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1 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER 5

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1&2 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.

 

1The 5,1-11

(7h) Responsibility >> Defend God’s cause >> Protecting the Church – These verses go with verses 14-18.

(50da) Judgment >> Last Days >> Great Endtime Revival >> Jews lead the world into revival >> Israel prophesied to believe in Jesus at the end of the age – See how Paul is talking about light and darkness in these passages. Among other things, this refers to apostasy and revival happening at the same time. We know a certain amount of truth right now, and that level of truth would probably not be enough to get us through the last days, but God intends to reveal truth to His people through His plan and purpose for the Church as endtime prophecy unfolds. God intends to bring about a Great Endtime Revival managed by Two Witnesses, who will lead the 144,000, who will in turn lead the gentile church on a global scale into the truth and consequently into the will of God, depicted in Revelation chapters 7 and 11. We need to practice abiding in the truth now, so when that day comes, we will know it is of God and will assimilate into God’s plan. However, those who walk in darkness will persecute the saints when this Great Endtime Revival begins, Christian and non-Christian alike. Christians who walk in darkness about God’s plan and purpose, will be more inclined to listen to the world, and they will decline this Great Endtime Revival and join the persecution. This Great Endtime Revival is God’s plan and purpose in the last days; it will be His way of escape for His people (1Cor 10-13), and if we reject it, there will not a plan B. They will become part of the destruction that is coming. God will protect His people, but only within the parameters of His word. Although there will be martyrs, there will not be a wholesale slaughter of Christians as the antichrist would envision. His intent will be to exterminate Christianity from the earth. He may kill some of us, but he will by no means accomplish his goal.

(236l) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> The Rapture >> The day of the Lord

1The 5,1-9

(8b) Responsibility >> Use time efficiently >> Use wisely the daylight hours – Pre-Tribulation Rapture advocates rely on verse 9 for confidence in their belief probably more than any other verse in the Bible, “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul in this passage says that God intends to save us while we remain alert and sober. This is not the message of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine. Rather, their own doctrines allow them to fall asleep, because there is no need to prepare, since they are going to be raptured from the tribulation. What must they think about Jesus telling us to stay on the alert (Mat 24,42-51)? Staying alert is perhaps reiterated more often than any other warning in the Bible, yet the per-tribulation Rapture doctrine actually does more to foster the opposite, to fall asleep, as Jesus predicted in the parable of the Ten Virgins. The alert and sober ones are those who are wise, and those who advocate falling asleep are foolish. Those of us who are wise are not in the dark that the day should overtake us like a thief. The Bible calls it the day of the Lord, but that day is better understood as an era in which endtime prophecy will be fulfilled. The first actor set to go on stage is Satan. While he is wreaking havoc with mankind, God will deliver His saints from His hand by instituting the Great Endtime Revival. 

(142a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> Prophesy about the dispensation >> The end times – This analogy of labor pains gives a word-picture of continuously increasing adversity with lulls in-between. Nature will have its moment, duplicating this weather pattern as the time grows near, which we have already seen in hurricanes, earthquakes and Tsunamis, but this is just the beginning of birth pangs, Jesus said. There will be other things that will originate from Satan following this pattern of ever-increasing frequency and intensity, namely the fall of human civilizations around the world, referring to the total collapse of the global economy, which will cause a domino effect, causing the seals of Revelation to unfold one after the other with a lull between each one. There will be those who will withhold their faith, instead of staying alert and being sober and integrating into God’s plan of deliverance in the Great Endtime Revival.

1The 5,1-8

(50b) Judgment >> God judges the world >> The second coming of Christ

(172g) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Hypocrites among the just >> Lazy among the prudent – Referring to the parable of the Ten Virgins, the very first birth pang mentioned here is reminiscent of the shout heard in the parable of the Ten Virgins, the shout being the first of Revelation’s seven trumpets. Apparently the judgment of the trumpets will catch the sluggish church off guard. This period of the trumpets is when the great endtime revival will occur, and who least expects an endtime revival but those who are predicting a pre-tribulation Rapture? They don’t plan for revival because they don’t expect to be here. In other words they have made a prediction about when Jesus will return, which goes against their own doctrines. The prediction they make is an early one. This is a gamble, especially since Jesus promised He would delay. They think everything will be okay, and for this reason they wander off. They were unaware that God planned a revival before the Rapture because they never cultivated a hearing ear to hear what the Spirit was saying to the Churches, so they will miss the revival. The purpose of the shout in the parable of the ten virgins was to announce the beginning of this revival, “…at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet Him’” (Mat 25-6). Perhaps this shout at least partly represents the woman going into labor as it says, “And she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth” (Rev 12-2), and perhaps more significantly, this child represents the endtime revival, which itself is a precursor to God’s eternal kingdom in the millennium. Unfortunately for the foolish virgins, only those who participate in this coming revival will participate also in the Rapture.

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1The 5,1-7

(49i) Judgment >> Judgment day >> It will come like a thief in the night – To say that Jesus would never come when we expected Him sounds sadistic of God, unless Paul was not talking about those who are faithful in Christ. Who then is Paul addressing? Read this passage again and open your mind to the possibility that he is talking about Jesus coming to a negligent people like a thief in the night. In contrast, he says in verse 4, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief,” and in verse 6 he says, “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” It says he is coming in broad daylight, but to those whose lamps have gone out, it will seem like night. Those who are in the light and walk in the light, this “thief in the night” analogy apparently does not apply to them. It only applies to those who walk in darkness. So, this whole theology that Jesus is coming like a thief in the night to those who are faithful in Christ is a misinterpretation of Scripture. Just the fact that Paul made a discrimination between those who are awake and those who are asleep, those who are sober and those who are drunk, those who walk in the light and those who walk in darkness says that there will be two kinds of Christians in the world at the time of Jesus’ return. So it seems it is those in darkness whom Jesus is coming like a thief in the night, not to those who walk in the light, for we can hear His voice, for He shows us what He is doing and tells us what He will do next.

(196j) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Spiritual laziness >> Replacing God’s standard of excellence with yours >> Sleeping in the spirit – Those who are spiritually laze say to themselves, 'we will not be caught unaware by the  second coming of Christ, but verse 3 says, “While they are saying ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” “Peace and safety,” the Church says, ‘We don’t expect any labor pains according to our prediction.’ A person walking in darkness makes bad predictions. They are not alert; the analogy is that they are drunk. How many good judgments do people make when they are drunk? Everything they do is stupid and wrong. Besides, isn't alcohol bad for the fetus? Paul uses being drunk as an analogy for imbibing wrong spirits; the Church has no business entertaining demons while awaiting the return of their Lord. 

