"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS" Chapter Four OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To understand how the Christian should increase more and more in such matters as obedience, holiness, love, and diligence 2) To appreciate the precious hope and comfort we have for those who have died in Christ SUMMARY With this chapter Paul begins a series of apostolic instructions related to the Christian's walk in holiness, especially in view of the coming of Christ. Urging them to abound more and more so that they might please God, he first focuses on their sanctification and the need to abstain from sexual immorality (1-8). He then urges them to increase more and more in brotherly love, even though they had been taught by God to love another and did so toward all the brethren throughout Macedonia (9-10). That they might walk properly toward outsiders, he urges them to lead quiet lives, mind their own business, and to work with their own hands (11-12). Paul then addresses the matter of those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. He did not want the Thessalonians to sorrow over them as others who have no hope. For just as God raised Jesus from the dead, even so He would bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (13-14). This leads to a description of the Lord's coming, especially as it relates to how those who are alive and remain until His coming will in no way precede those who have died. Indeed, when the Lord comes from heaven, the dead in Christ will rise first, and we who are alive and remain will at that time be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air and to be with Him forever. Christians should therefore comfort one another with these words (15-18). OUTLINE I. WALK IN HOLINESS (1-8) A. TO PLEASE GOD (1-2) 1. An exhortation in the Lord Jesus to abound more and more (1) 2. According to the commandments Paul gave them through the Lord Jesus (2) B. TO ABSTAIN FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY (3-8) 1. For this is the will of God, their sanctification (3) 2. That each one know how to posses his own vessel (4-5) a. In sanctification and honor (4) b. Not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God (5) 3. That no one take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter (6) a. Because the Lord is the avenger of such things (6a) b. As Paul forewarned and testified (6b) 4. For God called us in holiness, not to uncleanness (7) 5. To reject this is to reject God, who also gave inspired men the Holy Spirit to reveal His will (8) II. WALK IN LOVE (9-10) A. AS TAUGHT BY GOD (9) 1. Concerning brotherly love, Paul really did not need to write anything (9a) 2. For they were taught by God to love one another (9b) B. TO INCREASE MORE AND MORE (10) 1. Indeed, their love was manifest toward all the brethren throughout Macedonia (10a) 2. Yet Paul urges them to increase in their love even more (10b) III. WALK IN DILIGENCE (11-12) A. TO WORK WITH THEIR HANDS (11) 1. They should aspire to lead quiet lives, to mind their own business (11a) 2. Working with their own hands, as Paul commanded them (11b) B. TO WALK PROPERLY TOWARD OUTSIDERS (12) 1. Conducting themselves properly toward those outside (12a) 2. So that they may lack nothing (12b) IV. WALK IN HOPE (13-18) A. WITH NO SORROW CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE DIED (13-14) 1. Paul does not want them to be ignorant (13) a. Concerning those who have fallen asleep (13a) b. Lest they sorrow as others who have no hope (13b) 2. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (14) B. FOR WE SHALL BE REJOINED WITH THEM WHEN CHRIST RETURNS (15-18) 1. Those who are alive when Christ comes will not precede those who are asleep (15) a. The Lord Himself will descend from heaven (16) 1) With a shout 2) With the voice of an archangel 3) With the trumpet of God b. And the dead in Christ will rise first (16b) 2. Then we who are alive and remain... (17) a. Shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord (17a) b. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (17b) 3. Therefore comfort one another with these words (18)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) What did Paul urge and exhort them in the Lord Jesus to do? (1) 3) What is the will of God regarding our sanctification? (3) 4) What should each person do regarding "his own vessel"? (4-5) 5) Why should we be careful not to defraud our brother in this matter? (6-7) 6) If we reject Paul's warning, who is it we are really rejecting? (8) 7) Why did Paul not need to write to the Thessalonians about brotherly love? Yet what does he urge them? (9-10) 8) What three things does Paul encourage them to do in order to walk properly toward outsiders and be lacking in nothing? (11-12) 9) Why did Paul not want them to be ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep? (13) 10) Who will God bring with Jesus? (14) 11) What is said of those who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord? (15) 12) List the order of events that will occur when Jesus comes again (16-17) 13) In view of these coming events, what we should we do? (18)