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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 this passage. 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 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 guide the gentile Church into a global revival on a scale never see or imagined, depicted in Revelation chapters 7 and 11. We need to practice abiding in the truth now, so when that day comes, we will know this revival is of God and will assimilate into it, but those who walk in darkness will persecute the light. Those who call themselves Christians, who walk in darkness regarding God’s plan and purpose in the last days, will be more inclined to follow the world blindly, and they will decline this Great Endtime Revival and join the persecution. This Great Endtime Revival is God’s plan and purpose for the Church in the last days; it will be His way of escape that He has designed for His people (1Cor 10-13), but if we reject it, there is no 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 Satan has envisioned. 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, but 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 will be raptured from the tribulation. What must they think about Jesus telling us to stay on the alert (Mat 24,42-51), which is perhaps reiterated more often than any other warning in the Bible? The per-tribulation Rapture doctrine actually fosters slothfulness as in the parable of the Ten Virgins. The alert and sober ones are also wise, and those who say there is no need to prepare have created a lazy and foolish Church that has fallen asleep, but we do not walk in darkness that the day should overtake us like a thief. Note that Satan is not the thief in this passage but God. The Bible calls it the day of the Lord, but that day is better understood as a period in which endtime prophecy is fulfilled. The first actor on stage is Satan; and while he is wreaking havoc with mankind, God will deliver His saints from His hand by instituting the Great Endtime Revival. See also: Last days (Ten virgins); 1The 5,1-8; 172g / Rev 3-2,3; 4j

(142a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness of the new >> Prophesy about the dispensation >> The end times – This analogy of labor pains gives a word-picture of continual 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 signs 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 initiate a domino effect, causing the seals of Revelation to unfold one after another with lulls in-between.

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 – The Church will remain in the world throughout the Seals and the Trumpets. The false Church will sleep through the Seals and be awakened at the first Trumpet, but by that time it will be too late to prepare, and the judgment of the trumpets will catch the sluggish church off guard. 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, and the prediction they made was an early Rapture. This was a gamble, especially since Jesus promised He would delay. 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. 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). This shout 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 more significantly, the child born to her represents the endtime revival, which is a precursor to God’s eternal kingdom starting at the Millennium. See also: Ten virgins; 1The 5,1-4; 225j

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1The 5,1-7

(49i) Judgment >> Judgment day >> He will come like a thief in the night – When Paul said that Jesus will not come when we expect, he was not talking about those who are faithful in Christ. Jesus is coming to a negligent Church like a thief in the night, but to those who are faithful in Christ, He will not take them by surprise. 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 are fading, it will seem like night. This “thief in the night” analogy only applies to those who walk in darkness. So, the idea of Jesus coming like a thief in the night to those who are faithful in Christ is false. The fact that Paul made a distinction between those who are awake and those who are asleep, those who are sober and those who are drunk, those who are in the light and those who are in darkness, says there will be two kinds of Christians in the world at the time of Jesus’ return.

(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,' 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.” A person walking in darkness makes bad predictions. They are not alert; the analogy is that they are drunk. How many good judgments do drunken people make? Paul uses drunkenness as an analogy for imbibing wrong spirits; the Church has no business entertaining demons while awaiting the Lord's return. 

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 a woman in labor surprise anyone when she bears a child? No, she is probably already at the hospital with nurses all around her, so it’s not the moment the child is born that surprises anyone; rather it is the beginning of birth pangs that tends to catch people off-guard. She could be anywhere doing anything when it happens; often she is not in the best place, and usually not at the best time; then suddenly her water breaks. If the woman is far away and feels the first 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, their lamps waning, asked their wise counterpart to be generous and share their oil, but because they were wise they refused, why? After all, Jesus was coming, so they didn’t need their 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 languishes in her pain to give birth to Jesus Christ in the Spirit. This spiritual ascension (Rev 12,1-5) precedes His physical kingdom that God will establish for a thousand years, which launches His eternal kingdom upon a new heavens and new earth, and from there He with His people will rule the universe forever and ever! See also: Ten virgins; 1The 5,1-9; 8b

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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. Man is 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 the spinning blade cuts it like butter, yet the carpenter loses his fear of it, because he has cut so many boards without incident, and he gets lulled into delusion that the blade cannot 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 no 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. The woman goes into labor when she is on a camping trip 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 allowed their hearts to wander far from the will of God so they will not have time to return.