1The 5,1-4

(225j) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Parables about nurturing the people of God >> Parables about a woman in labor giving birth to a child – Does the woman in labor surprise people by bearing a child? No! Rather, when she is in the process of labor, everyone becomes fully aware that the woman is about to give birth. She is probably already at the hospital, and there is probably doctors and nurses standing all around her. So it’s not the moment the child is born that is a surprise; rather it is the beginning of birth pangs that tends to catch people off-guard. She could be anywhere doing anything when this happens; often she is not in the best place, and usually not the best time, then suddenly the birth pains hit. If the woman is far away and feels the first birth pang, this can lead to a bad situation. This is why third trimester women don’t go on wild safaris; she doesn’t want to give birth to a child in the field among the wild beasts. She stays home during this time and plans around her pregnancy. This is a description of people who walk in the light, but those in darkness wander off, so when the labor pains begin they are caught off guard. The foolish virgins, lamps still burning though oil waning, asked their wise counterpart to be generous and share. However, because they were wise they didn’t give away their oil. Why didn’t they share their oil? After all, Jesus is coming, so they didn’t need the oil anymore. This is actually not true. When we weigh the parable of the ten virgins with these verses, the beginning of birth pangs is the shout the ten virgins heard, which translates to the first of seven trumpets. This is when the ten virgins wake up. Now they need enough oil to get them through the trumpets. The woman cries the shout of an angel as she languishes in her labor to give birth to Jesus Christ on the earth. This spiritual manifestation is to give birth to His physical presence on earth, whose Kingdom God will establish for a thousand years. Afterward, God will establish His eternal kingdom in a new heaven and upon a new earth, and from there He and His people will rule the universe forever and ever!

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1The 5,1-3

(23a) Sin >> Pride closes the windows of heaven – Man’s heart is hardening, growing more corrupt and brazen; he's losing his fear of God like a carpenter would lose fear of his power saw. The saw spins at 1500 rpm and the blade is sharp. Put wood in its way and it cuts like butter, yet he loses fear of it, because he has cut so many boards without incident, and he gets lulled into a false sense of security, thinking the blade would never cut him. So after man’s sin blinds his eyes, he gets the idea that he can continue what he’s doing indefinitely, living dangerously, moving his hand just inches from the turning blade, but one day he moves too close and loses his hand in the saw. So man thinks God will never shut the door until He does, and now there is no time and way to repent.

(49g) Judgment >> God judges the world >> Enemies of God’s will are destroyed – Endtime events will come like labor pains on a woman, starting slow and increasing in frequency and intensity. Although there will be plenty of opportunity to prepare after the first pang hits, still many will not prepare, and that day will suddenly come upon them. The only way to reconcile these two seemingly opposite analogies, thief in the night and woman in labor, is if the woman goes in labor such as when she is on a campout or goes on a wild safari or someplace far away from medical attention. She is in the middle of nowhere when the first pang hits her. Those who experience the second coming of Christ like a thief in the night will have wandered in their hearts far from the will of God so they will not have time to return. They may appear to be striving and seem sincere and vigilant, but they are trying to make up time they wasted through dissipation.

(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

(172e) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Communion between the world and the Church >> the Church in the world The big question is, who are “they” in verse three? We know they will be preaching peace and safety when destruction is crouching at their door. We also know they are not us. “They” will be the false teachers and heretics (the Gnostics as they were called in the first and second century). Paul was not talking about the world or unbelievers, but people who believed something other than what he and the rest of the apostles taught. He was referring to the false church. It says “peace and safety” because this is what unbelievers want; they don’t want Jesus, since they are having such a good time in the world. They have chosen to live in this world as opposed to committing their lives to the Kingdom of God. They are trying to make full use of this world against the advice of Paul (1Cor 7,29-31). They don’t want the Kingdom of God to replace the kingdoms of world, because they’re in love with this present age.

(182l) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Unaware of the spirit world

(183f) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Nursery for the Spirit of error >> Ignorance – The Gnostics were already in the process of maligning the word of God even in Paul’s day. The only people they could dissuade were those who were uncommitted to the truth in the first place. If Paul had to deal with a few heresies, we have a hundred for everyone of his, and this fact alone testifies we are living in the last days, in that Paul warned in 2Tim 4-3,4, “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” the Church has been segmented into denominations, false beliefs and cults, making it almost impossible to know the truth with any accuracy if it weren’t for God revealing it to us. From a human standpoint the truth has been made impossible to discern. Back in the day it was easier to believe in Jesus when heresies were few by comparison and the word of God was more straightforward. Nowadays, if a person chose to believe in the truth without making a commitment to knowing it, he would never arrive at the truth, because of the many variations all vying for his attention, and then adding the demonic influence that is in the world leading away from the love of the truth as Paul put it in 2The 2-10. We need God’s help more than ever.

(214dd) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s timing >> God’s timing transcends our comprehension >> God’s time is none of our business – Jesus is coming at a time when we do not expect. It sounds like Paul was saying that if we are ready for Him, he won’t come, but if we’re not ready for him, He will come. The glaring point about this passage is that these facts were so clear to the first century Christians that there was no need for Paul to write to them about it, though he did anyway, and aren’t we glad he did, because they are not so clear to us. The question is why it was clear to them and not to us? The times and epochs are one of the most difficult things to know, because God is not forthright about them. Peter asked the Lord, ‘What about John?’ (Jn 21-21,22). Jesus answered him with a very evasive statement, alluding to the possibility that John would remain until His second coming, which we all know didn’t happen, and that is just the point: there are some things we know better than the first century Christians, and there are other things they knew better than us, having personally seen the Lord and the apostles. Jesus’ attitude about the times and epochs was that they were not for us to know, though time itself will eventually tell of God’s plan and purpose. Apparently, what little we know about the relative issues of time was very much driven into the Church, Paul probably often spending long hours into the night talking about the intricacies of endtimes. He thoroughly covered the fact that the day of the Lord will come at a time when people will be least prepared for Him. 

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

(245g) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Manifestation of God’s righteous judgment >> Manifestation of God’s justice

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3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.

 

1The 5,3-7

(184a) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Darkness >> Hiding behind your own imagination >> Hiding behind a false partition

1The 5-3,4 

(58h) Paradox >> Opposites >> More peace and safety they profess, the less there is – Paul warned that destruction will come upon them while they are saying peace and safety. On the one hand people are oblivious to the impending danger, and on the other they know what is coming and they are in denial of it. They don't just deny it; they actually believe in their denial; what makes this so complicated is their belief in unbelief; this ties men’s hearts into knots, so they are scarcely able to know the truth. To believe in something that you know is false is like trying to find your way out of the woods after getting lost, going in the direction that you knew was wrong, perhaps leading to a swamp or further into a vast wilderness or an impassable mountain range, when all you needed to do was walk the other way a half-mile, but there were thickets that way. The truth is not always fun to walk, and it may not always be the way that seems right (Proverbs 14-12), but if you go the other way, you will get lost, even though it may seem easier walking for a while. Political and economic leaders who control the world are lost in the woods and proclaiming peace and safety, directing us to take shortcuts to avoid thickets, meanwhile leading us further into the woods to walk circles, when they know in their hearts that destruction is right around the corner. Paul is telling us to avoid listening to world leaders, promising they will advise us in the opposite direction for peace and safety. God commands us to step into the light and stay there as the solution to endtimes. Light represents truth, not facts; scientists know facts about the creation, but truth comes from God. Jesus commanded us to abide in Him, the truth (Jn 15-4). Paul is imploring us to be like the five wise virgins by the light that is burning in our hearts, depicted in Mat 25,1-13, not allowing the oil to run low or the flame to extinguish in our lamps as happened to the foolish virgins, but to remain vigilant and purchase more oil when we start running low.

