Series: Paul’s letters
1 Thessalonians 1:2-5 ESV
1 Thessalonians 2:13 ESVb
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 ESV
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 ESV
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 The Message
1 Thessalonians was written from Corinth to the church in Thessalonica from Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy who reported the new converts had been faithful.
We read in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”
As Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy began the letter to the new church in Thessalonica they want to set a positive tone by conveying their thankfulness for the church there. It’s interesting that now psychologists know the importance of being thankful. Having an attitude of thankfulness releases serotonin and dopamine in our brain. Centuries before scientists realized that, the three men made a special effort to let the church members there know they were thankful for them.
We believe that scripture…all scripture is God breathed. God knew the importance of being thankful. God created the human brain that way for a reason. When the three men sat down to write they certainly would have prayed and waited on the movement of the Spirit.
The three men also knew it was important to the church members to know they were praying for all of them. Even today, when someone tells you they are praying for you, it’s heart-warming. It means something.
The three men boosted the confidence of the new church members by telling them their faith and labor of love were important to them and important to God.
They ardently told them they are loved and they are a chosen people. God chose each one of them. God chose them for a purpose.
The message they wrote to the new church is still true today. Your faith matters to God. Your labor of love matters. You are chosen.
We thank God for your faith and for your labor of love. God loves you. God chose you for a purpose.
In the second chapter in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 Paul and his friends told the church members, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”
The Canon of scripture is much more than a book that has been published for hundreds of years in every language. It is the HOLY word of God.
My dad taught me when I was young that the Bible was not created or sustained by men. I was given my first very own Bible when I was in third grade. My dad helped me to understand that it was a book unlike other books. It’s a Holy book. It’s God inspired and God breathed.
In the next section of Thessalonians Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy told the members of the church the importance of loving one another. In 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 they wrote, “Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 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.”
They wanted the members of the new church to know that loving one another gives God the opportunity to establish our hearts with God, in God, and for God through Jesus and for all the saints.
They wanted the new church members to know that love is the key.
In the final section of the book, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
They wanted the new church members to know that at any time the Lord will come again. It will happen. The voice of the archangel will announce it with the sound of the trumpet of God.
First, the dead in Christ (those who have come before) will rise.
Then those who are alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord. When that happens we will always be with the Lord. The three authors wanted to encourage the new church members and those of us today that it will happen. It’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when”.
The Message version of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 says, “And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence—we have the Master’s word on it—that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind. In actual fact, they’ll be ahead of us. The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they’ll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.”
In other words, it’s a done deal. It’s a solid promise. We will walk on air!
When that happens we will be with Jesus and with our friends and loved ones who have come before and who are caught up with us at that time.
It’s a fact.
It’s a promise.
Spiritual Practice: Which Verse
Either from this collection of passages or from other passages in 1 Thessalonians, what it your favorite verse and why? Thank God for His promises.
In God, Deborah