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1 Thessalonians Chapter Four, Live Like Jesus Is Coming Back Today

In our study of 1 Thessalonians chapter four, we look at how we should live our lives knowing that the rapture is coming soon. This chapter gives us a great understanding of the concept of the rapture and what we can expect.

1 Thessalonians 4:1

Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.

Paul commends the people for living to please God and he urges them to do so more and more. He is encouraging them to grow to maturity in their faith as the more we grow in Christ the more we are able to please God.

1 Thessalonians 4:2

For you know what instructions we gave you by authority of the Lord Jesus.

The instructions that Paul gave will be covered in chapter five and they are commonly called the commandments for believers. We must remember that this is not for salvation but because we are saved and want to please God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;

We are called to be set apart for God's use (sanctified) and a part of that is being in control of our own bodies. In 1 Peter 1:2, we saw that this process of sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, to control our bodies we can listen to the Spirit and God will help us to avoid the temptations of lust.

1 Thessalonians 4:6 & 7

and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

Sin is and will be punished even for those who believe in Jesus. This punishment does not affect salvation but is like a parent that disciplines their child. God called us to be pure and holy and so He corrects us and allows consequences for sin in order that we may grow.

1 Thessalonians 4:8

Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

If we do not want to be holy, then we are not going against man but against the will of God. He has given us the power to be holy through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 & 10

Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.

God is love and only He can teach us to love each other. That understanding can only come when we accept Jesus Christ and the example of love that He gave us.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 & 12

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

We all answer to God for our own words and actions so we do not need to get involved in arguments and strife. We are to work and be an example for those that do not know Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 4:13

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.

We have hope through Jesus Christ and that hope is that we will be with God forever. For those that die here on earth (fall asleep), it is better to go on to be with the Lord. If we know that someone who died had accepted Jesus Christ, then we have no reason to mourn like the people that do not have our hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:14

We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Why do we not have to grieve? The answer is simply that, as Christians, we are raised with Christ just as He was. Death has no power of us because sin and death were nailed to the cross. We simply fall asleep and wake up with Jesus in the twinkling of an eye.

1 Thessalonians 4:15

According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

Paul describes the rapture of the church and reminds the readers of the fact that this is what Jesus said concerning the subject. The dead will be raised with Christ and those that are still here will then be caught up to join them in the air.

1 Thessalonians 4:16

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Jesus is coming back when the Father gives the command. God has used a trumpet to call His people and to get them to move since the time of Moses and the wandering in the wilderness. He is going to do the same thing in the future as we see in Revelation 8.

1 Thessalonians 4:17

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Paul now describes what we commonly call "the rapture of the church" We will be going up to join the dead which have risen first and Jesus. We have the hope and the promise that we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:18

Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Because of this confidence that we have and our knowledge about the coming Day of the Lord, we can be encouraged. Paul tells us to also strengthen others in the faith with this knowledge.

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