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1 Thessalonians
Chapter 3

Theme: The Coming of Christ is an emotional and liberating hope to TRUE believers.

The great and wonderful theme of 1 Thessalonians is the Rapture of the church, and the great and wonderful theme of 2 Thessalonians is the Revelation of Christ, which is His Ccoming to the Earth to establish His Kingdom. These doctrines which Paul taught to the Thessalonians, is something that all TRUE Christians look forward to with great eagerness and hope. Many of today’s churches do not put enough emphasis on these tremendous doctrines. They do not encourage the people to look forward to the Rapture or the Revelation of Christ. So sad! It is as though they think this teaching is unimportant and unnecessary, and it just something to talk about and to argue about, but it is not important to this life on earth. They do not teach it as something that must be considered as a TRUTH and a FACT in this life. Paul very wisely teaches completely different.
The beautiful theme of this chapter is that the Coming of Christ is a purifying hope, an emotional and passionate hope and a liberating hope.

If you believe the Bible, if you believe God (1 Jn.5:10), if you believe the doctrine of the Rapture, and hold to it; it will change your life, and drastically affect your life-style. If it does not affect your life, then you really do not believe it. It is just some sort of a wild idea or belief with you.

Timothy Brings a Good Report of the Thessalonians (1 Thes. 3:1-8)

1 Thes. 3:1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; (KJV)

Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone . . . because Paul had a real affection for the Thessalonians, he was frustrated in not being able to return to them. He had been hindered by Satan (1 Thes.2:18). Paul had to leave Thessalonica so quickly that there were many unfinished teachings and doctrines that he had not been able to teach fully. Love is not affection or just a nice, comfortable, warm feeling around your heart. True love seeks the welfare of another. That is the way love is expressed for anyone. If you love someone, you seek what is good for him/her, and you actually would lay on the line your own life for the person whom you love.

1 Thes. 3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: (KJV)

And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith . . . by the description Paul gives of Timothy, he was a man near and dear to him, and was his right hand in the service of the Gospel. Paul’s care of the Thessalonians should be praised for his sending such a well-known person to them.

1 Thes. 3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. (KJV)

That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto . . . Paul says that "no man should be moved," meaning he should not be disturbed, "by these afflictions." Afflictions here means "pressures, tensions."
Then Paul says "we are appointed thereunto," meaning that we are going to go through storms. There shall be many storms in our lifetime, and we cannot escape them. All TRUE believers will have troubles and trials here in this life on Earth. God’s Word makes this very clear. Paul wants the Thessalonians to stand for the Lord in the midst of afflictions.
If you are a TRUE believer, you are NOT going to escape trouble. Accepting Christ does not take out an insurance policy against suffering. I think it may be just the reverse, and the stronger stand you take for Jesus, the harder Satan will attack you. 2 Tim. 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (KJV) . . . The time to be concerned is when everything is smooth sailing. It is then you might question your salvation. But if you are experiencing trouble down here, if the pressures and tensions of life are on you, then that is a sign that you are a child of God. This is one sure way God teaches us to rely on Him.

1 Thes. 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. (KJV)

For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know . . . tribulation is the same as affliction, above. This is NOT referring to the Great Tribulation. It refers to all the "little tribulations" that all TRUE believers go through here on Earth. We all will have trouble down here. These troubles will bring us closer to God. Tribulations bring blessings in the life of the believer.

1 Thes. 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. (KJV)

For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain . . . the tempter is none other than Satan. In chapter 2:18 Paul said, "Satan hindered us." What Paul seems to be saying to the Thessalonians is, "Satan is giving me a bad time, and I am afraid he may be giving you a bad time too."
Another good reason for afflictions is to test to see how genuine our belief really is. Trouble always tests the reality of our belief and our faith. We must hang in there! There are TRUE believers and there are a lot of counterfeit ones too, false to the bone! One thing that will really reveal the truth of faith is the ability to endure your trouble through faith in God. Afflictions reveal the genuine, sincere believer, the TRUE believer. Let us never lose sight of the amazing grace of God.

See end of this chapter for: The Truth about God’s Grace.

1 Thes. 3:6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: (KJV)

But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you . . . it was wonderful when Paul got word from them, and that word was a good report. They were enduring their afflictions.

1 Thes. 3:7  Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: (KJV)

Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith . . . in all our affliction . . . Paul tells them that he also had afflictions. The good report from them was a great comfort to him.