1The 5-3

(95a) Thy kingdom come >> Perspective >> False perspective in the world – This will be the experience of all the unbelievers of the world. It will be the experience of those who claim to believe, though they are not faithful in Christ. A person can claim to believe in God and be just as much a heathen as the heathen. We who walk by the Spirit are being taught by the Spirit regarding all things that are about to happen. This does not have to do with factual knowledge, but pertains to the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts. When God speaks to us, He doesn’t disclose facts but truth, which leads us into His will and into ways of preparing for what He has planned. Consequently, as the day grows nearer for His return, we will know what He is doing that we may not walk in darkness. Those who are unfaithful to Christ will not prepare for His return; they may go to church and even study endtime prophecy, but because they didn’t form a relationship with the Holy Spirit, none of their preparations will adequately prepare them to hear from God and be ready for endtimes. They may have had teachers who faithfully taught the word of God, yet facts and truth are two different things. The unbeliever is only interested in amassing facts, because that is what he understands, but the word of God pertains to the truth, transcending factual knowledge.

(159h) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Counterfeit >> Counterfeit godliness >> Counterfeit peace

(215g) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> The judgments of God come suddenly >> Without warning – God will use the circumstances of the tribulation as a self-extracting mechanism in the last days to separate the sheep from the goats. Unbelievers will be caught off-guard, because they don’t know God. Every believer will know what to do, and they will all do it suddenly at once, leaving the unbeliever stuck in the mud. They will watch the believers all marching in a certain direction toward the will of God and toward receiving His kingdom, and the unbelievers will attempt to follow them to discover that they just can’t. They will realize the only way to follow in their footsteps is through faith. The believers are doing something that seem crazy to the flesh, for spiritual reasons, which is something the unbelievers cannot comprehend. They might start walking, but it wouldn’t take long before they succumb to the realization that they don’t know what they were doing or why they were doing it. They will find themselves in an utter state of confusion, and the unbeliever will return to his place and to what he understands and where he feels comfortable, and he will be left behind. A woman suddenly has labor pains, but the baby comes later. What is sudden is the first labor pain, often occurring in the midst of doing something else. The Bible teaches these labor pains to mean earthly disturbances, harsh weather patterns, among other things.

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4-7 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.

 

1The 5,4-10

(135m) Temple >> Your spirit is the temple of God >> The body of Christ >> Similarity in the body >> The things we have in common >> Common salvation

1The 5,4-8

(112f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Obeying the truth in broad daylight >> Church’s deeds in the light

1The 5,4-6

(11c) Servant >> Standard for a servant >> Freedom

1The 5-5

(33a) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Believers are children >> Children of the light

1The 5-6,7

(84a) Thy kingdom come >> Be on the alert >> Remain on duty >> Stay awake – Spiritual alertness incorporates the idea of preparing our hearts to meet Jesus, given by the Lord as an analogy of a wedding, that the bride has made herself ready for her bridegroom. Over the years certain people have it instilled in their hearts that they are not required to prepare for anything. They have it in their minds that their level of spirituality is sufficient to meet the Lord’s standards, but this flies in the face of numerous passages of scripture throughout the New Testament. They don’t even understand the concept of preparing their hearts to meet the Lord. They have been indoctrinated in grace to such a degree that grace alone is able to solve every problem, including their complacency, as though grace itself was supposed to do everything for them. What about all the passages of the Bible that speak about faithfulness and remaining diligent in the word of God and prayer? The entire book of James talks about our obligation to our faith, that we are not passive spectators of God’s grace, but are active participants in it. There are certain things that God expects us to do through His grace, and one of them is remaining alert and sober. Do you remember the laughter doctrine of the 1990s, when the whole congregation hysterically laughed about nothing in particular? They considered themselves drunk on the spirit; this is just the opposite of being alert and sober. If you can show me one aspect of that movement that made a single contribution to the spiritual health and well-being of the Church or in their understanding of God’s grace, I will recant my statements about that era, but I already know it contributed nothing, proving it was the work of Satan. You can combine holy water with ex lax to get a religious movement of more benefit. The Church has a greater compunction to follow Satan than God, because they are of the world and walking in their flesh, instead of being of God and walking in the Spirit. The Church needs to remain alert and sober; Jesus warned us of this, but we are not heeding His words.

1The 5-7

(153e) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Shame >> Hiding under a cloud of guilt >> Preferring darkness over the light

(159j) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Counterfeit >> Counterfeit God >> Counterfeit anointing >> Drunkenness >> The alcoholic

(167e) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Carnality/Secularism (mindset of the world) >> The carnal mind is set on the flesh >> Walking outside the realm of faith

(172g) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Hypocrites among the just >> Lazy among the prudent


8-10 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 

 

1The 5-8,9

(210e) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Jesus is our savior >> Especially of believers – “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1Tim 1-15). That is a statement that every denomination of Christianity can agree, and Paul appended this statement with “[Jesus is the] Savior of all men, especially of believers” (1Tim 4-10). This appendage implies that if God foreknew nobody would receive Jesus’ blood sacrifice for the remission of sin, He would not have sent Him in the first place. Therefore, Jesus died specifically for the Church, everyone who was predestined for salvation, but He died also for those who would not receive Him in order that God might have a measuring stick by which He would judge the world. Man can devise the most imaginable arguments against God, but they cannot defend themselves against His love that was poured out for their sake, “That whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3-16). Jesus accepted His fate as the “Lamb [of God] slain before the foundation of the world” (Rev 13-8), in order that man might be saved from the wrath of God. Man rails against Him, but they forget that He is their judge and that God’s wrath is imminent. For some, their main complaint is God’s wrath against weak-willed sinners who are so easily tempted and distracted from the faith; however, they chose to close their eyes against the love and mercy of God, and for this reason God’s love and mercy will judge them, and for that Solomon wrote, “What the wicked fears will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted” (Proverbs 10-24).

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1The 5-8

(46b) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Subjecting your flesh >> Preparing for battle

(113f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> The anointing >> Heaven’s clothes >> Garments of warfare

(125b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Faith and love >> Faith toward God and love toward man – We put on the breastplate of faith and love; these are essentially one and the same, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. There are many instances in the New Testament where faith and love are mentioned together like this. Love needs faith to exist, while faith needs love to be complete. Notice that the breastplate is composed of two things that operate as one? That should sound familiar. Look at the statue of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter two. It also had a breastplate composed of two nations that operated as one, the Medes and the Persians.