(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 comes. We also know they are not us. “They” are false teachers and heretics; in the first century they were called Gnostics; in today's world they are New Age. Paul was not talking about the world or unbelievers, but people who believed something other than what he and the other 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; they want the world. They have chosen to live this life to the fullest, instead of committing themselves to the grace of God. They are trying to make full use of the world against the advice of Paul (1Cor 7,29-31).

(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 maligned the word of God even in Paul’s day, but the only people they could dissuade were marginal Christians uncommitted to the truth. If Paul had to deal with a few heresies, we have a hundred for every one of his. 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 they will not endure sound doctrine." Instead, they will accumulate teachers to tell them what they want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” The Church has been segmented into denominations and cults, making it impossible to know the truth, if it weren’t for God revealing it to us. In the first century it was easier to believe in Jesus when heresies were few by comparison.

(214dd) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s timing >> God’s timing transcends our comprehension >> God’s time is none of our business – Jesus said He will come at a time when we do not expect, meaning that if we are ready for Him, he won’t come. So this means that the less the Church is preparing for the second coming of Christ, the more likely he will come, and that translates in our day to preparing more when we see the Church preparing less. The glaring point about this passage is that these facts were so clear to first century Christians that there was no need for Paul to write to them, though he did anyway, and aren’t we glad he did, because things are not so clear for 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. There are some things we know better than the first century Christians, and there are other things they knew better than us. 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. What little we know about the relative issues of time was driven into the Church, Paul probably spending long hours into the night talking about these things.

(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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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 would come upon the world while they were saying peace and safety. On the one hand people are oblivious to the impending danger, and on the other they know what is coming but are in denial of it. They don't just deny it; they actually believe in their denial; what complicates this is their belief in unbelief, tying their hearts into knots, so they scarcely know the truth. To believe in something you know is false is like trying to find our way out of the woods after getting lost and continue walking into a swamp or further into a vast wilderness or an impassable mountain range, when all we needed to do was walk the other way a half-mile, but there were thickets that way. It is not always easy to walk in the way of truth, and it may not always be the way that seems right (Proverbs 14-12), but if we go the other way, we will encounter more of the same, though it may be easier walking at first. Political and economic world leaders are lost in the woods, proclaiming peace and safety and directing us to take shortcuts to avoid thickets, meanwhile leading us further into the woods to walk in circles, when they know in their hearts that destruction lies right around the corner. Paul is telling us to step into the light as the solution to endtimes.

1The 5-3

(95a) Thy kingdom come >> Perspective >> False perspective in the world – This will be the outcome for all disobedience and unbelief that is in the world, but we who walk by the Spirit are taught by God to love and obey Him, and by this we will understand the truth about that which is coming to the whole world. 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 for our lives, and by that we will be prepared for that which overtakes the world. As the day grows nearer for His return, we will know what He is doing that we may not walk in darkness. Those who do not follow Christ will not prepare for His return; they may read the Bible, go to church and even study endtime prophecy, but because they are disobedient to the Holy Spirit, none of their preparations will adequately prepare them for endtimes.

(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 to separate the sheep from the goats. Unbelievers will be caught off-guard in an utter state of confusion, and the unbeliever will return to his place and to what he understands and where he feels comfortable, in his unbelief.

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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 the Lord, who compared that day to a wedding, and to a bride who made herself ready. Nevertheless, many people in the Church today have determined that there is no need to prepare for endtimes, but this contradicts numerous passages throughout the New Testament. To prepare, Jesus didn't teach to be Doomsday Preppers; rather, He taught to prepare our heart and be sober, yet there are many in the Church who have been indoctrinated to believe that God working alone can use His grace to counteract their complacency; that is, they expect God to do everything for them. What about all the passages that speak about faithfulness and diligence in the word of God and prayer? The entire book of James teaches that we are not passive spectators but active participants of God’s grace. Remember the laughter doctrine of the 1990s, when whole congregations laughed hysterically and collectively spoke in tongues without an interpreter, which trampled on Paul's rules of the Church, considering themselves drunk on the spirit? This is just the opposite of working with the grace of God to remain alert and sober, and it contributed nothing to the Church; instead, it was the work of Satan. The contemporary Church has a greater compunction to follow Satan than God, because Christians these days are worldly, fleshly and complacent, like the Corinthians. See also: Laughter doctrine of the 1990s; 1The 5-7; 153e / 1Tim 4,1-3; 160d

