Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians--Part II
What does Paul encourage the Thessalonians to do?
What was God’s will for the Thessalonians? What does he expressly forbid? What does he strongly suggest?
One area in which we will find Paul repeatedly warning the Christians of his day is that of sexual sins. This is due to the fact that in the world of Paul’s day sexual intimacies, whether with men or women, whether among those who were married or unmarried, were commonplace. Male and female prostitutes constituted part of the religious worship of many of the heathen gods. While Thessalonica was not dominated, as were other Greek cities, by the cults of Apollo or Aphrodite, pagans really thought nothing of seducing a friend’s wife or fornicating with any girl who caught their fancy. From the harbor of Thessalonica Mt. Olympus could clearly be seen—the home of the ancient Grecian gods, whose illicit sexual exploits were common legends. One could hardly expect more out of a worshiper than of his god!
What false teaching had arisen among the Thessalonians?
Outline the Scriptural agenda for the end of times as outlined here by Paul:
Books could be written on the errors now being published concerning the end of time. The millenialists, especially, have flooded the markets with their views and suggestions concerning the supposed rapture, tribulations, and millenialistic kingdom. We will not pursue the topic here, but will reserve it for some other discussion. Perhaps the best advice that can be given is to follow the simple outline given here by Paul and summarized so well in the Apostolic Creed: Jesus will return "to judge the quick and the dead," and that at the end of time there will be a "resurrection of the body, and life everlasting" for all who believe in Jesus.
What further information does Paul give concerning the end of time?
What does Paul encourage the Thessalonians to do in view of this fact?
What is Paul’s purpose in giving these instructions?
What two-fold prayer does Paul make? Why is he confident that his prayer will be answered?
Reread 1 Thessalonians 4:2,8. Discuss present day moral viewpoints. How do these present day viewpoints conflict with Bible-based morality?
Reread 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:6,11. Discuss the two-fold purpose of Paul’s eschatology (teachings concerning the end of time). Discuss how Paul’s teachings compare with those of Jesus (cf. Matthew 24:36-25:13 ); of James (cf. James 5:7-11 ); of Peter (cf. 2 Peter 3:10-14 ); and of John (cf. Revelation 21:1-8).
Reread 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. Analyze Paul’s instructions and discuss how they may be applied to our everyday life.