1The 5-9,10

(238g) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The kingdom is transferred to the Church >> Jesus will never leave us

1The 5-9

(31a) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> He favors the Church to spite the world – Paul penned this verse that all pre-tribulation Rapture advocates quote. God will never subject us to His wrath, but He will subject us to Satan’s wrath; He has been doing that to man for six thousand years as one of the penalties for sin. He will subject His Church to Satan’s wrath in the last days in order to judge the devil. God started judging the devil the very moment Adam and Eve fell into sin in Genesis, speaking to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3-15). The next phase of God’s judgment against Satan was the cross, and the phase after that brings us to the current time; God will execute the next phase of judgment through His people in the last days. Each phase becomes more literal and more physical and draws closer to Satan’s ultimate judgment in the lake of fire. God has not destined us for wrath, but He has destined Satan for wrath, and God plans to use us to usurp the devil in the last days, and what a privilege to be part of that.

(31e) Gift of God >> Grace >> Salvation >> God’s mercy overrules man’s sin

(114j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Working God’s grace through Christ >> Salvation is through Christ – This is a very popular verse for pre-tribulation Rapture advocates, who think that Jesus is coming to Rapture them before the tribulation. Their beliefs are based largely on this verse. God has promised in this verse that He will never involve us in His wrath, and so pre-trib Rapture fans interpret it as God disallowing us to be a part of the tribulation. These are the ones who believe bad things shouldn’t happen to them because they are Christians, but it is the tribulation of the saints and not the tribulation of the world to which this word “Tribulation” refers. The problem with believing we will not take part in the tribulation is that the seals are not an aspect of God’s wrath, but of Satan’s wrath, and God never promised He would protect us from Satan’s wrath; rather He will protect us through his wrath. The trumpets that follow the seals, though they are an aspect of God’s wrath, the Church will be here to witness them too. God intends to protect us from the trumpets, but that doesn’t mean He will Rapture us. The Trumpet judgment occur to only one third of the earth, leaving two thirds of the earth in which to hide His people in the “wilderness.” It is the bowls that follow that God will not allow us to experience, because there will be no place we can hide from them, for the entire earth will be affected by the bowls. Consequently, the Rapture will occur between the trumpets and the bowls of God’s judgment.

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

1The 5-10,11

(76k) Thy kingdom come >> Desires of your heart >> Desiring to be among the people of God – Paul is stressing how important it is to be together. Christians who don’t go to church may be constituents of the True Church, but if they don't go to church they are not together with the saints. They are not fellowshipping with the brethren, which is critical to our spiritual health. Jesus said in Mat 6-10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” In heaven we will be together; therefore, we should not forsake “our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Heb 10-25). When we come together, it is as close to being in heaven as we will ever get in this life. In a true state of unity our spirits merge as one. We will never achieve the level of unity that we will in heaven, yet God has given us an opportunity to achieve unity on some level in this life through spiritual fellowship. A lot of so-called spiritual fellowship is really nothing more than socializing, and while it is important to socialize, if our fellowship never transcends beyond that, then we have completely missed the point of being together. 

(117g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Vision >> Real-eyes God’s purpose for the Church >> Understand Jesus' vision of the Church – Although everything will change between this life and the one to come, yet in many respects nothing will change. Namely, two very important things will remain the same: we will be together and we will be with Him. We will exist in heaven as disembodied spirits until the first resurrection, but we have come to a spiritual place, the New Jerusalem and to God who is essentially a Spirit. It is not a place that exists anywhere in this natural realm, but exists in a spiritual realm; and when this life is over and our spirit slips from our body, God will send His angels to retrieve us and takes us to heaven where we will live with Him and with those who have gone before us. Nevertheless, as we continue to live in the body, there is no difference between living together with Him in the flesh and living together with Him in the spirit, for God is with us now as much as He will be then. Yet there will be many changes too, we won’t have a body; we will be living in heaven; we will see God, and at the First Resurrection we will receive our new heavenly bodies. Paul called it a spiritual body, which is an oxymoron, and we will live in that body forever. Our heavenly body will be as much spiritual as physical. We can’t wrap our head around that; we don’t understand the spiritual realm to begin with, let alone what a spiritual body could possibly mean. All these things are in the future, and that future is catching up with us very quickly. The First Resurrection will occur at the advent of Rapture, which will occur after the last trumpet (1Cor 15-52; Rev 11-15) at the end of the tribulation (Mat 24-29).

1The 5-10

(57f) Paradox >> Opposites >> To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord – Paul said, “Whether we are awake [alive] or asleep [dead], we will live together with Him.” There is an ongoing question of what happens to us when we die; meanwhile Paul is saying that if we are alive in the body in this life, we are with Him spiritually, and when we die we will be with Him literally. So what happens to us when we die? We go and live with Him. We need to realize that we dwell in the presence of God right now, just as much as we will in heaven.

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

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

11-13 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

 

1The 5-11

(139f) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Encouraging one another

(139h) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Edification – The definition of spiritual fellowship is: sharing with each other the things that God has given us, including the anointing that follows the truth. The result is encouragement and edification, the building up of one another. These things transpire in ways we don’t understand. Socializing makes us feel good about ourselves in the world, but it does nothing on a spiritual level with respect to the eternal purpose that God has for us. If this were a letter to the Corinthians, Paul would have digressed on a long dissertation on the importance of edification, but because this was the Thessalonians who were a mature church, he only had to remind them to continue with what they were already doing. These are things that Paul and his helpers taught them while they were with them, and they ought to be happening in our own assemblies whenever we come together.

1The 5,12-18

(81k) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> For the Church >> Giving thanks – Do people pray in heaven? We pray, but all too often we don't really believe we are talking to God. Maybe they give it a name in heaven; maybe they call it HACWG (Have A Conversation With God). People in heaven HACWG everywhere they go, so what should we be doing? Heaven is our model of behavior; therefore, we should HACWG without ceasing.  

1The 5,12-15

(235f) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Giving (your inner self) >> Giving preference to one another

1The 5-12,13

(7c) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defending the word of God >> Protecting the men who carry the gospel

(10f) Responsibility >> Keeping order in the Church >> How to behave toward leadership – If we have any complaints against the pastor or think he is teaching amiss, if the man of God is wrong in ways that need to be addressed, we shouldn’t be at that church in the first place. Typically it does no good to correct the pastor. If we feel that the pastor is so far in left field regarding the Scriptures, if we can’t see eye-to-eye, then it is time to leave. There are many people who feel they must fix the pastor and change him. These people love to debate; they are often argumentative and contentious, and feel they are right about everything; they are self-righteous. Being right does something for them that God should be doing for them; they should get right with God. If they are right about a certain subject, but are not right with God, what good is that? Moreover, if they are right with God, they will be right about most other subjects too, because He will lead them. We have many reasons and much room to be gracious to our spiritual leaders, but if we choose against this, then we are the ones who are wrong, regardless of who is more accurate in the Scriptures. It is interesting that Paul appended to the end of this verse, “Live in peace with one another.” This is partly how we do it, by appreciating our pastor.