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 – Those who disregard the Lord perform all their activities of unbelief in darkness. They wait for twilight before they get drunk, and they wait for nightfall before they fall asleep. Drunkenness is in reference to entertaining foreign spirits. It is interesting that the anointing is compared to getting drunk, though it is nothing like the drunkenness movement that swept the Church in the 1990s when people went to church and acted drunk, and everyone simultaneously spoke in tongues causing mass hysteria and disorder. That so-called movement finally ended, and there is no mention of it; and when we do mention it, people quickly defend themselves, saying that it was a genuine movement of God, and then they immediately drop the subject. It was never used as a building block for the next movement of God, which is how God works, but apparently man does not, not in this case. We would think that if it were a genuine movement of God people would still be talking about it, but nothing ever came of it, because it was not of God, and people are too proud to admit they were deceived. This was a time when demonic spirits entered the Church, and people pretended that God was moving in their midst, and they conjured up their emotions. This is a very scary thing. The human psyche is the playground of the devil if we don’t protect it. If we are not careful, demons will come along and hijack aspects of our lives that we have not wholly dedicated to the Lord, such as our mind and emotions. The analogy of sleeping is highly relevant to this discussion in reference to the apostasy under which the Church is suffering and has been suffering for hundreds of years. There are churches on nearly every street corner, though many of them are abandoned now, because the apostasy has become so severe that people just don’t believe at all. Most of those who still attend their local church are asleep; how much more are those who don't bother going to church?

(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

1The 5-8,9

(210e) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Jesus is our savior >> Especially of believers – This is a statement that every denomination of Christianity can agree: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1Tim 1-15). Paul appended this statement with “[Jesus is the] Savior of all men, especially of believers” (1Tim 4-10). If God foreknew that nobody would have received Jesus’ blood sacrifice for the remission of sin, He would not have sent His Son in the first place. Therefore, Jesus died specifically for the Church, that is, everyone who was predestined for salvation, but He died also for those who would not receive Him in order that God might have a means to judge the world. Man can devise arguments against God, but they cannot defend them against His love that was poured out for their sakes (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. His wrath is against weak-willed sinners who are easily tempted and distracted from the faith, who have closed their eyes to the love and mercy of God. 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, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. There are many instances in the New Testament where faith and love are mentioned together. 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 (the first five seals told in Revelation chapter six). He has allowed Satan to strafe man for thousands of years as one of the penalties of sin. He will subject His Church to Satan’s wrath in the last days in order to judge the world and the devil. God started judging the devil the very moment he fell into sin, even when Adam and Eve fell into sin. God spoke to the serpent and said, “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 through Jesus' flesh on the cross, and the phase after that brings us to the current time; God will execute this next phase of judgment through the flesh of His people in the last days. Each phase becomes more literal and more physical and draws closer to Satan’s ultimate fate 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. What a privilege to be part of that. See also: God judged the devil through Adam and Eve; Rev 17,1-18; 50g

(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, but pre-trib Rapture fans fail to realize that the Trumpet judgments will happen to only 1/3 of the earth, so there will be plenty of places to hide in the “wilderness” while God is judging the world, such as the Israelites hid in the land of Goshen when God judged the Egyptians. Pre-trib Rapture advocates believe bad things shouldn’t happen to them because they are Christians, but the Bible speaks of the tribulation as that of the saints and not of the world. 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 of God's judgment will follow the seals, and the Church will be here to witness them. It is the bowls that follow the Trumpets that God will not allow us to experience, since there will be no place to hide. This means 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 the importance of unity. We may be constituents of the True Church, but if we don't go to church we are not fellowshipping with the brethren, which is critical to our spiritual health. 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 can get in this life. In a true state of unity we become one, though we cannot achieve perfect unity such as in heaven, yet God has called us to strive for unity in spiritual fellowship much as possible. However, we should untangle true spiritual fellowship from mere socializing, for if our fellowship never rises above worldly chatter, then we have completely missed the point of being together. See also: Spiritual fellowship; Ph-20,21; 139a

