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THE BOOK OF 1 THESSALONIANS
The book of 1 Thessalonians contains five chapters, 89 verses, and 1,857 words. The book was written around 49 A.D. by the apostle Paul himself to the saved Christians in Thesslonia.
The city of Thessalonia is located in Greece, and the word itself means "Hot Springs."
Paul's first encounter with the Thesalonians is found in Acts chapter 17. It is in this chapter that we learn that Paul was accompanied by Silas and Timotheus. Upon his arrival in Thessalonica, he went to the Synagogue there first and reasoned with the Jews out of the scriptures for three sabbath days. This made the Jews angry, and they stirred up a crowd against Paul and caused an uproar. However, before Paul was forced to leave, there were many saved.
We are also informed that the Thesalonians weren't the best of Bible Students. After Paul left, they went to Berea, and found people who searched the scriptures daily to see if those things were so (Acts 17:11).
The book of 1 Thesalonians is the first epistle written by Paul in his ministry. It is a good book for new converts to study, as it is full of doctrine. It starts with salvation, and ends with the Rapture.
The book also contains no Old Testament references. And it encourages the Christian to look for Jesus' return.
Now let's begin our verse by verse commentary on the Book of 1st Thesalonians.
The epistle of 2nd Peter has 3 chapters, 61 verses, and 1,159 words. It was written by the apostle Simon Peter around 64-68 A.D. It is Peter's last epistle, and was written shortly before he was killed for Christ. We know this because in chapter 1 and verse 14, Peter tells us that he must shortly "put off his tabernacle" (body).
The church fathers say that Peter was crucified upside down for his faith in Christ. Whether that is true or not, we know that this epistle is Peter's last. It is his "swan's song," just like 2 Timothy is Paul's.
Many dispute the fact that Peter was indeed the author. But, his authorship can easily be proven within the epistle itself. For instance, Peter out right tells us that he is the author in 1:1, and in 3:1. Plus the fact that in 1:17-19, Peter himself tells us that he was on the Mt. of Transfiguration with Jesus (this is verified in Matt. 17:1-7).
The final bit of evidence is found in 1:14 when Peter tell us that God "shewed" him his manner of death. This account is found in John 21:18,19. This proves that it is Peter writing, and not anyone else. With all this evidence we can confidently say that Peter is undoubtablely the author.
Now that we have established Peter's authorship of the book, let's discuss Peter's character. This epistle shows how Peter has changed since his first epistle. He has humbled himself. This humility can be seen in chapter one and verse one in comparison to the opening of his first epistle. In first Peter 1:1, he says "Peter an apostle..." Whereas in this epistle, he opens by saying, "Simon Peter, a servant..."
This epistle also shows Peter's desire to see Christians grow. Notice what he says in the last verse of this epistle. "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
In his first epistle, Peter tells his converts to desire "the sincere milk of the word as new born babes" (1 Peter 2:2) However, when he writes this letter, he wants them to grow more mature and not remain babies. To help them grow, Peter gives seven things in chapter one and verses 5-7 that Christians should have added to their faith. This will also help keep them from falling.
Peter also wants them to grow in biblical knowledge. He uses the word "knowledge" seven times in this epistle, and stresses that knowledge is important to know Jesus Christ better. It will also keep them from being decieved by false doctrine.
The main theme of this epistle is to warn other Christians about false prophets. Most of chapter 2 deals with the subject. And, Peter tells those to whom he is writing that knowledge of the scriptures is the best way to overcome heresies and to spot the false teachers. Peter says we have "a more sure word of prophecy" (2 Pet. 1:19), than anyone else. It's the word of God!
Peter's epistle is also written to remind Christians of some things. Peter uses the word "remembrance" four times in this letter. The references are 2 Peter 1:12, 13, 15, and 3:1. In chapter two, Peter gives three examples from the Old Testament in order to remind Christians about the results of sin, and about God's judgment for it.
The first example is in 2:4 about the angels that sinned, and how they are locked up waiting to be judged. The next example is in 2:5 about the wickedness of the world in Noah's day, and the judgment of God by a flood. And, the final example is that of Sodom and Gomorrah, and God's judgment upon them by fire for their sin.
The epistle of 2nd Peter is a very small book, but it does have a lot to say to a Christian. And, it does contain an awful lot of doctrine in it's 3 short chapters.
So, without further adieu, let's begin a verse by verse study on the 2nd epistle of Simon Peter.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 1
1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the opening of his letter, we find Paul with two other men: "Silvanus" and "Timotheus." Silvanus would be "Silas" who accompanied Paul in Acts chapters 15 through 18. He is also found in 2 Cor. 1:19, and 2 Thes. 1:1. We find him later with the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:12.
Timotheus is unmistakably Timothy. The Bible tells us in Acts 16:1, that Paul found him in Lystra and circumcised him for testimony's sake. (He was half Jew and half Greek). It must have been that Paul used his Jewish heritage to his advantage in preaching to the Jews in their temples (Acts 17:1,2). Thus he must have had to circumcise Timothy as well, so that he could accompany him when he preached in their synagogues.
In Acts 17:14, we find Timotheus and Silas together in Thessalonia where they undoubtedly continued preaching and teaching until Paul called them to Athens in chapter 17 and verse 15.
From then on, Timotheus seems to be an "errand boy" or a "Stand-in preacher" for Paul, as he is continually sending him places to preach. (See the following references: Acts 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Rom. 16:21; 1 Cor. 4:17; 16:10; 2 Cor. 1:19; Phil. 1:1; 2:19; Col. 1:1; 1 Thes. 3:6 and 2 Thes. 1:1). An interesting note is that Timothy is the only man in the New Testament called a "man of God" (1 Tim. 6:11).
Paul continues by addressing his letter to: "The church of the Thessalonians." This is very important. There is a group today that call themselves "The Church of Christ." They get this from Romans 16:16. However the verse says "Churches of Christ" (plural), not Church of Christ (singular). They teach that they are the only true church, and all others are invalid as their church is the only one Christ founded. However, they are just as looney as a stud duck!
Paul is not writing to a "denomination," he is writing to the saved people in Thessalonica. Many people nowadays, think that the church is nothing but a building, or a meeting house. But according to the Bible, the church is the people who are born again. So Paul is writing his epistle to "the church" (all the saved people) in Thessalonica, and not just to some fanatical "denomination."
This also helps to explain how God preserved his word for us today. There might have been 4000 people saved in Thessalonia, but they weren't all coming together in one place. They were meeting in different houses. And each group would copy Paul's letters to take it to another group. Thus, many copies of Paul's letters were made. Then they were sent to other areas as well, so that everyone could read what Paul wrote. God used these copies of copies to preserve his words for us today!
Continuing with this verse, we find Paul saying, "unto the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ." Once a person accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour by faith, Christ Jesus is in him (Eph. 3:17). Not only that, but he is in Jesus Christ according to Romans 8:1; 12:5; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 2:13; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2, etc. And Jesus Christ is in God the Father (John 14:10,11). So if a Christian is in Christ, he is in God the Father (1 John 2:24). And God is in him (1 John 4:15).
This is one of Paul's seven mysteries in the Bible: The Indwelling of Christ. In Colossians 1:27 and 28, Paul writes, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:"A Christian then has the most wonderful gift of all. Not only is he saved from hell, forgiven of all his sins, and given eternal life, but also has Jesus Christ (God) living inside of him! What a blessing! In the end of the verse, Paul wishes them "peace" from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." According to Romans 5:1, we have peace already with God "through our Lord Jesus Christ" and his precious shed blood (Col. 1:20). So this peace must not mean judicial peace in which God no longer holds his wrath upon a sinner (John 3:36). This must refer to a daily peace in knowing that you are saved, living right (Rom. 2:10), and joyful of your salvation (Rom. 15:13). Some other references where Paul says the same thing are: Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2, Col. 1:2, etc.
1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
Paul tells the church that he is praying for them, giving thanks for them, and making mention of them to God. All of this Paul does in prayer.
Prayer is talking to God (Daniel 9:21). In 1 Timothy 2:1, we find there are different kinds of prayers as we read: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men."
Paul first mentions "supplications." This is asking God to supply a need that you have in your Christian life. Secondly it says "prayers." These are asking God for things you want or need (Matt. 21:22). Thirdly we are told of "intercessions." This is asking God on the behalf of someone else for something, or just praying for someone else (Rom. 8:26,34). And finally we are told "giving of thanks." This is simply thanking God for all he's given us, done for us, and delivered us from (Neh. 11:17). This ought always to accompany prayer (Col. 4:2).
Paul believed in the power of prayer. Not only did he pray for his new converts, but he told them to do the same. (See 1 Thess. 5:17,25; 2 Thess. 3:1; 1 Tim. 2:8; and Hebrews 13:18).
1 Thessalonians 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
Paul never forgets. And he tells the church in Thessalonica that he remembers their "work of faith, and labour of love." This is very important. A Christian is to have some works! A Christian is not saved by his works in any means (Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 4:5; Gal. 2:16, etc.) But a Christian ought to have good works after he is saved, because he is saved. Look at what Ephesians 2:10 says: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." A Christian needs to do right and live for God. He in no way is saved, or kept saved by his works, but his works do show his conversion (Matt. 7:20). Not only that, for all that Jesus Christ did for us, we should be more than willing to do for him in return.
The verse continues, "...and patience of hope" The patience here looks to be the patience they have for the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ at the rapture. This is called the "blessed hope" in Titus 2:13. In Romans 8:24, Paul uses the word "hope" in the context of the rapture, and he says in vs 25, "...we with patience wait for it." I John 3:1-3 also calls the appearing of Christ a "hope."
"In the sight of God our Father" could have a double application. Either God the Father saw their "patience," in hope of the coming of Christ, or the verse is saying that Christ Jesus will come "in the sight of God."
1 Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
Now we come to the verse which makes all the Calvinists go ballistic. When they see the word "election" or "elect" in the Bible, they immediately think that means the ones "chosen" to salvation by God before the foundation of the world against their own free will. This is simply not so! The word "elect" is found 17 times in the King James Bible in 17 verses. In most Old Testament references, it refers to Israel (See Isa. 45:4 for example). But in the New Testament sense (The New Testament beginning after Christ died on the Cross), it has reference to Christians who have trusted Christ as their Saviour (Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12, Titus 1:1).
Calvinists base their false teachings on the "TULIP" acryrinim. "T" is for "Total Depravity," and they teach man is so depraved that he can never get saved of his own free will unless God "overcomes" him or "regenerates" him first. The "U" stands for "Unconditional Election." They teach that God elects whom he will to be saved, and whom he will to be lost according to his own pleasure, and man has no say-so in the matter. The "L" signifies "Limited Atonement." According to their teachings, Jesus Christ only died for a certain amount of people (whom they call the elect) and not everyone. The "I" stands for "Irresistible Grace," in the which they explain that God's grace is Irresistible to the "elect" and they will get saved whether they want to or not. They cannot resist it, or the Holy Spirit. And finally the "P" is for "Perseverance (or some say Preservation) of the Saints."
