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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5

Verses 1-11

  1. Intro:
    1. Title: The Day God Came Back
    2. Same subject (parousia/coming of the Lord) but a different perspective. [bad chapter break]
    3. Everybody wants a date to circle on their calendar.
      1. Maybe it’s best upon 1st waking up in the morning, to walk to your wall calendar & circle that days date, & live your day in the light of this possibility.
    4. The disciples wanted a time - Acts 1:6,7 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And He said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
      1. So, if Jesus couldn’t give them any more light on the situation, Paul surely couldn’t.
    5. 2 wrong attitudes towards The Coming Day of the Lord.
      1. A feverish expectation (4:11)
        1. Which leads to fanaticism. They confuse the truth w/fantastic creations of fancy.
      2. ​​​​​​​A cold indifference & careless neglect (tonights topic 5:1-11)
        1. Which encourages a life of worldly & sensual indulgence.
    6. Paul will appeal to what they already know. (2)
    7. Outline: Day of the Lord; Sons of the Day; Living For Today.
  2. DAY OF THE LORD (1-3)
    1. ​​​​​​​(2) The Day of the Lord – The Day God Came back
      1. Not a 24 hour day. [1007 years]
    2. The Day of the Lord received much discussion in the O.T. (often called that day)
      1. To the Jew time was divided into 2 ages: [1] This present age which was incurably bad. [2] The age to come, the golden age.
      2. In between there was the day of the Lord which would be a terrible day.
      3. It was the destroying of one world & the making of another.
    3. It is both a day of Judgment & a day of Blessing.
      1. Judgement – on the world for sin & rebellion (during the trib)
      2. Blessing – on earth while they enjoy the personal reign of Christ (during the millennium)
    4. Here Paul doesn’t discuss the whole day of the Lord but its coming (or, when it comes).
    5. Characteristics of that Day
    6. A Thief in the night – You’ve seen the Stealth Bombers flying over.
      1. Their design of course allows them to approach by stealth.
      2. Quickly & unexpectantly they come…with out any warning. It flies in at low altitude & has a unique body design in which radar cannot pick up.
      3. Recently Syria knew the time & season of its coming was near [Praise God was avoided]
    7. Also, in Mt.24:43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
    8. Rev.3:3 to the church of Philadelphia, Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
    9. (3) Peace & Safety – It will come when life is moving along as normal.
      1. Jesus used this same illustration in Lk.17:26-30. Life going on as normal: eating, drinking, & being married. Before Ruin…is Rapture. Noah/Lot.
      2. The lost world will get caught in a time when they feel secure.
    10. Sudden Destruction –
      1. Joel 1:15 said Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty. (2:11b) For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?
      2. Isaiah 13:6 said, Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. (13:9) Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath & fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it.
    11. Not Escape – Sobering
      1. Likened unto a pregnant women w/labor pains.
        1. Kelly w/Zach [stud, no shot for pain. But right before it was over “I’m out of here!”] No, at that point there was NO ESCAPE!
        2. And so with those who had not made a decision come Rapture time.
  3. SONS OF THE DAY (4,5)
    1. ​​​​​​​(4) But you – Did you think your grammar school English teacher was telling the truth when she/he said “Pronouns are important to learn?” Well, Pronouns are the key here.
      1. Us & them!
      2. Paul never conceived of the church remaining on earth during the time of wrath.
    2. It will be sudden, but we don’t need to be caught unaware.
    3. (5) Day/Night & Dark/Light - Col.1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.
  4. LIVING FOR TODAY (6-11)
    1. ​​​​​​​Here’s some down to earth advice on how to live in this present day.
    2. WATCH & BE SOBER (6-10)
    3. Slide#21 Let us not Sleep as others do – good word for this evening :)
      1. Side note...This is a different word for Sleep than ch.4.
      2. It means don’t have a careless indifference.
        1. Paul Promotes Christian Wakefulness.
        2. Drowsy Christians are Drowning Christians.
    4. John Bunyan, in Pilgrims Progress, tells of Christian & Hopeful journeying to the Celestial city. He said, “To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.”
      1. ​​​​​​​Christians who isolate themselves & walk alone, are very liable to grow drowsy. It’s team’s growing & living life together.
