Archive for ◊ February, 2019 ◊

28 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #17)

1 Thessalonians (Program #17) – Our Heart to be Established Blameless in Holiness (1)

In the final chapter of 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul uses a few very short verses to point out fifteen different items that he was concerned about in the experience of the young believers in Thessalonica.   He gave them this list against the backdrop of his fellowship in chapter 4 concerning the Lord’s second coming, the rapture of the church and the judgment seat of Christ, which will impact every born again person at the Lord’s return.   No doubt this word sobered them and brought forth a watchful attitude as they contemplated meeting the Lord of Lords and King of kings face to face.  Then in verses 23 and 24 of chapter 5, he summarizes his burden on a marvelous and clear utterance that reveal both God’s operation and the need of man’s cooperation.  “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it.

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27 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #16)

1 Thessalonians (Program #16) – Cooperation with the Divine Operation (2)

1 Thessalonians chapter 4 is a chapter presenting the promise of the Lord’s return and the rapture of all the believers at the end of this age. And to the young believers in Thessalonica these word were encouraging and fill them with hope.

But in Chapter 5, Paul begins with the word “but”, implying that though it’s good to be encouraged by the hope of the Lord’s second coming, before He does come, we need to be watchful and sober, and most of all prepared and ready for His coming.  It’s in this light that we come to the last half of the final chapter of the short book to the new believers in the Church in Thessalonica.

Chapter 5:12 begins this way, “Furthermore we ask you, brothers, to acknowledge those who labor among you and take the lead among you in the Lord and admonish you, And to regard them most highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

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26 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #15)

1 Thessalonians (Program #15) – Cooperation with the Divine Operation (1)

As we are caring for new believers, we likely often follow the pattern of the apostle Paul as he cared for the young Church in Thessalonica by giving them encouraging and hopeful passages from the Bible.

In the Thessalonians, it was Paul’s word concerning the coming rapture of the believers at the end of the age and the Lord Jesus promise return from the heavens to the earth that fill them with hope. But if we are fully faithful  to the pattern of the apostle will also bring them to the words of warning and sobriety that Paul concluded the book of 1 Thesssalonians with Chapter 5. Listen to this lengthy passage at the beginning of Chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians 1-11:

But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you; For you yourselves know perfectly well that like a thief in the night, so the day of the Lord comes. When they say, Peace and security, then sudden destruction comes upon them, just as birth pangs to a woman with child; and they shall by no means escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief; For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. So then let us not asleep, as the rest do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep during the night, and those who get drunk are drunk during the night; But since we are of the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us in order that whether we watch or sleep, we may live together with Him. Therefore comfort one another, and build up each one the other, even as you also do.

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25 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #14)

1 Thessalonians (Program #14) – Watchfulness and Soberness

When Paul wrote words to the Church in Thessalonica to encourage them, he stressed that the life of the believers is a life full of hope. And even at the endurance needed to live the Christian life is linked to that hope and flows out of that hope. But just as what is the hope that he is referring to? Well, is not the hope that one day we will all die and go to be with the Lord in heaven.

Our hope and the hope of all believers is that one day the Lord Jesus will come again and we all will be caught up or rapture to meet Him. The rapture of the believers and the second coming of Christ are topics of immense interest to Christians and even to many unbelievers. But do the popular and common notions about these important matters really hold up in the light of an honest and thoughtful examination of Scripture?

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24 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #13)

1 Thessalonians (Program #13) – The Hope of the Christian Life

In the apostle Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians he vividly describes how desperate mankind is apart from God. Listen to Chapter 2:12
That you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

But in his letter to the new believers in Thessalonica he repeatedly points them to the great hope of all the believers and that is the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the promise of our rapture at the end of the age.

Rapture is a big topic in the New Testament but in the few selected verses in 1 Thessalonians we have a marvelous overview that will fill all believers with the genuine hope. Promised in God’s word and secured in the shed blood of Christ. He is coming again and all those who believe will join Him at that coming.

But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are sleeping, that you would not grieve even as also the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and arose, so also those who have fallen asleep through Jesus, God will bring with Him. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are living, who are left remaining unto the coming of the Lord, shall by no means precede those who have fallen asleep; Because the Lord Himself, with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are living, who are left remaining, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will be always with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

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23 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #12)

1 Thessalonians (Program #12) – An Exhortation Concerning a Holy Life for the Church Life

Every parent can learn a lot about how to properly care for and raise your children by observing how the apostle Paul care for his spiritual children in 1 & 2 Thessalonians. By the time he comes to Chapter 4 he has a strong and sober warning related to the danger and damage of fornication and immorality. But he does so only after having first nurtured, encouraged and nourished these precious young believers fostering them in the growth of the divine life.  Then as a faithful and exhorting father he brings to them these critical points in these chapters.

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22 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #11)

1 Thessalonians (Program #11) – Encouragement for Faith, Love, and Hope

When the apostle Paul first passed through Thessalonica and established the Church there, he set the young and new believers on a solid footing not just preaching the gospel to them but also anchoring them in the three strong elements of their life in Christ, faith, love and hope.

Chapter 1:3, “Remembering unceasingly your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father;

Then some months later, Paul found himself excessively burden to see how the young Church in Thessalonica was progressing. So much so he can bear it no longer, so he sent his faithful co-worker, Timothy to help foster their faith and encourage them.  Chapter 3:1-2, “Therefore when we could bear it no longer….. we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and encourage you for the sake of your faith.

These are precious words. We want to have a chance to really look into the heart of the apostle and the lives and the experiences of these young believers in Thessalonica.

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21 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #10)

1 Thessalonians (Program #10) – The Reward of Fostering

Of all the writings in the New Testament, perhaps the deepest and most profound are those of the apostle Paul. To Paul it was given to unfold many of the great truths of the Christian faith and to make known the eternal purpose of God. But his letters to the church in Thessalonica are striking in their simplicity. Because to the new believers in this city Paul became a nourishing and cherishing parent, fostering the growth of his spiritual children.

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20 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #9)

1 Thessalonians (Program #9) -The Care of a Nursing Mother and an Exhorting Father

In the tender and intimate letters of the apostle Paul to the young church in Thessalonica, is very interesting to consider what he stresses. In one way these are not high words or deep or even seemingly profound and there is no mention of miraculous things or of works of great power.  Rather the apostle reminds the believers of the normal and upright manner of life in which he and his co-worker were manifested for them when they were together just one short year prior.

Listen to his word again in Chapter 1:5 of 1 Thessalonians,  “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, even as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

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19 Feb 2019 1 Thessalonians (Program #8)

1 Thessalonians (Program #8) -The Church Becoming the Embodiment of the Triune God (2)

One of the essentials for being a Christian is to appreciate the Bible as the word of God. But for most of us our reading and our understanding of the Holy Word fall far short of what it should be.

For instance, take a passage like 1 Thessalonians Chapter 2:12 where Paul tells us that we have been called into God’s own kingdom and glory. Do we really have an adequate appreciation of all that these implies or do we even have a proper understanding of things like God’s kingdom and God’s glory?  Probably we just skim along taking such marvelous word for granted.  But one of the benefits we have in this program each day is that the Lord richly unveils and brings us into deeper realities of His word.

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