Always Making Mention Of You In Our Prayers
Before you ever hesitate to pray the second, or third, or fourth time for a thing, just remember that the Bible is full of repeated prayers. I suspect that there are more prayers in the Bible that occured more than once, than otherwise. Virtually every man of God was known to ask God more than once for a thing. There are many things and many people who deserve to be prayed for daily.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2 - "Unto the church of the Thessalonians... We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers."
Gospel Of The Word, Of Power, And Of The Holy Ghost
On his first missionary journey, Paul took Silas with him (also called Silvanus), who was one of the "chief men among the brethren" at Jerusalem. They were jailed in Philippi, but while singing praises, God delivered them, and saved the Jailer's household. From Lystra, Timothy accompanied them to Thessalonica, where they had a great crusade. The Holy Ghost fell on large numbers of Gentiles, followed by great persecution and injury inflicted by hostile Jews.
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."
The Thessalonian Church
The First Epistle to the Thessalonians is probably the first epistle that Paul ever wrote, around 52 AD. Making quick passage across the region of Galatia, Paul's first missionary journey included profitable stops in about a dozen cities, including Lystra and Philippi (where the jailer was converted). Finally, in Thessalonica, large numbers of Gentiles were joyfully converted, but the Jews fomented riots against Paul, forcing him to flee. He wrote to comfort his new converts.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 - "Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost."
Waiting For His Son From Heaven
Paul commended the Thessalonian Church for being "ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. ...also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad." Their godly reputation was widespread. Many were formerly idolaters, before turning to Jesus, and were fervently looking forward to His Second Coming, believing that He would deliver them from judgment to come.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 - "They themselves shew of us ...how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, ...even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."
Effective Ministry Is Both Bold And Gentle
The Thessalonians impressed Paul with their "work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." He added, "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God," (1:3-4). He remembered his difficult journey, especially in Philippi, but declared his boldness "to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention."
1 Thessalonians 2:4-7 - "As we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, ...Nor of men sought we glory, ...But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children."
Effective Gospel Ministry Requires Labor And Travail
A true minister will sacrifice anything, including all of his personal desires, to preach the Gospel. "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 spoke of labor and travail for souls. Both terms suggest the pain, agony and struggles of childbirth.
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."
We Behaved Ourselves Holily, Justly And Unblameably
Everything that comes out of your mouth, and every act and every deed, is graded by the Word of God. It does not matter what the world thinks about you. It matters what God thinks about you. Do you need to clean up your act? Paul considered it a matter of utmost importance how people perceived him, because he was representing Christ. If you are prayerful, godly, and spiritual, people notice. It you are not, they notice that too.
1 Thessalonians 2:10 - "Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe."
Exhorting, Comforting, Admonishing Like A Father
Oh, that every man, woman, boy and girl had a spiritual father to watch over their souls, urging them to "walk worthy of God!" He told the Corinthians, "ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." Every minister should feel a fatherly heart toward his converts.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 - "As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory."
Thank God When Men Receive His Word As Truth
The Bible is more powerful than any document on earth, because God inspired it. The authors wrote as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. It is infallible. Thousands of years confirm it. Thank God for everyone who believes the preached Word. Faith comes by hearing the Word. Miracles will follow.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 - "We thank 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."
Satan - The Hinderer
Satan provoked David to number Israel. Satan stood up against Job. In Zechariah's day, Satan resisted Joshua the High Priest. Satan tempted Jesus three times in the wilderness. Satan spoke through Peter, attempting to misguide Jesus. Satan afflicted a woman for eighteen years (in Luke 13). Satan entered into Judas Iscariot. Satan sifted Peter. Satan filled Annanias' heart to lie to the Holy Ghost. A messenger of Satan buffeted Paul. Don't let anybody tell you that Satan is not a real person.
1 Thessalonians 2:17-18 - "We would have come unto you, ...but Satan hindered us."
JOY: You, In The Presence Of The Lord At His Coming
There is absolutely nothing in life more imperative than to walk uprightly before the Lord. Every interest must be subordinate to the matter of living for God. He created us for His pleasure. We must not give ourselves to other things. "We exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory."
1 Thessalonians 2:19 - "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?"
Timothy - Paul's Emissary And Proxy
Paul chose his dear spiritual son, Timothy, to be his proxy to the Thessalonians, "to establish you, and comfort you concerning your faith." Because of the great opposition and hardships Paul encountered, he sent Timothy to assure them that men of God are appointed to tribulations.
1 Thessalonians 3:3-5 - "No man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. ...we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, ...I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain."
We Are Appointed Unto Our Afflictions
Paul sent Timothy to minister to the Thessalonians, to establish them and comfort them in their faith, "That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto." You may not understand why you are being afflicted. "The servant knoweth not what His Lord doeth," Jesus said (John 15:15). "We should suffer tribulation." Count it all joy. Rejoice in your infirmities. God has a reason.
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."
