1 Thessalonians 4:1-14
Paul and company were urging and exhorting in the Lord Jesus (1 Thes. 4:1). These words mean ask and encourage, respectively, which means they were actively engaging in their lives, so they could abound more and more and walk to please God. Three challenges are given to the Thessalonians here.
- Maintain Sexual Purity: the Greek word used here is porneia which is how we get our word for pornography. This word is an all-encompassing word for any form of sexual immorality. As I have written before, sexual immorality from a Biblical-perspective is any thought or action outside the marital union of a man and woman. It really is pretty simple. It is a Satanic lie to believe anything outside of that statement. What God has created, Satan seeks to destroy. This is a valuable lesson to all of us. BUT, God’s grace and mercy through Jesus, the Passover Lamb for all mankind, covers our sins through forgiveness if we choose Him. What did Jesus say to the adulteress woman who the crowd was about to stone? Please, open your Bible, and read for yourself in John 8. On a side note with John 8, many people thwart this passage and stop at the part of “He who has no sin cast the first stone.” This is a tactic by Satan to silence us all from confronting sin in others to make us feel ashamed of our sin therefore to leave someone else in their sin…heresy! Love in truth, so we can urge and exhort for encouragement and accountability.
- Contribute to Society: Love one another is a theme throughout Biblical text. The Thessalonians seemed to be doing this, but they were encouraged to increase it. This is the significance of the burden of love that we should have on others, especially those in need. My NKV Commentary renders a proper translation of 10-12 as this: “aspire to live quietly and take care of your own affairs while you work with your hands as we instructed you.” There seemed to be evidence the Thessalonians were convinced the Return of the King was so near that they quit their jobs. There are social implications here of not being a light in the workplace, not providing for your family and those around you, and implicating an economic recession. We should long for our glorious hope to meet up with Jesus in the clouds, but we must continue His work until that day comes. I pray it be soon!
- Concerning believers who have died: I am only going to cover 13-14 here as 15-18 go well with Chapter 5. There is great discussion as to what happens when we die and even more as to what happened to people who died before Jesus ascended into heaven after his crucifixion and defeat of death. You can find many differing opinions on this. One could spend hours discussing it. It is, in my opinion, that those who died prior to the ascension of Jesus into heaven are still in (not on) earth in a place called Paradise or Abraham’s Bosom which is separated by a great chasm from Hades. When the trumpet sounds for the rapture, these will be caught up with Jesus in the clouds first. Those who are alive on the earth will immediately follow. Anyone who has died since Jesus’ ascension are in heaven as “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8).