8.29.2017

Time for some personal investigation.

Our COMMITTED group is studying I and II Thessalonians - and loving it!
The books are filled with fantastic applications for daily living, encouragement to honor God in everything we do, a challenge to think about the Lord's return and rejoice in it, charges about how to treat one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, and a reminder that we must know God's Word, protect God's Word, and stand firm in the faith in days of adversity.
It is a most excellent study, and I am thoroughly enjoying our discussions and shared convictions as we walk through each chapter together, verse by verse.

While preparing the questions for our next study, I was struck by how personal I Thessalonians 5 is in terms of application. Changing the commands into questions creates an investigation.
"Be at peace among yourselves." ---> Are you at peace with the body of Christ?
"Comfort the fainthearted." ---> Do you comfort those who are weak and hurting?
"Rejoice always" and "in everything give thanks." ---> Do you rejoice all the time?
Wow.
This is going to be a lesson I may walk away from with a slight limp!
As our dear brother A. W. Tozer says, "An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil
is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly."
Lord, may it be so, for once you show me what is wrong, You will also provide the remedy!

May we be convicted and encouraged together!

I Thessalonians 5
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
◆ What are your overall thoughts/reactions when you read the passage above?

◆ How can you be watchful and sober? (v. 6)
◆ Why do you think Paul specifically mentions the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope? (as opposed to the entire suit of the armor of faith described in Ephesians 6) (v. 8)
◆ Do you wear the HOPE of salvation? Do you think/talk about the coming of the Lord?

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

◆ How do you esteem your brothers and sisters in Christ who labor as leaders in the body of Christ?
◆ Do you encourage them consistently?
If not, how can you remedy this in order to be obedient to this command?

◆ Are you at peace with the body of Christ?
Is there anyone with whom you need to "make peace?"

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are idle and disruptive, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always seek to do what is good to one another.

◆ Do you warn the idle and disruptive? What would that look like biblically?
◆ Do you comfort, encourage, and support weak and weary brothers/sisters?
◆ Are you patient?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

◆ Are you always rejoicing?
◆ Is your prayer life consistent?
◆ Do you give thanks regularly?
Note verse 18 ... these things are God's WILL for you. They are not suggestions - they are commands.
How does that influence your thinking about these questions?

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

◆ Do you test all things? (v. 21)
Do you measure everything you see/hear/read against God's Word to know what is real and true so you can "hold fast to what is good," and throw away what is false?

◆ How do you abstain from every form of evil? Are you intentional about doing so?

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. 

This is a LOVELY passage!
Read it thoughtfully, and respond.

Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

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