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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 2

Verses 1-12

  1. Intro:
    1. Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), the world-famous violinist, earned a fortune with his concerts and compositions, but he generously gave most of it away. So, when he discovered an exquisite violin on one of his trips, he wasn’t able to buy it. Later, having raised enough money to meet the asking price, he returned to the seller, hoping to purchase that beautiful instrument. But to his great dismay it had been sold to a collector. Kreisler made his way to the new owner’s home and offered to buy the violin. The collector said it had become his prized possession and he would not sell it. Keenly disappointed, Kreisler was about to leave when he had an idea.

      “Could I play the instrument once more before it is consigned to silence?” he asked. Permission was granted, and the great virtuoso filled the room with such heart-moving music that the collector’s emotions were deeply stirred. “I have no right to keep that to myself,” he exclaimed. “It’s yours, Mr. Kreisler. Take it into the world, and let people hear it.”
    2. The Gospel (2,4,8,9) A glad announcement, good news.
      1. Gospel = God Spell. Spell (old Eng; Germanic Orig.) = narration; story)
      2. Its God’s Story of His character, His love, His grace; wrapped in Jesus’ story of His death, burial & Res.
  2. PAUL’S 12 STEP, a model for Gospel living. (1-12)
    1. Paul gives the Thes church, after his 2nd time through, how to Model Ministry.
      1. You might say, “I’m not in ministry”. To which I would respond...“well you’re supposed to be!”
        1. As soon as you are a member of the body of Christ, He calls you to minister.
    1. BE PURPOSEFUL (1)
      1. Not in vain = not hollow or w/o content.
      2. They’re preaching had immediate & impressive consequences, & a permanent change took place in the lives of the believers.
      3. Paul came w/a definite Aim, & he hit what he aimed for.
    2. BE BOLD (2)
      1. Suffering & spitefully treated in Philippi is in Acts 16:22-24 (rt b4 ch.17 of the Thes story)
        1. What happened in Philippi? stripped naked, beaten w/rods, whipped, thrown in jail, fastened their feet in stocks.
        2. “A Roman instrument of torture w/more than 2 holes for the legs so they could be forced widely apart unto a position which soon became intolerably painful.” (LKGNT)
      2. Paul was a man of tremendous courage.
      3. “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” (Dorothy Bernard)
      4. Do you need courage? - Don’t try to drum it up within you.
        1. Think of God’s love for you; think of your love towards Him; meditate on the honor of walking w/Him; speaking of Him to others; think of being entrusted w/this precious life saving news; soon you’ll find yourself driven/compelled with courage.
        2. Martin Luther stood frightened before his adversaries of Rome but courageously said...“Hear now I stand” against the Pope.
        3. “And having thus chosen our course, let us renew our trust in God and go forward without fear and with manly hearts.” Abraham Lincoln
    3. BE HONEST (3)
      1. The Gospel didn’t have it’s source in Error (the facts are true)
      2. The Gospel is not Unclean (Christianity didn’t require immoral rites to promote it, as the cults did)
      3. The Gospel wasn’t Deceitful (deceit = to bait, crafty design or catching)
      1. Don’t you like hearing, “you have been approved”? [Maybe for a home loan; an auto loan; you get to advance to the next level of the hiring process; etc.]
      2. You & I have been approved & entrusted with His Best News for others.
        1. Every member of God’s family has the right and the obligation to make known this great salvation to his/her fellow humans. - Charles Hodge
      3. And we do this to please God, not our fellow man.
    5. BE SINCERE (5)
      1. Flattering words - the idea of deception for selfish ends. LKGNT pg.589
        1. Have you every witnessed to someone for the sake of getting to tell others your glory story?
      2. Cloak for covetousness - pretext for greed.
    6. BE HUMBLE (6)
      1. No demands, “Hey, we are “A”postles.” - Pure Humility.
      2. “It is better to be approved by God & suffer than to be applauded by men & prosper.”
    7. GOSPEL METHODS (7-9)
      1. BE GENTLE (7)
        1. Paul had the same love for the Thessalonians as a new nursing mother delights to care for her newborn.
        2. Young believers need spiritual parents to lovingly nurture them in the Lord.
          1. Paul’s ministry was a ministry of courage but it was also a ministry motivated by Love.
            1. Who said Paul was stern & cold?
        3. Here is such a deep, gentle, tender Love.
          1. Yes, love has to be Tough sometimes, but it must 1st be taught to be Tender.
            1. Which part of love are you best at...Tough Love or Tender Love?
        4. Cherish – Deut.22:6 used for a bird warming her eggs.
      2. BE AFFECTIONATE (8)
        1. Only here, warm affection.
        2. For Paul it was important that the gospel wasn’t only the right words being spoken but the right life being lived.
      3. BE LABORING (9)
        1. Exhausting Labor & toil – Every Jewish boy had to learn a trade. Paul’s was Tentmaking. Paul was careful not to take funds from new converts.
          1. Paul always careful with the $ thing. It’s for believers that understand, not unbelievers you’re trying to win.
  4. GOSPEL MANNERS (10-12)
    1. ​​​​​​​BE PURE (10)
      1. Devout, just, blameless - or in one word Integrity sums up how Paul walked among them.
        1. ​​​​​​​Integrity is in short supply in Christian circles today.
      2. Devoutly (describes duty toward God); just (describes duty toward man) [rt in public behavior]; blameless (Signifies that no charge could be maintained, whatever charges might be made)
        1. Its being a “what you see is what you get” Christian.
    2. BE DIRECT (11)
      1. I was like a mother to you, but I also had to be a dad sometimes. [a little sterner]
      2. Exhortation – To exhort to a particular line of conduct.
      3. Comfort – To encourage to continue in a course. (eg. “you’re doing better”, “I see your progress”, “I can see changes”, “keep on”, “come on”)
      4. Charge – To solemnly charge, urge, implore.
        1. How many people stop because so few say, "Go."
      5. Hmmm, might this also speak to the the difference in mom & dads roles? (vs.7 & 11)
    3. BE WORTHY OF GOD (12)
      1. Walk worthy – Does your example as a Christian make it easier for others to grow?
    4. Like the violin collector said in the beginning, “I have no right to keep that to myself,” - “It’s yours. Take it into the world, and let people hear it.”

