499 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 42 - I Thessalonians 2:15 - 4:18

499: I Thessalonians 2:15 – 4:18 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 42

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 42

I Thessalonians 2:15 – 4:18

Now let’s go back to I Thessalonians chapter 4 and pick up again with this mind of the apostle Paul toward these new believers fresh out of paganism. These things are written of course to encourage us as believers even almost 2000 years later. Now verse 2.

I Thessalonians 4:2

“For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.”

Paul didn’t dream these things up. And as he says in Corinthians, “I didn’t bring you a polluted product.” Remember in I Corinthians, I showed you the Greek word was, “That he didn’t bring you a product that was like wine that had been watered down and sold as a legitimate product.” Paul said, “I didn’t do that. I didn’t bring you something that was anything less then the truth.” How else could it be any other way since he received it directly from the Lord Jesus Himself, from His ascended place in glory.” He did not receive it second hand from the twelve, nor any other source, but straight from the ascended Lord.

I Thessalonians 4:3a

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification,…” Now that’s not a big word to scare people. Sanctification merely means a place of being set apart as holiness also means. Were not like the rest of the world around us, we’re to be different. As I’ve said so often, the believer is not to be an odd ball or some kind of kook that the world laughs at, but we are to be different in a way that our lifestyle is pleasing unto God rather than pleasing unto the Satanic world around us. So here in this verse Paul deals with one of the sins that has been paramount almost from day one, and that is sexual morality.

I Thessalonians 4:3b-4

“…that ye should abstain from fornication: (or sexual immorality) 4. That every one (not just the preacher or deacons or the Sunday School teachers, but every believer is to live a separated and a sanctified life.) of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;”

And what is our vessel? This body of flesh. This body, in fact when we get to the closing verses of this letter to the Thessalonians, he’s going to make reference to that. In fact just go ahead and turn to it, and we’ll hit it again when we come to it.

I Thessalonians 5:23

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; (set you apart) and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body…”

God is just as concerned with what we do with this body of flesh as what we do in the soul and spirit. Don’t think for a minute that God is only concerned with the Spiritual element. We have been left in this body of flesh, and it’s in the body that we promote the love of Christ to the world around us. Now go back to chapter 4. So we are to control the appetites of the flesh of this body that would be in honour and glory of the Lord Himself. He looks at the other side of the coin.

I Thessalonians 4:5

“Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:”

You have to remember that in the pagan world in which Paul lived, there was no real sense of morality, honesty or Godliness because they knew nothing of that. They survived only enough to hold their community together, but so far as having any integrity or honesty the ancient world knew nothing of that. In fact most of our western culture didn’t really become what it was until the King of England put out the Magna Carta. Then we had the Bill of Rights and so forth, but up until that time there wasn’t anything like that.

All of these things were prompted of course by Paul’s teachings concerning the Christian life and that has made western civilization what it is. Remember it if hadn’t been for Christianity, western civilization wouldn’t have preceded any farther than the rest of the world. But these are the things that have made the western world as progressive as it’s been, and as productive as it’s been. At least up until recent history even the secular world operated on a basis of a certain amount of honesty and integrity. Those of us who are a little older know that you didn’t have to draw up a ten page contract when you made a deal. Things were settled with a handshake. But that’s been watered down and no longer true, because we’re going back to much of the immorality and so forth of the pagan world. Now come back to verse 6.

I Thessalonians 4:6

“That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.”

In other words, the believer has a certain amount of God’s protection from the secular world around us. Now I do not say that, just because we’re a believer, all of a sudden nobody can touch us or harm us, we know better than that. But on the other hand we have a certain element of security that God is watching out for us. And even though He may permit Satan to touch us, even as Satan touched Paul by giving him the thorn in the flesh, whatever it was, but it was not without God’s permission. And it’s the same way with us, nothing can touch us without God’s permissive will, so we can rest in that, we can take comfort of the fact that we are not alone. Now verse 7.

I Thessalonians 4:7

“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, (that’s where the Gentile world was anyway, and that’s where we would be anyway) but unto holiness.