This doctrinal teaching first formed by John Calvin is a Biblical Heresy. First, man is not "depraved" to the point that he has no free will. In fact, there are 17 times in 17 verses in the Bible were we find the word "freewill." (Some Examples: Levi. 22:18,21, 23, 38; Duet. 23:23, etc). So man, however depraved he may be, is not "Totally Depraved," as most Calvinists teach, to the point that he has no freewill of his own.
Secondly, their doctrine of "Unconditional Election" does not hold water, as God is "not willing that any should perish,but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
God "predestinated" (Eph. 1:5,11) from the foundation of the world to have Jesus Christ die on the cross for all sinners (Rev. 13:8). He "elected" (if you will) that all who come to his son will be saved, and all who reject him will be eternally lost. But the decision was left up to the individual sinner whether he would trust Christ or not. Those that do trust Christ of their own freewill are known as the "elect" in the Bible.
Thirdly they teach their damnable doctrine (2 Peter 2:1) of "Limited Atonement," in which they claim that Christ only died for who they believe were "chosen" for salvation, and all others were damned by an "eternal decree" (or something like that) to go to hell whether they want to get saved or not. But is this so? Most certainly not!
God wants all men to be saved. According to John 3:16, a verse every Sunday Child knows by heart, we read: "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son." It was for the world that Jesus came to die, and not only a "chosen few."
1 Tim. 2:6 even says that Christ "gave himself a ransom for all." This false teaching of Calvinism must ignore the Bible to base it's claims, and is guilty of the most heinous blasphemy of denying the complete saving power of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord.
Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation." But to be a Calvinist, one must be ashamed, as they try to steal the power of God to save even the vilest of sinners, by saying that Christ only died for certain ones. They limit His atoning power.
The next heresy taught by Calvinists is that of "Irresistible Grace." They teach that the grace of God cannot be resisted. Is this so? What about the Pharisees in Acts 7? We read Stephen's words in vs 51: "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." According to this verse, man not only has a free will, but he can resist God's will.
God sent Stephen to preach to these Pharisees. Obviously he wanted to see them saved, for he died for their sins (unless you are a Calvinist!). But they resisted the will of God (sounds like free will to me!).
Finally, let us talk about the last point of Calvinism and then move on. Calvin taught "Perserverance of the Saints." In other words, if you were the "elect" or one that was chosen of God to be saved, then your works would show it. However, if you fell out of fellowship with God, then it was very easy for them to point their finger at you and say, "Ah ha! You were never one of the elect!"
Calvinism not only is a heresy, but it gives no assurance of salvation, as one who believes it's teachings completely can only "hope" they are saved by being one of the elect (as, according to them, only God knows who is and who isn't saved). But the Bible teaches a man of his own free will can come to Christ Jesus and trust him as his Saviour and then know that he has eternal life (1 John 5:13)!
1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
Paul says here, "Our gospel." But in Rom. 2:16, 16:25, and 2 Tim. 2:8, he calls it "my gospel." The "our" must then signify that the Thessalonians to whom he is writing had already accepted the gospel by faith.
Then he adds that when he preached to them the gospel, he not only preached it in words, but in "power" (possibly Apostolic signs)... "in the Holy Ghost," and "in much assurance." This teaches us that God bears witness to his gospel. Specifically, it is the Holy Ghost that bears witness (1 John 5:6) of Christ. And the Holy Spirit will reproves a sinner of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11).
Then notice the word "assurance." Webster's dictionary defines this word as: "Firm persuasion; full confidence or trust; freedom from doubt; certain expectation; the utmost certainty." When a man is saved, he will have assurance of his salvation, that is to say that he should not doubt it. Does a man doubt that he is born? No. And to be saved, means you are "born again." Thus, a Christian should have no doubt that God will keep his word in confirming his soul until the end (1 Cor. 1:8).
In our current verse, Paul is using this word in context of his preaching. He is saying that he did not doubt what Jesus Christ did for him on the cross, nor did he doubt the Gospel, God's words, or that God did save him and others from Hell.
The word "assurance" appears in the Bible seven times in seven verses. The first instance, in Deut. 28:66, God says to the Jews that he will not give them "assurance" of [physical] life. Then in Isaiah 32:17, we find God saying that the work of righteous, among other things, is "assurance for ever."
In the New Testament the word is found in Acts seventeen and verse thirty-one, in which we learn that God has given "assurance unto all men" that he hath raised Christ Jesus from the dead. In Colossians 2:2, "assurance" is connected with "understanding," for how can one be assured of their salvation without understanding the gospel? The Bible is clear that a Christian's assurance comes from the scriptures (I Juan 5:13).
The other two places in the Bible that we find the word is in the epistle to the Hebrews. In chapter six and verse eleven, we find it in reference to "the full assurance of hope unto the end." This would undoubtedly be looking for Christ's coming (Whether for us in the Church us, or Jews in the Tribulation). And the last time the word appears is in chapter 10 and verse 22, which again speaks of "full assurance." But this time it's connected with "faith." A born again child of God should have this "Blessed Assurance" of the hope that lieth within him.
Paul never doubted his salvation. In fact, he said, "For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12). And again in Romans 8:38,39: "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." A Christian should have "much assurance" of his salvation, and be fully persuaded that he is saved by the grace of Almighty God.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
Paul gives a testimony in this verse that the Thessalonians who trusted Christ Jesus as their Saviour became followers of him. Here we see that there is nothing wrong with following a man. In fact, Paul commands us to follow him in 1 Corinthians 11:1, when he says: "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." However the catch is that you should only follow a man as he is following Christ.
In our verse we find Paul saying that they became followers not only of Paul but of "us." Who does this refer to? More than likely Paul is speaking of Silas and Timothy who were with him. Or quite possibly he his speaking of other Christians who were saved before the Thessalonians accepted Christ Jesus.
Then Paul says they were not only followers of him and others, but "of the Lord." Thus, a Christian must ultimately follow the Lord. Man can and will make mistakes. God said, "...Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). But God can never sin, never lie, and never steer you wrong. Thus we need to follow Paul's example and his teachings that he received from God, but we must not follow his sins (example: Him disobeying God and going to Jerusalem when God told him not to three times).
The rest of the verse tells us that they "received the word in much affliction." The Christian life is a life of affliction and suffering. When a man accepts Christ Jesus as his Saviour, he not only has gained a friend in God Almighty, but has gained a new enemy, or better said, "adversary" in Satan. Not only that, but he will also have the world and the flesh against him.
The Christian life is undoubtedly a life of suffering. Philippians 1:29 says, "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." Suffering is something the early Christians knew much about. To accept Christ Jesus meant to believe in only one God and his son who died for their sins. This was "anti-political" as the Romans believed in many gods. They especially elevated Cesar to a position that he was a god. Christians would not honor other deities nor honor Cesar as a god. For this reason many were slaughtered, or thrown to the Lions. Many of our early fathers in the faith knew that to be a Christian meant one would have to suffer or even die for Jesus Christ.
God's people have always had to suffer. From Adam to Abel to Job and on, many have learned that to serve God means you will get it in the neck. In Hebrews 11:25 we read about Moses who chose, "...rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." To serve God means you must go against the wicked world system, and to do so will always bring persecution.
For the early Christians there were but two choices: Either they could get saved and then suffer for God, or choose the pleasures of sin and then die and go to Hell. Most chose Christ Jesus and suffering to obtain an heavenly inheritance rather than the temporal joys of sin.
But what about suffering today? Most "Christians" nowadays don't suffer much, nor do they want to. Why is this? I believe it's because the world has become "churchy" and the church has become "worldly." Most Christians have become "carnal" and have actual decided to join the world, rather than live for God.
Paul says in 2 Tim. 3:12, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Thus, we see that the rate of persecution that a Christian will received, is based proportionally upon how "godly" he lives. For this reason, many Christians nowadays have decided to do very little for the Lord Jesus Christ as they don't want to bring pain and affliction upon themselves.
Instead of the modern day Christian putting his life in jeopardy for the cause of Christ by preaching boldly one's need to be saved, instead he keeps his mouth shut and is thus "accepted" by society and his "religious views" are tolerated by modern man. (Yet for how much longer is yet to be seen).
America is quickly becoming a pagan nation, and maybe someday soon, Christians will persecuted. They are already ridiculed and mocked by many Universities and Colleges, as most of the world would rather embrace "Evolution" than salvation.
But let us continue looking at what the Bible says about "Christian suffering." Peter has much to say about it in his first epistle. In 1 Peter 2:21 we read: "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." So a Christian is called to follow Christ Jesus who is our example of how to suffer.
Obviously a Christian ought not to suffer for doing evil. A Christian is to live holy and righteously and just and shun evildoing. I Peter 4:15 says, "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters."
A Christian ought to be an example to others on how to live a holy life before God. But when a Christian does so, the wicked world will always ridicule him and put him down, for by his own testimony, he shows the world that its works are wicked. Eventually, the world will not be content with mere words of ridicule, but will turn to physical violence to get rid of those who by "holiness" prick their conscience and teach others that they too need to do right. When this suffering comes, a Christian should be comforted and know that he is suffering at the hands of sinners just like Jesus our Lord, who did no evil, nor was guile found in his mouth, suffered at the hands of ungodly men. I Peter 3:17 says, "For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing."
Peter continues with the subject of suffering in his first epistle in chapter four and verse sixteen by saying, "If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf."
Here is the "joy" that we find in the end of our current verse in 1 Thessalonians chapter one. Although it sounds like a contradiction, there is joy in suffering, if you know you are suffering for the right reason. The apostles suffered for Christ, and in Acts 5:41 we read, "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." They rejoiced in suffering because their suffering was for the Lord Jesus Christ. And when suffering comes to us, it helps us to remember Christ's sufferings for us.
Hebrews 12:2 is probably one of the greatest verses in the entire Bible to help us to understand the subject of Christian suffering. It says, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
The Lord endured the cross (suffered) and despised the shame, but notice he did it for a specific reason: "For the joy that was set before him." What was this joy? There was no joy in the torments and physical suffering he endured on the tree. Nor was there joy in being mocked by those standing there watching. What was this joy? The answer can then only be found in the rest of the verse. The joy was finishing the job he came to do, so that he could be the "author and finisher of our faith." In other words, the joy was all of us who came to Him to be saved! The joy was not the cross, but the other side of it. The joy was you and I who are saved! For this reason, Christ suffered for us!
And, Christian, you might not enjoy suffering for the Lord Jesus Christ here now on the earth, but if you'll realize you're suffering for the one who loved you enough to die for you, you'll be able to find joy and peace in tribulation, as you'll realize that someday you'll be rewarded for it. Look to the other side of the cross, and you'll find the joy there!
The rest of the verse says Christ Jesus is "set down at the right hand of God." That is a joyous thought! And if you are saved, someday you'll be with God in heaven! So what's a little suffering here when someday it'll all be over, and you'll be seated with Him up there in heavenly places?
