1 Thessalonians 3 and 4. God gives us the holy Spirit, to make us holy; and to join us with him.

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1. Timotheus, a minister of God in the gospel, will establish you.

In the previous chapter we studied that the apostles went through severe persecution. For them, Thessalonians were the hope, joy, and the crown of rejoicing. Apostles desired to see them, but Satan hindered them. Let us begin the third chapter. "1 Thessalonians 3:1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 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:" Since they could not go to them, they have decided to stay just in Athens, and send Timothy to Thessalonians to establish them in the middle of persecution. Timothy was one of the ministers of God with the apostles. "3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto." That is, if we follow Christ, we were appointed to bear these afflictions; so, when affliction comes, we should not waiver. But now a days, instead of affliction, prosperity and comfort comes; along with that, Christianity becomes fake. Instead of pursuing Christ, we pursue to be part of a decent high standard society. "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." They predicted the very thing that they should suffer persecution for the Lord; and so, when it came, it was not a surprise. "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." When they could not wait any longer, they sent Timothy to find how they were doing, whether their work was in vain or was it a success. "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:" Now Timothy brought good tidings that they were doing great in faith and in charity; here charity is not big donations that they gave, but it was love and desire to save souls. As the apostles desired to see them, Thessalonians also desired to see the apostles, which made them very happy. "7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:" So, they were comforted because of their faith, despite they had to go through afflictions. "8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord." Thessalonians made their life so fulfilling since they stood fast in the Lord, that is, they were established in the faith.

2. Love things, hate brethren, are lack in faith, to become perfect.

"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;" They were overjoyed and wondered how much they could thank God for Thessalonians. "10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?" Their desire to visit Thessalonians was not only to see them, but also to make them more perfect in their faith. "11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 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:" They wish that God will make a way for them to meet the people. Every blessing from God is good. Yet for the work of the gospel, the main ingredient is the pure love of God, such as the love shown by the apostle to Thessalonians, and we must love each other with such love. It is the love between brethren. "1 John 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now." It is a test. Some proud liars, claim that they are of God, truth, and love, but hate their brethren not because of a godly cause, but of other reasons; they are liars and are not of God. Light is of God and darkness is of Satan. They boast themselves saying that they are focused on eternity and the rewards in heaven, but not on the things of earth; but in real life they entangle with simple matters of the world; and so, they are in darkness. "10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes." So, there is no truth in them, but they claim that they bring the truth, which is another big lie. The apostles wanted to come to Thessalonians to make sure that there were no fake Christians, who boast themselves highly. They say that they live with Jesus Christ, but in real life they live in darkness. "1 Thessalonians 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." (Correction: Instead chapter 3, I said it as 4, it was slip of the tongue.) As Christians, we must be truthful, but not be a fake. Our love must be real, but not in words only. This love makes us perfect and to be in holiness. They will be ready to be in the presence of God at his second coming.

3. You know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

"1 Thessalonians 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." They received the apostles by the red carpet, which was appreciated, and then they persuade to tell them that they should walk in life, pleasing God, and so on. "2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;" They remind them the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ and highlighted on sanctification and to abstain from fornication. Sanctified means to be free from sins and to be pure. Jesus prays to the Father in John 17:17, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Jesus Christ sanctifies us, makes us pure by his word, or cleaning us with his word, as washing in water. "Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word," It also says the same thing. Cleaning with the word refers to our obedience to the word of God. Please refer to this link for more on sanctification. "Make us pure". One more word in these verses is fornication. "5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:" Lust of concupiscence is the lustful craving or intense desire for sex. Even common people, who do not know God, may not do such perversions. There are more to learn in the words concupiscence and fornication. So, let me give a link to study them in detail; "Concupiscence & fornication". "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. 7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." If such sins are consensual, most people do not consider them as sins. But if they are by force, or kind of rape or such, then they may think it is sin. But even though it is consensual, it is sin, because it is God who told us not to do it; and it is defrauding a brother. "8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit." God has given us the holy Spirit and requires us to live by the guidance of the holy spirit. So, it is not enough to live by the social standard only, but we must live by the law of the Spirit, which is the heavenly requirement. "9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 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;" Thessalonians were taught in this by God himself by the holy Spirit. So, apostles applaud them for this, and encourage them to grow stronger in the Spirit. "11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;" They advise believers to live up to moral and social standards also. Apostles told them to work for their living, but neither to be parasites, nor exploiters. "12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing." Even in the eyes of the world, who are neither godly nor religious, we must walk honestly, as who have enough to take care of ourselves; and let us live a decent life.