Now that word holiness often scares people. People don’t want to be holy. But the word holy does not mean that all of a sudden we sprout wings and we become sinless beings, and are above the norm of Christianity or the world. But holiness is just simply set apart. In fact the vessels in the temple, the shovels for cleaning out the ashes, the tongs for lifting the sacrificial meat and so forth were all holy. Why? Because they were to be used for nothing else. And that of course is why Belshazzar got into trouble back in the Book of Daniel. He used those vessels that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem and used them at his drunken banquet, and that was pushing it too far. So the handwriting came on the wall MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN, “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting,” – but what triggered it? They were using God’s holy vessels, and I think the same thing applies, if the unbelieving world touches a believer he’d better be careful, because on occasion God will intervene in such a way that the world will know that the believer is protected by God’s Sovereign Grace. Now verse 8

I Thessalonians 4:8a

“He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God,…”

Now I think we’ve got an Old Testament example that I’m going to use, and there may be some who would say, “That’s not appropriate” but I think it is. So come back with me to I Samuel chapter 8 for a moment. Here, Israel has been ruled by the judges that God has appointed, and Samuel is the last one, but now the people want a king. Samuel is now old and his sons have been anything but what they should have been. So that was the straw that broke the camel’s back in Israel. Now the Israelites had had just about had enough of these judges. See the analogy is the same – the world hasn’t changed one bit. Human nature hasn’t changed, and God hasn’t changed.

I Samuel 8:1-7

“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. 2. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, (sounds like politics doesn’t it?) and perverted judgment. 4. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah. 5. And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said “Give us a king to judge us”. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7. And the LORD said unto Samuel, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”

Now isn’t that typical? You see, they weren’t rejecting Samuel the man, but rather they were rejecting the God under whom Samuel laboured. And it’s the same way today. You see, they do not show their hatred for Christianity because of the individual Christians, but rather it’s the God of Christianity that the world hates. Of course they’re prompted by the demonic forces of the great adversary, Satan himself. Now coming back to I Thessalonians chapter 4. So Paul says, our adversaries do not despise us personally as men, but they despise God,

I Thessalonians 4:8b

“…who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit.”

Now another verse just comes to mind. We need to use every verse of Scripture that the Lord puts in our mind. Let’s look at Romans chapter 8, where Paul again makes it so plain, and this helps the believer to understand our position in this world around us. Why does the world around us do the things they do, why do they have the appetites they have? Why do they seemingly have no concerns about what God says? They seemingly never think of eternity, and that’s what I have to think of so often. Don’t they ever think about eternity? Don’t they ever stop to think of the horrors of the Lake of Fire that’s coming for them? No, they don’t because they are anti-God and they’re the enemies of God, so consequently it never enters their mind. Now you say, “Where do you get that?” Romans chapter 8, verse 5.

Romans 8:5-7

“For they that are after the flesh (that is the unsaved world around us) do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6. For to be carnally(or fleshly) minded is death; (spiritual death) but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; (we don’t ordinarily look at people being enemies of God do we? But they are. The carnal mind, the unsaved person is an enemy of God. Oh they may be perfectly good people, a good neighbor, a good parent, a good church member, but in his heart, his true thinking, his true motive is still anti-God. Now that’s what the Book says, it’s not my idea.) for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

The unbelieving world is not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can it be. It’s impossible. It’s amazing that the world holds together as well as it does. It really is, when you realize the abject paganism of the ancient world, and when you realize that during the period of human history ever since then up unto now, the vast percentage of people having no concern about the things of God. It’s always been a small percentage of people who love God. And let’s go back to the Scriptures to prove my statement.

Poor old Elijah thought he was the only one left. Now that was the extreme wasn’t it? Israel at that time had a population of about 7 million people, which was about average. But God said, “No Elijah, you’re not the only one, I’ve still got 1/10 of 1 percent.” Oh He didn’t put it in those figures, but God said about the same thing. “I’ve got 7000 who have not bowed their knee to Baal. But you see 7000 out of 7,000,000 is 1/10 of 1 percent if I figure right, and that’s about where we are today even in the Church Age.

Someone asked me the other day, “What percentage of the audience do you think you reach?” 1/10 of 1 percent. Now that’s what I really think we reach, even in a place like Tulsa. Now I hope I’m wrong, but 1/10 of 1 percent is about par. Now you go back to the flood and there were only 8 out of many, many millions. Remember they had been populating the earth for over 1500 years. But all the way up through human history God has never had more than just that small percentage. That’s why I maintain that I think if the Rapture would take place today the world would go on tomorrow and never miss us. Most people would never know that we’re gone. Oh, maybe our immediate family, and maybe our next door neighbor, but the world? They’re not going to miss us. It’s just going to be a small amount that will go because that’s the way it’s always been.