On more thing about suffering that's very important is found in 1 Peter 5:10. Peter says, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." This verse tells us why God calls us to suffer. It is to make us better Christians. God puts us through the fire in order to burn off all our imperfections. The suffering is not a bad thing (although our flesh thinks so), it is a good thing as it perfects us, strengthens us in the faith, settles us, and stablishes us in our Christian life.
Suffering is an instrument of God to make our wills break so that we can be pliable and a vessel fit for the Master's use. Sadly, most Christians run from suffering, and for this reason they never completely identify with what Jesus Christ did for them.
As the song says, "He he suffered it all, just because he loved me." It is through our sufferings that we begin to understand what Christ Jesus went through, and grow closer to him who loved us and gave himself for us.
So, for a Christian there is joy in suffering. But this joy only comes as we look to Jesus "the author and finisher of our faith" and look to our suffering as "light affliction" in contrast to what Christ went through for us. For truly our trials, heartaches, and tribulations do not even begin to compare with what He suffered. But, if our heart's right, and we endure suffering with the right state of mind, it will help us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:18). And we can rejoice in knowing that we are suffering for Him who loved us enough to suffer for us in our place for our sins!
1 Thessalonians 1:7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
"Ensamples" is the old English way of saying "examples." In reference to the verse above, these new converts to Christ were examples of "affliction" to those that believed in Macedonia and Achaia. They taught them how to suffer for Christ Jesus. But more importantly, they taught them how to have joy in the Holy Ghost in their trials and tribulations.
1 Thessalonians 1:8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
This verse instructs us that the Thessalonian brethren were preachers and "soulwinners." They were missionaries too, as they "sounded out the word of the Lord" in Macedonia, Achaia, and in every place that they went. Paul was so impressed with their zeal, and preaching in many places that he said that he had no need to speak any thing to the other churches, inferring that they had already reached them as well.
1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
The "they" refers to those in Macedonia and Achaia referred to in verse eight. They showed or told Paul what the Thessalonians learned from Paul in Thessalonia. This shows that the Thessalonians were not only zealous for their faith, but were thorough in indoctrinating their converts, by telling them everything they knew.
The end of this verse is a good definition of "repentance." The word repentance is defined in Webster's dictionary as:
1. Sorrow for any thing done or said; the pain or grief which a person experiences in consequence of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct.
2. In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.
3. Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.
[Further] Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God. Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. 2 Cor. 7. Matt. 3. Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God.
In simpler terms, there are two main definitions of the word repentance. One is to feel sorrow for something, and the other is to turn from something to something. Before a man is saved, he should feel sorry for his sins, for it was those sins that put our Saviour Jesus Christ on the cross. But also he should turn from idols to the living and true God. He should turn from trusting his righteousness and trust Christ's righteousness. And he should then serve Him who saved him.
One of Webster's many definitions of the word idol is as follows: "An idol is any thing which usurps the place of God in the hearts of his rational creatures."
The idols that Paul is speaking of specifically were graven images which the pagans worshipped daily as gods (See Acts 14:7-15). But an idol can also be anything that a lost person puts before God. (Examples: money, sinful pleasures, self, material possessions, one's one works, etc.) Christians should be very careful not to set up idols in their hearts, for what a man loves more than Jesus Christ is his idol.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The "and" shows a continuation of thought from the last verse. Paul says they not only turned from idols to serve the living and true God, but they also were waiting for the return of his Son from heaven. What a marvelous thing to teach a new convert!
A new Christian must be taught that the Christian life is a life of suffering and service for Christ Jesus. He paid the price for our sins, and bought us. Now we ought to do something for him who did so much for us.
But he should also be taught that the Lord Jesus Christ is quickly coming again. This is our blessed hope! And this will help a Christian to live a holy life as he continues steadfastly in the faith serving the Lord and looking every minute of every hour of every day for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1st Thessalonians Chapter 2
1 Thessalonians 2:1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:
Paul's entrance unto them can be found in Acts chapter 17 when he first visited Thessalonica. This "entrance" Paul says was not in "vain."
According to Webster's Dictionary of 1828, the word vain means: 1. Empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance. 2. Fruitless; ineffectual. Needless to say, Paul's efforts of preaching the Gospel in Thessalonica were not worthless, nor without fruit. Many accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
The word vain can also mean "of one's self." Hence the word "vanity," which speaks of one that's conceited or thinking only of himself. Paul uses the same word (vain) in 1 Corinthians chapter fifteen and verse two, speaking of someone believing in vain. From the context this would mean they were trusting in themselves rather than trusting in Christ Jesus their Lord.While writing to those in Thessalonica, Paul calls them "brethren." Paul also calls the Jews his brethren as well, but this is a kinship in the flesh (Rom. 9:3). But in the majority of his epistles, when Paul calls a man brother or uses the term "brethren" he is speaking of the spiritual relationship each believer has in relation to God and each other in Christ.
When a man is saved, he becomes a son of God (John 1:12). And the Bible calls Jesus Christ the Son of God (John 1:34, 49). This makes us not only children of God the Father (Rom. 8:16, Gal. 3:26, etc.), but brothers with Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:17). He is our big brother if you will. And some day we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2).
Thus, a Christian has a very interesting relationship with God. As an individual, each Christian is a son of God (not the Son of God). As a whole body, all Christians are children of God (not to be confused with the children of Israel). And all Christians make up the bride of Christ which will someday wed with its beloved Saviour Jesus Christ—the bridegroom (John 3:29, Rev. 21:2,9, etc.).
1 Thessalonians 2:2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
Here we have an account of things that transpired in Acts chapter 16 in Philippi. It was there that Paul and Silas (Silvanus) were thrown into prison for casting a devil out of a demon possessed woman. The reason being that those who used her, lost much money, for she had a demon of divination that could "soothsay" or tell the future.
But in their bonds, they were "bold" to speak the Gospel and preach, albeit with much "contention." This is always true. Satan hates the Gospel of Jesus Christ and will send as much opposition as he can to stop it from being spread. But as Christians, we must heed Paul's example and suffer for the sake of Christ and continue steadfastly proclaiming the way of salvation to all men. Paul did this in his time, and the Philippian jailor was saved because of it (Acts 16 and 17).
1 Thessalonians 2:3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
In the next few verses, Paul gives us a list of things that preaching should not be. They are as follows:
1. Of Deceit vs 3
2. Of Uncleanness vs 3
3. Of Guile vs 3
4. To Please men (or get their glory) vs 4,6
5. Of Flattering words vs 5
6. Of a Cloak of Coveteousness vs 5
Preaching is very important to God, and in fact something that pleases Him. In First Corinthians 1:21 we are told, "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
Again in verse eighteen we read, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." Thus we see that preaching not only pleases God, but God also calls it "foolishness." Why is this?
It is true to a lost and dying world, a man that will stand up and stomp, sweat, scream, holler, rant, and rave, while begging and pleading a sinner to come to repentance with tears in his eyes does indeed look foolish. But it is what a sinner needs for it is only through preaching that a soul can hear the gospel and be saved.
In Mark 16:15, the Lord Jesus Christ himself commands us: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Preaching is not only important, but ordained of God. But what is to be preached? Most certainly the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:10, Romans 1:15, 1 Cor. 1:17, etc.).
But also we are to preach:
1. The word (the Bible) Acts 16:6, 2 Tim. 4:2
2. Christ Acts 17:3
3. Faith Roman 10:8
4. Christ crucified 1 Cor. 1:23
5. Service to Christ Jesus 2 Cor. 4:5
6. A Risen Christ 1 Cor. 15:14
Preaching is very important. Now that we have seen what preaching should not be like (see the list above), let us look at what preaching should be.
2 Timothy 4:2 says it best when it declares, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." Preaching should be a Reprove (To excite a sense of guilt). It should be rebuking (Chide one for their sins). It should also be of exhortation (to stimulate or excite one to bring them to the point of a decision). It should also be with longsuffering (patience), in allowing the sinner to make up or her own mind to come to repentance.
But most importantly, it must be of sound doctrinal content. Doctrine is by far one the most important thing. For in Galatians chapter one and verses eight and nine, we find someone is preaching "another gospel." This is not only "unsound" doctrine, but will damn a soul to hell!
The Gospel that we are to preach is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. It is what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, and not what we can do to earn the favor of God by our own works. It is a bloody Gospel that portrays the sufferings, death, burial, and glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This must be preached, and a sinner must come to realize that without what Jesus Christ, he is doomed for an eternal condemnation in hell for all eternity. And he must see that the wrath of an angry God abides upon him (John 3:36) for rejecting His son that died for his sins.
But preaching the truth does not come without a cost. For preaching produces enemies. Paul said to the Galatians in 4:16, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Many hate preaching for what it does. It tells a man that he's no good and there's a man much better than he is that did something that he can never do.
The natural man despises this kind of "hate speech" as it not only is against his nature, but wounds his sinful pride. Men want flattering words that make them feel good. They want to feel a sense of accomplishment and brag about what they have done and can do. But God will never accept their works, for they will always be the works of a sinner!
Paul's preaching was not aimed at making a sinner feel good about themselves. His preaching was with power and zeal. He preached not words of man's wisdom, but told them the truth whether they wanted to hear it or not. Let's hear Paul's testimony from his own words. In 1 Corinthians 2:4, he says, "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." Thus the secret to good preaching is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak plainly while telling the truth to those that need to hear.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
Paul again states that his preaching was not to please men, but God (Gal. 1:10). He did not care what men thought of what he said, all that mattered to him was that he said what God wanted him to say. He even remarked about himself that his speech was "rude" (2 Cor. 11:6) and "contemptible" (2 Cor. 10:10) on occasion.
Paul in no way wished to "hob knob" with the "big wigs" by watching what he said. He had no "long speeches" in which he "orated" so that men could brag about how good of a "speaker" he was. No! He, as they say in the south, "reared back his head and let 'er rip!" He preached hard against sin. He cried boldly against idol worship. He rebuked sinners of their fornication, adultery, and ungodly, pagan lifestyles. And with all his might he painted a picture of Hell till one could feel the flames beneath their feet. In fact, in Acts 24:25, we find that after Paul preached about "righteousness, temperance, and judgment" to come, that Felix trembled!
But Paul was always careful to show them Christ crucified, in their place for their wicked ungodly sins, and stress to them their need to trust the precious shed blood (Romans 3:25) and he who shed it for the payment for their sins!
Continuing with our present verse, we see that Paul says God put him in "trust" with the Gospel. This goes back to what we have already seen where Paul calls it "my gospel." Paul always looked at it this way because God called him to preach this Gospel to the heathen (Gal. 1:14-16).
The last part of our verse says that God "trieth our hearts." This terminology is only found in two other verses in the Bible. One is in Psalm 7:9 where we find a "righteous God" not only trying a man's heart but the "reins" as well. The other occurrence is in Proverbs 17:3 in which we encounter the "LORD" trying the hearts of men in the context of the same way a man tries silver or gold. What a wonderful picture this presents to us.