Verses 13-20

  1. Intro:
    1. Title: You in the Presence
    2. Outline: The Word of God; The Churches of God; The Hope, Joys, & Crowns from God.
    3. Suppose a great doctor discovers a cure for cancer. Once that cure is found, it is there. But before it can become available for everyone, it must be taken out to the world. Doctors and surgeons must know about it and be trained to use it. The cure is there, but one person cannot take it out to all the world; A corps of doctors must be the agents whereby it arrives to all the world’s sufferers.
      1. The church is to be the same to the world, with the good news.
  2. THE WORD OF GOD (13)
    1. (13) They had an appetite for the word of God (received & welcomed); & put it to work immediately (works in you).
      1. receive refers to the ear - welcomed refers to the heart.
    2. 1st God delivers His word through ordinary men in terms we can understand (via the H.S.)
      1. The word came to Jeremiah like a burning in his bones; to Elijah as a still small voice; to Daniel in visions & dreams; to Moses face to face like a man speaks w/his friend (ie. so clear it was as though God spoke directly to him)
        1. 2 Pet. 1:20,21 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation(origin), for prophecy never came(never came into being) by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved(nautical term, to be bore along) by the Holy Spirit.
    3. 2nd the word of God changes people & makes them different. (effectively works in you)
      1. To merely memorize or mentally accept it doesn’t change anyone.
      2. 2 Tim.3:16,17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (what is rt), for reproof (what is not rt), for correction (how to get rt), for instruction in righteousness (how to stay rt), that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
      3. When His word is effectively working in you it is in the present continuous sense.
      4. Heb.4:12 says the word of God is living and powerful.
        1. Living - ζάω/zao and Active - ἐνεργέω/energeo (our words here, effectively works)
        2. Like a seed - the word bears life & power within itself.
        3. Like a fire & hammer - read Jer.23:28,29
      5. (27) Humans love the sensational.
        1. It distracts the mind from reality, as effectively as any heresy.
      6. (28b) Gain nourishment from the Wheat of the Word. “Wheaties”
        1. You can chew on chaff but it gives no nourishment.
          1. Like chewing wax – [Remember those little 1” wax bottles. You bit into them & it had a little liquid squirt inside]
      7. (29) Hammer – Tear down/build up. Break the hardest rocks. Fire – Consumes waste, purifies what it touches.
        1. Jeremiah had the wood burning in his heart(20:9) & on his lips(5:14).
          1. No wonder false teachers are so popular. The sinful heart does not want to be burned & broken by the fire & hammer of the word. (www)
          2. A rabbi was asked a question by a pupil, referring to Deuteronomy 6:6 "And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart." "Why is it said this way?" the pupil asked. "Why are we not told to place them in our heart?" The rabbi answered that it is not within man's power to place the divine teachings directly in his heart. "All that we can do is place them on the surface of the heart so that when the heart breaks they will drop in."
  3. THE CHURCHES OF GOD (14-16)
    1. (14a) The Churches of God
    2. Let’s differentiate between the Church & the churches in Scripture.
      1. We can use the terms Local & Universal.
      2. When we talk about Church Universal, we mean the Body of Christ, bride of Christ.
        1. Christ loved the church & gave Himself for her. Eph.5:25
      3. When we talk about The Church Local, we mean the individual churches that meet, whether in houses or buildings, small or large.
        1. ​​​​​​​Any where the word is preached & the sacraments are administered. It is also a place where God preaches people into heaven. Michael Horton
        2. You’ll recognize it as a church by the things God is doing, not by the multitude of things man is doing.
    3. We can understand the purpose of the church in terms of ministry to God, ministry to believers, ministry to the world.
      1. ​​​​​​​God/worship - worship is not a prep b4 something else. Eph.5:19 calls us to sing & make melody to the Lord w/all our hearts.
      2. Believers/nurture - build up & equip the saints. Paul’s goal was to present every man mature in Christ.
      3. World/evangelism(make disciples of all nations) & mercy(towards the poor, the ethnic or religious minorities, & injustices...even if they don’t respond to the gospel (these adorn the gospel) - Lk.6:35,36 love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
    4. Lean on only one of these & you’ll have many problems:
      1. Worship God only - remain shallow & experiential.
        1. With inadequate bible teaching we’d be immature in our Christian lives.
        2. Neglect evangelism, church will cease to grow.