(73b) Authority >> Respect your leaders >> Those in charge of the word -- These verses go with verse 25. There is a reward for respecting those who labor among us. In heaven those who serve are glorified more than those who are being served, so Paul is saying that if it happens this way in heaven, then it should happen this way on earth. There is a reward for modeling our Christianity after the kingdom of God. The ultimate reward is heaven itself, but in this life there are other rewards, such as witnessing the kingdom of God manifesting before our very eyes on the earth. Demonstrating the kingdom of God in principle is the first step in manifesting it on a more spiritual level. We establish equality when we highly esteem those who serve above those who don’t. If we take advantage of those who serve, the kingdom of God cannot manifest in our assembly.

(95j) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Obedient attitude >> Positive attitude about authority

(101h) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Be an ambitious businessman for God >> Managing God’s business – This passage refers to the leaders of the Church being zealous in bringing instruction to the Church and shepherding the people of God. Just as they are Christians, so are we, and each of us have the same general calling to be zealous for the things of God, and one of the things we do zealously as parishioners of the Church is appreciate those who diligently labor among us. Where would we be without our leaders teaching us the word of God and leading us in ways we should go as believers in Jesus? They provide the necessary tools we need to accurately interpret the Scriptures and find the will of God, but there is no finding the will of God in an environment of falsehood and deception, which better describes the environment of a cult. God’s true leaders will steer us away from such things so we can easily find our way in the Lord. Therefore, we should appreciate them, because they have labored diligently and applied zeal to their faith in preparation to fulfill the calling that God has placed on them as shepherds. We should esteem them very highly in love, because every minute they spent preparing for the role of a shepherd they had us in mind. He may not have actually seen our faces or known our names, but we belong to a certain church with a certain shepherd overseeing it, and we are the reason he is a pastor.

(129g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> love perfects unity >> Love is the martyr between the blocks

(239f) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachable students >> The teachable are a blessing to their teachers

(239i) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> The gift of teaching >> Teachers are a gift to the body

1The 5-12

(72a) Authority >> Ordained by God >> We are ordained to walk in His authority

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

1The 5-13

(126c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> Peacemakers >> Peacemakers are a blessing

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

 

1The 5,14-18

(7h) Responsibility >> Defend God’s cause >> Protecting the Church – These verses go with verses 1-11.

1The 5-14,15

(96j) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Having a peaceful attitude

(127c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Kindness >> Be kind like God >> Returning kindness for evil

(131c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Brother depends on you >> To care for his needs – Don’t give up on anybody just yet; people need patience. If they are really trying, they will respond to our kindness, but if they take advantage of us, then we know that no matter what we do, nothing will ever work. However, we must fulfill our end of the agreement to love people. Once they have an opportunity to prove what really motives them, what they are capable of doing and unwilling to do, if they take their gift elsewhere and use it to serve themselves in the world, though we have been patient with them, this is why it is important for everyone to see the investment we make in other people’s lives of all the gifts of the Spirit, so that those who don’t respond to us may be marked as a threat to the unity of the body of Christ. Nevertheless, we who are faithful in Christ have an obligation to fulfill our end even if they don’t. Be patient with everybody, not forever. God has not called us to be used, especially not by our so-called brethren.

(234k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Be a blessing >> Be a blessing and love your brother

1The 5-14

(9j) Responsibility >> Strengthen one another >> Bear one another’s burdens

(10a) Responsibility >> Bring order to the Church >> Dealing with problems in the Church

(24b) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Anxiety >> Fear of losing the fruits of your labors

(126l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Patience >> Be patient with your brother – We can actually be patient while admonishing the unruly, referring to holding our judgment. He said in 1Cor 4-5, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.” We will receive all kinds of authority in heaven, but on earth God has not given us authority to judge our neighbor, though we do have authority to judge in some ways. Jesus said to judge with righteous judgment (Jn 7-24). Every judgment we exercise through spiritual discernment is righteous no matter how condemning, and every judgment we exercise through the flesh is evil no matter how good our intensions. This is why we need a Spirit of discernment to reveal the hearts of men, so we don’t judge them with our fleshly mind. If God reveals anything to us about another person, it is for the purpose of ministry through God’s grace and mercy, whereas fleshly judgment pigeonholes people and discourages them from ever seeking the Lord. So long as the Spirit of discernment within us does not sound the alarm of a false brother, we should assume that those who are in the Church, though they are acting unruly, have a sincere heart and just need time and patience and an occasional helping hand, even when sometimes it doesn’t appear they are seeking God.

(138l) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Admonishments – That word admonish doesn’t mean to yell at people, but to patiently tell them the truth about their behavior. Paul is talking about helping people who are sincerely striving to please God. The unruly may not appear to show much of an effort, but if they weren’t actually trying to serve the Lord, Paul would not ask us to be patient with them. Some of those who are unruly have the wrong concept of grace; they think they can live an unruly life and God will forgive them; after all, Jesus went to the cross to forgive our sin. However, we must be careful that we are not walking in licentiousness, which has the mindset of entitlement, because they believe in Jesus. The Bible teaches that those who would abuse the grace of God and those who don’t believe in God’s grace both come from the same group that will have to pay for their sins with everlasting punishment. We must help the unruly get past this phase in their lives. Maybe they are young, or had difficult beginnings. Maybe they are under bondage to various sins they can’t shake. If God has called us to spend resources on a certain person to help him spiritually stand before God, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us whether he has a vein of sincerity within him.

(178e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Hypocrisy >> Hypocrisy of the Church is rebuked >> the Church is rebuked for rebellion – The purpose of discernment is to differentiate between the true people of God and imposters. There are people who have an interest in religion, but don’t care to know God, and these are some of the most baffling people we will ever meet. They are the modern-day Pharisees, a true conundrum, the most destructive people in the Church. Paul is not talking about them; He is talking about those who have a sincere faith but are struggling with their Christianity. If there is genuineness about them, we must do whatever it takes to nurture their faith and draw out good behaviors that conform to godliness. We must direct them to listen to the Holy Spirit in developing the hearing ear, so they can hear the voice of God for themselves and obey His perfect will that they may become mature Christians, bearing the fruit of His kingdom.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

15&16 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always;

 

1The 5-15

(25b) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Hate evil with hate – New Testament Scripture condemns the repayment of evil for evil to anyone; Peter said elsewhere, “But give a blessing instead” (1Pet 3-9). The Kingdom of God is a special kind of kingdom that can only grow under certain principles and conditions, similar to growing a garden. If we attempt to establish the Kingdom of God in a violent way, what we will have is a violent kingdom, and it would cease to be the Kingdom of God. Doing it Christ’s way will produce the fruit of heaven from whence He came. The kingdom that Jesus wants in His name on earth among men is one that is non-violent, so that if the majority of the world became members of it would establish heaven on earth, though sadly we know only a few will truly receive the gospel of Christ.

