1 Thessalonians Chapter 3 and 4

September 1, 2011

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on 1 Thessalonians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

Listen to the study by clicking here

or you can watch it below:

1 Thessalonians 3 and 4 from Preaching In Shorts on Vimeo.

1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 (NIV)
1 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. 6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. 11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-18 (NIV)
1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. 9 Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more. 11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words

1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

Paul had too much going on to return to Thessalonica himself, so he and Silas decided to send Timothy back to encourage the saints.

When Timothy returned from his visit he brought good news that their faith was bearing fruit in love. Paul was filled with joy by the news that the converts in Thessalonica were standing firm in the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

It is important to note that Paul does not take credit for what has been happening with the Thessalonians, he thanks God for what has happened. He commends the Thessalonians, but he acknowledges the hand of God at work in their lives.

We also find out in these verses that the Thessalonians still need some guidance. Paul wanted to supply what was lacking in their faith. He was blessed by their progress as new Christians, but they still had some maturing to do, like all of us.

We also see the importance of prayer in Paul’s life and how he prays night and day.

As he prays for the Thessalonians, he prays that they would be blameless, not sinless, which would be impossible. To be blameless is to make sure that when they sinned, they would deal with it as God requires. Living by doing the next right thing.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. Holy. What does it mean to be holy. It is about loving well. I believe that the holiest people are not those who separate themselves from the world and its temptations, but who love in the world and love people with the love of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:4-8

Paul says that sexual immorality is to be avoided. Their culture was a pagan environment in which sexual looseness was not only practiced openly but was also encouraged.

As believers, they were to no longer live like this, not only for their own sakes, but so they did not sin against or take advantage of other people.

Sex, out of the context of the will of God, is a selfish act.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

The Thessalonians were encouraged to continue to develop the practice of brotherly love that they had already been practicing throughout Macedonia.

In this type of love, the ambition of believers was to lead peaceful, productive lives, that kept their noses out of other peoples business.

Proverbs 25:17 (NIV)
17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house– too much of you, and he will hate you.

This type of lifestyle would have an impact on people outside the Kingdom, (we have called this radical living).

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Paul then addresses another area where the Thessalonians need a little more guidance. These verses talk about what is known as the “rapture of the church”. While the word rapture does not occur in the Bible, it is the meaning of the phrase “caught up”.

Those who fall asleep is a New Testament description for those who have die. This is not a sleep of the soul, because Paul talks about Christians who are absent from the body are present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

This sleep refers to the sleep of the body until it is resurrected and changed into a glorious body.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are among the best-attested facts of history. Since Christians know these events took place, they can be equally certain, Paul said, that the souls of believers who have died will return with Christ when He comes for His living saints.

The logical outcome of this good news is comfort and encouragement.

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