In fact, another illustration that I like to use is when the Lord had laboured in the land of Israel for 3 years in His earthly ministry – and when you get into Acts chapter 1, how many believers assembled there on the day of Pentecost? 120. 120 and I maintain that’s all there were in the area of Jerusalem, and that was the Lord Himself that was labouring for 3 years.So don’t get discouraged – I don’t get discouraged – because I know that the Lord isn’t hung up on great numbers. Remember what He said, “Narrow is the way” and how many find it? Few! “Broad is the way,” and how many find that? The most! So we always have to take these things into consideration. Now back to our text then in I Thessalonians chapter 4, and we’ll find that Paul goes on into verse 9.

I Thessalonians 4:9

“But as touching brotherly love (the love for fellow believers) ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” Now where does that come back from? Well the Ten Commandments. We’re to love our neighbor, and not to gossip, and covet, etc. So that is a basic concept even for Christianity, that we are to love one another.

I Thessalonians 4:10a

“And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia…” That was in Northern Greece. So it wasn’t just limited to Thessalonica, it’s just natural that believers are in fellowship with other believers, and that’s as it should be.

I Thessalonians 4:10b

“…but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more.” What’s that driving at? We’re to be growing, as Peter puts it, in Grace and knowledge. How do you grow in Grace and knowledge? By feeding on the Word, as this is where it comes from. The more skilled you become in the use of the Word, the more mature you become in your Christian walk, your attitude, and your approach to everything around you.

I Thessalonians 4:11a

“And that ye study…”

Someone asked me in a letter the other day, “What did I mean by constantly referring to study compared to meditating?” Well you know the oriental religions emphasize meditation. But there’s a vast difference between meditation and study. When you meditate, you just sort of empty your brain, and mind and then anything can come in that wants to, so you’ve got to be careful.

I remember a missionary (to one of the oriental nations) had flown into Chicago from overseas, and was walking down one of the corridors of the airport, and saw someone there in an oriental position of worship. This person was supposedly meditating, and he said, “I just stopped, and nudged him, and said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m meditating.” The missionary said, “You are opening your mind to all the Satanic forces that are ready to come in.” And that is what meditation really is to the unbelieving world.

Now I know as believers we can meditate, but you still have to be careful, because when you meditate and just open your brain and your mind to anything and everything that comes in, it’s the wrong stuff that’s going to come in as a whole, and not the good stuff. So what’s the difference between meditation and study? When you study you get out the Book, and you may have to get a concordance and some study helps, and you study. You compare Scripture with Scripture, and you can spend 2 or 3 hours, and the time goes like a snap of the finger. But how many believers take the time to do it?

A fellow told me yesterday, “You know I know that most Sunday School teachers, to prepare for their Sunday school lesson on Sunday morning, gets out his quarterly on Saturday night, and looks it over so that he can at least read it without making a lot of mistakes. On Sunday morning he stands before his class, and reads from that quarterly.”

And it’s been my experience that they may get a little discussion now and then, and if someone that I’ve taught tries to get into the discussion his comments are not well received. So I hear it all you know. But listen, I don’t care who you are, don’t just look at that quarterly, you may have to use it for a little crutch, but get into the Book. Study the Word, and be ready as Paul says, “To give a reason for the hope of your calling.” And how can you do that if you don’t know what the Book says, because this is where it’s at. So we are to study by comparing Scripture with Scripture.

I Thessalonians 4:11

“And that ye study to be quiet,…”

Boy that flies in the face of most of what we’re seeing and hearing today doesn’t it? Today you haven’t got a real come-on church service unless you blare the music, and make it sound like a night club. In fact I was reading a book awhile back and that’s exactly what this promoter of huge churches was saying. “Before we started our church growth program, I went out around the community to the various clubs, bars and so forth, and the first thing I noticed there wasn’t any organ music. So the first thing is to throw the organ out of your church, because the present day world doesn’t like organ music. Now bring in the electric guitars and all the other electrical instruments and blare the music, and the people will come.”