        1. Oh, it can be done but it is a rarity to go it alone.
      2. Hold Christian company. And, you will be kept wakeful by it; & be refreshed; & be encouraged to make quicker progress on the road to heaven.
        1. Keep your conversations on Jesus.
    5. Watching – It is the opposite of indifference. It involves alertness.
      1. The Lion of persecution might not be a threat to us, but we are being hugged by the Slide#23 Bear of this world. [we are often comfortable in his warm, furry arms, but he’s slowly squeezing & the church doesn’t feel it]
      2. Rom.13:11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
      3. Slide#24 *Watching is more mental, sober is more moral.
    6. Sober – No drunkenness, no self-indulgence, and emphasizes the need for stability & balance in the view of the Lord’s return.
      1. Take life seriously. Reach out to people, love them, help them, offer salvation to em.
      2. So be Alert & be stable. Live your life in the light of this truth.
    7. (9) See 1:10. Also, Rev.3:10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
    8. Appoint – to place, to destine [LKGNT]. Not as strong as predestinate, but it clearly rests our salvation on the Divine initiative.
      1. Right now you have an appointment, either to wrath or to salvation.
      2. Believers Listen up. We can rest in our hope of salvation…because it is appointed.
      3. Unbelievers listen up. No worries, He’ll let you stay your course :(
        1. Wrath is the anguish of tribulation the day it begins; Salvation is escaping this and living with Him.
      4. To believers: Don’t be indifferent because tomorrow is secure.
      5. To unbelievers: Don’t be fooled because today seems calm.
    9. (10) Paul keeps the cross central in his gospel...who died for us.
    10. We should live together w/Him (see 4:17b)
    11. COMFORT & EDIFY (11)
    12. Again these are to be words of Comfort.
      1. Comfort - encourage.
      2. Edify - build one another up.
        1. He climbs higher who helps another up.
      3. So, wait patiently, wakefully, watchfully, soberly, w/faith, hope & love, & comfort and edify one another.
    13. End:
    14. Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision/determined doom! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision/or, decision valley.
    15. The early church lived in this dynamic tension regarding Christ’s return. They awakened each day with dual thrills in their hearts: Jesus will probably come today, and if He doesn’t, the gospel will be further advanced by nightfall than it is now.
    16. Rom.13:11-14 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
    17. Walk...circumspectly, consistently, contentedly, carefully, compassionately, congregationally.

Verses 12-28

  1. Intro:
    1. As Jesus saved the best wine for last, so Paul does the same here.
    2. Obedience story - A missionary translator was struggling to find a word for ‘obedience’ in the native language. As he returned home from the village one day, he whistled for his dog and it came running to him at full speed. An old native, who was watching, said admiringly in the native tongue, ‘Your dog is all ear.’ Immediately the missionary knew that the word obedience should be translated ‘all ear’.
      1. Paul wants the Thessalonians & CM to be ‘all ear’.
      2. He wants the watchfulness and soberness of the preceding verses to become part of their/our everyday lives.
      3. He wants them/us to practice what he has been preaching.
        1. With this in mind he passes on some brief directions, saying much in just a few words.
    3. Title: All Ear
    4. Outline: Love your leaders; Love one another; Love God’s Will; Love the Spirits Fire; Love God’s Faithfulness.
  2. LOVE YOUR LEADERS (12,13)
    1. The church family must have spiritual leadership.
    2. Keep in mind this should be leadership not dictatorship.
      1. The leader sets the example, pays the price, & seeks to help others in Christian love.
      2. The dictator uses law, not love; he does not lead, he drives; and his motives are selfish, even if he thinks he is working for the good of the church.
    3. So, why do they deserve your love?
      1. This ought to come by the leaders reputation of the quality of their work, not from any other cause, for their works sake. To work w/effort both bodily & mental labor.
      2. This doesn’t mean to esteem them w/a title...although I do like, “Most-holy-honorable-reverend”!
      1. God has appointed them to be your leaders, which is reason enough to respect them...and you should follow them says the writer of Hebrews...
