Pray Without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5: 12-28

“And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 12-13a.

This and the following exhortations (a word which means encouragements), are too easy to rush through without looking at them; so we will slow down here to get a better understanding of what follows.

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Comfort One Another

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-5: 11

“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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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. 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. 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-5: 11.

I have placed the latter end of chapter 4 and the first eleven verses of chapter 5 together here because the chapter break between them is in an unfortunate place. The tendency for many is to read a chapter and then come back the next day and read another; this breaks up the train of thought making it possible to miss the point of the narrative.

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Sexual Immorality

1 Thessalonians 4: 1-12

“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; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality…” 1 Thessalonians 4: 1-3.

These first three words, “Finally then, brethren…” show a characteristic that is rarely seen in mankind. The apostle greets this church of Gentiles and Jews as equals, these men could have thought of themselves as intellectually superior, or as Jews to Gentiles, genetically superior, or as enlightened Christians, superior in their relation to God, much like the Pharisees were. But Paul, Silas and Timothy (mother Jew, father Greek) realized that they were no different from the Thessalonians; they were all sinners saved by the grace of God.

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Your Faith and Love

1 Thessalonians 3

“Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.” 1 Thessalonians 3: 1-4.

The history of this first landing in Europe during the second missionary journey of the Apostle Paul is given in Acts 16:11-17:34. While there were other stops made after these, this is all we will concern ourselves with at this time.

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