Now that’s not what my Bible teaches. My Bible teaches that true Christianity is that which is quiet. It’s contemplation, it’s worshipful. And again I’ve got to go back to Elijah as he stood before the Lord, and a pillar of fire went by, the mountain shook in an earthquake, a storm blew by, but every time one of those things happened, what did the Book say? “God wasn’t in it.” Then Elijah heard a still small voice, and who was in this still small voice? God! And this what we have to realize, we’re living in a day that is contorting the Scriptures, and God is still admonishing us to study be quiet before the Lord.

498 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 42 - The Body Of Christ Removed From the Earth

498: The Body Of Christ Removed From the Earth – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 42

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 42

The Body of Christ Removed from the Earth – Part 2

Oh how it thrills our heart to hear from those of you who have gotten a new enthusiasm for the Word of God, and how you are now able to study it by yourself, or with your family. Remember the only reason I teach is to help people get interested in this Book. As you know we are not building an organization, nor are we after numbers, but oh, to get people into the Word.

Now let’s get right back into the Word, and we’ll be in I Thessalonians chapter 3:6. Remember from our last program we were showing that Paul had such a heart rendering concern for these new believers fresh out of paganism. He was wondering how they were fairing, and if they were still holding true to their faith under the intense persecution which he even warned them of as they made their profession of faith. Now verse 6, and we see Paul has gotten some news and the flavor changes.

I Thessalonians 3:6

“But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:”

My, can’t you just feel the exuberance of the apostle’s reaction, how probably almost depressed with concern about these believers that he had to leave behind, and knowing that they were under a lot of pressure and then to get the good word from Timothy that they were holding fast. Now verse 7.

I Thessalonians 3:7

“Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress (that was his mental attitude) by your faith:”

Now they probably hadn’t gotten to the place yet where they were just exploding with a lot of good works and missionary efforts, and all the good things that certainly follow. But the number one purpose in bringing someone fresh out of a lost environment is to see their faith. To realize that they are taking to heart the things that God had spoken either through the Old Testament or through the letters of Paul. And again I always have to remind folks that at the time that Paul wrote these letters there was no New Testament. Now maybe the Book of James had been written, but even that certainly didn’t have a lot of doctrinal truth in it for Paul’s converts. See, these people had no New Testament to draw on, and I imagine the pagan world had no access to the Old Testament either. The Jewish believers naturally would have, but not these pagan Gentiles. So to start with the fundamentals of their faith was all that Paul really counted necessary at this point in time.

And so even with us today, as you see new believers come into the Body of Christ, the first thing we have to establish is, are they taking God at His Word. Are they resting on the Word of God and not just some feeling or emotional thing. “Remember Faith is taking God at His Word. God has said only through the apostle Paul that He would save a person if they simply believed in their heart that Jesus died for their sins, was buried and rose again.” And don’t go adding anything to that for your salvation, because God didn’t add anything to it or He would have had Paul include it in his epistles. Now moving on into the next verse.

I Thessalonians 3:8-10

“For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 9. For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; 10. Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, (oh how he longed to get back and once again see these new converts face to face.) and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?”

Paul wanted to bring maturity to their faith. Naturally a new believer doesn’t have the whole in understanding Scripture, and you don’t expect them to. Many of you have been believers for years, and many of the letters to us tells that you have been in Church for 30 or 40, or 50 years, and are just now seeing some of these deeper things that are not ordinarily taught in Sunday School or in a Sunday morning sermon. But it’s all here for every believer to feast on, so this is what Paul is referring to concerning these new believers. Now verse 11.

I Thessalonians 3:11

“Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.”

In other words Paul was hoping that providently God would lead him back up to Thessalonica.

I Thessalonians 3:12a

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another,…”

See that’s one of the first steps of our faith. It’s not so much we go out and become evangelists and missionaries right away, but oh, that we can manifest our saving faith by love to those who are in proximity. My, again just in the last week, we have had several who have called or written how that the Word has transformed their home life, and some of them were in a horrible situation. You know that just thrills us when we hear that, it just makes you want to carry on. Paul saw people come out of those same kinds of backgrounds, the paganism, and the drunkenness. Don’t think for a minute that drunkenness is something unique to the 21st Century. It’s been a plague to the human race from day one. So these people certainly had the same kinds of temptations, but as they came out of that background, and into the love of Christ, then Paul says, “that they would increase in their love one toward another”. Now finishing the verse.