Silver or Gold is a most precious metal. But when it's found in the raw, it must needs go through the fire before it can be pure. The fire draws out the many imperfects and dirt in the metal. When the metal is heated to the boiling point, all the grime and unwanted particles raise to the top and can easily be strewn to one side. Then the pure metal remains almost like a glass into which one can see themselves.
God too wants to send the fire of suffering to us as Christians (See comments under 1 Thess. 1:6). It's not that he hates us, but because he loves us (Heb. 12:6). He wants the fire to try us and have its perfect work in us (James 1:3,4) so that all the imperfections, dirt, grime, and muck will boil out of our hearts and God can see himself in us.
1 Thessalonians 2:5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:
Paul says he never tried to flatter anyone. And those in Thessalonica knew it. Nor did he try to put a cloak (a heavy covering) over them of covetousness. In other words, he wasn't after their money or material possessions, and then tried to cover it up. All he wanted was to give them the gospel, and then do all that he could to help them live for the Lord after they were saved.
Then Paul says, "God is witness." God is watching all things. He is omnipotent, all powerful, and omnipresent. God sees and knows all. Proverbs 15:3 says, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." (See also Prov. 5:21 and Zech. 4:10).
1 Thessalonians 2:6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
By the colon at the end of verse five we see that this sentence is a continuation of the thought connected to that verse. Paul is saying that he did not flatter anyone, nor did he try to "butter them up" in an attempt to win their favor or have them glorify him or put him on a pedestal.
This verse shows us something of Paul's character and his motive for preaching in contrast to that of the Pharisees. It is well known that Paul was a Pharisee before his conversion, but after he is saved, his entire outlook on life changed.
In this verse, Paul is emphatic in telling us that he didn't seek for glory from anyone. Paul was not the least bit interested in the praise of man, as the Pharisees were (John 12:43).
Paul looked at himself as a man who was a sinner, and a great one at that (1 Tim. 1:15); albeit a saved sinner. Paul's mentality in life was to do everything he could to please the Lord Jesus Christ. And it was through preaching of the gospel that Paul believed God would be pleased with him (1 Cor. 1:21).
But how different this mindset is from that of the Pharisees. Their desire was only to carry on "Religious traditions" in order to make a living and better themselves by trying to win friends and influence people through their vain conversations. The more they would do, the more glory they would get for themselves from others. And this was what they wanted and, yea, their very motive for service.
The same is true today. All too often today when a man becomes a preacher, it is easy for him to get full of himself with the more acceptance he gains and the more that people begin to compliment him for his orating abilities, or Bible knowledge. Paul warns us of this in 1 Timothy 3:6 when he says that a novice should not be a Pastor, as more often than not, he will be lifted up with pride and then fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Paul tells us the key to keeping ourselves humble and not allowing ourselves to get carried away with the praise of men and think more highly of ourselves than we ought, is to have charity. In 1 Corinthians 8:1 we read, "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." Charity is the key to keep a man from being tempted to "compromise" in order to seek the praise of men.
The word charity carries with it the connotation of giving sacrificially. And Paul learned to do just that. However the Pharisee's did not. Their desire was to get all that they could for themselves, and when they did give an offering or a gift it was of their abundance and usually only given to be seen in the eyes of men (Matthew 23:5).
Thus, Paul's conversion was not only a spiritual salvation from Hell. He was also saved from the Phariseeical teachings, methods, traditions, and vain vices that before so clouded his thoughts and being that he was willing to persecute and kill for their false religious doctrines (Acts 22:3-5).
Clearly the change can be see in Paul's writings in places such as Ephesians 3:8 where he says, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." Can you image a Pharisee saying that he was the "least" of anything?
Also in 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul wished that he not be "exalted above measure." Yet the Pharisee's only desire was to be exalted in the eyes of men and advance himself higher in his political and religious scales.
One more example will suffice. In Romans 7:24, Paul states, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Certainly a man that wants glory from others would not call himself "wretched," nor would he call his flesh a "body of death."
Further on in our current verse, we find Paul saying that "we" (He, Silvanus, and Timothy) "might have been burdensome." In otherwords, if they had given Paul glory, he felt that he would have been a burden to them, for what do you do to men of which you give glory? You through them feasts, parties, festivals, etc., and go out of your way to show them honor. Paul did not want this, he just wished to be treated like everyone else.
Then Paul closes this verse by saying, "As the apostles of Christ." Notice that it is in the plural: "apostles." Certainly Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ, but what about Silvanus and Timothy. Were they too?
To find the answer, we must study where the apostles came from, the prerequisites to becoming an apostle of Christ, as well as the works of an apostle.
Let us begin with Luke 16:3. In this verse we find the Lord Jesus himself calls his 12 hand-picked men "apostles." Then we are given a list of them in verses 14-16. (See also Matthew 10:2-4).
These "apostles were twelve in number in the beginning. And they had power to work miracles (Luke 9:10). These twelve were present with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry, and were with Jesus at the Passover supper (Luke 22:14), but fled from him in the garden (Mat. 26:56, Mark 14:50). After the resurrection, these men came together again (except for Judas who betrayed Christ and hung himself) and chose to elect a new "apostle" in order to retain the number 12. Thus by lot Mathias was chosen (Acts 1:26).
There is some debate as to whether Mathias is an apostle or not. Some claim he was chosen by man rather than God and that God did not honor their method of choosing Mathias and that Paul in reality is the twelfth apostle for God chose him (Col. 1:1). Whether this be the case or not, we will soon learn that there were more than 12 apostles anyway and those who argue that Mathias was not an apostle are only trying to set the number of apostles at twelve and make no allowance for any more.
Continuing on, we must needs ask the question: "What does it take for a man to be an apostle?" According to the Bible, and it is very clear, in Acts 1:21-25 we find that for a man to be an apostle, he had to have been with Jesus and the others from the beginning of the Baptism of John until the resurrection and ascencion of the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 23 we find there was another man named Barsabas or Justus that was with the apostles during this time as well, but he was not "apostleized," if you will.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the apostles was their ability to do "signs and wonders." In 2 Corintians 12:12, Paul says, "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." So the apostles had the gift of working miracles.
That Peter had these signs is clearly evident in such places as Acts 3:6,7; 5:15,16; etc. The other 12 had them as well according to Acts 5:12. But it was more than just the original twelve that had this power. For Paul had the power of working miracles as well (Acts 19:11). So did Barnabas (Acts 15:12). And who can forget the spiritual young man named Stephen who preached a gripping message to the Sanhedrin in Acts chapter seven? In Acts 6:8 we are told that he too "did great wonders and miracles among the people." So those with the apostolic signs and wonders were more than just 12 men.
It is clearly true without a doubt that Paul was an apostle for fifteen times in his epistles Paul refers to himself as such. (See Romans 1:1, 1 Cor. 1:1, Gal. 1:1, etc.). Paul would then be the 13th apostle. And he was the apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13, Gal. 2:8).
But what about the other men who worked miracles (Stephen, Barnabas, Silvanus, Timothy, etc.)? Were they apostles too? And what about Andronicus and Junia, who we are told were "among the apostles," in Romans 16:7. Does that mean that they were apostles themselves, or were only "among" meaning that they were only with the other apostles?
In Acts 14:14, we see that it states clearly that Barnabas and Paul are apostles. That makes 14 in number. If we take Romans 16:7 literally, we have two more (Andronicus and Junia) and that gives us a minimum of 16 apostles. Clearly there were more than just twelve.
But, what became of the apostles? Are they still around today? Do they still have the power to heal and work miracles? Or did their office and work cease? We shall (as always) turn to the scriptures to find the answers to these questions.
In 1 Cor 12:28, 29 we read, "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?" Here it says that God set some to be apostles. So not everyone is an apostle. And it continues by saying that God set them "first" in the church.
Then Paul asks, "Are all apostles?" Clearly the answer is no. And he continues, "Are all workers of miracles?" Once again the answer is "No!"
In Ephesians 4:11, 12 we read, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." So God only gave the office and work of an apostle to "some" and not all.
But as we study the Bible, we find that the apostles ended as time went on, and so did their signs and wonders. As we have already seen, without a doubt, Paul was an apostle and he had the gifts of an apostle. So strong was his power to heal and work wonders that he didn't even have to see a person to heal them. They could send him an apron or an handkerchief, and he would then pray for the owner of it, and they would be healed (Acts 19:11,12). But as time went on, he lost that power. This is clearly evident by the following verses.
In 1 Tim 5:23, Paul says, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." Here, Paul recommends medicine for sickness. Why would he tell Timothy to drink "wine" (Old English word for grape juice) for his infirmities, if he had the power to heal him?
Another interesting verse is found in 2 Tim 4:20. Here Pauls says, "Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick." If Paul still had the signs and wonders, then why would he leave someone sick?
Another convincing bit of evidence to prove that Paul lost the apostolic signs, for remember signs are for the Jews (1 Cor. 1:22), and Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13), was that Paul had a "thorn in the flesh" (2 Cor. 12:7). There is much speculation as to what this might have been. Many have refused to guess for the fear of being wrong. So I will simply put forth a strong possiblity and let the reader decide.
When Paul was on the road to Damascus, he was struck blind by the Lord. He remained that way for three days (Acts 9:9) until Ananias came and laid hands on him and prayed for him and his eyes were opened (Acts 9:17,18), and his blindness was healed.
However, there is much written in the Bible that would seem to point out that later on in life, possibly when Paul lost the apostolic signs, that Paul's eyes were again troubling to him. Could it then be that his thorn in the flesh was bad eyesight?
In Galatians 4:15, Paul says to the church at Galatia, "...For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me." And then again he says in 6:11, "Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand." Paul was not always in the habit of writing his own epistles. Sometimes he would dictate and someone else would write it down (Example: Romans 16:22). But in this verse Paul confesses that he did write the epistle to Galatia, and in a large letter. Now the book of Galatians is only six chapters. It is not that long of a letter. Could he have been talking about the size of the actual letters that he wrote in his epistle? For a man with bad eyesight usually tends to write big, so that he can read what he has written.
At any rate, in 1 Timothy 4:11, we find that only Luke is with Paul. Luke was a physician, we are told in Col. 4:14. Paul had need of a Doctor in his latter years, proving once again that the apostolic signs had ceased.
Nowadays, if anyone claims to be an apostle, they must be tested and tried. For according to Revelation 2:2, there are some "liars" who want to attain the office and it's glory. These men are "false apostles," according to 2 Cor. 11:13, and "deceitful workers" of Satan.
1 Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
Paul's testimony of his treatment toward the Thessolonians was that he was "gentle among" them. He was then a "Gentleman." And he took care of them as a nurse takes care of her children.
One of the duties of a nurse is to give the child milk. In fact, when a mother has a baby she "nurses" it to help it to grow. In 1 Peter 2:2 we read, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." Thus, the scriptures are likened unto milk.
