Saturday, May 29, 2010

1 Thessalonians Chapter 5

This week we will complete our study of First Thessalonians. Then it is on to Second Thessalonians. So let's get started.

I. Introduction

A. Chapter V - final chapter in letter

B. Divided into three main parts

1. First part continues topic from chapter 4 - The Coming of the Lord
2. Second part discusses life in a community of believers
3. Third part - Paul concludes remarks and gives benediction

II. The Coming of the Lord

A. Paul reminds them of what they already know - no one knows when God will send Jesus back to earth.

B. "Day of the Lord" does not literally mean a day.

1. Rather, means the entire period of the end times.
2. Time when God will set-up his Kingdom on earth.

C. Paul says that time will be like a "thief in the night."

1. Those who do not know the Lord and are walking in darkness will be totally taken offguard.
2. Paul also likens it to a woman going into labor - no warning, no stopping it

D. Paul reminds them they have nothing to fear because they are "children of the light."

1. They have heard God's message and accepted His gift
2. Light represents life and goodness. Children of the light are those who are living God's life.
3. Paul reminds them that because they are children of the light that they should not fall asleep, i.e., should guard against backsliding. They know the truth about how they ought to live
4. He also reminds them to remain in control of themselves. Do not be like the people of darkness who drink to excess and lose control of themselves.

E. Paul goes on to explain how Christian life is like a battle and how they must dress themselves accordingly. Faith, hope, and love are their battle dress

1. Battle helmet - hope of salvation
2. Clothes - guard their hearts and minds and keep them safe
3. Faith, hope, and love give Christians strength to overcome their troubles

III. Life in a Community of Believers

A. Respect and listen to your chosen leaders

1. Leaders have a hard task. Must admonish and correct those who go astray.
2. Must also keep the peace.
3. Paul asks the people to be considerate and respectful of people who are in leadership positions.
4. Be mindful of why they are correcting you. Love you and don't want you to fall away.

B. Various Christian Duties

1. Warn those who won't work
2. Encourage those who are weak in the spirit
3. Do not return evil for evil
4. Always be joyful - even in times of trouble
5. Pray without ceasing
a. means have an attitude of prayer
b. make it a regular part of your life
c. God wants to have a dialogue with you
6. Do not put out the fire of the Spirit
a. Be 'on fire' for the Lord
b. Use the gifts He gave you
7. Do not refuse to accept prophecies
1. Early christians did not have the benefit of having the new testament to guide them
2. While they knew to be wary of false prophets, Paul reminds them that this doesn't mean to dismiss all prophecy out of hand.
3. Must weigh what is being said in the prophecy against what the Lord has already said. No true prophecy will supercede what Jesus said.
4. True prophecy also will never hurt the church.

IV. Closing Remarks and Benediction

A. Paul prays that they may remain holy and free from sin
B. Closes by asking them to pray for him, to greet each other with a 'holy kiss'.
C. Asks that the letter be read to the entire church



Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Thessalonians - Chapter 4


It's been a couple of weeks since we've had a solid lesson so the plan for tomorrow is to briefly recap what Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians is all about then delve into Chapter 4.

Below is the lesson outline:

I. Overview

A. Recap book - (Who, what, when, where, and why)
B. Read and study Chapter 4
1. How you ought to live (v.1-8)
2. How you ought to love (v.9-12)
3. About those who have died (v.13-18)

II. Recap of First Thessalonians
A. Who
1. From Paul (with input from Timothy and Silas)
2. To Thessalonicans (mainly Greek gentile converts, some Jews)
B. What - short letter with more encouragement than teaching or correcting
C. When - between 50-54 AD (after Timothy returns from visiting Thessalonicans)
D. Where - written while Paul was in Corinth
E. Why - four main reasons for writing the letter
1. To express joy Paul felt after hearing Timothy's report on how the Thessalonicans were doing
2. To tell the Thessalonicans how much he loved and cared for them and to encourage them to continue to be faithful
3. To provide a rebuttal of the accusations others had made against him
4. To address questions about the status of people who died before Christ's return and to talk about how Christ would return.