(117g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Vision >> Real-eyes God’s purpose for the Church >> Understand Jesus' vision of the Church – Our lives will drastically change as we transition from this life to the next, yet many things will remain the same, namely, two very important: we will be together and we will be with Him. We will exist in heaven as disembodied spirits until the First Resurrection; however, this is not an impediment, for we will inhabit a spiritual place, the New Jerusalem, and to God who is essentially a Spirit, being absent a body is not a concern. The New Jerusalem is not a place that exists anywhere in this natural universe, but is in a spiritual realm; and when this life is over and our spirit slips from our body, God will send His angels to come for us and takes us to heaven where we will live with Him and with those who have died in faith before us in the New Jerusalem. 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 then, and at the First Resurrection we will receive our heavenly body. Paul called it a spiritual body, which sounds like an oxymoron to us in this life, for we cannot pair the physical with the spiritual even on a theoretical basis, but God will make both realms compatible, the physical with the spiritual, and we will live in that body forever. Currently, we cannot wrap our head around any of this; we have no concept of the spiritual realm, much less a spiritual body. 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 the Rapture, which will occur after the last trumpet (1Cor 15-52; Rev 11-15) at the end of the tribulation (Mat 24-29). See also: Resurrection (Spiritual body); ability to interface with both realms; 2Cor 12,2-4; 224a

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 to 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

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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 to us; this includes the anointing that follows the truth. The result of encouragement and edification, the building up of one another, is unity. 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 (First Corinthians chapters 12-14), but because this was the Thessalonians who were a mature church, he only had to remind them to continue what they were doing. These are things that Paul and his helpers teach the churches while they were with them, and they ought to be happening in our own assemblies often as 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, calling 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 he 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 a pastor. If we feel he is so far in left field regarding the Scriptures that we can’t see eye-to-eye, then it is time to leave. Usually those who want to fix the pastor love to debate, are often argumentative and contentious, and feel they are in the right about everything, being self-righteous. Instead, they ought to 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 subjects too. If we are disrespectful to our spiritual leaders, then we are in the wrong, no matter what we believe. It is interesting what Paul appended to the end of this verse, “Live in peace with one another.” We do this in part by respecting 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 our leaders. In heaven those who serve are glorified more than those being served, and Paul is saying that if this happens in heaven, then it should also happen on earth. There is a reward for modeling our Christianity after the kingdom of God. We establish equality when we highly esteem those who serve, but if we take them for granted, we probably take our own salvation for granted and the one who saved us.

(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. They are Christians, and so are we; each of us have the same general calling to be zealous for the things of God, and one way to express our zeal is to 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 describes 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 their calling from God as shepherds. We should esteem them very highly in love, because every minute they spent preparing to be a shepherd they had us in mind.

(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

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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 too soon; people need patience. If they are 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 work. However, we must fulfill our end to love people. Once they have an opportunity to prove what really motives them, if they remain self-serving, though we have been patient with them, those who are unresponsive to love and truth should be marked as a threat to the church.

(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 by 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 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 regardless of our good intensions. We need discernment to reveal the hearts of men, so we don’t judge them with our flesh. If God reveals anything to us about another person, it is for the purpose of administrating God’s grace and mercy, whereas fleshly judgment pigeonholes people and discourages them from 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 act unruly, have a sincere heart and just need time and patience and occasional help, though sometimes it doesn’t appear they are seeking God. See also: Discernment; Mat 16,1-4; 70g

(138l) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Admonishments – That word admonish doesn’t mean to yell at people, but to patiently notify them of their unruly behavior. Paul is talking about helping people who are sincerely trying to please God. The unruly may not appear to show much of an effort, but if we detect they are actually trying to serve the Lord, we should remain patient with them. Some who are unruly have the wrong concept of grace; they think they can live any way they want and God will forgive them, because Jesus died on the cross to forgive their sin. However, they must be careful not to walk in licentiousness, which has the mindset of entitlement, because they supposedly believe in Jesus. The Bible teaches that those who would abuse the grace of God and those who don’t believe in Him are both torn from the same patch. We must help the unruly get past this phase before they harden in that condition. Maybe they are young and had a difficult childhood. Maybe they are under bondage to various sins they can’t shake. Before we spend our resources on a person to help him stand before God, the Holy Spirit must 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; they 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 in their walk. 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 will that they may become mature Christians and bear fruit of the kingdom.

