1 Thessalonians 1:

v5: Mentions the importance of what makes the Gospel effective – not words only, but the power anointing of the Holy Spirit to produce conviction. Also demonstrating good character among those we share Jesus with and a genuine care for them.

v6: Indicates that tribulation always finds believers.

v8-10: Faith in Jesus spread quickly from these people in Thessalonica.

v10: The promise that Jesus will deliver us from the wrath to come. Skeptics like to be skeptical of the wrath of God. They think it is a man-made concept to scare people to become Christians. If they are agnostic, they just don’t believe that a creator is relevant to mankind because it is up to man to better conditions on earth. Sorry, that doesn’t work, and both the Old and New Testaments concur about the end-time wrath of God. It will come.

1 Thessalonians 2:

v1-10: Although Paul and other Apostles had the best credentials and could have asserted much authority over the people of Thessalonica or resort to flattering speech, they were meek and humble, even to the point of working on their own time for wages rather than living off the donations from the people they were teaching. Oh, if our modern prosperity preachers would heed these verses!

v13: The fruit of their approach? The people received their teaching as from God and not from man.

v18: Another glimpse into the supernatural battle field in which we find ourselves.

1 Thessalonians 3:

v5: At one point Paul fears that his labor with this group may have been in vain due to the tempter’s power to deceive, but finds that this did not happen. This may shed some light on the controversial doctrine of “once saved always saved.” While I do not pretend to know it all on this issue, I would ask the question of why would Paul fear his labor being worthless if people are “once saved always saved?” Hebrews 6:4-6 also indicates that it is possible to lose salvation. If it is possible to lose salvation, I would hasten to say that it is rare. I know this to be true, that God does NOT LET GO of His kids easily (Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 1:13, and 2Corinthians 1:22).

Thessalonians 4:

v3-5:The concept of “sanctification” is mentioned. This means that old evil habits and thinking needs to change and specific areas in our lives need to be given over to God so He can make them clean or godly. It can be anything – musical ability, athletic ability, teaching, any ability we have. This context brings up our sexual behavior. A sanctified sexual behavior would be one that is under “love control,” not lust control. Lust entices us to do what our lower nature wants to do. It’s brutally selfish and leaves us unsatisfied in the long run. It takes from people while love gives to people. They are opposites. Because we are fallen humans, these two opposing forces will be at war with each other until we die. The more we allow God to sanctify these areas, the better off we, and others, will be. Overall, sanctification is the process where the Holy Spirit conforms us more to the image of God’s Son and less to this world.

Application for Today: The road to true sanctification is yielding our life to Him and letting Him do the “surgery” in our heart. If we strive to follow His standards, we will fail…and if we think we are succeeding, we will become proud. Either way, we lose. When we love Jesus with all we have, our desires improve and He gives us the ability to obey Him (this is what grace is).

v8: Very strong phraseology here – if a person rejects the above statements, they are not rejecting man (his ideas), but are rejecting God who gives the Holy Spirit to us. It is the Holy Spirit’s work to sanctify us.

v9: We must love one another! If we are not doing this, seek an answer from God.

v13-18: God’s Word comforts us with the fact that if departed friends of ours believed that Jesus died and rose again, they will be with Him forever. Furthermore, those who have died will ascend before those who are alive on earth at that time of His Second Coming. All will meet Him in the air…what a trip.

1 Thessalonians 5:

v1-3: The Second Coming of Christ will be unexpected. I think our culture has been anesthetized long enough now so that it would be caught off guard with Christ’s Second Coming. Too many people think the Bible is not truth and many have wrongly predicted the end of the world with specific dates, so “wolf-crying” has been established. In Daniel 12:4, it says that at the end of time two things will increase – knowledge and travel. We have seen both.

Some dispensationalists believe that Jesus cannot come back today because a single-person Anti-Christ must yet come and take over world power which will lead to “The Great Tribulation.”

The historic viewpoint, on the other hand, claims that antichrists have arisen since Jesus and continued to this day. They also believe that the beast in Revelation gave demonic world power to the position of the papacy, making any pope The False Prophet. These men, who claim to be God’s True Representative on earth and infallible in their doctrinal statements, have been responsible for the torture and murder of millions of Christians over 1,260 years of Middle Age accounts (Rev.12:6). Scriptures do teach that a power from Rome would prevail over the saints (true believers) for a certain time period before they overcome “him” (Rev.11:7; 13:7 and Daniel 7:26 KJV only). The papacy, of course, still has power, but not like it used to. The Protestant Reformation took that type of world domination away. Popes, for example, can no longer order other sovereign nations to do things like they did in the Dark Ages.

The historical approach also asserts that the great tribulation that Jesus described in Luke 21 was fulfilled in 70 AD. He was warning the Christian Jews to flee when Gentile armies surround Jerusalem (which they did, and they escaped the slaughter according to Jewish historian Flavius Josephus). Using the consistent symbolic language throughout both Testaments as the method of interpreting End-Time prophecies, the historical position believes that just about everything has been fulfilled except for Jesus’ return. The Book of Revelation, according to this approach, is no more than a history of the Church. Unlike dispensationalists who ignore this symbolic language, the “historical” people have never predicted a date, but it may be sooner than most think. There is obviously much more to say on this topic. I’ll save that for our exploration of the Books of Daniel and Revelation.

v12-13: Be respectful and appreciate those who labor to help us stay strong in Christ.

v14: “Be patient with all men.” All?! Yep – God has the power for us to do this, not us.

v15: “Do not repay evil with evil.”

v16: “Rejoice always.” This means have a happy spirit inside and have rejoicing on the tips of our tongues.

v17: “Pray without ceasing.” This means always be ready to pray; pray throughout the day for people and situations; have an attitude bent toward prayer.

v19: “Do not quench the Spirit.” Our unrepentant sin, wrong attitudes/behavior, or the words we speak to others, can prevent what the Holy Spirit is trying to do.

v20-21: “Do not despise prophetic utterances, but examine everything carefully.” This is a check against believers who can be carnal when it comes to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Someone prophesies in church, for example, and they think the person is weird, especially if they do not like that person. Rather than reacting in the flesh, check out what they say by the Scriptures because God’s prophetic utterances will never conflict with His Word. The people in Berea did this when they heard Paul preach (Acts 17:11).

v22: “Abstain from every appearance of evil.” This is huge and has thousands of applications. It means that if something we do is not sinful but others could easily think it is, then we should not do it. One example = A single man and a single woman are friends or may be dating/courting. They are not married but stay overnight in the same room or house with no one else there. Even though they do not engage in premarital sex, people will easily assume they did. So, we do not do that. Don’t give others free ammunition to shoot us (Christianity) down. Billy Graham had a policy of always keeping the door open if/when a female was with him alone. How many scandals was he involved with? Mike Pence has a similar precautionary rule. Good men!