Paul is saying that he took care of his newborn babes in Christ as a nurse cherishes for her young. And as she in love gives them milk, Paul also taught his new converts the scriptures.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
Paul continues by saying that the Christians in Thessalonia were "dear" unto him. So much so, that he was willing to impart unto them his "own soul."
Now, it's impossible to give one's soul literally to another individual. If someone is saved, his soul has been purchased by Christ and belongs to God. This passage is an example of a use of a "figurative term."
The soul is not only an immortal, invisible being that each one of us has inside of our fleshly bodies. It is also the mind, thoughts, mannerisms, and beliefs of each individual. In short, it is the very being of that person. Paul is saying that if it were possible, he would have given them his very being, because he loved them that much.
1 Thessalonians 2:9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
This verse is very important. Paul not only taught them the scriptures, but he taught them by example how they were supposed to follow God. Here, Paul tells us that he laboured night and day, because he did not want to be chargeable to any one of those in Thessalonia. In other words, he worked for his "keep." He believed a man ought not to be lazy, but work a full day's work for a full day's pay.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 we read:
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
Paul believed in a good strong work ethic, and taught it not only in word, but in deed also.
1 Thessalonians 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
Paul's testimony was not only that he was a hard worker, but also that he lived holy, justly, and unblameable in their sight. Each Christian should strive for such a flawless testimony.
1 Thessalonians 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
Here Paul says he was like a father to them, while back in verse seven he told them he was like a mother to them that nursed her young. This illustrates a wonderful idea of how a Pastor, teacher, or Missionary ought to treat their new converts.
A man and a woman are definitely not alike. Men are usually more cold and insensitive toward others and are apt to tell others what they need to hear whether they want to hear it or not.
Women on the other hand are more caring and helpful. They through love and attention, help others. With these two very opposite and yet distinct characteristics, we can see that Paul was a "mother" to them in the sense that he cared for them and tried to show them so while giving them the word of God with a loving attitude and happy demeanor. He also "comforted" them in their times of troubles.
However, when they sinned, he was always ready to rebuke them, and put them in their place. He continually "exhorted" and "charged" them to do right, "as a father doth his children."
1 Thessalonians 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
This verse gives us Paul's motive of the verse prior to it. Paul's reason for charging them and exhorting them was so that they would "walk worthy of God." In other words, so that they would not be a shame and a bad testimony and reproach to God. Is this not what a Christian father does to his children? He constantly rebukes them in love and encourages them to live for God. At times he must show he cares, but he must also keep a firm discipline upon his children and correct them when they need it. Could it be said any plainer than as put forth in Proverbs 3:12: "For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth?"
Then he continues by saying that God has called them into his "kingdom" and "glory." This kingdom would undoubtably be the "Kingdom of God" (Rom. 14:17). And the glory would be more than likely heaven.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Now we come to one of the most important verses in all of 1 Thessalonians chapter 2. There is much information not only about salvation, the gospel, and how God's words work in an individual, but it also tells us much about "Manuscript Evidence."
Paul begins by thanking God for "this cause." This would either refer to what he has previously stated in the preceding verses, or (and more likely) what he is about to say. Then he says that they received the word of God in "truth," believing that it was the very word of God. This verse truly tells us plainly that those in Thessalonica were "Bible Believer's." And, even before they were saved, they knew God's words when they heard them.
The question then arises, how does one know if words are God's words or Man's words? There are many answers to this. First, man can lie, and God cannot! (Rom. 3:4). Secondly, man's words can and do have mistakes in them. God's words do not, for they are pure (Ps. 2:6, Prov. 30:5). Finally, the words of God are given by inspiration of God and are scripture (2 Tim. 3:16), while man's words are not.
Here is where most so-called "Modern Bible Scholars" go off the deep end. When it comes to the "scriptures" and "inspiration," they claim that only the "original manuscripts" are inspired and that only they are the "scriptures." But is this so?
Let us look to the Book to see whether or not they know what they are talking about. We will look at several verses to show without a shadow of a doubt that "All scripture" is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16), and that to say that only the "Original autographs" are scripture is a blatant lie. For they are no longer in existence, and cannot be "received" as those in Thessalonica received the "word of God."
Below are some references:
Luke 4:17-21 Jesus reads from the scripture of Elias.
Acts 8:31-35 Ethiopian Eunuch had the scriptures.
Acts 17:2 Paul reasoned with them out of the scriptures
Acts 17:11 The Bereans had the scriptures
Acts 18:24,28 Apollos had the scriptures and showed them publicly!
2 Tim. 3:13Timothy's mother had the scriptures and taught them to him!
Now if we are to believe modern scholarship, and swallow that only the Original Autographs are scripture and only they are truth, then we have a problem. No one can "receive them," as no one has the "originals!" They have not been seen for more than 1900 years!
Furthermore, we have quite an interesting "fable" (2 Tim. 4:4) which must be devised to explain the above mentioned verses. For the "scholar," (who has no Bible) must believe that the "originals" where in the temple when Jesus quoted from them in Luke 4:17-21. Then some how, (maybe stolen?) they were taken to Ethiopa, and it was the Ethiopian Eunuch that had them when Philip witnessed to him in Acts 8:31-35.
Then, sometime afterwards, (maybe during his three years in Arabia?) Paul must have made a journey to Ethiopia to collect these "originals" for he reasoned with them "out of the scriptures" in Acts 17:2." If that was not far fetched enough, then the Bereans must have gotten them from Paul, for they had them and searched them "daily," we are told in Acts 17:11. Apollos must have come along and taken them from the Bereans, for he is teaching them and showing them "publicly," in Acts 18:24,28. Then we must go futher in this insanity, and believe that in one way or another (probably at a Garage Sale) Timothy's mother obtained the "originals" and used them to teach her son.
Now is there anyone that would actually believe such a far-fetched story? Modern Scholarship is off it's rocker! To teach that only "original autographs" are the "scriptures" or the "word of God" is to teach a blatant lie! Not only that, it steals a man's Bible from him, and makes the scholar the final authority, for only "they" know what the "originals" say. And no one can check on them.
Let's take our King James Bible, and look to it (because we have it, can receive it, and believe it) and see what it says, for the KJV corrects the scholars every time!
In John 5:39, we are commanded by Jesus Christ himself to: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." But how can one do this if, according to the scholars, the scriptures are only the "original autographs," which no one has?
In John 12:47, 48, we further read:
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
How can one receive His words if he hasn't got them? Obviously, Modern Scholarship can go straight to the birds! Like Billy Sunday once said, "Where the [King James] Bible says one thing and Modern Scholarship says another, Scholarship can go plumb to the devil!" Amen, amen, amen! P.S. Amen!!!
So we do have a problem if we follow the modern scholars of our day. According to them, only the "originals" are scripture and to be received as such. But where are the "originals?" They have long since perished. Thus, a modern Scholar has no Bible and cannot receive God's words in truth. Thus, they make their living by casting doubt upon what God really said. How sad!
Thankfully, those of us that know a thing or two, and have a little common sense (you have to go to College to be as dumb as a modern Scholar), know where God's words are, and that we can receive them in truth!
God said in 2 Tim. 3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." Notice that first word: ALL. That means "all." (And not the laundry detergent either). This shows that when a man makes a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of the "original" it is just as much scripture as the very words written down by those "holy men of God" as they spoke (2 Peter 1:21).
Further, God promised he would preserve his word in Psalms 12:6,7, and even more, purify it seven times! Then we read in Luke 21:33 that "heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." Either God is a liar or the apostate scholars are. You take your pick. But if God's words shall not pass away, then obviously they are here today and can be "received" and believed.
In John 14:23 we read, "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." For a man to be able to "keep" God's words, they must be here with us today! And we who are true Bible Believers know that they are in the King James 1611 Authorized Version that came from the Textus Receptus and the manuscripts from Antioch, where people were first called "Christians," (Acts 11:26), and not from any other "version" or "translation" that comes from perverse manuscripts from The Vatican (Vaticanus), or a corrupt manuscript whose first three letters are "SIN" (Siniaticus)!
The modern Biblical Scholar would do well to read Luke 9:26:
For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
Now that we've seen how Modern Scholarship works, and tries to steal one's Bible away from him and replace it with some "non existent" mystical "originals" which no one today has nor has ever seen and sets up the scholar as the final authority instead of God, let's look at how the word of God (which we have) works in those that believe.
First, let us go way back into the Old Testament and look at a verse in Isaiah chapter 55. In verse 11 we read: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.."
From this verse, we see that God's words go forth from His mouth! And when it comes to the Bible, that is God's words from his own mouth! When God spoke to man, He then had man speak His words. Sometimes they were written down (2 Peter 1:21), and other times they were just preached by a prophet to others. Four hundred and fifteen times in Four hundred and thirteen verses in the Old Testament, we find a man saying, "Thus saith the Lord!"
We also find that God's words were always spoken for a purpose. God said that they will not return to Him "void" but will "accomplish that which [He] pleases" and "shall prosper." So when God talks, He not only has authority behind Him, but a purpose for speaking. God's words "accomplish" something.
The words of God are powerful words. For with nothing but his words, God can produce light (Gen. 1:3). He can also create the heavens, the earth, and the firmaments (Gen 1:6-10; Hebrews 11:3), as well as all plant life (Gen. 1:11,12), all creatures in the sea (Gen. 1:20,21), and all insects, cattle, and beasts (Gen. 1:24,25). God's words are powerful! They accomplished much in creation.
In our current verse in 1 Thess. 2:13 we read that the word of God also, "effectually worketh in you that believe." Thus, we see that the power of God's words is not limited only to His creation, but is continually working today. So the question begs to be asked, "How does the Bible work in someone?"
The Scriptures first of all are what leads a man to trust Jesus Christ as his saviour, for without the word of God, there is no way to know exactly how to get saved and go to heaven.
In 1 Peter 1:23, we find that the word of God gives the new birth, when it states, " Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
Further in Romans 10:17, we find that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." So, without the word of God, no one can hear, and without hearing, no one can believe (Rom. 10:14).
James 1:21, also confirms this when it says, "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."
But let's look at what the word of God does to a Believer after he is saved. In Ephesians 5:26 we read, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." The context is the marriage relationship, and how that is likened to Christ and His bride — the church. And we find that Christ wants to use his word to clean or wash his bride.
So clearly, the word of God is likened unto water that cleans (Psalms 119:9) or sanctifies (Juan 17:17).
In Psalm 119:105 we are also told that God's word is a "lamp" and a "light." Thus, it illuminates us and guides us, while showing us where we would have stumbled if we had continued on in darkness.