        1. Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Heb.13:7
        2. Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Heb.13:17
          1. Isn’t the submission to someone older, someone more knowledgeable, the 1st sign a maturity?
          2. When you move from knowing everything to being eager to learn from someone...who’s been down the road of life a little farther than you.
    6. THEY ADMONISH YOU (12c)
      1. They urge you, both privately and publicly, to obey God by giving you much-needed encouragement, but also reproof and reproach when necessary.
      2. This unfortunately is where some folks find it easier just to leave...when they are being “warned” by leadership. [esp over our women & children]
  3. LOVE ONE ANOTHER (14,15)
    1. It is not enough to have church leadership; there must also be partnership, with each member doing his or her share of the work.
      1. Each Christian is a steward of a spiritual gift, and we must use that gift for the good of others and the glory of the Lord.
      2. Paul specifies certain kinds of Christians who need special help:
      1. A military term signifying the soldier who does not keep in proper rank [LKGNT]. Thus, anything out of order.
        1. How is a soldier treated who wont keep in rank? An insubordinate.
      1. The fainthearted, those worried about their dead relatives and friends and about their own salvation, must not be despised, but comforted and encouraged.
    4. HOLD UP THE WEAK (14c)
      1. Maybe those struggling with instability, insecurity, inability.
      2. The spiritually immature who are tempted to lapse into immorality must not be abandoned, but given all the necessary spiritual and moral assistance to help them stand strong for Christ.
      3. Uphold them - Cling to them - pay them special care & attention.
        1. In Newsweek [Feb. 7, 1983, p. 13.] A California woman wrote, "No matter how bad the pain is, it's never so bad that suicide is the only answer. Suicide doesn't end pain. It only lays it on the broken shoulders of the survivors." And she ends her story. "By the way: to all the doctors, nurses and psychiatrists who forced me to live when I didn't want to - thank you for keeping breath in my lungs and my heart beating and encouraging hope in me when I didn't have any hope."
        2. Some yokes are made heavier on one side than the other. Then, an older strong oxen was paired with a young weaker oxen. His yoke is easy & burden light.
          1. ​​​​​​​Can you help shoulder the heavy side upon your shoulder for a while?
    5. BE PATIENT W/EVERYONE (14c,15)
      1. The word patience means to hold out for a long time before taking action.
      2. Paul wants the Thessalonians to be longsuffering towards those in the church and those who are outsiders, even if they are mistreating them.
      3. They must not reject anyone. Bear and forbear is his command.
    6. (15a) How foolish is Revenge? - If we take revenge, we are as foolish as the man who drove his brand new car into an old parked car. When the police asked him to explain his actions, he replied by saying that both cars belonged to him and he was taking revenge on his old car for giving him so much trouble.
    7. (15b) What should our reaction be if we are mistreated? Don’t imitate the cranky old woman whose neighbors forgot to ask her to their picnic. On the morning of the event they suddenly realized their affront and sent a small boy to her house with a special invitation. ‘It’s too late now,’ she snapped, ‘I’ve already prayed for rain!’
  4. LOVE GODS WILL (16-18)
    1. ​​​​​​​Rejoice, pray, & give thanks sound like ordinary admonitions; but when you add the adverbs, you have a real challenge: Rejoice evermore; pray w/out ceasing; in everything give thanks.
      1. ​​​​​​​The Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps in constant communion with Him will see many reasons for rejoicing and thanksgiving all day long.
    2. BE JOYFUL ALWAYS (16)
    3. Rejoice always - This is actually the shortest verse in the bible (in orig GK) [2 words/14 letters; vs. Jesus wept 3 words/16 letters]
      1. Joy was one of the marks of primitive Christianity, which amazed the heathen world and attracted men to Christ. Paul is concerned that the joy of the Thessalonians might be strangled by suffering, so he urges them to rejoice not in what was happening to them, but in their Savior and all that He has done for them.
      1. They pray best together who also pray alone.
      2. Pray without ceasing does not mean a constant mumbling of prayers (Mt.6:7).
        1. True prayer is the attitude of the heart, the desire of the heart.
        2. When our hearts desire what God desires, we are praying all day long as the Spirit intercedes for us and in us.
      3. Other ways this word was used outside of the NT: The uninterrupted necessary payment of taxes. The continual service of an official. A continual uninterrupted cough.