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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 kingdom, one that can grow only under certain conditions. If we attempt to establish the Kingdom of God in violence, it will be no different from the kingdoms of this world. Doing it Christ’s way will produce fruit that will distinguish it from all other kingdoms, though sadly we know only a few will believe the gospel and be saved.

(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 Christ will return after the Millennium, suggesting that man is supposed to establish His kingdom without Him if that were possible, but it isn't. Man has proven this over the last 2000 years. God has charged the Church to emulate heaven on earth, as we recite every week in 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 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 kingdom and reign on this planet for a thousand years. Throughout the age of grace man has tried to bend kingdom principles to fit the model of Christ’s coming Millennium and has used violence in effort to force God’s hand, and has consequently trampled on the grace of God and spoiled the Church. God has called us to establish a benevolent kingdom that Christ would be proud to lead. He intentionally refused to give the Church authority to use force against our enemies, knowing that the use of violence would make Christianity indistinguishable from all other kingdoms of this world. Tallying the violence perpetrated in the name of Christ throughout the age of grace does more to underscore man’s disobedience than to reveal the will of God. See also: Millennium (Purpose is to prove that sin is utterly sinful; 2The 3,1-3; 16a)

(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”. Thankful people say the words, but thankless people do too. What matters is not so much saying the words but actually being thankful. Like so many other things, this is something that God fosters in us that we can develop through the power of the Holy Spirit in our quest for Christ-likeness. 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 the person driving the car. Having a thankful attitude can make the difference between being righteous or unrighteous, godly or ungodly, Christian or heathen. Ungrateful Christian is an oxymoron.

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 gratitude. 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. If the fruits of the Spirit are named in order of importance in Gal 5-22,23, which they are, then joy is more important than peace. We do not always have peaceful circumstances, but we can always have joy, which produces peace. That is how much joy means to us, and if it is associated with gratitude, then it is important to be thankful. Sometimes bad feelings drive us into prayer and we go to God angry and spill out our heart to Him, and we don’t do it joyfully, yet we give thanks just the same. When we share our heart with God, He shares His heart with us, and joy returns. God has a heart of joy. He truly internalizes our problems, not just the circumstances themselves, also our feelings. He goes through our circumstances with us from the inside-out; He wants us to endure our trials joyfully. He is in our heart and He feels what we feel and weeps when we weep and rejoices when we rejoice. God's love is amazing, and it is in prayer that we understand this. We can read the Bible, and it tells us these things, but in prayer we feel His heart and realize them.

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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 and beautiful verse. “In everything…” Even in our darkest hour we give thanks. There is good cause to be thankful, for God has given us hope and a future, regardless of what happens to us in this life. Giving thanks in the face of adversity shows that we believe God is bigger than our problems, 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 remains is good, and for this we give thanks.

1The 5-17

(81e) Pray Without Ceasing (Key verse)

(81m) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> For the Church >> Life of prayer

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 we have a spiritual moment, we should not quench it with our disobedience and unbelief. Rather, we should nurture the Spirit of God within us as a mother tenderly cares for her children. We are to make the Spirit of God our new identity, following Him wherever He leads. The definition of quenching the spirit is simply dominating the small, still voice who speaks quietly in our heart. “Whatever He says to you, do it,” the mother of Jesus said to the wedding servants 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). We are not to despise any potential prophetic message from God. The less we quench the Spirit in our personal life the more we 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 saying the same thing, for we quench the spirit by participating in wickedness.

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 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. Most prophesying that occurs in church do not add new information, 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, throw out the junk and keep the good.

(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.” Jesus was speaking to every Christian, saying that the Holy Spirit will disclose to us all what is to come, meaning we are all prophets to the degree of our association with the Holy Spirit. This does not make us prophets in the strictest sense of the word, but we are to the world that does not know God, and we are to our fellow Christians whose affiliation with God is less than ours, but to those whose anointings eclipse our own, they are prophets to us. What makes us prophets, then, is our knowledge in relation to each other. If we are interacting with God in ways that nobody else does, then God can reveal to us things that nobody else knows, and for us to speak these things 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 believe a naturalistic theology like the Sadducees. The Bible is a spiritual book, and for this reason they have discarded many doctrines that the Scriptures teach. Atheists despise religion, and naturalistic Christians despise the theory of evolution and the tenets of atheism, yet these two people-groups are not different as they purport. For example, if a Christian brother told them that he had spiritual insight into 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, 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 in God that He is a good person 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. Thank God for that, because if our salvation depended on accuracy of doctrine, none of us would be going to heaven. 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. See also: Evangelicals and Baptists (Obstacles in the way of church growth); 1The 5-23; 138g / Heb 1-9; 224g  

