January 28, 2017
1 Thessalonians 5
1 Thessalonians 5
Shawn Bumpers / General
1 Thessalonians / Day of the Lord; Watch; Sober; Faith; Love; Hope; Salvation
Paul wraps up his first letter to the Thessalonians
Jesus Christ both unites and divides.
Those who have trusted Him as Lord and Savior are united in Him as God’s children.
Paul was not a Thessalonian … he was not a Gentile … but he called the believers in Thessalonica “brethren.”
John 1:12–13 NKJV
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Galatians 3:28 NKJV
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
But Jesus is also a divider.
John 7:43 NKJV
So there was a division among the people because of Him.
John 17:16 NKJV
They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
But since we are wrapping up this letter today, let’s take a moment to remember how Paul has built the letter to this point.
• In chapter 1, Paul expresses his thanks for 3 evidences of salvation that were evident in the lives of the Thessalonian believers: Faith, Hope, and Love.
• In chapter 2, Paul described his ministry in Thessalonica as close, caring and warm.
• In chapter 3, Paul explains that his deep affection for them had motivated him to send Timothy to see if they were persevering through the intense persecution they were experiencing.
• In chapter 4, Paul offered further instruction to the Thessalonians on how to please God.
• And today, in chapter 5, Paul reminds believers that no one knows the time of the Lord’s coming.
It’s pretty typical for us to get “deep” in our studies … last week we went especially deep because we had to You may remember that last week was
After a pretty heavy discussion last week of what happens at death, where we go, what happens to our bodies at the resurrection, the doctrine of Immanency, and the rapture of the church, …
… Paul moves on to remind the Thessalonian Christians of several important attitudes they are to take.
1 Thessalonians 5:4 NKJV
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
As I state earlier, the over-riding theme of this chapter is: “The bearing of the soon return of Jesus on the everyday life of the believer.”
2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
But God is not going to delay forever.
• Christians were living carelessly.
• Christians not respecting their church leaders.
• Christians worshipping in a manner that does not glorify God.
• And a general need for love and harmony among the saints (as there always will be room for improvement until the day we are with the LORD.)
The first important attitude for the Christian to take is that of “watchfulness.”
In verses 13-18 of chapter 4, Paul dealt with the fate of the Christian dead at the arrival of Jesus … a concern which the Thessalonian Christians had.
Paul starts with the issue of “When the Lord will return.”
To do so, Paul invokes the words of Christ Himself as recorded in Acts 1:7.
Acts 1:7 NKJV
And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
God has plans for the nations of the world.
Acts 17:26–27 NKJV
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
Matthew 24:32–35 NKJV
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
You see, God has ordained times and seasons for the nations on the earth, … but particularly for Israel.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 NKJV
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Paul says in verse 2 that the “Day of the Lord” comes as a thief in the night.
This is an image that Jesus Himself used.
Since we do not know when the LORD will return for His people, we must live with an attitude of watchfulness while we are busy serving God.
• “Watchfulness” is the first of the important attitudes that Christians should assume.
This seems to contradict what many Christian believe about the signs of the end times.
Paul says that the unsaved world will be enjoying a time of peace and security just before the terrible cataclysm of the Tribulation.
As far as the world is concerned, the coming of Christ will be sudden and unexpected.
It will be like a thief who strikes unexpectedly in the night.
• We are looking for Him to come.
• Unbelievers are in the dark.
Ephesians 4:17–18 NKJV
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
John 3:19 NKJV
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
At one time, we were in the dark … but having been born again, the Christian is a child of light.
1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Watchfulness for the Christian doesn’t mean sitting around looking out the window, but being busy with the service of the Lord.
Christians should operating as alive together with Christ, decked out in the “breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
1 Thessalonians 1:3 NKJV
remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,
Having received Jesus as Lord and Savior, we have what is scripturally referred to as the hope of salvation.
And let me remind you that the biblical definition of hope is not “wishful thinking.”
Rather, it is “confident expectation” … firm assurance regarding things that are unclear or even unknown.
Before we had the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8), we had an appointment to wrath.
Our appointment to wrath is due to 2 things:
Romans 5:12 NKJV
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
The Bible Reader’s Companion 1 Thessalonians 5
His death was so sufficient in winning salvation for us that whether we are awake or asleep we will live together with Him. This assurance is no basis for lax living. It is the opposite. In appreciation for all Jesus has done we encourage each other and build each other up in actively living our faith.
Here we get to our second of the important attitudes for Christians which is: Respectfulness.
Without leadership, a family falls apart.
God has also ordained leadership for the church.
The pastor, however, must lead the flock as God directs.
Certainly he needs, and wants, the prayers and counsel of the people, … but their respect is also important.
Leaders are described by Paul here in 3 ways:
• Those who labor among you.
• And are over you in the Lord.
• And admonish you.
God says that those whom He has placed over us in the church should be recognized – οἶδα (YOU-thah) – a Greek word meaning respect and appreciate.
And there is a second word, esteem, in verse 13, ἡγέομαι hēgeomai (heh-YEH-oh-may), which means to consider.
Paul begins this section with exhort … he exhorts the Thessalonians and us to certain behaviors.
It is not enough to have church leadership; there must also be partnership, with each member doing his or her share of the work.
1 Peter 4:7–11 NKJV
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
And so this is the very important attitude of Mindfulness … Paul encourages Christians to mindfulness here … we are to be mindful of one another.
And in our text here in 1 Thessalonians, Paul specifies certain kinds of Christians who can benefit from the mindfulness of others:
These are the careless … those who will not be ruled, those who are out of line, who demand their own way and won’t cooperate if they don’t get it.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 NKJV
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.
Fainthearted is the Greek word ὀλιγόψυχος aligopsychos (oh-lee-GOHP-see-khos) which means discouraged.
For the Christian, discouragement is a sense of unhappiness that arises from a loss of confidence in the reliability of God or in the power of the gospel.
Paul says that believers are to be mindful of one another and when one is discouraged, we are to comfort them.
Hebrews 12:12 NKJV
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
The Greek word ἀσθενής asthenēs (az-THEN-ays) means just that … weak.
Romans 14:1–4 NKJV
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
Another important attitude of the Christian is Thankfulness … which incorporates rejoicing and praying.
Many of the Psalms associate rejoicing and prayer with thanksgiving.
Philippians 4:4 NKJV
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Along with “Rejoice always” Paul says, “Pray without ceasing.”
Psalm 37:4 NKJV
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 136:1 NKJV
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
2 Timothy 3:2 NKJV
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
God is worthy of our thanksgiving.
Here Paul deals with Worshipfulness, an important attitude for Christians to have.
First, Paul says, “Do not quench the Spirit.”
Paul also says, “Do not despise prophecies.”
I fully believe that the gift of prophecy functions and that the Lord speaks to and through His people today, and we should learn to be open to His voice.
We can test prophecies by the written word of God.
The final admonition of Paul is toward Faithfulness.
Paul says “Abstain from every form of evil.”
The Greek word means both “reject” and “distance oneself from.”
Of course, no saint should allow anything in his life that others could misunderstand and criticize.
I love how Paul emphasized balance in Christian living.
He gives the negative: “Abstain from all appearance of evil” and the positive “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely”
And so Paul reminds us in verse 24 that while we often are not faithful, the LORD is faithful.
1 John 3:2 NKJV
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.