The Day of the Lord: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.
Paul points out that whether we live or die in Christ, we who are in Christ will live with him forever. Christ will come like a thief in the night unexpectedly. Paul identifies the Old Testament Day of the Lord with the second coming of Christ. Paul first focuses on the negative aspects of the Day of the Lord. It will be a time of judgment and destruction for unbelievers. Only the Father knows the time of Christ's coming (Matthew 24:36). It will surprise the unbelievers and will be like the day of Noah. Paul also compares this to a woman’s labor pain. People are saying, there is peace and security, then suddenly destruction will come upon them. Paul says that the destruction of the Day of the Lord will be sudden and certain, and there will be no escape. But for believers, the Day of the Lord will not scare them. It does not apply to believers because they are children of light and of the day (5:5). Paul admonishes them to be on their guard and be sober minded . Meanwhile Christians should take advantage of every opportunity to serve Jesus Christ. God who saved us is not destined for the wrath to come but to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ (5:9). Christ died to save us and his resurrection is the basis of our hope (5:10). Christ’s death and His resurrection guarantee that we will live with him forever (John 14:19). Paul urges believers to encourage one another with these words and build them up in their faith (Romans 14:19). This happens only through prayer, fellowship and worship among the believers. Ask God to give you a hunger for His Word.
Paul’ final Exhortations: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15.
Paul ends his epistle with several instructions. He calls believers the term “brethren” indicating their family relationship. Ministry not motivated by love and affection is ineffective. Paul asks readers to know and appreciate the leadership in the church. They should be esteemed highly and loved for their work among them. They are worthy of double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). He sums up the Christian responsibility in verses 14 and 15. They should warn the idle and encourage the fainthearted. They should help the weak and to show patience to all (5:14). They should warn those who are unruly and lazy. Unruly believers are disorderly and follow their own traditions and selfish ideas (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 11). They should be patient towards all people. Never pay back evil with evil but always seek to do good to each other and to everyone (5:14-15). Overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
Have an Attitude of Gratitude: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Paul encourages believers to have a Christ-like attitude. Christians should rejoice always. No matter what happens, God wants us to rejoice recognizing that He is in control. He is our Lord and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). God works all things together for his glory and our good (Romans 8:28). God has a purpose when he allows trials in our life
(2 Corinthians 12:10). God has given His Word so that our joy may be full (John 15:11; 1 John 1:4). Apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ (Acts 5:41). Paul says, "We are sorrowful, yet always rejoicing and making many spiritually rich" (2 Corinthians 6:10). We are commanded to rejoice always in the Lord (Philippians 4:4). Christians should pray without ceasing (5:17). Prayer is our lifeline to God. God is not indifferent towards the object or manner of our prayer. We should pray to God through Christ in the Spirit (Matthew 6:9; John 14:13-14; Jude 20). God’s ears are opened to our prayers (Psalms 34:15). Christians should be a thankful people. This is the will of God in Christ Jesus (5:16-18). Give thanks in all circumstances. No matter what happens, God wants us to be thankful. It is the highest exercise of memory (Psalms 103:1-3). Thankful people are joyful people. It is the antidote to worry (Psalms 50:23; Philippians 4:6). It is a sin not to be thankful (Romans 1:21). Praising God is music to our soul. Be thankful for what God has done in our lives. It encourages and energizes fellow believers (Psalms 147). One of the marks of the last days is ingratitude (2 Timothy 3:2). God not only commands us what to do; he also gives us the power to do it.
Paul’s Warnings: 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22.
God does not merely save our souls to take us to heaven but he changes us inside out by his Spirit to do his will here. Paul warns the Thessalonians about their responsibilities. Do not quench the Spirit. God has given us spiritual gifts. When we fail to use these gifts for the edification of believers, we are quenching the Spirit. It is parallel to despising prophecies. A clean hand and pure heart are prerequisites to the use of God (Psalms 24:3). When we grieve the Holy Spirit by living in sin. Those who scoff or belittle the ministry of the Word will not be blessed. Prophecy refers to sound teaching of the Word of God. Paul encourages us to test all things and do what is good. We are told to test the spirits (1 John 4:1). This is done by applying the spiritual principles already given in the Bible. Christians should keep away from every kind of evil (5:22; Romans 16:19). We should not hinder the work of the Lord but test the spirit of those who claim to be religious and influence people by their teaching.
Conclusion: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28.
Paul concludes the epistle with prayer for Thessalonians. He commits believers to the God of peace, who alone can make them holy. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul is confident that the God of peace is faithful to make them holy and their spirit, soul and body will be kept blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (5:23). He prays that God would preserve them wholly from all evil. Paul was confident that God who called them is faithful and He will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Body gives physical consciousness, soul gives self consciousness and spirit gives God consciousness. God who saves us is faithful to keep us from falling and present us blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy (1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24). The believers are responsible to live the Christian life. Paul requests prayer from the brethren. He greets the brethren with a holy kiss. Paul commands them to read this letter to all the brethren. Paul ends the epistle by wishing them grace from the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s grace is the saving, sustaining, strengthening, restraining and restoring grace. Have you received the saving grace of God in your life? May God bless my readers with His grace, peace and hope!