I Thessalonians 3:12b-13a

“…and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13. To the end…”

Now everything has an end. There’s that old clique that the means justify the end or the end justifies the means. Well Paul is using that same concept, that at the end of all this there has to an end. And that is that–

I Thessalonians 3:13b

“… he may stablish your hearts unblameable…”

Oh, a lot of people don’t like that. They don’t like the idea that a believer, if the Lord should come this afternoon, and this believer had unconfessed sin in his life would go to heaven unblameable. Maybe as a believer we’ve had some bad thoughts even since we got up this morning, and the Lord comes, are we suddenly going to be shaking in our boots, and say, “Oh I’ve got unconfessed sin?” Not according to my Bible, but rather Paul says, “we’re unblameable!” Now remember that’s not license. That doesn’t tell us that we’re free to sin, and have evil thoughts, and just glibly go on our way. No, that’s not the idea at all. But it’s that comforting aspect that even if we have failed the Lord in the last 24 hours, and He should come today, we’re not going to stand before Him with all that sin on our back., because Paul tells us, “we’re unblameable!” Look at the verse again.

I Thessalonians 3:13

“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”

Now let’s go back and use a comparative Scripture because after all this is Bible study. I’m not up here to see how much ground we can cover in a lesson. So come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 1 and Paul makes this so plain. I’ve even seen people get mad in my own class when I teach that a believer is unblameable. My, some almost burst a blood vessel because it makes them so mad, but I can’t help that, because I go by what the Book says, and not by what some denomination may be preaching or teaching, but what does the Word of God say.

Now let’s begin with verse 6, but before we do let me remind you what kind of congregation the Corinthians group was. They were carnal. Oh they had all kinds of problems, they had morality problems, they had attitude problems, just to name a couple. So always remember when you read these things, it helps so much to know the background of the letter. So these were carnal believers Paul was writing to, they’re still hung up on the things of the flesh. Now verse 6.

I Corinthians 1:6

” Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:”

They too had come out of paganism. They too had come out of the horrors of the lifestyle of Corinth, with all of it’s excesses. And they were still slipping occasionally because they were just human. But Paul says, “Christ was confirmed in you.” Now verse 7.

I Corinthians 1:7

“So that ye come behind in no gift; (God had given them all there was to give, and they too were) waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

I think you all realize that the apostle Paul honestly thought that the Rapture would take place in his life time. At least he certainly wrote with that in mind. And then of course it wasn’t until he was about to face martyrdom that he realized that he was not going to see the coming of the Lord. But if Paul thought the Lord was going to come in the 1st Century then we’d better be ready in the 21st.

Now the verse we came for. I want you to highlight verse 8, underline it, but also write in the margins that to be found blameless is not license, but rather this is comfort. Even though we may fail, and we do, and we will continue to fail, but if the Lord suddenly blows the trumpet, and we’re translated out of here, this will be our position.

I Corinthians 1:8

“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now that’s comforting isn’t it? We don’t have to go to sleep at night shaking in our boots, and wondering, “Oh if the Lord should come before morning, have I got something that the Lord will hold against me? No!!!!! Remember it’s all under the blood of our Lord. And beloved rest assured in that! This is the very fundamental of our faith, that as a believer even though we’re still in the flesh, and we’re going to fail, our sins are still under the blood.

Now, yes, we want to keep a short account, I certainly believe in confessing as soon as I realize that I’ve sinned. But I’ve also said over and over that you don’t have to be begging God to forgive you, because that’s already a done deal. “Our forgiveness is complete, it’s done!” But we also have the comfort that even if we do fail, and then fail to confess it and the Lord should come, we’re not going to stand before Him and have to answer for unconfessed sin, because we’ll be declared “unblameable” in His sight. Now that, beloved, is so comforting isn’t it?

Now back to I Thessalonians. You know for years I have felt that the Lord has more or less given me a ministry of teaching believers. I have never felt that I was a great soul winner, but my goodness the way things are turning now, we find we’re both. But I’m still primarily inclined to teach believers, because when a believer is well taught he’s going to be a good witness, but you can’t be unless you’re taught, and are comfortable in sharing this good news of Paul’s Gospel, and the basic doctrines that go along with it. Now that’s the key to be a witness and a testimony as a believer. Know your subject, and this is the subject. Now then let’s go on into chapter 4.

