Last week brought the official opening of beaches, schools winding down, and we entered week three ofÂ “A Faith That Endures”:
In 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10, we find Timothy has returned from a missions trip with good news for Paul and Silas. Paul finds himself encouraged to know that the believers have remained strong. In fact, in verse 8 he says, it has given him new life, infused him with faith to know that they are standing firm.
How precious is this? Paul, distressed with his own circumstances, was strengthened in knowing his brothers and sisters in the faith were standing strong in the middle of their own suffering.
He wanted everyone to be standing firm.
As we pray and intercede for one another, we ourselves are encouraged and strengthened.
“It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.”
(1 Thessalonians 3:8, NLT).
Paul makes a plea in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, for the believers to keep themselves pure.
He urges them to live in a way that pleases God, and then reminds them they have already been taught about the importance of purity. We, too, need reminders from time to time, to live in such a way that pleases God.
Why do we need these reminders?
We will default to pleasing ourselves, our flesh, and slip into disobedience without these reminders.
The reminders help to keep us in right relationship with God and living in obedience to His Word.
God’s will for us is to live obediently a little bit more so each day:
“You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1, NLT).
He reminds the Thessalonians, and us today, to stay away from sexual sin and maintain our holiness.
Do we tolerate some sins over others? What does this mean for us (for me) today?
It means controlling our own bodies, mindful to keep ourselves holy and honoring our bodies, because they are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
We must also teach our children and grandchildren to keep themselves pure and holy; and to do so we must begin with ourselves.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul brings thoughts on death, the coming of the Lord, and the resurrection.
Paul brings this truth … death is not the end for believers -it is the beginning of life everlasting. We mourn but not without hope. We have hope in and through our Lord Jesus Christ.
“We tell you this directly from the Lord. We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who died.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15, NLT).
Our loved ones who have passed before us will be rewarded for facing death. They are not at a disadvantage but at an advantage. They will rise first and then those who remain will be caught up, and the family reunion will start in the clouds.
I love how Paul closes this chapter – “Encourage one another with these words.”
I felt like he was saying this … when you mourn, when those days of sadness overwhelm us and we miss our loved ones, encourage one another. Remind one another of the grand family reunion which is yet to come.
Hold onto hope.