      2. Nurture saints only - Know much & dry out spiritually.
        1. Again, with inadequate bible teaching we’d be immature in our Christian lives.
      3. Evangelize & show mercy only - Immaturity. They usually beat 1 drum (salvation).
    5. Balance all 3. Why?
      1. Each is a command & therefore must be important to God.
    6. So, this is the mission of the church & regarding the message of the church…
      1. When we Christians share our faith(gospel message), we do not merely give our particular viewpoint on life, as one among the endless variety of human theories. We announce the divinely revealed truth of God, a word from God.
        1. Remember the word/seeds power & potential in a heart!
    7. (14b-16) Every generation & in every century this has happened.
      1. Believers have been tortured & killed in so many ways: human torches; burnt alive; bound in animal skins & left to shrink in the hot sun; thrown to the lions; isolated on islands; placed in a log & sawn in ½.
        1. Yet, no man has ever rendered a message inoperative by slaying the messenger who brought it.
        2. Like the missionary that went to a primitive tribe. After explaining the gospel & heaven & hell on a chart, the message so disturbed the tribe. Not wanting it to be true, they burned the chart & thus thought...all was well.
    8. 3 reasons the Gospel arouses such violent opposition: They say…
      1. ​​​​​​​The Gospel is too Narrow-minded – Yep, Verizon insists you push the right buttons in the right sequence. You do not have the liberty to arrange them as you please. You must get them exactly right. They are so narrow-minded.
        1. ​​​​​​​There is only 1 way to be reconciled to God.
      2. The Gospel brings Sin to the surface – Here’s where human pride immediately draws its sword. We’d rather try to cover our evil.
        1. We run like Adam & Eve trying to cover our same with fig leaves of excuses.
        2. We are stubborn people.
      3. The Gospel forgives blatant sinners – Those that richly deserve hell & death.
        1. The Pharisees were very offended when Jesus received prostitutes, adulterers, sinners.
        2. Blatant sinners - What if on Monday, Aaron Alexis didn't die in the Washington Navy Yard? Lets say he surrendered after killing those 12 people. Then 24 hours later had a real prison house conversion? Have a problem with it? What if one of your relatives were one of the 12?
    1. ​​​​​​​We’ve already seen opposition from the State (2); from Society (14); & here from Satan (18).
    2. Remember 2 things:
      1. Opposition is permitted by God – (Job)
      2. Opposition is His method of training – To overcome trouble, to rise above it.
    3. Hindered (lkgnt) “to cut in”
      1. Orig. use of breaking up a road to make it impassible.
      2. Later used in a military sense of making a break thru the enemy’s line.
      3. Also used in the athletic sense of cutting in on someone during a race.
      4. It is Satan’ s job to throw obstacles in our way…it is Our job to hurdle them.
        1. Slide#15 “Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal”.
        2. Since the 1st moment when goodness came into conflict w/ has never stopped. Satan hinders us.
          1. How? You start to pray/the phone rings; start to share with someone/ interruptions; you start serving the Lord/the family or marriage gets major attacked; Everywhere Satan hinders us.
          2. When? From when we’re 1st saved & still today, he especially desires to hinder our completeness of our personal character.
          3. Remember – We are on the Lord’s side. We’re doing the Lord’s work. And In God’s strength we shall win the victory & triumph over our adversary.
            1. Rom.16:20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.
    4. (19,20) What is our hope, joy, crown? It’s YOU in the presence of our Lord J.C. at His coming. For YOU are our glory & joy.
      1. ​​​​​​​Crown (stephanos) - the Victors crown, a reward, a prize. [not diadema, imperial dignity]
    5. 5 Crowns:
      1. Crown of Life - Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
        1. Describes the permanent nature of the reward, in contrast to the transient experience of a trial/temptation in which it is won.
      2. Crown Incorruptible - And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 1 Cor.9:25
        1. A general description to all rewards promised to those who stand at the Bema seat of Christ.
      3. Crown of Rejoicing - Here in 1 Thes.2:19,20. Your converts/disciples at His presence.
      4. Crown of Rt - Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2Tim4:8 [character of the award, corresponds to the character of the giver]
      5. Crown of Glory - Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1Pet5:2-4
        1. What is your hope, joy, crown? It’s your disciples in the presence of our Lord J.C. at His coming. For they are our glory & joy.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.