Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Mining the Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-19

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Late in his letter, Paul strings together a number of concise exhortations. These exhortations are typical examples of what God requires of his children. They are clear, and need little comment.

In the list, Paul enjoins them to: love and esteem those who labor for the Lord, especially in the realm of oversight; be at peace; admonish those who would disturb that peace; supply the special and peculiar needs of each of the brethren; return evil with good, always seeking the best for all men; rejoice; pray; be active in doing the Spirit’s work; respect God’s word; study to discern that word; and abstain from every form of evil. A single glance at the list affords the reader a clear picture of what God expects of us. We are to be loving, peaceful, godly people who insist upon and heed the truth revealed by God.

It is important to note that this list is far more than a list of “thou shalt nots”. Not only is the man of God to refrain from sinning, he is to be diligent and active in service to the Lord.

Mining the Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4

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Paul’s initial greeting to the brethren in Thessalonica is straightforward and concise. On behalf of himself Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy, he greeted them and acknowledged their relationship in God and Christ. He bestowed upon them his customary greeting, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (cf. Ro. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 2:1; Gal. 1:3; etc.).

It is also typical for Paul to proclaim his daily prayers for his brethren (as he does here), though he varies in the reasons for such prayers. This gives us some indication of the faithfulness of the Thessalonians. He gave thanks to God for their industry (based on their love of God), faithfulness (shown in their obedience) and patience (which had its motivation in their hope in Christ). For this Paul was thankful, and did not cease in his petitions to God for them. We too ought to pray without ceasing for our brethren, giving thanks to God.

Paul called them “beloved brethren” because they had been elected “by God” (cf. Ephesians 1:3-10). God had chosen them for salvation because of their obedient faith in response to the gospel.

Mining the Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16

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The apostle Paul had worked tirelessly for the conversion and edification of the Thessalonians. For this reason he was thankful to God that these faithful brethren responded to his preaching with fervor.

He was especially thankful that they had received his words, not as the words of mere men, but “as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectively works in you who believe” (13).

In this, three things are understood. 1) Paul spoke by inspiration. The Apostle Peter agreed with this assessment, categorizing the teaching of Paul as scripture (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). 2) His words were effective to their salvation. What Paul preached was “the gospel of Christ”, “the power of God unto salvation” (cf. Romans 1:16). 3) They had proven themselves worthy by their response to the gospel. Specifically, Paul referred to their perseverance in the face of persecution at the hands of the Jews (vs. 14-16).

This serves as an example to all Christians. As the word of God works salvation in those who persist in obedience, we do well to be steadfast in our profession.

Mining The Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

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1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Here Paul answers an apparent question regarding the status of those who die prior to our Lord’s second coming. What will happen to those who have “fallen asleep in Jesus?”

The answer is one that will bring comfort to all those who are Christians (cf. 18). The dead in Christ will be raised in the day of judgment!

The assurance Paul offers is established in the fact of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. In His resurrection, he claimed victory over death, and became our forerunner. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (20). This sentiment is expressed in verse 14 of our text.

Paul concisely states the coming events of that day:

  1. The Lord will descend from heaven;
  2. The dead in Christ will be resurrected;
  3. Those Christians who are alive will be transformed and taken;
  4. We will be forever in the presence of our Lord.

The text does not indicate a “rapture” of the saints; it is rather an explanation of the ultimate end of all Christians at the Judgment Day.

Mining The Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

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1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

In this text, the apostle commended the Thessalonians for the love they exhibited in their lives, especially toward all the brethren in Macedonia.

It is interesting that their expressions of brotherly love extended beyond congregational boundaries. While our work is centered within the congregational construct, we have a brothers or sisters wherever God has children.

Though Paul was impressed with their expressions of brotherly love, he exhorted them to more lofty heights; both in the expression of that love, and in their execution of the Christian life.

They were to avoid conflict and gossip. They were to be industrious. They were to develop a good reputation, even toward those who were not Christians.

Such admonitions are important as we consider that our faith impacts every part of our lives. Only when we give each area sufficient attention can it be said that we “lack nothing” (vs. 12).