(46aa) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Subjecting your flesh >> Violent take it by force >> Taking the sinful nature by force – To say that the goal of the Church is to establish heaven on earth sounds like it is agreeing with a certain false doctrine called post-millennialism that teaches the millennium is occurring now, or a-millennialism that teaches there is no millennium at all. It is too bad we can’t just say God charged the Church to establish heaven on earth, because in fact that is exactly what He commanded us to do, as we recite every week in almost every church, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” For this reason, the Kingdom of Heaven is a non-violent kingdom, and Jesus is the head of it. He came and set the parameters for His kingdom to reflect the attributes of heaven. Once this age of grace is over, He will set up His millennial kingdom that He will personally rule with a rod of iron in which righteousness and justice will reign by destroying the dissenters, but He in no way has given this authority to the Church. Throughout the history of the age of grace man has tried to bend kingdom principles to fit the model of Christ’s coming millennium and has used violence to enforce God’s hand, and has consequently trampled on the grace of God, foiled the Church and all but annihilated the kingdom of heaven on the earth. The reason God called man to establish a benevolent kingdom is that Christ is the judge of mankind and not man himself. Jesus intentionally refused to give the Church authority to use force against its enemies, knowing that Christianity would almost immediately turn violent even without His command. Imagine the carnage the Church would have produced had Jesus authorized violence! The fact that Christ never called anyone to use violence as a means of developing His kingdom underscores man’s disobedience.

(57b) Paradox >> Opposites >> Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good – Don’t use evil as a weapon against evil; rather, fight evil with good. Put to shame those who are in the wrong, so they might learn the ways of God.

(127o) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Goodness >> Overcome evil with good -- This verse goes with verse 21

1The 5,16-18

(96d) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Positive attitude toward God >> Having a thankful attitude – Having a thankful attitude is something we can all improve, not to be confused with saying “thank you” more often. Thankful people say the words, but thankless people do too. Saying the words doesn’t always mean we’re thankful. What matters is not so much saying “thank you” as to have an attitude of thanksgiving. Like so many other things, this is something that God fosters in us that we can develop through the power of the Holy Spirit to become more Christ-like. Jesus had a thankful heart toward His Father. Having a grateful attitude is a sign of understanding just how generously God intends to shower His gifts on us throughout all eternity. It is a sign of faith. We have all seen the sign of the fish on bumper stickers, representing Christianity; that is a sign of faith to a car, but having a grateful heart is the sign of faith to a person. Having a thankful attitude can make the difference between being righteous and unrighteous, godly and ungodly, Christian and heathenistic. There are unbelievers who are thankful, but there is no such thing as an unthankful Christian.

1The 5-16 

(125h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Joy >> Joy is the result of obedience The root word for “rejoice” is joy, which is associated with thankfulness. Grudgingly saying “thank you” is not being thankful, nor does grunting out the words sound joyful. Happiness is the world’s version of joy, and joy is heaven’s version of happiness. It is not necessary to be happy in order to have joy. Happiness is based on circumstances, whereas joy is based on faith, being one of the fruits of the Spirit, just below love. That is how much joy means to us, and if it is associated with gratitude, then it is important to be thankful. Sandwiched between joy and gratitude is prayer. That doesn’t mean prayer is always joyful, but it does mean we should always give thanks. Sometimes bad feelings drive us into prayer or we go to God angry and spill out our hearts to Him, and we don’t do it joyfully, yet we give thanks just the same, and when we share our hearts with God, He will share His heart with us, and joy will return. God has a heart of joy. He truly internalizes our problems, not just the circumstances themselves but our feelings. He goes through them with us from the inside-out; He wants us to endure our trials joyfully. He is in our hearts and He feels what we feel and weeps when we weep and rejoices when we rejoice. God is the most amazing person we will ever meet, because of His love, and it is in prayer that we understand this. We can read the Bible, and it can tell us these things, but in prayer we feel His heart, and we begin to rejoice.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

17-21 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 

 

1The 5-17,18

(250e) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Sequence of priorities >> In all things ... >> Give thanks for all things – This is another very popular, beautiful verse. “In everything…” Even in evil? “In everything give thanks.” There is good cause to be positive about everything, for God is calling us to live our lives in the Spirit with Him, so regardless of our circumstances, we can give thanks no matter what happens. Giving thanks in the face of adversity proves that we know God is bigger than our circumstances. God is big enough that when we live in His reality, we can afford to give thanks for both the evil and the good. Someday God will do away with evil so all that will remain is good forever and ever, and for that we give thanks.

1The 5-17

(81e) Pray Without Ceasing (Key verse)

1The 5-18

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

(250a) In All Things (Key verse)

1The 5,19-23

(70e) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiarity-enemy of discernment >> Spirit grieves over sin – Many Christians these days don’t get far enough in the Lord to quench the Spirit, because they never allow Him to establish an influence in their lives in the first place. If you have a spiritual moment, do not quench it with your disobedience and/or unbelief. Rather, foster and nurture the Spirit of God within you as a mother cares for her fetus growing inside her. Make the Spirit of God your new identity by following Him wherever He leads you. The definition of quenching the spirit is simply dominating the small, still voice who speaks quietly in your heart. “Whatever He says to you, do it,” the mother of Jesus said to the wedding servants during His first miracle at Cana (Jn 2-5). Paul is using this phrase to mean, ‘Don’t resist those in your assembly from operating in the gifts of the Spirit’ (outlined in 1Corinthians chapters 12 &14). Let the Spirit of God grow inside you, and become more aware of His presence in your life. As our communications with Him improve, the less we will quench the Spirit. Do not despise anything that holds promise of a true prophetic message from God. The less we quench the Holy Spirit the more we will know what is prophetic and what is of the flesh. The phrases, "Abstain from every form of evil," and "Do not quench the Spirit" are essentially saying the same thing, for isn’t that how we quench the spirit, by participating in wickedness of one form or another?

1The 5-20,21

(70c) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Being sensitive to the Spirit >> Test the spirits

(110d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit speaks through His ministry in us – Paul commanded us not to despise prophetic utterances, indicating there were those who despised them in his day, and still there are those who despise them in our day. In most churches if someone stood up and prophesied, he would be told to sit down and keep quiet or else leave. What is the purpose of prophesying? Most of the prophesying that occurs in church is not necessarily adding new information to the body of Christ, but is used as reminders of that which we already know. Edification is the goal of prophesying, and prophesying is the most effective way to edify the Church in terms of spiritual gifts. For this reason Paul commanded us not to despise prophecy. We don’t need to be a prophet to prophesy, but the question to the one who prophesies is this: are they truly being led by the Spirit? This is why Paul made his next statement, “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” This means to throw out the junk, and we all know that some people prophesy junk. If the same people prophesy junk, after the service in private we need to tell him to stop prophesying junk or else stop prophesying altogether.