The Wounded Healer, The Troubled Comforter
Jesus is often called "The Wounded Healer." In a similar vein of thought, His ministers are troubled comforters. Although Paul was, again and again, troubled with opposition, persecution, imprisonment and other great hardships, his heart nevertheless yearned to know of the welfare of his saints. He counted his sufferings more than worthwhile, so long as his converts and brethren were being comforted, under good care, and steadfast in the faith.
1 Thessalonians 3:6-7 - "When Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings ...we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith."
Night And Day Praying Exceedingly
A deeper love and affection for one another can scarcely be found than the love Paul felt for the Church at Thessalonica. "For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God." In another place, he called love "the bond of perfectness." When you deeply love someone, you pray night and day for them.
1 Thessalonians 3:10-11 - "...night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? Now God himself ... direct our way unto you."
That You May Be Holy When Jesus Comes
Paul demonstrated the loving care of a local pastor, although he was a chief apostle. He expressed his heartfelt concern for the saints, praying, fasting, and suffering the rigors of ministry in their behalf. All his efforts were spent that they would be holy when Jesus returns.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 - "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 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."
The Lord Stablish Your Heart Unblameable In Holiness
As Paul demonstrated his deep love for the Thessalonians, he prayed they would also have a deep love for one another, and toward all men, and that God would stablish their hearts in holiness (i.e., set fast in holiness; turn resolutely to holiness; confirm and strengthen in holiness).
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 - "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, ...at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."
This Is The Will Of God, Even Your Sanctification
It is impossible to overstate how important it is to be born again. If you are not born again, you will never see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-5). Furthermore, God has called us to holy, sanctified living. We must renounce the world, the flesh and the devil, and live pure, clean lives unto God. Every true man of God yearns to see holiness in every believer.
1 Thessalonians 4:1,3,7 - "We beseech you, brethren, ...to walk and to please God, ...For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, ...For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness."
Abstain From Fornication And Lusts Of Concupiscence
When God led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, He repeatedly ordered them to SANCTIFY themselves unto Him (Exodus 19-30). Webster defines "sanctified" as "cleansed, purified, holy, separated, ordained, appointed to the work of redemption, detached from corruption and affections of the world and its defilements." God STILL forbids physical and spiritual infidelity, including "fornication" [ALL sexual relations outside male-female marriage], and "concupiscence" [desire for forbidden things]. Sanctify yourself.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 - "Ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence."
Defraud No One, Study To Be Quiet, Mind Your Business
No one in the New Testament taught more Church discipline than Paul. His epistles effectively provide the guidelines for a wide spectrum of interpersonal issues between ministers, saints, and even outsiders. "No man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter." "As touching brotherly love... ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. ...increase more and more." "Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands." We must be loving, honest, personally responsible, and accountable for our actions.
1 Thessalonians 4:12 - "Walk honestly toward them that are without."
Dead In Christ Will Rise, Saints Will Be Caught Up
Outsiders have no hope, but everyone who falls asleep (dies) in Jesus will be resurrected and taken into His glorious Kingdom when He returns. So, "sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 - "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: 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."
Jesus Will Physically Return To Earth
Will aliens invade the earth and wage war against humanity? Will meteorites strike the earth and start another ice age? Will global warming cause rising sea levels to flood the earth, or will civilization be choked to death with toxic pollution? No. Jesus will return and overthrow all the evil governments that continually lie to us. He will heal the environment, and establish peace on earth for 1000 years. Don't worry about aliens.
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."
The First Resurrection And Rapture Of The Church
Born-again believers in Jesus are going to meet Him in the sky. Over one billion Muslims believe that Mohammed flew into heaven from Jerusalem, although not one ancient document specifically said so. Jesus' life and miraculous ministry is validated hundreds of times over, and documented as well as any other ancient figure. We should believe this promise.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 - "...the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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."
Comfort One Another With These Words
I love to study Bible prophecy - eschatology - because it is comforting to know that God knew the end from the beginning. "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, ...the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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." Forever with our Lord, Jesus Christ! 1000 more years on earth, then FOREVER in Heaven! Nothing could be more exciting!
1 Thessalonians 4:18 - "Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
When They Say 'Peace And Safety,' Sudden Destruction
The Middle East conflict has kept us on edge throughout our lifetimes, as hostile nations threaten to wipe Israel off the map. As I write, the UN Quartet is working on the "Roadmap for Peace," while terrorists are being armed for escalated warfare. Peace and safety are only dreams. The Sixth Trumpet War will soon erupt, and the battle of Armageddon will soon follow, when Jesus returns as Israel's only Savior.
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."
Watch (In Night Prayers) And Be Sober
Jesus will soon return to earth to establish His Kingdom on earth for 1000 years. He will come to Jerusalem with His saints and angels to wage the Battle of Armageddon. All His adversaries will be defeated. "Then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." Watch (in night prayers) and be sober! Prepare for His coming!
1 Thessalonians 5:4 - "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. ...Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."
