11 March 2017

Stone 45 - 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians

In this post we will take a quick peek at 1 and 2 Thessalonians. These two relatively short books are actually two letters written by Paul to the church at Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians
After a short introduction, Paul begins to recall the time when he was there with them. He states that their exhortation did not come from error, impurity, or an intent to deceive and that they were not there to please men but God (1Thess 2:3-4). It was also very clear that they had developed some very positive and close relationships (1 Thess 2:7-8). Paul makes an appeal to their conduct when they were there. He even tells them that they were going to suffer some persecution and that he wanted to find out about them because he was worried about whether or not their faith has held up (1Thess 3:4-5).

Paul then encourages them to remain sexually pure and to not worry about those who have died. Those who have died will also be with the Lord. Paul comforts them in regards to the Day of the Lord reminding them that Christians are 'of the day'.

One of my favorite verses is 1Thess 5:21 - but test all things. Hold on to what is good.

**This always brings me back to defining that which is good. How do you make that determination? What criteria do you use to decide if something is good or not? Is it a selfish or pragmatic examination? Is it one that simply says if it doesn't hurt someone it is not bad and therefore good? Something else? Jesus says that no one is good but One - God (Luke 18:19, Mark 10:18). What makes us think that we are good at all? We are all sinners in need of saving. I realize that is difficult to swallow. I believe it is difficult because we are all guilty of associating good with being nice to others, not getting into trouble with the law, and avoiding culturally set standards of morality. However, it is God that sets the moral standard and I know I, for one, fall miserably short of meeting it.

Test all things... Hold onto what is good. Compare to the standard.

Please enjoy the video from our friends at the Bible Project on 1 Thessalonians.

2 Thessalonians
In this second letter, Paul addresses some concerns that are still affecting the folks in Thessalonica. The first of which is the severe persecution that continues to plague the people. The concern here is that the persecution would drive the people away from Christ as a way to escape the persecution.

Don't give in, friends! There are some today that would walk away from Christ due to simple scare tactics or just common ridicule. This pales in comparison to the violence that the Thessalonians endured in the first century.

The second is about the second coming of Christ. The people are worried that they might have missed it. No, says Paul. It is gonna be way more obvious than that. We must first experience the revelation of the 'Man of Lawlessness'. This person is described as one who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship publicizing that he himself is God (2Thess 2:4).

The third is to work as to not be a burden to others. We ought to work hard, (3:8), and provide for ourselves (3:10, 12).

 Again, please enjoy the wonderful videos that the Bible Project has provided.

**Do not grow weary in doing good (2Thess 3:13)!

Until next time,

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