(199b) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Frustrating the grace of God >> Frustrating Jesus >> Frustrating the Father

1The 5-20

(95c) Thy kingdom come >> Positive attitude >> Speaking in tongues >> Tongues are a spiritual gift

(152j) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Prophets >> The Church holds the position of a prophet >> Church operates under a prophetic anointing >> Speaking a prophetic word from God – Jesus said in Jn 16-13, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” Since the Holy Spirit is to disclose to us what is to come and Jesus was speaking to every Christian, and since by definition every Christian has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, then every Christian has the Spirit of prophecy, meaning that we all are prophets to the degree of our association with the Holy Spirit. This does not make us prophets in the strict sense of the word, but we are to the world that does not know God, and we are prophets to our fellow Christians whose affiliation with the Spirit is less than ours, but to those whose anointings eclipse our own, they are prophets to us. What then makes us prophets is our interaction with the Holy Spirit through the word of God, prayer and obedience. If we are interacting with God in ways that nobody else can relate, then God can reveal to us things that nobody else knows, and for us to speak for God about things that nobody else knows is the very definition of a prophet.

(222l) Kingdom of God >> The elusive kingdom of heaven >> Conceit >> Thinking you are superior to others >> Treating people with contempt – Evangelicals and Baptists consider themselves keepers of the truth, though they condemn any form of spiritual manifestation, and we know that the Bible is a spiritual book, suggesting that they have discarded many doctrines and teachings of the Scriptures that they claim to protect. Those who believe in a naturalistic theology where all spiritual manifestations are condemned, who prefer their theology to remain on the page, unproven, rub shoulders with secularists, who in turn rub shoulders with atheists. The atheist despises religion, and the naturalistic Christian despises the theory of evolution and the tenets of atheism, yet the two of them are not that different, which is the case with so many people groups, who hold others in contempt outside their group. For example, if someone told them that he has a spiritual understanding of God’s word, they would likely ostracize him from their church, considering him to be on par with the Gnostics. This makes us wonder if they are even Christians, but we could say the same about the next denomination, who also has faults, maybe not the same ones but the same amount. Who then is being saved? The Bible never said that we are saved by our theology, but by trusting that God is good and loves us and by wanting to be like Him and patterning our lives after what we believe about Him. Our faith in God means more to Him than our theology, and thank God for that, because if it depended on an accuracy of doctrine, none of us would be saved. If anyone fears the Lord and loves his fellow man, God will accept him in spite of his theology, but the conceited Christian who condemns others for what they believe will find the Kingdom of Heaven elusive, compared to the person who believes in Jesus with a simple faith and a heart devoted to Christ in love.

1The 5-21

(127o) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Goodness >> Overcome evil with good -- This verse goes with verse 15

(232i) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Embrace (Jesus during the storm) >> Take hold of the hope of His purpose

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

22&23 abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

1The 5-22

(1c) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God and people >> Avoid the appearance of evil – If we are called to abstain even from the appearance of evil, how much more are we to abstain from evil itself? Some things appear evil when they’re not, yet we are to avoid them if others consider them evil. Christians are supposed to be do-gooders, but why? We are the children of God and we are called to behave like God, and He knows no evil. Does that make God a good person? Yes it does, but He is naturally good, meaning that He cannot sin. So it is not like it is hard for Him to abstain from sin; it is in His nature; He’s not even tempted by it. We, however, are living in sinful flesh, in bodies that are tempted on a daily basis. Our body is happiest when we are sinning, even though we ourselves are not happy, and we also have to accept the consequences of our sins. Our body will lead us into sin, and then complain about the consequences while we try to convince it to stop sinning, but it only wants what it wants. The body itself is not evil, but its passions and desires that rebel against the will of God are evil.

(9b) Responsible >> Prevent being blamed for something you did not do >> Prevent the appearance of evil – God commands us to abstain from every form of evil, because it all comes back on us in one way or another. We will never get away with anything. If man knows most of what we do in secret and judges us for it, how much more does God know about us? Fortunately, He is far more merciful than man.

(96b) Thy kingdom come >> Positive attitude about suffering >> Abstaining from sin – Paul commanded us to abstain from every form of evil. He had spoken to us in other passages about how the Spirit of God who has delivered us from sin. He has given us a Spirit that does not want to sin and we have the power of God dwelling in us. Some people therefore think they don’t have to abstain from sin as though this happens transparently behind the scenes, suggesting that if we feel like sinning, there must be a reason for it, and so they commit the sin thinking that in some way it is the right thing to do, otherwise they wouldn’t feel this way. Paul said to put on the full armor of God, and after we have done everything to stand firm, stand firm therefore (Eph 6-13,14). This is what Paul is saying here; after doing everything to stand firm, we still must abstain from sin.

(194e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Hate evil >> Condemning sin >> Hate evil by being innocent of it

(246hh) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Demonstration of God’s kingdom >> God demonstrates His glory >> Materializing the inner man

1The 5-23,24

(28h) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> God protects His people

1The 5-23

(42a) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Blameless before God >> Prepare for His return

(43i) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Perfected by God

(44e) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Transformed >> Completed by God – This may be the one and only place in the Bible where it expressly talks about all three phases of man: spirit, soul and body. We obviously have a body and we also have a mind, called the soul, which is a little less intuitive, but the spirit is that which God gives as a gift when we believe in Him, so without Him we are incomplete. Believers in Jesus are the only people on earth who have been completed by God. Paul is commanding us not to quench the Spirit of God, but to abstain from all forms of evil, so we might present ourselves to God, complete at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, complete meaning that we might hold on to that Spirit, whom God has given us. Be a good host and make Him feel comfortable in our lives. Don’t take advantage of His kindness and drag Him through the mud by caving to your fleshly passions and desires. In the same way that the sin of a person who is married involves another person, so the sin of the believer involves the Holy Spirit in that a child of God is married to God. 

(70k) Authority >> Believer’s authority >> We are the salt of the earth (Preservative)

(125k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> God is at peace >> The God of peace

(134a) Your Body (Key verse)

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

(137j) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Stages of maturity are levels of accountability >> Maturity is working with God

(138g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Glorifying God in your exhortation – When we apply the doctrines of the Church to verses like this, we run into trouble. There are things we don’t understand about the Bible, because of the doctrines that are in place that don’t accurately reflect the Scriptures. Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to live in such a way as to be without blame, but there are many people, especially within the Evangelical community who would say, ‘Of course we are without blame, because the blood of Jesus has covered our sins through faith and God views us as perfect,’ but Paul wasn’t talking about we being without blame in the eyes of God but in the eyes of man, that is, literally blameless from a behavioral perspective. The Evangelicals and others don’t like this, because it means we must live our lives without blame, and they don’t want to do that. They want the freedom to sin and live however they feel and do whatever they want, because we’re forgiven. This makes for an exceedingly immature church, having effectively eliminated any need to obey Christ.

