A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” In our passage this week, Paul concludes his letter to the Thessalonians with final instructions. For the last couple chapters, Paul has been discussing how the Thessalonians can live lives that are pleasing to God (4:1). Now, he wraps up this discussion with a string of imperatives (see vv. 13b-22 and 25-26 in particular). And while this may seem like a disjointed list of imperatives at first glance, Paul was actually giving them four categories for being a healthy church. The questions he answers for the Thessalonians are the same questions we need answered today: How should we treat leaders? How should we treat everyone? How should we behave all the time? And who is the One who will ultimately bring these things about in us?
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” In our passage this week, Paul turns from discussing the fate of the Christian dead to the fate of the Christian living. Since the Thessalonians were fully aware that the Day of the Lord was inevitable, yet unpredictable, Paul moved to discuss his primary concern: That they prepare themselves. Knowing ahead of time that this Day would come, they could prepare themselves like an owner of a house would prepare for a thief in the night by keeping awake and being sober. And as they waited, they were girded with the breastplate of faith and love and a helmet of the hope of salvation. Because of Jesus’ saving death on the cross, they could know that they were not destined “for wrath, but to obtain salvation through” Him (v. 9). In the end, Paul’s words to the Thessalonians are the same as they are to us today: We can live lives that are pleasing to God by encouraging one another to be watchful and ready.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” In our passage this week, Paul turns to address the Thessalonians’ concerns about their brothers and sisters in Christ who had died. Not wanting them to grieve as those who do not have hope, Paul holds up the Coming of the Lord as the source of that hope. And his message to them is the same as it is to us: As you grieve, encourage one another with the hope that the Lord is coming. Jesus will come from heaven with a cry of command and with the voice of an archangel. The trumpet will sound. The dead in Christ will rise. The living and the dead will meet the Lord in His procession. And we will always be with the Lord. As you read and reflect this week, consider the hope we have in His Coming and the ways in which we, like the Thessalonians, can encourage one another.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” In our passage this week, Paul begins to discuss the main content of his letter. Bookending the passage with the exhortations to walk and to please God (v. 1) and to walk properly before outsiders (v. 12), Paul implores the Thessalonians to do so more and more (v 1, 10). And he gives them three pictures of how to do so: Abstain from sexual immorality (vv. 3-8), love one another (vv. 9-10a), live quietly, mind their own affairs, and work with their hands so as to be dependent on no one (vv. 10b-12). As we will find, these three pictures work together to make one larger picture that is informative for daily life. The Thessalonians lived out these pictures, but Paul urged them to do so more and more. Will we?
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” In our passage this week, we find that Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy have been torn away from the Thessalonians, a church they love deeply. And although they tried, again and again, to return to them, their plans were thwarted. As the passage proceeds, we can see Paul’s deep love for the Thessalonians as he sends Timothy to exhort them in their faith and as he expresses his most profound wish for them: That they would love each other and all people as Paul had loved them. And that their faith, which grows in the context of love, would culminate in their hearts being blameless in holiness before the Father at the coming of Jesus. As you read and reflect this week, consider the relationship between Paul and the Thessalonian church. This passage offers us a window into their life—their faith, love, and steadfast hope. Isn’t this the kind of life we all long for?
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” In our passage this week, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy are thankful that the Thessalonians received and accepted God’s Word. Now this Word was at work in the believers, even in the face of great suffering and opposition. Considering this suffering and opposition, Paul encourages the Thessalonians to keep doing what they’re doing: Do not let go of this Word. Do not be moved. The suffering they were experiencing was not abnormal. It happened to Jesus, it happened to the prophets, it happened to Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, and it is happening to the Thessalonian church. Why? Because not only did they receive God’s Word, but they also spoke it. As you read and reflect this week, consider the power and the consequences of speaking God’s Word. His Word will accomplish what He purposes, and those who speak His Word will face opposition. Our heroes in Scripture persevered in speaking. Will we?
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” In our passage this week we are presented with a clear picture of the way Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy set out not just to preach the gospel, but to put it into practice before the young believers in Thessalonica. The witness of the gospel isn’t just in their words, but is in their deeds, or the way they conduct themselves. And this gospel living required complete sacrifice. As Paul writes in verse 8, “we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves.” But what motivated this sacrificial love? What motivates our love for each other and makes clear to others that we are living according to a kingdom other than this world? Consider this as you read and reflect this week.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” This week we begin our series in 1 Thessalonians. The church in Thessalonica was one of the first churches to be formed in Europe during Paul’s second missionary journey. You can read about it in Acts 16 and 17. Paul and his fellow missionaries only spent a few weeks with these people, but the powerful effect of the gospel of Jesus was evident. As we read of the report that Paul has received about the flourishing faith of the Thessalonians, we see the evidence of the Holy Spirit upon their lives. There is no doubt that God is powerfully at work among them. In our study this week, let’s consider the evidence of God’s power in our own lives, and ask the Lord to do the work to make His church here in Racine an example of faithful flourishing.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” This week we come to the end of the story of Abraham. At 175 years old, it tells us that “Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man, full of years, and was gathered to his people.” By any measure, Abraham had lived an incredible life. God chose him to make an eternal covenant promise, that he would be the father of a multitude of nations, and that his offspring would possess the land of Canaan forever. And yet here at the end, Abraham dies simply and peacefully. His sons Isaac and Ishmael bury him with his wife Sarah, and then the story moves on. Abraham lived a life of faith before God, but what did that get him in the end? The surprising thing about this last chapter of Abraham’s story is that it ultimately points us toward a future hope in the promise of a life everlasting. Simply put, there’s more to Abraham’s story than life and death. And there’s more to ours as well.
A message from the series “Sunday Morning Service.” In the passage this week, we see God remain faithful as the promise begins to be passed from Abraham and Sarah to the next generation in Isaac and Rebekah. We last left Abraham purchasing a field and a cave to bury his beloved Sarah but also gaining his first bit of real estate in the land God had promised Him. Now, with Sarah gone and Abraham continuing to age, Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac. At the end of Genesis 22, God made known to Abraham the status of his family still living in the east. This family update included a man named Bethuel and his daughter Rebekah. It is through this branch of the family that we see a three-fold love story unfold: a love story between Isaac and Rebekah, a steadfast love story between God and Abraham’s offspring, and the ultimate love story of a Heavenly Father and the Bride that He has chosen for His one and only promised Son.