God's word also works in a believer by:
Psalm 119:11 Helping to keep him from sinning
Psalm 119:74 Giving hope
Jeremiah 15:16 Giving joy
I John 5:13 Giving knowledge and assurance
1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
Here Paul says that those in Thessalonica became "followers of the churches of God" in Judea. Thus, a Christian ought to follow:
1. Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:24)
2. The Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 4:16) only as he is in Christ (1 Cor. 11:1)
3. The Churches of God in Judaea.
But the context of this "following" is suffering. Thus Paul is telling them to follow the example of suffering that the church in Judaea set before them.
Then he continues by telling them that they suffered not only from the Jews, but from the countrymen of the Thessalonians. Probably, this would refer to unbelievers in Thessalonia, or it could be a reference to "Romans" as the Roman Empire was in charge of Thessalonia during that time, and they persecuted Christians.
1 Thessalonians 2:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
This verse solves the "Who Dunnit?" mystery. Paul tells us that the Jews killed the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter preaches the same thing in Acts 3:13,14 and 5:10. Stephen also testifies that they were the "betrayers" and "murderers" of "the Just One" (Jesus Christ) in Acts 7:52. There can be no doubt that the Jews are guilty of murdering their "Messiah."
Many want to place the blame on Rome and say that they did it. And while they are the one's who physically carried out the sentence, and nailed the Saviour to the cross, God blames Israel. They are guilty by proxy for they, through their "mob violence" and constant "evil speaking," forced Pilate to do something that he otherwise might not have done. In God's eyes, the Jews were just as guilty as if they had been the ones who hammered the nails and thrust the spear into his side.
We find that in the New Testament the Jews, as a nation, rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah three times. The first time was when he came and was revealed by John the Baptist. The Jewish Phariseeical leaders did not accept Him then, and even later wanted to kill Him (Matt. 26:4, Luke 22:2, John 5:18, John 7:1).
Secondly, in Matthew 27 we find them shouting "Crucify Him!" They even went so far as to say "His blood be on us, and on our children," in verse twenty-five.
Finally, when Stephen was preaching in Acts chapter seven, we find that Jesus was "standing" in heaven "on the right hand of God." This shows the possibility that Christ could have come back right then to set up his Millenial Kingdom if the Jews had accepted him, as He had already fulfilled the law by his death, burial, and resurrection. But the Jews rejected Him once more, and Stephen died a martyr's death.
Clearly the Jews rejected their Saviour, and God holds them directly responsible for Christ's death. Not only did they kill Jesus Christ, but they are also guilty of the blood of the prophets (Matthew 23:31).
1 Thessalonians 2:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
This verse further tells us that the Jews not only murdered their Messiah, but forbid others to even "speak" about him to the "Gentiles." Not only did the Pharisees reject the Gospel, but they didn't want anyone (Jew or Gentile) to even hear about it! And this blatant hatred and hindrance to the Gospel, Paul calls "sin."
Paul further continues by saying that God's wrath is come upon the Jewish race to "the uttermost." The corrupt Living Bible in this verse perverts the words of God by saying that God's wrath is come upon the Jews "finally and forever." But is this true? According to the Bible, certainly not! God is not finished with the Jews by any means. Romans 11:25 tells us clearly that, "blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."
God's plan was to send Jesus Christ to Israel. In Matthew 15:24, Christ says: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." And according to John 4:22, "Salvation is of the Jews." But the Jews (as we have already seen) rejected Jesus Christ, and his Gospel. Thus, God took it to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27, 28:28).
In Romans 11:11 we read, "I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Thus, God took the Gospel to the Gentiles. In Acts chapter ten, we find Cornelius, a centurion, getting saved. In Acts chapter eleven, we find the Philippian jailor trusting Christ. And on and on. And in Romans 11:13 we find God calling Paul the "apostle to the Gentiles." Clearly, God wanted the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, to be saved.
But even though the Jews rejected and killed Jesus Christ, God is not finished with them. For in Romans 11:26,27 we read, "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is writtten, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Further in verse 28 we read: "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes."So, it should be remember that even though the Jews are enemies of the gospel, they are still beloved of the father, and he will again rise them up after the church is taken out of the world (Hosea 6:1,2).
1 Thessalonians 2:17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
Paul says they were "taken" from the Thessalonians for a short time. "But not in heart" shows that the Thessalonians were always thought about by Paul. Our modern day expression would be that "they were on his heart" continually.
Not only did Paul think about and pray for the Thessalonians, but he "endeavoured" or attempted to visit them.
Paul says such as this various times in his epistles. It shows that Paul had a great love for his converts, and wanted to see them and how they were growing in the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 2:18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
Here, Paul tells us that Satan was the reason that they could not make it to Thessalonia to see the Brethren. Thus, one of Satan's jobs is to hinder Christians. Some of Satan's other jobs are:
1. Deceiving People Rev. 12:9
2. Destroying Flesh 1 Cor. 5:5, Job 2:4
3. Making People Lie Acts 5:3
4. Stealing the Word Matt. 13:19
5. Accusing Christians Rev. 12:10
6. Trying to Get an Advantage 2 Cor. 2:11
7. Tempting Christians 1 Cor. 7:5
1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
Paul asks a question. He asks what is his "joy," "hope," or "crown of rejoicing." Then he answers himself in verse twenty.
But notice how Paul calls them a "crown." Figuratively, one could say that they are a crown unto Paul in the sense that a man wears a crown to be seen of men, and recognized for who he is. Thus, they are Christians as Paul was, and by their testimonies, they showed who Paul was and what he believed.
But literally, this would be a reference to the "Soulwinners Crown" that a Christian will receive in heaven for his service for Jesus Christ in winning souls.
There are five crowns in the Bible that a Christian can win for serving the Lord Jesus Christ. They are:
1. An Incorruptible Crown 1 Cor. 9:25
2. A Crown of Life James 1:12 3. A Crown of Glory 1 Peter 5:14
4. A Crown of Righteousness 2 Tim. 4:8
5. Crown of Rejoicing 1 Thes. 2:19
The Crown of rejoicing is for winning people to Jesus Christ. Crowns have jewels in them, and it looks very likely, that for each soul a Christian wins to Christ, he will get a jewel in that crown (Mal. 3:17; Matt. 7:6).
At the end of this verse, we find Paul asking a rhetorical question, by asking them if they will be in the Lord's presence at his coming. Clearly the answer is "Yes!" For every born again Christian shall be "caught up" to meet the Lord in the air, as Paul tells them in chapter four.
1 Thessalonians 2:20 For ye are our glory and joy.
Paul tells those in Thessalonia that they are his "glory" and "joy." He glories in them and what they are doing for Jesus Christ, as well as their growth in grace and knowledge. But he also gets joy from them.
It could very well be that was why he wanted to see them face to face (vs 17), as fellowship with other Christians is very important. They say, "There is strength in numbers," and this holds true even with Christians. The more fellowship you have with other Christians and the less fellowship you have with the world, the more joy you'll have in your heart.
Satan knows this, and his desire is to discourage us, and steal our joy. For "the joy of the LORD is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). If Satan can steal your joy, then you'll become discouraged and do less for the Lord.
Maybe that is why he hindered Paul from going to Thessalonia.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 3
1 Thessalonians 3:1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;
This takes place historically in Acts chapter 17 and verses 13-15.
1 Thessalonians 3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:
In Acts 17:14, we find Paul leaving bound for Athens. Then we read, "But Silas and Timotheus abode there still." So it must be that Silas and Timotheus went to the ship with Paul, but he sent them back, as our current verse says.
Paul continues by calling Timotheus a "brother" in Christ, a "minister of God," and a "fellowlabourer" in the Gospel. Thus, we see that a brother in Christ ought not only to minister to other Christians, but ought to be working together with them in spreading the Gospel.
Finally, we read that Timotheus' job was to "comfort" and "establish" them. It could be that Timotheus was to act as Pastor of the church there in Thessalonians at this time, for we find out that later on, he is working in this office as such when Paul writes him his first and second epistles of Paul to Timothy.
Thessalonians 3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
Paul wishes that they be not moved by the afflictions that they have undergone, and that they know that they were appointed to suffer, for all who accepted Christ Jesus as their Lord had to suffer terrible ridicule, and even persecution for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.Here Paul reminds them that he told them before that they would suffer "tribulations," and that what they are now suffering is part of that. And they knew it.
1 Thessalonians 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
Now that they are going through some things, Paul wishes to know how they are holding up. In other words, he wants to find out if it strengthened their faith to continue on the more for the Lord Christ Jesus, or if it discouraged them, and made them quit.
"The tempter" is certainly a reference to Satan himself, who does all he can to try to tempt Christians. Not only does he try to tempt them to quit, but he tries to tempt them to sin (as he did Jesus in Matthew 4:3), to speak reproachfully (1 Tim. 5:14), and blaspheme (Acts 26:11; Titus 2:5; 1 Tim. 1:20, etc.)
Although Satan tries to tempt Christians to sin, they do not have to give in to that temptation. According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, we find there is a way out of temptation. We read:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
So a Christian has a "faithful" God who will not allow Satan to tempt him above that which he is able to take. And He will also make a way of escape. All the Christian must do is look for it. The best way to start is by praying as soon as a temptation arises.
1 Thessalonians 3:6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:
Now we get "the rest of the story." Timothy left the Thessalonians, and brought back the good news to Paul that they were full of "faith" and "charity." So Satan's persecution didn't keep them from rejoicing in the Lord. And even though he hindered Paul from going to see the Thessalonians, he did rejoice to find this out.
In Second Thessalonians one and verse three, Paul also commends them because their faith "groweth" and their charity "aboundeth." To Paul "charity" is important (see 1 Cor. 13:13).
Moreover, the Thessalonians desired to see Paul too, and we read in the verse that they were said to have a "good remembrance" of him. So not only did they have faith and charity, but love and fond memories for Paul as well.
1 Thessalonians 3:7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:
Paul's response to the news that Timothy brought was that he and those with him were "comforted" in knowing that the Thessalonians fared well. And it helped Paul and his companions in their "affliction" and "distress."
Thus, a Christians testimony is very important. He can either cheer others up and give them encouragement and help to continue on, or he can drag others down in the mud with him if he allows Satan to steal his joy.
1 Thessalonians 3:8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.
Here Paul says that they live through those in Thessalonia. In other words, their steadfastness and stand for the Lord helps them to live for God.
This verse also shows us that how a Christian acts (or reacts) to someone or something, can help another Christian as well. For when one believer is really going through trials and tribulations, and sees another Christian going through the same thing, it can help him want to press on for the Lord knowing that he's not alone.
1 Thessalonians 3:9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;
As before mentioned in chapter one and verse two, Paul gave thanks for those in Thessalonia. But here, he asks the question: "For what thanks can we render to God again for you?" In other words, he feels that he can't thank God enough for them. Paul continues in this verse telling them the reason that he thanks God so much for them, is because of the joy that they have in serving the Lord and enduring tribulations. Thus, it's important to always be joyful whether you are suffering tribulations (vs 4), affliction (1 Thes. 1:6), distress, (vs 7), or are graced with good times.