(191g) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Set apart >> God sanctifies us by His doing

(226j) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> Levels of reward >> Rewarded by levels of glory in our spiritual bodies

(231h) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Body of Christ is the organism of God’s kingdom >> Jesus is the head of His body’s kingdom >> Jesus builds His kingdom in your midst – Man has three parts: spirit, soul and body, just like there is a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. People think we have both a soul and a spirit, but how do we discriminate between a soul and a spirit? If we have a soul, then what use is our spirit, or vise versa? Man has a body and a soul, but man’s spirit is the Spirit of God, which means that unbelievers who do not have the Spirit of God dwelling in them are incomplete, and Paul even used the word “complete” in this verse. He was telling us to make sure the Spirit of God is dwelling in us when Jesus comes, because if we are caught without the Spirit of God living in us, we can’t go to heaven. God does not accept anybody in His heaven who does not accept His Spirit. The order that he named these three are important: spirit, soul and body, the body being last and the Spirit of Jesus being first priority, and our soul takes priority over our bodies, which is certainly not the way worldly people view themselves.

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

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24-28 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 25 Brethren, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27 I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

1The 5-24,25

(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

1The 5-24

(31k) Gift of God >> Gift of His grace >> Grace is the work of God

(91i) Thy kingdom come >> The called >> God’s calling transcends the will of man >> We are called by God through His choice of us – Christians back then wanted to fulfill Scripture and vindicate Paul in everything he wrote, and so they recognized people in their congregations who were gifted and ushered them to a place in the body that best fit their God-given abilities, but it doesn’t happen that way in Church today, because it is broken. In the first century the phrase, “Your gift will make room for you” was actually true. Back then they longed for those who were gifted and sought them like precious jewels among the commoners, and as they matured raised them to positions of ministry that the body of Christ might take full advantage of their faith to help develop the Church to the stature of their relationship with God. When someone more gifted was discovered, they placed him also in ministry with leadership giving place to them often stepping down if needed, knowing that they will all grow stronger in the faith. They created evangelism drives that brought more people to the Church, who would be discipled, and the Church continued to grow spiritually and numerically.

(102d) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Faithfulness is dependable >> God is dependable

(130m) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Interdependent on each other >> Depend on your brother to walk in the gifts of God’s calling – Jealousy has stifled the growth of the Church in these last days. Anybody who tries to express his gift is denounced as a troublemaker. The Church’s idea of a good Christian is someone who will follow instructions and do what the leadership tells him: fold chairs, set up tables, participate in events, bring a dish to pass at the potlucks and of course tithe generously. This is the expected ministry in the Church, and this is how most people want it. Church has been reduced to a social gathering only; they get together and gibber-jabber about their lives in the world. True spiritual fellowship rarely occurs; it is hindered, stifled, not even wanted. People don’t grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church these days. The only real ministry that anyone has is the pastor, who wants the Church to accept his vision, but it is unlikely that any one person has a vision large enough to encompass everything God wants to do among His people, so the vision is not in any one person but resides in all the people. In other words, the only way we will ever understand God’s plan and purpose for the Church is through unity, which is a compilation of everyone’s vision. Once we pull them all together and look at the single vision as a whole, this is when we begin to see what God wants to do among His people, but that requires everybody who has a remnant of the Spirit to be integrated into the body of Christ, so they can exercise their gifts for the benefit of all.

(219b) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> The elect >> Man is a spectator of his own salvation >> Man is not in control of God’s calling

(227j) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Dependence on Jesus >> Depending on Jesus to fulfill His purpose in us – God will bring our calling to pass, yet we still have to work with Him, because we can override His will. He has given us that power, but if we use our authority to do this, it will be to our own undoing in that our calling will never be fulfilled. However, so long as we work with Him, He will make sure that nothing stands between His purpose and us.

(229d) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Kingdom grows by itself >> God causes the growth >> Kingdom grows according to the will of God

1The 5,25-28

(81g) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> Study the word through continuous prayer – People don’t see the application to their faith in this world. They see its application to the next life, but God says that if our faith doesn’t mean anything to us in this life, then it won’t have meaning for us in the life to come either. The Bible is a thick book with thin pages; there is a lot written there. We are living in this life now, so the Bible was written for this life first, and then for the life to come. If the Bible means so much to us now, then why don’t we read it? We say we’re too busy, but most people waste a lot of time watching TV; this could be time we use to read the Bible, which is part of our calling as students of God’s word. For this reason Paul said to have this letter read to everyone. In the same context he asked for everyone’s prayers in relation to the Spirit and the word. We interact with the Spirit of God through prayer more so than we do any other way. When we talk to people about Jesus, we are stirring the spiritual realm, as we are in all acts of love, but we interact with the spiritual realm most directly through the word of God and prayer, not one or the other but both at the same time. This translates to praying the Scriptures.

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1The 5-25

(73b) Authority >> Respect your leaders >> Those in charge of the word -- This verse goes with verses 12&13

(82c) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Direction (Attitude) – Paul wanted everyone in the Thessalonian Church to pray for him; he wanted all their prayers, for prayer empowers God to accomplish things in the world. After all, this is man’s world; God gave it to man, so for God to do anything in man’s world, we must give Him permission, and that is what prayer does. Plus, He wants His people involved in everything He does; He doesn’t want to work alone. Pray for the one who gets things done. Pray for the one who has the greatest calling and anointing on his life. Pray for the one who has received the most from God, because he will know what to do with more of God through our prayers.

1The 5-26

(123k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Being in love with the body of Christ >> Physical affection with spiritual motives – The holy kiss has been truncated from Christian culture, one of the few things we quit doing that ultimately benefited the Church in the sense of spreading disease. Some people used it as an opportunity for the flesh; i.e. the men kissed the women a little longer than their fellows with potential evil intent. The holy kiss has been replaced by a convenient handshake, and if people feel emotional, a big bear hug.

(133i) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holiness >> The body of Christ is holy >> Our godly behavior is holy to the Lord

1The 5-27,28

(143f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Public reading of Scripture – This letter was sent to the Thessalonian Church, namely to the pastor; Paul commanded him to read it to all the saints. He did not have the pastor in mind only but everyone. Paul said in 1The 2-13,14, “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.” Paul was well aware that he was writing the word of God, the new covenant testament, and he wanted everyone to read it, and that has not changed to this day.

(151a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness of Jesus >> Speak the word >> Speak the logos