1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

 
Practical and Doctrinal Instructions
1 Thessalonians 4 – 5
 
1 Thessalonians 4 – 5.

Apparently, Timothy's report of the Thessalonians involved a number of matters. Paul addressed these in ch.4-5 of the epistle. They needed to be reminded to continue in practical holiness and love (1 Thess. 4:1-12). Being converted only a short time earlier, practical instruction was needed. Also, an eschatological issue had arisen. Paul had taught the Thessalonians when present of the coming kingdom and reign of Christ. In fact, the Jews brought this up when accusing Jason, etc. before the magistrates of harboring Paul; "these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying, that there is another king, Jesus" (Acts 17:7). The knowledge of the appearing and reign of Christ according to Old Testament prophecy was a great joy to the assembly in Thessalonica, and they were waiting for the Son from heaven. However, some among them had died, and it raised a question in their minds; would the dead in Christ miss out on the kingdom? Paul did not want them to be ignorant "concerning them that are fallen asleep" (1 Thess. 4:13). In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul unfolded the truth of the rapture, explaining how the dead will be raised and caught up to meet the Lord in the air, in order to be with Him and return with Christ when He comes with all His saints. Paul knew this would lead to another question: would the saints then be on earth to endure the wrath which will come before the Lord appears? In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Paul reminded the saints that the Day of the Lord would be a time of judgment, which will catch the ungodly by surprise, as "a thief in the night". The saints are "sons of light and sons of day" and therefore that day will NOT overtake believers as a thief. Why? "Because God has not set us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ". In the final verses, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, we have exhortations concerning our conduct while we wait for the Savior to come.

 
O U T L I N E
 
Practical Holiness and Love
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
 
 

Practical Sanctification (4:1-8)

CHAPTER 4
1 For the rest, then, brethren, we beg you and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, even as ye have received from us how ye ought to walk and please God, even as ye also do walk, that ye would abound still more. vv.1-2 The Thessalonians had got everything they had from the Apostle. He had given them commandments orally (1 Thess. 2:13, 2 Thess. 2:15); now Paul was writing them down. But Paul’s desire was that they should grow spiritually, “that ye would abound still more”. It is a wonderful thing to see a person saved, and it is also a wonderful thing to see them continue to grow.
 
2 For ye know what charges we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honour, 5 (not in passionate desire, even as the nations who know not God,) 6 not overstepping the rights of and wronging his brother in the matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, even as we also told you before, and have fully testified. v.6 The reason he gives for avoiding fornication is love. However, it isn’t the wrong done to another that makes fornication wrong.
 
7 For God has not called us to uncleanness, but in sanctification. 8 He therefore that in this disregards his brother, disregards, not man, but God, who has given also his Holy Spirit to you.
 

Brotherly Love and Conscientiousness (4:9-12)

9 Now concerning brotherly love ye have no need that we should write to you, for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. v.9 Were they “taught of God to love one another” by the new life?
 
10 For also ye do this towards all the brethren in the whole of Macedonia; but we exhort you, brethren, to abound still more,
 
11 and to seek earnestly to be quiet and mind your own affairs, and work with your own hands, even as we charged you, v.11 We shouldn’t go beyond brotherly love into meddling in others’ affairs.
 
12 that ye may walk reputably towards those without, and may have need of no one. v.12 We are to fulfil our responsibilities. The rapture (v.13) isn’t an excuse for laziness.
 
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