III. Chapter 4

A. How You Ought to Live
1. Paul reminds them his instruction comes from the Lord and that God wants them to be holy
2. Passage primarily focuses on sex and God's expectations with regard to sexual conduct
3. Recall Thessalonica is under Roman rule in Greece. Neither the Romans or the Greeks had very high moral standards regarding sex. Fornication was openly practiced and accepted.
4. Paul reminds them God has a much higher standard.
5. Reminds them they have to rule their own bodies in a holy way (see also 1 Corinthians 6:19)

B. How You Ought to Love
1. Paul praises them for loving one another and those around them and encourages them to love even more, to continually strive for greater love
2. In v. 11 he changes course and encourages them to "live quietly, mind your own affairs, and work with your hands". This passage reminds me of the Quakers. They live quiet unassuming lives, mind their own business, and provide for themselves. What does this passage mean to us as mainline Christians today? How do we live out this instruction in this day and age?

C. About Those Who Have Died
1. Christians in Thessalonica were worried about those who already died before Christ's return. Would they share the same benefits as those who were alive when He returns?
2. The Greek word Paul uses for death means sleeping. Commentator I read said Paul is implying that this type of sleep is not a normal type of sleep (duh!). Rather, they are alive with the Lord Jesus in a different world. They have left their bodies and went to be with him.
3. When Jesus returns they (the dead) will awake to new life and will do so in a new body (see 1 Corinthians 15:35-49). Then those still living will rise to meet him and those just risen from the dead.
4. v.16 - Paul begins describing exactly what will happen in the moment of Christ's return.
a. Christ will begin to descend from heaven with a shout of command from an archangel, and a blast from the trumpet of God. The dead will be called from the grave and those who are still alive will join them in the clouds.
5. In the twinkling of an eye all will be given new bodies suitable for living with Jesus for eternity


(1) Free Bible Commentary -
(2) Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary -

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Thessalonians Ch. 3


I changed my mind. You'll recall in my post last week I mentioned chapter 3 was relatively light in terms of study material. I had intended to read it but quickly move on to the meatier subjects covered in chapter 4. However, in re-reading it today I decided to spend more time on it. Specifically, two topics in the chapter caught my eye, (1) Timothy, and (2) Paul's reference t0 the 'tempter' in vs. 5.

I. Introduction - Two Different Topics

A. Timothy
B. The 'tempter'

II. Timothy

A. Who was Timothy?

1. Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman named Eunice (II Timothy 1:5)
2. We know his father was Greek but don't know his name. (Acts 16:1)
3. His maternal grandmother was named Lois (II Timothy 1:5)
4. Both his mother and grandmother were believers.
5. Timothy was young when he met Paul

B. Where was Timothy from?

1. Timothy was from a town called Lystra.
2. Lystra was located in what is now south-central Turkey.
3. It was located between Iconium (north) and Derbe (south)
4. It is thought Paul visited Lystra on all 3 of his missionary journeys. However, Lystra isn't sprecifically mentioned as having been visited on Paul's 3rd journey.
5. Paul was nearly stoned to death in Lystra during his 1st journey.

C. When did Paul meet Timothy?

1. Paul met Timothy during his second missionary journey
2. Early in the journey after starting from Antioch and traveling through Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:41)
3. Probably around 49-50 AD
4. Paul had Timothy circumcised and Timothy then continued on the journey with Paul and Silas.
5. Timothy became one of Paul's most ardent, and faithful supporters.

D. Timothy's Work with Paul

1. Was frequently an emissary sent by Paul to various churches
a. sent into Macedonia (Acts 19:22)
b. sent to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 4:17)
c. sent to the Phillipians (Phillipians 2:19,23)
d. sent to the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 3:2,6)

2. Was imprisoned with Paul in Rome (Phillipians 2:19-23, Philemon 1:1, Hebrews 13:23)

E. How did he die?

1. Unknown
2. However, historically said that he was stoned by pagans

III. The 'tempter' - could spend many hours discussing theology and what the Bible says about Satan. Today, want to focus on how you feel Satan works in the world today.

A. Ch. 2:18 - Paul says "but Satan blocked our way"

B. Ch. 3:5 - Paul says "I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you..."