1 Thessalonians 5
Such providential timing for this passage! But the fact is fear can cause us to be overly concerned about the timing of the Day of the Lord. However, Paul says they already know what they need to know.
The fact is, that day will be a surprise to those not waiting for it. But that’s not so of believers. Though we do not know what day the Lord will come, faith anticipates and longs for it and therefore need not know when because we are patiently waiting for it everyday.
How do we wait patiently for it? How do we remain alert and sober minded in uncertain days? Sober ness has to do with a clear mind. How do you guard your mind? You put on the helmet of hope…in other words you think on the promises of God.
How you think, guards your heart (breastplate) by faith and love. Think on this: 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
But we sometimes struggle to keep our mind set on Christ…especially when we are alone. Therefore, believers need to be together to be encouraged. Though many churches are pausing services, we must be eager to return.
But how can we be together to encourage until things return to normal…and we must do something. Write a letter. Call. Send a text. Set up a Skype or Zoom meeting (we really do not have any excuse with the technology we have).
No…it’s not the same. It’s not what we want. But we need encouragement to be light amid the darkness. The world will look for answers and we have the answer-the good news not the daily news. If you are discouraged you might not be ready to live as people that have hope.
My prayer for you is this: 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
1 Thessalonians 4
It’s amazing to see an example we need for this season of life we are in as a church. Paul was unable to visit (gather) with the believers in Thessalonica. Though for different reasons than our own, we see Paul using the means available to teach and encourage the saints.
By way of letter, Paul resounds the repeated phrase “that you excel still more” or “that you do so more and more.” So, by way of letter (from a distance) Paul instructs the church in ways that we need to hear today.
The word excel means exceed or abound. It’s doing more than you’ve been doing. It’s like if you work 40 hours a week, now let’s exceed that amount and work overtime.
What a time to be alive! What an opportunity to display the character and love of Christ to many in our neighborhoods that have no hope.
Whatever this virus is or turns out to be, I’m certain it is a test for the church. It’s time to act. It’s time to trust. It’s time to excel all the more in how we walk with God (please Him). Abstaining from that which does not display God’s character. And loving the beloved of the Lord and our neighbors still more.
We of all people ought to live like this because we have hope…hope in the resurrection to come! This should be very comforting to you in such uncertain times.
My prayer for you is this: God is able to make all grace *abound to you, *so that having all sufficiency in *all things at *all times, you may *abound in *every *good *work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8
Grace and peace, beloved! May God’s grace abound to you so that you can abound in loving your neighbors.
1 Thessalonians 3
More examples of discipleship. I saw a quote last week that has really been working on me. Discipleship is not a program. Programs are scheduled time to do particular things that may or may not aid in discipleship.
Discipleship is specific to each person and what they need in the moment of their walk with Jesus. Of course it can have structure and plans but it adjusts to what life throws at you. Most of all it requires intentionality.
Paul longed for news about the faith and love of those in Thessalonica. He finally sent Timothy to check on them, face to face. We must do the same. Paul could have sent a letter asking them to send a letter in response to hear about them. But he didn’t.
Ask a fellow brother or sister in Christ how their faith and love for Christ is. When they say “good” like most people, ask them what they mean by good. You don’t have to push like this every time you see them but be intentional to do so often. And when you do, keep pushing and asking questions until you get to the bottom. Don’t let them hide behind generalities.
11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you,
12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,
13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. – 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13