1 Thessalonians 3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
Here we see more of the human side of Paul. Indeed he is a militant Christian. He fought the good fight of faith, (2 Tim. 4:7) and encourages others to endure hardness and afflictions as a "good soldier" (2 Tim. 2:3). There can be no doubt that Paul was a strong man in the faith, and stern in his convictions. But he too needed Christian fellowship. And in this verse he shows how strong his desire was to see those he won to Christ and be a blessing to them as much as they were to him.
1 Thessalonians 3:11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.
Paul is praying for God to let them go to Thessalonia so that they can see each other. He desires "Christian Fellowship."
There is nothing wrong with having fellowship with other Christians. In Acts 2:42, we find the apostles fellowshipping with the three thousand new saved converts. In Galatians 2:9, we read that James, Cephas, and John giving "the right hands of fellowship" to Paul and Barnabas. In I Juan 1:3, we discover that Juan's desire is for others to have fellowship with him.
But that fellowship ought to be of a spiritual manner. In Philippians 1:5, Paul tells us that their fellowship was "in the gospel." Christians ought not get together in fellowship to do "worldly things." They ought to fellowship together in "fellowship of the Spirit," as is stated in Philippians 2:1. A Christian's fellowship should to be "in the light," (1 Juan 1:7), and he should not fellowship with the "unfruitful works of darnkess" (Eph. 5:11). A Christian ought first and foremost to have fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:9), and not with "devils" (1 Cor. 10:20). Nor should he seek to fellowship with "unrighteousness" (2 Cor. 6:14). His fellowship should be for the purpose of "ministering to the saints" (2 Cor. 8:4).
1 Thessalonians 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
Paul's desire was not only that the Lord would increase their faith, but that their love would grow for each other and "toward all men." This is very important, for many times "Christians" don't get along too well. This can clearly be seen in Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter three and verses one through three, as he writes:
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ...For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions...
This is a shame and a reproach to a Christian, and to a Pastor, minister, or preacher, as it is a bad example to the outside world of what a Christian is supposed to be. Many lost people look at Christians, and when they see bitterness, strife, envy, backbiting, hatred, etc., they more often than not become "turned off" to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, thinking that Christianity is full of "gossips," "prattlers," and "hypocrites."
The words "all men" not only apply to Christians, but to lost people as well. All Christians should love souls, and actively be trying to win them to Christ Jesus. The problem is that most church people get their eyes off of the lost world, and their hearts grow cold. The more souls a man wins, the more joy he'll have, and the more love he'll find in his heart for the brethren!
1 Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
In verse twelve, Paul speaks of how they should love one another. Then this verse continues the thought joined by a colon, that the "end" or reason for doing so was so that their hearts might be "unblameable." 1 Peter 1:22 also speaks of this when it says, "...see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."
Paul's motive to see their love grow was that their hearts might be established "unblameable" in holiness before God. In other words, that they would sin less. For it's hard to sin against another brother or sister if you love them.
Further Paul speaks of the "coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints." This applies to the Rapture. For, as we shall see in chapter four, those that are dead in Christ shall come with him at his appearing.
It's important to note here, however, who these "saints" are. When those of the Catholic denomination speak of saints, they are refering to people who have died many years ago, and have been "canonized" by the Pope in Rome and dubbed "A Saint of the Church." No Catholic believes that a "saint" is someone that's living today, but rather someone that's already dead. But is this so? Not according to the Bible!
Let us look at some verses in the Bible to see who these "saints" are. In 2 Corinthians 1:1 we read: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia."
Further in Ephesians 1:1 we read, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus..." And again in Philippians 1:1, "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi..." Now is there any one stupid enough to think that Paul is writing to dead people in Ephesus, Philippi, or Corinth? Clearly, he is writing to those that are alive, and saved. Thus, a born again child of God is a "saint," according to the Bible.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 4
1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
Paul's desire was not only that they do right, which they seemed to be doing, but that they continually abounded "more and more," in their Christian walk.
The Bible has much to say about how a Christian "ought to walk." Here are some references:
1. Romans 6:4 In newness of Life
2.Rom. 13:13, 1 Th. 4:12 Honestly
3. Rom. 8:1-4 In the Spirit
4. 2 Cor. 5:7 By faith
5. Eph. 2:10 In Good Works
6. Eph. 4:1 Worthy
7. Eph. 5:2 In Love
8. Col. 4:5 In WisdomFurther, Paul continues by adding the words "and to please God." Paul wants them not only to walk correctly, but to please God in so doing.
The Bible tells us that to please God, one must not walk in the flesh, but in the spirit. Romans 8:8 says, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Thus, a man can never really please God until he is "born again" by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). How is one born again, or saved? By faith! For this reason we read in Hebrews eleven and verse six, "But without faith it is impossible to please him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
1 Thessalonians 4:2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
Here Paul tells us that he gave those in Thessalonia some "commandments." And they knew what they were.
The Bible is full of commandments. God has always given man a set of rules of which he is to abide to "please" (vs 1) God.
Many are familiar with the "Then Commandments" found in the Old Testament in Exodus chapter twenty. It's interesting to see that Paul gives most of these to Christians as well in the New Testament. Examples will be found below:
Ten Commandments New Testament References
1. Thou shalt have no other gods... Acts 15:28,19; 1 John 5:21
2. Thou shalt not make...any graven image (Not in New Testament) Col. 3:5?
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (Not in New Testament)
4. Remember the Sabbath Day (Not in New Testament)
5. Honor thy Father and Mother Eph. 6:1,2
6. Thou shalt not kill Rom. 13:9
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery Rom. 13:9
8. Thou shalt not steal Rom. 13:9; Eph. 4:28
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness Rom. 13:9; Eph. 4:25
10. Thou shalt not covet Rom. 13:9; Eph. 5:3
However, Paul is not putting New Testament Christians under the law by ordering Christians to obey the above commands. He is only commanding them to do these things, because they, as it says in verse one, "please God." And truly that ought to be a Christian's desire.
A Christian is not saved by the law, for according to Paul's epistle to the Galatians, the law is a "curse" and Christ came to "redeem" us from it (3:10-13). A man cannot save himself by the law (Gal. 2:16), or his works (Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 4:5). He is saved by Jesus Christ alone (1 Tim. 1:15; Acts 4:12).
However, God desires that we as Christians should be a "holy" people (1 Peter 2:5). Because he is holy, he desires us to be "holy in all manner of conversation" (1 Peter 1:15). He commands us "be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16).
Thus, a Christian is given some commands in the New Testament that God desires he do in order to be holy. These range from "be ye angry, and sin not" (Eph. 5:26), "let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying" (Eph. 5:29), "let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice" (Eph. 5:31), to "be not drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18), "withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly" (2 Thess. 3:6), "that with quietness [one] work, and eat their own bread" (2 Thess. 3:12) and "Let not the wife depart from her husband" (1 Cor. 7:10), just to name a few.
Following these commands do not save a Christian or keep him saved. Clearly the Bible teaches that when a person is "born again" he is a child of God that has been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18,19), and given eternal life (John 3:16, John 3:36), and shall never come into condemnation (John 5:24), for he is a son of God (John 1:12).
But, a Christian does have a free will to sin and either please himself or please him who saved him. If a Christian chooses to reject what God desires of him, then he will be disciplined by God here in this life, as stated in Hebrews chapter twelve and verses five through eleven. But if he follows God's commands, he will be rewarded for it at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and receive rewards (Col. 3:23,24).
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
Here we have a verse that talks about the "will of God." So many, so often, have debated throughout the centuries on who God is, and what God's will is. However, the answer is so simple, it's hard to miss, if someone reads the Bible.
In Revelation chapter four and verse eleven, we read, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." So, according to this verse, God's will, is that everything he has created will give him "pleasure." Unfortunately, this has not happened. From Satan, who first disobeyed God, and fell because of envy, thinking he deserved pleasure rather than God, to Adam and Eve, who desired to have their will instead of God's, to the present day, men have thought only about one thing, and one thing only — pleasing themselves!
However, in the Bible, we are told what God's will is, or how we can please God. You'll remember in the verse two above, we looked at "Christian commands" or things that God orders us to follow, so that he will be pleased (verse one). But what more is there to God's will?
Specifically, we are given four verses that are the specific "will of God" in the Bible. These are:
1 Thess. 4:3 That you abstain from Fornication.
1 Peter 2:15 That you do well.
1 Thess. 5:18 That you give thanks in everything.
2 Peter 3:9 That no one perish (go to hell), but that all repent.
According to the verses above, God's will plainly is that man get saved, and live right! God wants all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), and live for God, rather than his sinful lusts (1 Peter 4:2).
Simplified to it's utmost common denominator, God's will is "GET SAVED AND DO RIGHT!"
1 Thessalonians 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
Paul continues his thought from verse three, where he speaks of "sanctification." He uses the word again in this verse in context to one's "vessel." This without a doubt applies to one's body, as the term is applied to a man in 2 Timothy 2:21.
Of course the Revised Standard Version, and other perversions of the Bible corrupt the King James Text, and the Textus Receptus by changing the word "vessel" to "wife" (Possibly because of 1 Peter 3:7). This is of course simply ludicrous, as in verse three Paul is talking of "your" santification, and commands that "ye" (not your wife), abstain from fornication.
1 Thessalonians 4:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
This verse speaks of "lust," which is the carnal enemy of love. The simple and easy way to understand "lust" verses "love" is in the statement, "Love gives, and Lust takes!" Love is interesting in giving (John 3:16; 15:13; Gal. 2:20). But lust, on the other hand, wants. It tries to get what it desires, and has no feelings of compassion towards the object of its desire.
This "lust" of which Paul speaks is lust of "concupiscence." Webster's 1828 dictionary defines "concupiscence" as:
"Unlawful or irregular desire of sexual pleasure. In a more general sense, the coveting of carnal things, or an irregular appetite for worldly good; inclination for unlawful enjoyments."
Certainly then, the context is that of sexual pleasure, or "fornication" (vs 3). Paul then adds "even as the Gentiles which know not God." Showing us that the Gentiles, or unsaved who were not Jews (Greeks, Gentiles, Carthaginians, etc), were very lustful, and promiscuous people. Not only does the Bible show us this, but secular history as well. For we know that the Romans and Greeks were very much unopposed to Fornication, Adultery, Homosexuality, and wild orgies, of which much of their "Classical Mythology" portrays.
1 Thessalonians 4:6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
Here is an example of another "Christian Command." Paul orders that "no man...defraud his brother in any matter." This can and does have several applications. The first and foremost being, "Don't defraud your brother in anything!"
The Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines "defraud" as:
"To deprive of right, either by obtaining something by deception or artifice, or by taking something wrongfully with out the knowledge or consent of the owner; to cheat; to cozen; followed by of before the thing take; as, to defraud; a man of his right...To withhold wrongfully from another what is do him...To prevent one wrongfully from obtaining what he may justly claim...To defeat or frustrate wrongfully."
So, certainly a Christian ought not to be guilty of participating in anything in the above definition.