1 Thes. 3:8  For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. (KJV)

For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord . . . we live means that as believers we enjoy life. Since they stood fast in the Lord, even in troubling times, they could enjoy life. A Christian life is NOT easy! Satan will do all he can to stop us from standing fast in the Lord! But, with His help, we can do it! 1 Peter 4:12-13  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (KJV)

Paul Urges Continued Growth in Christ (1 Thes. 3:9-13)

1 Thes. 3:9  For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; (KJV)

For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God . . . the great satisfaction and exceptional joy which Paul felt are powerfully portrayed in the language he uses. The success of his ministry was near and dear to his heart!
It was not enough for Paul that he preached often, labored hard and suffered much; for that was nothing if all these souls were not converted. And if they were converted, they needed to embrace the Gospel that saved them, and walk obediently on their way to Heaven, persevering every step of the way.
Joy is associated with life, whereas sorrow is associated with affliction and distress and death. But, sorrow does increase the space in the heart for joy. Paul wants the Thessalonians to know how to rejoice.

1 Thes. 3:10  Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? (KJV)

Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face . . . Paul pleaded to God at all times; abounding in his appeals to God to allow him to revisit them. His affection for this Church was very strong.
And might perfect that which is lacking in your faith . . . Paul wanted the opportunity of giving them full instructions in the doctrine of Christ, that they might know everything in full detail, so that they may be perfectly fitted to every good word and work (1 Thes.2:17).

1 Thes. 3:11  Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. (KJV)

Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you . . . God is our Father, who has adopted us into His heavenly family, and called us his sons and daughters (1 Jn.3:1). Since Paul was employed in God's work, he dared not consult or trust his own feelings. Paul looked for non-stop directions and guidance from God . . . where, when and how to do his Master's work.

1 Thes. 3:12  And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: (KJV)

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you . . . abound in love means exceed in it, and this love is Godly love (agape love). In this Letter, love is seen only in action . . . labor of love (1 Thes.1;3). This love is not affection, but an active seeking of the welfare of another.

1 Thes. 3:13  To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. (KJV)

To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints . . . to the end . . . love has a purpose; it is not an end in itself. The desired end of their love for one another is that they would develop a character of holiness. We are going to appear before Him one day, and He is going to judge our works. This may terrify you, but He also is going to judge our character as believers and determine the reward we will receive (1 Cor.3:13). What kind of a life are you living today?
Judged, According to our works:  (Ps.62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Isa.59:18; Jer.21:14; 25:14; 32:19; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:8-9; 18:30; Hos.12:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Rom.2:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).
At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints . . . most Christians would agree that this verse indicates that the saints are going to come with Christ when He comes to the earth to establish His Kingdom (Mat.16:27) . . . but does this verse also indicate that He does not reward them until that time when He comes to the earth to establish His Kingdom? (Rev.19:11-21; Zec.14:1-5). I don’t think so.
There are many who believe that believers will come before the judgment seat of Christ before the Second Coming; when He takes the church out of the world, the world enters the Great Tribulation period, and then he comes to establish His Kingdom at the end of the Great Tribulation period. So the question naturally arises: When is He going to present us "unblameable in holiness before God"? Is it when He takes the church out of the world? Or, will it be at the time He comes to the earth to establish His Kingdom? The answer depends upon our understanding of this phrase, "at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."
Judgment Seat of Christ: http://hisservants.org/judgment_seat_h_s.htm
I think, "at the coming of our Lord Jesus" refers to the fact that TRUE believers are going to be present with the Lord Jesus at the very moment that we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. He will take us home to glory, to the place that He has prepared for us (Jn.14:2-3). So that this "coming" does not refer to the return of the Lord with His saints to establish His Kingdom, but to our coming to Heaven into the Presence of the Father. We have the same thought in:
1 Thes. 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (KJV)
We will come into the Presence of the Lord Jesus and at that time we will be presented "unblameable in holiness before God."

The Truth about God's Grace

The word "grace" in the New Testament comes from the Greek word charis, which means “favor, blessing, or kindness.” We all can extend grace to others; but when the word grace is used in connection with God, it has a much more powerful meaning. Grace is God blessing us, instead of cursing us (Deut.27:15-26), as our sin deserves. Grace is God’s compassionate and merciful kindness to the undeserving.

Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (KJV) . . . The only way any of us can enter into a relationship with God is because of His grace toward us. God’s grace began in the Garden of Eden when God killed an animal to cover the sin of Adam and Eve (Gen.3:21). He could have killed the first humans then and there for their disobedience. But rather than destroy them, He chose to make a way for them to be right with Him. That pattern of grace continued throughout the Old Testament when God instituted blood sacrifices as a means to atone (compensate, pay the cost ) for sinful men. It was NOT the blood of those sacrifices that cleansed sinners! It was the grace of God that forgave those who trusted in Him (Gen.15:6; Heb.10:4).

Why would Paul’s labor be in vain IF there was no possibility of Satan tempting Christians, causing them to fall and be lost? I am certain that Paul understood the grace of God and its limitations to those who refuse to obey the Gospel. The word grace is found 131 times in the New Testament, and Paul uses it the vast majority of those times. He KNEW what it meant!

Grace cannot be withheld from man because of failings or shortcomings, nor lessened by failings or shortcomings, nor can it ever be mixed with the law of works; but this does not prove that there are no conditions men must meet in order to get the benefits of grace. Not even one Passage of Scripture teaches unconditional grace, and not even one Scripture states that God gives grace to men who disobey the Gospel. That being so, God is under obligation to save all, even sinners who disobey if He saves even one (Rom.2;11). BUT, God is responsible to saints ONLY when they walk in the light and remain true to the Gospel (1 Jn.1:7). He is NOT under any obligation to sinners until they come to full obedience of the Gospel. Grace teaches men to DENY ungodliness, DENY worldly lusts, and strive to live righteously, obedient and godly in this life on Earth (Tit.2:11-12). Anyone who does not obey the teaching of grace can go no further.

Consider this: Anyone may:

#1. Receive grace in vain (2 Cor.6:1).
#2. Frustrate grace in his life (Gal.2:21).
#3. Fall from grace (Gal.1:6-8; 5:4).
#4. Fail of the grace of God (Heb.12:15).
#5. Turn it into lasciviousness (Jude 1:4).
#6. Sin in spite of it (Rom.6:1).
#7. Continue or discontinue in it (Acts 13:43).
#8. Minister it to others (1 Pet.4:10).
#9. Grow or not grow in grace (2 Pet.3:18).
#10. Receive or reject grace (Jn.3:16; Heb.12:15; Jam.4:6; Rev.22:17).

Thirty Things that Grace CAN Do:

#1. Grace could save the world (Gen.6:8; Eph.2:8-9).
#2. Grace could give you all good things (Ps.84:11).
#3. Grace can bring men to repentance (Zec.12:10).
#4. Grace can impart great blessings (Acts 4:33).
#5. Grace can bring salvation (Tit.2:11-12; Eph2).
#6. Grace can impart faith (Acts 18:27).
#7. Grace can justify you (Rom.3:24-25; Tit.3:7).
#8. Grace can overcome sin (Rom.5:20).
#9. Grace can reign in your life IF permitted (Rom.5:21).
#10. Grace can make you, one God's elect (Rom.11:5-6).
#11. Grace can make you bold (Rom.15:15).
#12. Grace can make you a partaker of Christ (1 Cor.10:30).
#13. Grace can give you power (1 Cor.15:10).
#14. Grace can inspire you liberality (2 Cor.8:1-2,6-9; 9:8).
#15. Grace can give you endurance (2 Cor.12:9).
#16. Grace can call people to the ministry (Gal.1:15).
#17. Grace can impart riches (Eph.2:7).
#18. Grace can inspire you to sing (Col.3:16).
#19. Grace can season your speech (Col.4:6).
#20. Grace can give you strength (2 Tim.2:1).
#21. Grace can teach you (Tit.2:11-12).
#22. Grace can give you aid in suffering (Heb.2:9).
#23. Grace can help you in time of need (Heb.4:16).
#24. Grace can give you stability (Heb.13:9).
#25. Grace can give you a better life (1 Pet.3:7).
#26. Grace can help you render true service (Heb.12:28).
#27. Grace can make your faith and love more abundant (1 Tim.1:14).
#28. Grace can bring you hope (2 Thes.2:16).
#29. Grace can give you the ability to preach, to witness (Eph.3:8).
#30. Grace can change lives (1 Cor.15:10).

1 Thessalonians

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