Welcome back to our study on 1 Thessalonians! This is the study for chapter 4, so if you haven’t read the first three, be sure to check those out on this site! Here is a reminder of the five steps we are using for this study:
- Read the chapter through
- Pick a key verse for the chapter
- Summarize and discuss each verse
- Apply it to our lives
- Pray specific things from what we learned
Let’s begin by reading chapter 4:
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.1 Thessalonians 4
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 the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
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; 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 nothing.
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
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 meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
For the key verse, I have selected verse 17:
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.1 Thessalonians 4:17
Now, let’s dig in:
- Paul urges the Thessalonians to continue in how they should live and please God.
- They should do this because they know what commandments the Lord has given.
- God’s will is that the Thessalonians be sanctified. To do this, they need to stay away from sexual sin.
- He urges them to practice keeping their physical bodies sanctified and honorable…
- Instead of fulfilling their lustful passions like those who do not know or follow God.
- Another practice to avoid is that of exploitation and violation of a brother or sister. Those who do so will be avenged by God.
- God does not call anyone to be unclean, but He calls us all to be holy.
- Paul says that is anyone rejects these commands, they are not rejecting human commands, but they are rejecting God, and God has given us His Holy Spirit to work in us.
- Paul commends the Thessalonians in their good practice of brotherly love.
- They are exercising brotherly love so well even to the saints all throughout the region of Macedonia. Yet, Paul reminds them to keep growing in their love. We may be doing something well, but we must always continue to improve.
- Paul then admonishes them to work hard with their own hands as they strive to lead quiet lives. Christians should always aspire to lead quiet, simple lives that are pleasing to God as we always keep our main focus on Him and on serving in His kingdom.
- If we do this, we will be good examples of God to all who are outside of Christ, and he says we will lack nothing.
- Paul now transitions to discuss the fate of all who followed God but have now passed away. He does not want the Thessalonians to have sorrow for the dead like people who do not have the hope of eternal life.
- If Jesus died and rose from the dead (and He did!), then God will also bring to heaven all the dead who were faithful to Christ.
- Paul says that anyone who is alive when Christ returns will not be taken with Christ before the dead who have finished the race can receive their reward.
- Instead, the Lord, when He returns from heaven with shouts and trumpets, will raise and bring to Himself all those who have died in their faithfulness to Christ.
- Then, all of us who are still alive and faithful will join with them in the air. Now, Paul writes some of the most comforting words in all of Scripture: “And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
- He then tells the Thessalonians, and by extension, all of us, to “comfort one another with these words.”
So in this chapter, Paul offers up a plea for the Thessalonians to remain pure by staying away from sexual immorality and from ill-will toward one another. We should strive to do so as we remember our Godly call to holiness. We also need to continue to grow in our love for one another and for all who dwell on this earth with us. We should strive for simple, quiet lives in which our focus is on serving God. Finally, we must comfort ourselves and each other with the hope of Christ’s return, in which all who have died in Christ will be raised first, then all who remain alive and faithful will join with them as we are brought to be with our God.
Take time today to pray for three specific things from our study:
- Pray for purity in your life and in the lives of all God’s people.
- Pray that our love for each other will continue to grow.
- Pray for the comfort of knowing that we will be able to be with our Lord again one day for all who are fighting the good fight of faith.
Thank you so much for reading. Not because it benefits me, but because it hopefully benefits you to spend just a few more minutes in God’s word. Until tomorrow!