Jesus Will Come As A Thief In The Night To Those In Darkness
"The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 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. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." Jesus will NOT come as a thief to those who are walking in the light - only to those in darkness.
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."
God Has Not Appointed Us To Wrath
In the 20th Century, a "Pre-Tribulation" doctrine appeared, teaching that Jesus would "rapture" the saints out of the world before the Great Tribulation, prophesied by Jesus (Matthew 24:21). For 1900 years, Bible believers understood that saints would face great tribulation in the end of the age. Saints will never face the WRATH of God , but they WILL face the TRIBULATION, imposed upon both Christians and Jews by Satan and evil men on earth. The Seven Vials of the Wrath of God will be poured out on SINNERS prior to Armageddon.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 - "God hath not appointed us to wrath."
Whether We Live Or Die, We Will Live With Christ
Jesus told His disciples that "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also," John 1:2-3. Paul was quick to comfort his new converts in Thessalonica with that great hope. Some apparently worried that if they died, they would never see the Kingdom of Christ. Paul assured them that they would.
1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 - "Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together."
Those Who Labor Among You
During the early stages of every great spiritual revival, there has come a call from those who attempted to oversee it, to "know them which labor among you." Know those who are over you. Know those who admonish you. Be careful for impostors, deceivers, or others who may have illegitimate ministries. Treat those who are approved with the utmost respect and honor.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 - "We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake."
Warn Them That Are Unruly
"Warn them that are unruly." Do Pastors still do that? In many Churches, there is no such thing as reproof. The Positive Mental Attitude - Positive Affirmation crowd has filtered out all of the so-called "negatives" of the Gospel. Is that right? No. Reprove. Rebuke. Exhort. "See that none render evil for evil." Church discipline must not be neglected. An undisciplined Church will degenerate.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 - "Warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good."
Rejoice Evermore, Pray Without Ceasing
It is amazing how much time we waste, yet still consider ourselves "too busy to pray." A real man or woman of God lives in the constant presence of God, rejoicing and praying all the day long. We should not think of such a habit as extremism. It was the way of the early saints, and should be the way of modern Christians. Dispense with so many of your frivolous activities, and turn wasted time into a sacred routine of continuous worship and endless intercession that will edify both yourself and others.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 - "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing."
Some people say that to ask God more than once is unbelief. I say that NOT to ask again is giving up! If you want a thing, pray until you get it. You have not because you ask not. The disciples attempted to cast out devils, but failed at first. Jesus admonished them against unbelief. If at first you don't succeed, try your faith the second, third or fourth time! If God doesn't want you to have it, you will eventually understand. Meanwhile, keep praying and believing!
1 Thessalonians 5:17 - "Pray without ceasing."
In Every Thing, Give Thanks
Why we should be thankful, when so many things seem to be against us? How can you be thankful in the midst of your darkest trial? Because the truth of the matter is that God still has EVERYTHING under control, and after your trial, you will come forth as pure gold. That means that even your worst problem is GOOD for you, under God's providence. Even your enemy is your friend when God guarantees the outcome. Be thankful!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Quench Not The Spirit, Despise Not Prophesyings
We are forbidden to eliminate prophetic ministry from the Church. Since Old Testament times, prophets were subjected to intense scrutiny. Moses demanded, "thou shalt not hearken" to any prophet who attempted to lead the people after any other God, EVEN when the prophet demonstrated signs, wonders and miracles. False prophets were utterly condemned throughout scriptures. Nevertheless, we must allow for God to speak prophetically. At least five of the New Testament Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) are prophetic, including "word of wisdom; ...word of knowledge ...prophecy; ...divers kinds of tongues; (and) ...interpretation of tongues."
1 Thessalonians 5:20 - "Despise not prophesyings."
Abstain From All Appearance Of Evil
Reckless living is 100% incompatible with discipleship. People who dabble in carnal or worldly pursuits contradict the most basic fundamentals of spiritual Christian living, and forsake the only sure foundation of life. Paul says, "Prove all things." Put everything to the test. Every value. Every behavior. Every word. When you find good, cleave to it. When you find evil, flee from it. Demand truth, righteousness and holiness in every matter. Refuse to be identified with anything or anybody contrary to those.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 - "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil."
Conclude With Prayer
For decades, my aunt and uncle have served thousands of meals in their home for friends and neighbors, followed by a time of singing and making Christian music, each person sharing a Bible verse, and group prayer before everyone leaves. The Apostles urged the early Church to practice hospitality, and by example, concluded every encounter with prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:23,28 - "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. ...The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen."
This Should Be Read To All The Holy Brethren
The bulk of modern Christianity is NOT well-founded on sacred scriptures, but by a toxic mix of social, cultural, ethnic, spiritual, philisophical and even pagan beliefs. Paul charged the Churches to read his teachings aloud to all the brethren. Every man of God must make it his business to teach the pure Word of God to the people. The Church hears too much from extra-biblical sources, and from voices of people who have not been called of God into the ministry.
1 Thessalonians 5:27 - "I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren."
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