4. Soon after death, Sinners will be in hell, and saints in Paradise.

We are born with soul and body. We think that our body is us, and we do not even know that we are souls, until we study the bible. The primary source of our body is dust; so, after our death our body will become dust, and we remain as our soul. Our body will not be raised from death, will neither go to heaven or hell. But preachers preach a lot of ignorance. 1 Corinthians 15:50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." So, our body will neither go to heaven nor to hell, and it will become dust in the ground. (Correction: one time I said Thessalonians by slip of the tongue). "44 says, It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." We are born with a natural body, that is of the flesh. How will the spiritual body come to us? Jesus Christ tells us to be born again of the Spirit, by asking him the Spirit and by receiving it from him. If we ask him for his Spirit, he will give the Spirit and we will be born again. So, we will have a second body to our souls that is of the Spirit. If you like to study the details, please refer to this link: "Born Again." So, the spirit body will go in the rapture, but not the flesh body. In 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 say that our flesh body will be dissolved, our new body will be of the spirit, and it will be eternal. So, in rapture, the flesh body will die. Even preachers will not recognize the rapture and they will also think that this person is dead. (For a side note: the rapture will not come for another 300 years. If you like to study details, please refer to this link: "Rapture.") Another question people often ask is that where will the people go soon after their death? There are too many speculations; and we do not want to go to them. If a person is not born again, there will be no Spirit to cover the soul, so, soul will be naked and cannot go to heaven. And so, they will be sent to hell. Those who escape hell, will enter Paradise as a resting place, but not as heaven. The symbolic name for Paradise, for this, is Abraham's bosom.

5. If we are in Jesus, God will bring the dead, and catch up the living.

Here in Thessalonians, we talk about born again only. The apostle writes to them not to be sorrowful about their death, probably by persecution. "13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." He consoles them saying not to be sorrowful, since they are in Christ. Jesus rose from the dead, and he will bring them with him, since they are in him. Even though the rapture will not take place for another 300 years according to the scriptures, apostle make a note of how the rapture will happen in verse 15. "16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:" Have you noticed that verse 14 says that Jesus Christ will bring the dead saints with him,; but verse 16 says he will raise them from the dead? It contradicts each other. Are they coming with Jesus, or were the dead raised? When the born-again saints die, their spirit will go to God, who gave it. It is in "Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Their souls go to rest in Paradise. So, Jesus brings their spirits with him, and he raise their souls from their resting place, and their souls are caught up with their spirits and joints together with their spirits, at the clouds. How about the living saints? "17 Then, we which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:" The souls and the spirits of those, who remain in him, will meet him in the air. This is how, the rapture will happen. But, I have seen a few rapture movies. In one, I saw that people were shooting themselves up from their graves as arrows or as doves. In another I saw that people have disappeared, leaving their clothes behind, so, their flesh body raptured. These are all not from the bible, but from their imaginations. If you like to know more on these, please refer these links. "Second Coming." "Rapture." "18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words." If you are born of the Spirit for real, your soul will take rest in Paradise, and your Spirit will be with God. At the rapture, whenever it happens, your Spirit will be glorified in the brightness of the Sun, and will join your soul, and you will inherit the kingdom of God in heaven, as a Son of God.

If any point needs explanation, OR, if you find an error according to scripture,
Please write to me in the 'Mail Box' below. I will reply promptly.
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I am a retired pastor of the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India
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