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

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1The 5-22

(1c) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God and people >> Avoid the appearance of evil – Some things appear evil when they’re not, yet we are to avoid them if others consider them evil. Christians are supposed to do good; we are the children of God and we are called to behave like God, who knows no evil. Does that make God a good person? Yes it does; He is naturally good, meaning He cannot be tempted and He cannot sin. It is not hard for Him to abstain from sin; it is in His nature, but we are living in bodies that are regularly tempted. The heathen is happiest when he is sinning, but sin does not make us happy. Our body will lead us into sin, and then complain about the consequences. The body itself is not evil, but its passions and desires that rebel against 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, for it all comes back on us in one way or another. We will not get away with anything. If man judges us for what we do, how much more will God judge us? Fortunately, He is merciful; He knows that we are but dust (Psalms 103-14).

(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 saying that we have His power dwelling in us, that the Spirit of God has delivered us from sin by giving His Spirit who does not want to sin. Some people therefore think they don’t have to abstain from sin, that if we feel like sinning, there must be a reason for it, and so they sin thinking that in some way it is the right thing to do, but these are the reasonings of the devil.

(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 only place in the Bible that 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, but the spirit is that which God has given when we believe in Him, so without Him we are incomplete. Believers in Jesus are the only people 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 that Christ might present us to the Father complete, that we might retain His Spirit without trading it for sin. We are to be a good host and make Him feel comfortable in our lives. We are not to take advantage of His kindness and drag Him through the mud, caving to our 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 Lord, for we are married to Him. 

(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 – 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 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; the blood of Jesus has covered our sins through faith, and now God views us as perfect,’ but Paul wasn’t talking about being without blame in the eyes of God but in the eyes of man; that is, Paul wanted us to be literally blameless on a behavioral standpoint. Some Evangelicals and Baptists don’t like this interpretation, because they want to keep the Scriptures in the theoretical realm, but Paul is commanding us to live 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, effectively eliminating any need to obey Christ. See also: Evangelicals; 1The 5-20; 222l / Obstacles to church growth; 1The 5-24; 91i

(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, like the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. People think we have both a soul and a spirit, but how do we discriminate between the two? If we have a soul, then what use is a spirit, or vise versa? Answer: man has a body and a soul, but man’s spirit is from God. This means unbelievers who do not have the Spirit of God are incomplete. Paul even used the word “complete” in this verse. He was telling us to make sure the Spirit of God dwells in us, otherwise we can’t go to heaven. God does not accept anybody in His heaven who does not host 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 the body. This 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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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 – In the first century Christians 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 places in the body that befit their God-given abilities, but this doesn’t happen 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, and as they matured, leadership would raise them to positions of ministry, that the church might make full use of their faith to help edify the body of Christ. When someone more gifted was discovered, they placed him also in ministry with leadership giving place to them often stepping down if needed, everyone benefited and Christ glorified (Gal 2-9). See also: Obstacles to church growth; 130m / Building the Church; Tit 1,5-9; 240b

(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 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 gatherings; they get together and gibber-jabber about their lives in the world; they talk about anything but Jesus. True spiritual fellowship rarely occurs; it is hindered, stifled, unwanted. 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 he 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. The only way we will 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 engaged and integrated into the body, exercising their gifts for the benefit of all. See also: Obstacles in the way of church growth; 1The 5-20; 222l / 1Pet 5,1-3; 169j

(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 authority, but it will end in our own undoing. So long as we work with Him, He will make sure that nothing stands between His purpose and ours.

(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 life. They see its application in the life to come, but God says that if our faith doesn’t mean anything to us now, it won’t mean anything to us then. 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 anything to us, we should 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. When we talk to people about Jesus, we are stirring the spiritual realm, as we do in all acts of love, but we interact with the spiritual realm most directly through the word of God and prayer.

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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. This is man’s world; God gave it to us; 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 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 it 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 unholy intent. The holy kiss has been replaced by a convenient handshake, and if people feel emotional, a 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 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