        1. Like a hacking may not be always coughing though the tendency to cough is always there. So we will not always be audibly praying yet always have the attitude of praying in our heart & life. Ryrie
      4. Spurgeon said, As your tempted w/o ceasing, pray w/o ceasing.
      5. Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life of the saint. Oswald Chambers
      1. If you face the sun your shadow always falls behind you. If you turn around…it’ll always be in front of you.
      2. In everything – give thanks in the midst of any situation or circumstance.
    6. This is the will of God - refers to all 3 (rejoice, pray, be thankful).
    1. ​​​​​​​Quench - to put out a fire. Like in Mrk 9:47,48 to be cast into hell fire; where Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched. (put out)
      1. Appropriately affixed to the H.S. (cloven tongues of fire)
    2. Never become attached to anything that continues to hurt the heart of God.
      1. This says, stop doing something your presently doing.
      2. What are you presently doing that is smoldering the H.S.’s fire in your life?
      3. When we criticize or discourage others, we throw cold water on their inner fire.
      4. Are you grieving the H.S. this evening w/a cold heart? A rebellious frame of mind? A flippant complacency?
    3. (20) How were the Thes. bel’s doing this? By despising prophesies.
    4. (21) Test - Paul immediately balances it w/don’t accept everything. Prove it. Test it.
      1. Early church writers attribute a saying to Christ, “become approved money changers”. Dr. F.F.Bruce
        1. Referring to those who were occupied in changing various currencies & were constantly looking for counterfeit coins.
      2. Remember, if 40 million people believe in a dumb's still a dumb idea. Test!
    5. (22) Every form (every kind/species/class) – (not appearance like KJV says. It can include that)
      1. Note contrast to good in previous vs. So, stay away from all of it, all evil.
    6. The danger was that the believers would go overboard in: (a) not listening to any prophecy or, (b) the other extreme, quench the Spirit by rejecting His revelations.
    1. ​​​​​​​GODS SANCTIFICATION (23,24)
    2. Now the exhortation to complete holiness(23), on the assured help of God(24).
      1. Sanctification is not something Jesus puts inside of us, it is Himself inside of us. Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is faithful (24).
    3. Completely - through and through. The whole man in every part. He does not want any part of their being to fall short of entire consecration to God.
      1. The Puritan Joseph Caryl put it this way, Perfect holiness is the aim of the saints on earth, and it is the reward of the saints in heaven.
      2. When every part of our lives, inward and outward, lies under the sanctifying grace and power of God, we shall be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord JC.
      3. The cost of sanctification? Absolutely everything in us which is not of God.
      4. Are you prepared to accept Paul’s prayer here for you?
        1. All of who you are (sp, soul, & body) to be blameless.
    4. But remember, our certainty is wrapped up in God, who will complete what he has begun. Our sanctification and preservation are guaranteed in him.
    5. PAULS EXHORTATION (25-28)
    6. Paul & his fellow missionaries knew they needed a little help from their friends, so they exhort the Thessalonians to pray for them. Uphold us before the throne of grace.
      1. ​​​​​​​Thomas Watson underlined the effectiveness of prayer when he said, The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel.
      2. Paul needed a support group! [the epitome of pride...I can live my Christianity on my own]
    7. (26) Greet...w/a holy kiss – Single men before you highlight this in your girlfriends bible, know this…it was man to man, woman to woman. Custom (kiss on the cheek) still used today.
    8. (27) Charge - strong language to read this letter aloud.
    9. (28) Grace - God’s unmerited favor in Christ.
      1. At the entrance of a coal mine, a man spied a beautiful white flower growing out of the black earth. "How can it blossom in such purity and radiance in this dirty mine?" he asked. "Throw some coal dust on it and see for yourself," one replied. When he did, he was surprised that the fine, sooty particles slid right off the snowy petals, leaving the plant just as lovely and unstained as before. Its surface was so smooth that the grit and grime could not adhere to it.
        1. Just as that flower could not control its habitat, so we cannot help it that we have to live in a world filled with evil.
        2. But God's grace can keep us so clean and unspotted that though we touch every side, it will not cling to us.
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 5". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.