Episode #186. Today we’ll read 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 together. In this chapter, Paul gives even more instruction about loving and working together in community and the comfort of Christ’s return.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #186. Today we’ll read 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 together. In this chapter, Paul gives even more instruction about loving and working together in community and the comfort of Christ’s return.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
It hasn’t been that long since Mitch and I have moved into this house. I sometimes think the memory of the pain of moving all of our stuff from one place to the other lasts longer than the pain of childbirth. Over the last several years, our friends had wisely already taken several loads to Montana. But what they had left still took up the better part of a 26-foot U-Haul truck. It gave Mitch and I pause.
We collect a lot of stuff in our lifetimes. Some stuff helps make our lives more efficient and praise God for it. Some things, however, we can’t live without when purchased, years later just take up space in the basement or attic.
No Better Off
If all we are is a measure of how many possessions we leave behind when we die, then we are no better off than the rich man in the parable told by Jesus and recorded in Luke 12:16-20. Jesus tells us he built bigger barns to store all his goods and grain. When he finished, he said to himself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink and enjoy yourself.”
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared – whose will they be?’”
Mitch and I agreed that it is time for us to begin purging our stuff – those belongings near and dear to us that we cannot live without but have not used for years. After all, when we die, there will not be any U-Hauls following us into Heaven.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 4
The Call to Sanctification
Additionally then, brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received instruction from us on how you should live and please God — as you are doing — do this even more. For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passions, like the Gentiles, who don’t know God. This means one must not transgress against and take advantage of a brother or sister in this manner, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you. For God has not called us to impurity but to live in holiness. Consequently, anyone who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Loving and Working
About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers and sisters in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers and sisters, to do this even more, to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may behave properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.
The Comfort of Christ’s Coming
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For we say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still 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.
Paul gives us three quick lessons in this chapter. First, he advises against sexual immorality and warns us not to take advantage in this way of a brother or sister in Christ. Instead, we are to lead lives “…in holiness and honor.”
Second, he encourages us to work hard and mind our own business…good advice in any age! And we are to love one another and be a good example for outsiders. By love, Paul does not mean that we are simply to have fond regards for one another. He is speaking about the kind of love that results in actions: Taking care of one another, putting the needs of others ahead of the needs of ourselves, and encouraging one another.
Finally, Paul straightens out a heresy that had crept into the Thessalonian church. Those pesky false teachers were at it again, and this time they were telling believers that Christians who had died before them had missed out on Christ’s second coming. As a result, they were dead forever and would not participate in an eternity with Christ. Paul notes that when Christ returns, the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, those who are alive will join them. What a comfort that must have been for the Thessalonian Church. And for us too! Let’s pray.
Oh, Lord, it seems like we will never be rid of false teachers. Thank You for warning us against them with scripture from Paul and Peter and Jude and others. We pray You will convict us to stay in Your word and equip us for any and all false teaching that comes our way. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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