Pamphlet #5139 KC1Thes5
They just called it things like "shacking up" or "living together" or "having a good time".
When we concluded our last study, Paul had just finished praying for the Thessalonians that the Lord would make them "to increase their love one toward another and toward all men" and strengthen their hearts unblameable in holiness.
He now takes some precious space in his letter to exhort them to continue to conduct their lives in a manner befitting their calling.
Knowing that the subject of these two letters by Paul is the return of Jesus Christ, then wisdom dictates that this exhortation applies especially to that generation who will see His return.
How apropos seeing that the heathenism of this generation is rampant among us and available in the added dimensions of multimedia and cyberspace!
1 Thes. 4:1
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
Have you ever known anybody like that?
I'm sure some of us need look no further than in the mirror.
Anyway, Paul was pleased with their progress and exhorted them to excel even further in leading a wholesome life.
Yes, he is talking to us!
Continue to clean up your act, Paul says!
 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
Their commandments to them were simply to follow His commandments.
1 Thes. 4:3
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
They just called it things like "shacking up" or "living together" or "having a good time".
However, today as we are slouching towards Gomorrah we are ever so more "enlightened" than the heathen of Thessalonica.
Not only are adultery and fornication socially acceptable but homosexuality and sodomy are in now in vogue.
So we see the mottos of the heathen have not changed one bit even from the beginning: "If it feels good, do it!" and "Anything Goes!"
The problem is that sooner or later there is a price to pay for "everything" in the "anything"!
However, it is the will of God that we His children be sanctified, which means we are to be "set apart" from the wicked ways of this world.
In other words we are to act like His children and abstain not only from the lustful adulterous sins of the flesh but also from the idolatrous "feel good" traditions of men as regards religion.
Of course none of us are capable of a perfect walk under the sun in these flesh bodies and we all fall short occasionally and need to repent, but even so we still do not accept ungodly, lustful behavior as the norm.
That alone "sets us apart", over on the "far right wing" from the rest of society in that we become politically incorrect.
So you see, we already stand against the beast!
1 Thes. 4:4
That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
But Paul in this verse is actually talking about something more specific regarding self discipline.
If you check out the Greek you will find that the word "possess" means "to acquire" while "vessel" is used figuratively for "wife" (see 1 Pet. 3:7).
Here is how Dr. Moffat translate verse 5:
1 Thes. 4:5
"That each of you should learn to take a wife for himself chastely and honorably, not to gratify sensual passion like the Gentiles in their ignorance of God." (Moffat)
Many people live in the "bondage of fear" worrying whether or not they may have "gotten something".
In contrast, we Christians who know God and who follow His ways are FREE from that bondage of worry, and that Freedom and peace of mind which accompanies our freedom permits us to have "more FUN than a human being should be allowed to have".
In other words, we never have to wake up and "Worry" about what happened last night.
We just wake up and remember how much fun we had!
1 Thes. 4:6
That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
Do you realize that when a person commits fornication he not only commits sin himself but he "wrongs" another person and causes that person to also transgress.
You see, "the Lord is the avenger" and the Day of Vengeance soon comes with the return of Jesus Christ.
Do you remember in Luke chapter 4 when Jesus stood up in the temple and read from the 61st chapter of the scroll of Isaiah?
He quoted verse 1 but only the first half of verse 2.
Then He stopped.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
The next part of the verse speaks of His second advent which was and is yet to come.
... and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
So do not defraud your brothers and sisters in any matter, business or otherwise.
You will never get away with it!
1 Thes. 4:7
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
He has not only given us gifts of the Spirit as in Acts 2:4 but He has also given us His Holy Spirit to strengthen our own spirit so that our inner man can overrule the outer man and keep that sucker in line.
Sometimes I think of our dwelling in the flesh like being a little jockey tied onto or into the body of a feisty gorilla with a mind of its own and forced to ride that animal until it either gets killed or drops dead.
Whoa baby! What a ride!
Hang onto those reins and don't that gorilla loose.
You probably already know what happens when you do, right?
 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
Paul knew that they knew that he knew how friendly and loving they were and he encouraged them to increase even more in that love.
1 Thes. 4:10
And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
Paul wanted to make sure they kept their "day jobs" and did not neglect their daily duties in the zeal of their expectation and suddenly find themselves in a financial situation where they were now dependent on handouts from others to make ends meet.
That doesn't look good for the home team!
Note: History shows that down through the ages many groups and churches have obviously not understood either 1st or 2nd Thessalonians and have set dates for the return of Christ and even sold all their possessions and discontinued their daily duties accordingly. In their cumulative ignorance they have given the scoffers of these last days additional fodder to bring accusations upon Christianity.
Peter knew how it would be in these last days and he foretold of it in his second epistle:
2 Peter 3:1
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
He is REMINDING us!
 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
Remember also the commandments and good advice Paul and Silas and Timothy gave to those Thessalonians.
There is a lot of lust out there!
 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
We could start a long list of them beginning on the far left wing with all the Gay & Lesbian organizations and then add one lustful liberal wacko group after another.
 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
You know what?
That is one of the very signs of the last days.
We just read it in 2 Pet. 3:3.
1 Thes. 4:12
That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
If we work hard and are honest in dealing with our fellow man and live a good clean lifestyle following His commands, He will see to it that we have lack of nothing.
Maybe we won't all become rich with earthly possessions but then we look forward with maturity to getting rid of the feisty gorilla and inheriting the riches of eternal life in a spiritual body.
Meanwhile we won't have to beg someone for a banana.
In our next few studies we are going to find out where the dead are and learn what happens to them and "we who are alive and remain" when the last Trump sounds.
To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits;
to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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