Will We Know or Not?

I have a slightly different understanding of the rapture of the church than most people.  The prevailing view in American evangelical teaching is that the rapture of the church will occur “secretly” and then the seven year tribulation period begins which ends with the second return of Jesus. The first return of Jesus which involves the rapture of the church would come secretly.  But I don’t see that timeline being taught in the Bible.  In fact, my study of this indicates that until the mid 1800s, very few if any in the church taught a two stage return of Jesus and […]

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The Day of the Lord

Chapter 5 begins with the timing of the “day of the Lord”.  The day of the Lord is understood in both the old and new testaments to be a reference to a period of God’s judgment.  Here is what Paul writes in verses 1-3: “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” A […]

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Up, Up and Away

In one of the most remarkable passages of the New Testament Paul writes about the rapture, the “catching away” of the church, when Jesus returns.  Here is what Paul writes: “15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to […]

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Christ’s Return and Some Important Details

In the last paragraph of chapter 4, Paul writes about the second coming of Jesus.  Jesus came first to die but when He returns, He comes to rule and reign on the earth and in the hearts of those who love Him. It appears that some Thessalonians were thinking that those who had already died (fallen asleep) might have missed out on the return of Jesus.  If they were already dead, did they miss out?  Paul sets their minds to rest and gives some important details about Jesus’ return.  Here are the first couple of thoughts in verses 13-14: “13 But I […]

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Mind Your Own Business

Now that I’m back from the Dominican Republic (and freezing!) these posts will be every day again. I apologize for skipping a few days. Verses 9-12 are sentences that give us a few commands on how to live our lives.  In verses 9-10 Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to love one another “more and more” and I wrote about that in the previous post.  Here are verses 11-12:  “11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack […]

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Love One Another

In the next paragraph Paul gives several commands to the Thessalonians.  Today we will look at a very familiar one in verses 9-10:  “9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; “ If you are even only minutely aware of God’s word or the teachings of Jesus you know that Jesus’ followers are commanded to love one another.  It’s not easy to define this […]

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Sexual Purity

It’s interesting to me that Paul begins this section with a plea for sexual purity.  In fact, he spends a lot of time on this; after just exhorting the Thessalonians to live in a way that is pleasing to God.  This is what Paul writes in verses 3-8:  “3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because […]

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The Walk Is Important

Let’s read the first paragraph of the fourth chapter of 1 Thessalonians:  “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”  In this last section of Paul’s letter he begins with an exhortation for believers to live their lives in a way that pleases God.  I really hope this is important to you.  There seems to be a disconnect with some people here…as if they can say […]

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What Did Paul Receive?

Paul is someone who poured out his life on behalf of those to whom he ministered.  He spent his post-conversion life serving others and spreading the gospel.  He truly emptied himself in the example of Jesus Christ.  But don’t think for a second that Paul didn’t receive anything. At times he received financial resources from the churches to help with his ministry.  But way more important than that is what we read that he received from God on behalf of the Thessalonians.  Let’s read verses 6-10: ”6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news […]

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Paul Was Not a “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em” Kind of Guy

Communication in the first century was not easy.  There was no internet, no email, not even snail mail.  Paper was non-existent.  Any writing materials were scarce and expensive.  Travel from place to place was difficult and often dangerous; mostly done by foot.  Despite this, we see repeatedly that Paul desired to communicate with the places and people to whom he had ministered.  We read this in 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5: “Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the […]

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