However, we must remember the context of verses three, four, and five, which are all joined to verse six by either a colon or semicolon. Thus, our current verse is a continuation of the thoughts presented in those verses. The context is "sanctification," "fornication" and "the Gentiles." Then certainly it must be stated that a Christian should not "defraud" God by taking his body and using it for fornication. For according to the Bible, a Christian is not his own (1 Cor. 6:19), he is bought with a price. He must therefore "glorify God in [his] body, and in his [spirit] which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:20).
This is clearly seen in the Marriage relationship. In Matrimony, the husband is a type of Jesus Christ and the wife is a type of the church (Eph. 5:23). God thus wants his bride to be in subjection to him (Eph. 5:24), and not "defraud" him of what belongs to him.
Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians chapter seven in context of the marriage relationship, and tells a man to have a wife, to "avoid fornication" (vs 2). Then in verse five he commands the man and woman "defraud ye not one the other..."
Thus we have a three-fold application. 1. A Christian should not defraud another Christian, as Paul commands us in our present verse. 2. Nor should a man defraud God by taking his body and using it for dishonor or "fornication" to please his ungodly lusts. 3. Neither should a man or woman defraud his spouse in the marriage relationship.
1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
Continuing our thought from the last several verses, the "uncleaness" would be "fornication." And one who lives in fornication is not holy. However, when one gets married, then they are able to partake of the desires of the flesh in an "honorable" manner, but we are told, "whoremongers (fornicatiors) and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).
Truly fornication is a vile sin, full of filthiness and uncleanness. Nowadays, there are many diseases that one can contract from such a deed such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea, AIDS, and more. For this reason, Christians are commanded to "Flee fornication..." (I Cor. 6:18), and "youthful lusts" (2 Tim. 2:22).
1 Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
Now Paul speaks about "he...that despiseth." This seems to refer to those that despise this command, and desire to continue on in fornication. Paul tells them in essence that they aren't mad at him, but at God for giving them a command they don't wish to obey.
Paul closes this verse by saying "who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit." The "us" would include those Christians to whom Paul is writing, as well as himself and Silvanus and Timothy. He says they have the Holy Spirit. This is very important, as there are some "denominations" known as "Pentecostals" or "Charismatics" (better said, "Charismaniacs") that claim that a Christian must "receive" the Holy Spirit after he has been "saved" by doing something. They usually claim that a believer must either "speak in tongues" or "be baptized" to receive the Holy Spirit. But is this so? Let's look at the Bible to see.
According to Paul, a person receives the Holy Spirit at the very moment he is saved. Ephesians 1:13 plainly states, "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." Notice that verse again. It clearly teaches that after a person hears the word of truth and trusts, then he is "sealed" with the Holy Spirit. Thus, according to the Bible, when man is saved, he has the Holy Spirit. He doesn't need some "miraculous gift" of "speaking in tongues" to receive the Holy Spirit, he already has it! So why do those of the Pentecostal fold say that they must do something to get the Holy Ghost? To find the answer we must look at the book of Acts.
It is true that at one time, someone had to do something to get the Holy Spirit. But this time was a transitional period when God was going from the Jews to the Gentiles with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. But as time went one, the Jews, as a nation, eventually rejected Jesus Christ, and the Gospel was taken to the Gentiles, and thus the modes of "transition" for receiving the Holy Spirit were done away with, and now it is fixed that a person receives the Holy Spirit the moment he believes.
Let us look at these "transitions" in the book of Acts. In chapter two, we find the apostles gathered together for the feast of "Pentecost." according to verses two through four, we are told the apostles are "filled with the Holy Ghost" and began to speak with other tongues, "as the Spirit gave them utterance." This is the foundation text for the Charismatics. They claim that now all must speak in tongues, or they don't have the Holy Spirit. But is this so? Does this apply to us today? Let's look further in the book of Acts at chapter two to verse thirty-eight where we read Peter's words, "...Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Here, not one word is said about "tongues." Instead, in this verse the "receiving" of the Holy Ghost was dependent upon them getting "baptized."
Further in the book of Acts, we come to chapter eight, where we find some people who had "received the word of God" (vs 14), but had not the Holy Ghost for the text states "as yet he was fallen upon none of them" (vs 16). And we see that when the apostles "laid their hands on them" (vs 17), they received the Holy Ghost. So we find yet another method of "receiving" of the Holy Spirit. This time is was dependent upon an apostle laying his hand upon someone.
As we continue our study of Acts, we find even yet another means of one "receiving" the Holy Ghost, and this is by "belief," or "faith." In Acts chapter ten, Peter is preaching to "Gentiles" and gets to the point in his message when he says, "...whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (vs 43). Before he can continue, we read the following in verse 44: "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." Thus, here the Holy Spirit was given when someone believed, like Paul states, and those to whom it was given by faith were Gentiles.
Finally, we find yet another group of people in Acts chapter nineteen who still don't have the Holy Spirit. We are told they were "baptized," but not in the name of Jesus (like those in Acts 8:16), but rather in "John's baptism" (vs 3). They then are told that they must be rebaptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, which they do (vs 5), but they still don't receive the Holy Spirit until, we are told in verse 6, that Paul lays his hands on them.
Thus, we have bit of a disaster on our hands if we don't know how to "rightly divide" the word of truth. According to the book of Acts, there are five different ways to "receive" the Holy Spirit. They are:
1. By God's Giving According to Promise Acts 2:1-3
2. By Baptism Acts 2:38
3. By Laying on of Hands Acts 8:17
4. By Believing Acts 10:44
5. By Baptism and Laying on of Hands Acts 19:3-6
This does create a problem if one is a "Charismatic" or "Pentecostal." For they teach only one way to receive the Holy Spirit. Also, this seems to contradict what Paul said in Ephesians chapter one and verse thirteen, when he tells us that a person only receives the Holy Spirit when he "trusts" or "believes."
So, what do we do? Do we teach that the Bible has errors, and then throw it in the wastebasket, claiming it is full of "contradictions?" Do we decide which way we like best to receive the Holy Spirit, and ignore the other ways in which others received it? Do we twist the scriptures unto our own destruction to teach what a "denomination" teaches? Or, should we not just "study" (2 Tim. 2:15), and try to determine who those where that received the Holy Spirit in each case, and why God gave it to them in that way, and search for how God gives the Holy Spirit to those that are saved now?
Our so-called "problems" are quickly resolved when we study the "racial" and "social" context of each of these different "ways to receive the Holy Spirit." It is evident that the book of Acts is a book of transition from the Jews to the Church. This can plainly be seen if one will just read the book. It is a book of the "Acts" of the apostles as they took the Gospel to the Jews first, who rejected, and afterwards the Gentiles, who were more open to it. God wanted to go to the Jews, and set up his kingdom, but because they rejected Him, he then turned to the Gentiles to start his "church."
Thus, when we read the book of Acts, we see that in chapter two, God gives the Jewish apostles the Holy Spirit according to his promise to them in chapter one and verses four through eight.
Then the apostles go and preach to the Jews, and in verse 38 we have Peter telling them they must be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit. This was only to Jews, and not Gentiles, and this was in light of the fact that they asked after realizing that they crucified their Messiah, "What shall we do?" (Contrast this with Acts 16:30,31, where a Gentile asks, "What must I do TO BE SAVED?").
In Acts chapter eight we find some more Jews, to which the Holy Spirit had not yet come, and the apostles had to "Lay hands on them" so that they might receive it.
In Acts chapter ten, we find Gentiles being saved by "belief" and receiving the Holy Spirit, which is a foreshadowing of what God's plan is for the Gentiles. However, we then find these Gentiles speaking in tongues. Why is this. According to the Bible, tongues are for a sign (1 Cor. 14:22), and the Jews seek for a sign (1 Cor. 1:22). Thus, God let the Gentiles speak in tongues for a sign to the Jews to show that God's spirit now can and will enter a man when he believes or trusts in Jesus Christ as his Saviour. (Note: They didn't have to speak in tongues to get the Holy Spirit. They spoke in tongues after they had the Holy Spirit!)
Finally, we find some "misplaced" Jews in chapter 19, who have not the Holy Spirit. In order for them to receive it as did the other Jews, they first had to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and then have hands laid on them. Why? Because they were Jews, and that's how God worked with the Jews.
By the end of the book of Acts, God had already begun going to the Gentiles with the Gospel, and God's way of giving his spirit to those Gentiles that trusted was at the moment they believed (Acts 10:44), and this has already been fixed.
Paul, we are told is the "apostle to the Gentiles" and as such, he writes to us his thirteen epistles telling us how one is saved, and when he receives the Holy Spirit. According to Paul, one is saved at the moment he believes and receives the Holy Spirit of God, and is sealed with it until the rapture (Eph. 4:30).
Thus, a Christian should not seek the Holy Ghost, nor should he think it's given by baptism, tongues, or laying on of hands. All of these things were transitional ways in which God gave the Holy Spirit to Israel. According to Paul's writings, a man that is saved has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him (1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Tim. 1:14) at the moment he believes.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
Paul decides not to tell them "love each other!" Instead he appeals to God's love, shown on the cross when he died for their sins in their place, which in fact is the greatest love (John 15:13), and Paul leaves it up to them to love one another as Christ loved us and gave himself for us.
1 Thessalonians 4:10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;Paul continues by saying that "indeed" they do love all the brethren, especially those in Macedonia.
But Paul pleads with them to love even more than they do, for no one can ever love another more than Jesus loved us.
This verse is also a reference to chapter three and verse 12 in which Paul is praying "...the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you."
Paul believed in loving others. His desire was that other Christians were "rooted and grounded" in it (Eph. 3:17). Many times in his epistles, he begs his converts to love each other. Examples: Phil. 1:9; Rom. 12:9; Eph. 5:2; Hebrews 10:24, 13:1; etc.).
Paul's motive was that he wished they would get along. And he knew if they didn't love one another, they would have problems. Paul's greatest fear would then be found in his writing to the Corinthians, in which he says, "I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults" (2 Corinthians 12:20). Paul wanted to know that his converts loved one another and were actively engaged in helping one another in bearing one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2). And the only way that Christians can do that is by loving each other (See Gal. 5:13; Rom. 13:10; Col. 2:2).
1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
Here we have a command to "study." Paul's motive for this command is so that we might "be quiet." Now, should a Christian be quiet? Are there times when he shouldn't preach the Gospel, even though he's commanded to "preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15)? Clearly a Christian is to preach and teach. But the context of this verse is connected to verse 10 by a semicolon. Thus, what Paul is saying is that you be "quiet" in regards to speaking bad about other Christians.
1 Thessalonians 4:12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 5
1 Thessalonians 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
1 Thessalonians 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
1 Thessalonians 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Thessalonians 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
1 Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
1 Thessalonians 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice evermore.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:20 Despise not prophesyings.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.
1 Thessalonians 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
1 Thessalonians 5:27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
1 Thessalonians 5:28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.