Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


First Thessalonians
First Thessalonians was taught by Dr. James Modlish

Lesson Four
(THE BELIEVER'S HOPE... The Rapture!)


We move now into the second half of the letter dealing with the PRACTICAL instructions for these new believers in Christ. The key word is “walk” (4:1,12) and Paul beseeches them to obey the Word (4:1,10,12,14).

The Christian's behavior is compared to a walk for several reasons:

[1]. It demands life, for the dead sinner cannot walk;

[2]. It requires growth, for a little baby can not walk;

[3]. It requires liberty for someone who is bound cannot walk;

[4]. It demands light, for who wants to walk in the dark,

[5]. It cannot be hidden, but is witnessed by all and

[6]. It suggests progress toward a goal. Paul describes the kind of walk the believer should have.


I. Walk in Holiness - (4:1-8)

Immorality is basically selfishness; so Paul exhorts them to live to please God and not themselves. He bad set the example (2:4) and now lie expected them to follow. He had commanded them, from the Word, to live in holiness and purity by the power of God. God's will for their lives was that they be sanctified. The word sanctified simply means "set apart for a purpose." You can rent the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D. C. but you cannot rent the White House. It has been sanctified - set apart for a special purpose. The believer has been set apart for God; he is a saint, set-apart one. He has the daily responsibility of devoting himself more and more to God so that all of him - body, soul, spirit (5:23) is completely turned over to Him. Nothing defiles the body, soul, and spirit more than sexual sin (2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Cor. 6:13-20).

Fornication refers to sexual sins regardless of marital status. It is the physical act as opposed to adultery which can be physical or mental (Matt. 5:28). (See Jesus comments in Matt. 19:9).

II. Walk in Love - (4:9-10)

There was no need to write to them about love; he had taught them about this, and God Himself taught them through the Spirit (Rom. 5:5). Love is one of the birthmarks of the believer (1 Jn. 3:14; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Jn. 4:9-12). "Behold, how they love one another!" exclaimed the heathen as they witnessed the fellowship of the church. But it is not enough that we love only those in our own fellowship; like these people in Thessalonica, we must love all the brethren more and more, and also the lost (3:12).


III. Walk in Honesty - (4:11-12)

Now Paul touches the believer in his vocation and his contacts with the unsaved out in the world. One of the problems in the church was that many Christians had misunderstood the promise of Christ's return, quit their jobs, and were "parasites'' and living off the other Christians. for Paul's admonition. Attend to your own affairs and therefore stay out of the affairs of others. It is a terrible thing when Christians become busybodies in other people's affairs! The Christian who does an honest day's work, and who is careful to maintain a good testimony, will influence the unsaved to Christ (see Col. 3:22-25 and 4:5). If a man does not work, he should not eat (II Thess. 3:10). Let us not practice unscriptural Christian "charity" by taking the Lord's money and supporting, "Christian loafers" and encouraging them in their careless way of life.


IV. Walk in Hope - (4:13-18)

This is the classic passage on the rapture of the church. Sorrow had come to the lives of these saints, and they were wondering whether their Christian dead would be left behind at the return of Christ. Paul assures them that their dead will be raised first, and that all the saints will be gathered together to meet Christ in the air. Do not confuse the rapture of the Church (meeting Christ in the air) with the revelation (returning with Christ to defeat His enemies) will occur some seven years after the rapture.

Christians are expected to sorrow when loved ones die, but they are not to sorrow as do the people of the world who have no hope. Certainly Christ expects us to shed tears and feel loneliness (See John 11:33-36) as we go through the valley; but in the midst of our sorrow, there must be that testimony of the living hope we have in Christ (I Peter 1:3). Note the comforts the believer has in times of sorrow:

[1]. The comfort that death for the believer is sleep -

  1. The sleep of vs. 13 is a reference to physical death: (see I Thess. 5:10; Acts 7:60).

  2. It is the body that sleeps, not the soul (Matt. 27:52) - the soul departs (Gen. 35:18).

  3. Your hope is that of I Cor. 15:18,19.

[2]. The comfort of heavenly reunion - The hardest thing about death is separation from our loved ones; but when Christ comes, we will be "together with the Lord" forever! The living saints will not precede (prevent) those who have died; all will be caught up together to meet Christ.

[3]. The comfort of eternal blessings - "forever with the Lord." This will mean new bodies (I John 3:1-3; Phil. 3:20-21). Paul says that the body we place in the cemetery is, Like a seed awaiting the harvest (I Cor. 15:35-58). The shout will be "come up hither" (Prov. 25:7; Rev. 4:1; 11:12). Will your name be called (John 10:1-3)?

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