of the Rapture, it poses a few important questions about the character of God and perhaps even answers them, the biggest question being whether or not He is willing to allow His people to suffer. If it turns out that He is willing (mid-tribulation Rapture – this is my stance), then there will be many people who will refuse to serve Him, but if He is not willing that we should suffer (pre-trib Rapture), that fact alone would assist in our understanding of many Bible verses throughout Scripture. When the Rapture occurs answers all these questions. Getting a sequential perspective on the Rapture unlocks the Scriptures and exposes some of the doctrines that people have believed over the generations, becoming easily observed that men have forged them.

(214k) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s timing >> God Has Good Timing >> God synchronizes events in His time – If you can show me a resurrection before the First Resurrection and a trumpet after the last trumpet, then I will believe your pre-tribulation Rapture theory. Look up the seventh trumpet in the book of Revelation and note what follows. Rev 11:15 says, “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’" The first six trumpets described terrible judgments disseminating upon the earth from God, but the seventh trumpet merely invoked a loud cry from heaven. This loud cry was in celebration of God’s kingdom about to replace the tyrannical kingdoms of men. Pre-tribulation Rapture advocates complain about this interpretation saying that it is too concise, that you cannot know the timeframe of the Rapture to the week, month and year, when Jesus specifically said, “You do not know the day or the hour” (Mat 25-13). Contrary to popular belief, according to everything we know from Scripture, we can piece together a Rapture scenario that is accurate to the week, month and year. This does not conflict with Jesus’ statement that we will not know the day or the hour! Look at Pentecost. Jesus gave them specific instructions to wait for Him in Jerusalem, where He would rendezvous with his disciples “not many days from now” (Act 1-5). That phrase, “not many days from now,” sounds like about a week. Again, they didn’t know the day or the hour, but they did know the week, month and year. It stands to reason that this is the way God works. When these huge moments come, it’s not like he makes us wait in absolute darkness, but gives us clues about His return. However, this does not apply to those without insight, for they will wait in absolute darkness no matter what Jesus tells them.  

(216j) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> God Is Independent Of His Creation >> You cannot control God’s desire for you >> man is not in control of his own destiny – Paul prefaces his next comment with, “This I say by the word of the Lord…” He does not say this phrase often, so when he does, he really means that what he is about to say is not his opinion. We who are alive in the flesh will not precede those who have fallen asleep in Jesus, precede them in what? We will not precede them in receiving our heavenly bodies. The Rapture marks the official point of transition from man being in control of the world to God taking over the reigns and beginning to materialize His kingdom, which will eventually result in the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth. The bodies of those who have died in faith will be the first resurrected, then we who are alive and remain will follow them in receiving our spiritual bodies that we will have throughout all eternity. This will truly be a joyous moment, but it will happen at a time of the world’s darkest hour. The contrast between light and darkness will be immense. This is why Paul started with the word “Hope” in verse 13.

(228b) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Comforted >> God comforts you in times of adversity >> He comforts you in your grief

(236k) The Rapture (Key verse) Those who partake of the Rapture will be righteous and holy people, not those who are caught in apostasy as we see in the Church today, who call themselves Christians and refuse to live for the Lord. They are all waiting for the Rapture who say will happen before any other endtime prophecy. Being apostate, whatever they say will invariably be wrong. We can take whatever they say and believe the opposite and it would be more likely the truth.

(237b) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> The rapture >> Last trumpet – Verse 16 says, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout.” This statement is reminiscent of the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew chapter 13, for it too has a shout. There is no difference between the shout in this verse and the trumpets of Revelation. The two of them are essentially the same thing. What are they, but the voices of angels. The trumpet in this verse refers to the last trumpet of seven (1Cor 15-52), the signal for the First Resurrection. Note that all the trumpets denote judgments from God, so the First Resurrection/Rapture can be seen as a judgment from God against all those who do not partake in it. These three things, the shout, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet, these are not three things, but one. Everyone who has the spirit of God front and center in their lives will here this cry from heaven to get ready. At the sound of this seventh trumpet the dead will rise first as it says. “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”

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1The 4-13

(121e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Hope is the expectation to receive >> What the wicked fears (expects) will come upon him – Paul is talking about those who have died in Christ, telling the members of the Church not to grieve much as do others in the world who have no hope. We who have loved ones who have died in the Lord have hope that they will live again forever in a better world. We have reason to hope for the resurrection from the dead, because we believe in Jesus and are living for Him. The ultimate manifestation of faith is love, but there is an intermediary phase (a mediator) between faith and love, and that is “hope”, which means that love is a two-step process. When we dedicate our lives to manifesting our faith, hope says there is a reason to believe in Jesus and in the resurrection of the righteous. Our hope is based on the fact that Israel was called by God and has had a history with Him, starting with Abraham many thousands of years ago. When Jesus finally came and fulfilled the prophecy of the Messiah, He died for our sins so we can believe in Him for eternal life. We have the New Testament teachings about His death, burial, resurrection and ascension as the Great High Priest who sent the Holy Spirit in His place, who comes to reveal His word to us so we can believe in God by the strength of His Spirit and develop God’s faith in all these things, and that is a reason to hope. Hope tells faith that it is real and communicates with love that our commitment to the truth is valid and meaningful.

(165d) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world is at enmity with God >> The world has no hope

(188j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Sorrow >> Grieving over your own loss >> Grieving over your loved ones

1The 4-14

(86b) Thy kingdom come >> Belief >> Treating the knowledge of God as fact >> Believing is the result of the resurrection

1The 4,15-18

(152ia) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Prophets >> The Church holds the position of a prophet >> Church operates under a prophetic anointing >> Delivering a prophetic message from God

1The 4-16,17

(162c) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Carried Away >> Carried away by the Holy Spirit

1The 4-17

(81l) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> For the Church >> Anointing to pray

(224f) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The joyful kingdom >> We shall always be with the Lord

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