I Thessalonians 4:1

“Futhermore (in other words Paul is telling us that he’s not through) then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”

Who is he setting up as our example? Himself. Paul is the example of the believer. My, I had a phone conversation with someone just last night who said, “Well I thought we are supposed to follow Jesus.” No we follow Paul who follows Christ. Let me show you how the Lord inspired Paul to tell us that. We’re short on time so I’ll just use one today, but there are many of them that we normally use when we teach this. It’s because the Lord Jesus was God. He was Deity. He could walk a walk that we humans couldn’t begin to follow. But this apostle is just as human as we are. He had the same reactions, he had the same emotions, so he becomes then the perfect example of one who was willing to suffer, and die for his faith. One who was always ready to leave a witness and testimony wherever he went. I taught back in Philippians where he had the Roman guards at his side constantly, and when they would rotate their tour of duty, by the time they had spent a few days with the apostle Paul, they didn’t leave him just another Roman pagan soldier, but rather they left him a believer. And these soldiers would go to the end of the empire sharing their faith, and that’s why the Scripture could tell us with all honesty that, the doctrines of Grace had covered the then known world, the whole Roman Empire, and I’m sure that’s how it happened. Here it is then in I Corinthians chapter 4, and verse 16. It’s just a simple little verse that I suppose most people miss entirely.

I Corinthians 4:16

“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” And then in another verse he qualifies that.

I Corinthians 11:1

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Now he’s telling the Thessalonians the same thing here in chapter 4.

I Thessalonians 4:1a

“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God,…”

Now again I read a commentary a while back what I have taught over and over, and that is when Paul uses the plural pronoun it wasn’t that there was several others involved. Sometime Barnabas, or Silas, or Timothy was, but he uses the plural pronoun only as a mark of humility. He didn’t just like to use the big I. So always remember that when he uses the plural pronoun, he’s speaking of himself.

I Thessalonians 4:1b

“…that as ye have received of us (me) how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”

See, God never intended the believer to just be a little wallflower that He could say, “Oh boy look what I’ve bought with my blood.” No, God wants people who are willing to grow in Grace and knowledge and be witnesses and testimonies of His Grace. Now verse 2.

I Thessalonians 4:2

“For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.”

Now remember when Paul speaks of himself as he does, it isn’t that he is the one that they were to worship. He isn’t the one that died for them, he is merely the one that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned back there in Acts chapter 9 to take all of this to the Gentiles, the non-Jewish world, to you and I in this Grace Age. So here again he tells these Thessalonians how that in that 3 or 4 weeks he was with them, he gave them all these commandments that came by way of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now in order to qualify that, we have to go back to Galatians chapter 1 for a moment. I’m afraid that there are so many people out there that think that Paul simply wrote from an egotistical attitude, he was the one that had dreamed all of this up. In fact a lot of times the Judaisers would accuse him of. being an imposter, and dreaming up all these things. And I think that’s why a lot of Christendom today will not pay attention to the letters of Paul. I had a comment again just last week that they doubted that the apostle Paul should even be in our Bible. My, we would be destitute of everything except Law if we didn’t have Romans through Philemon. But see Paul qualifies it now in Galatians chapter 1 starting with verse 11. It’s been a long time since we looked at these, and this just says it all. When Paul says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I follow Christ.” here is the basis of his authority as an apostle.

Galatians 1:11

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught (by men) it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Now do you know what that says? That means he didn’t learn all of this that he’s writing now in his epistles from the feet of Gamaliel. Now he learned the Old Testament, but he didn’t pick up these doctrines of Grace from Peter, James or John, because the Spirit of God purposely directed him in another direction, so that he wouldn’t be polluted by any of the things that Peter, James or John or the others my say. If he had been taught by them, his salvation message would have been the same as the one they shared, and that was believing that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, repentance and baptism in water. But rather the Lord revealed to him that our salvation message in this Age of Grace is, believing in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again.

So Paul was insulated from them, and he received all these basic truths for Christianity from the ascended Lord. And again I can’t emphasize that enough. Everything that Jesus and the twelve taught were primarily before the cross, and everything that this man teaches is after the cross, and so it had to come by revelation from the ascended Lord of glory. Now verse 13.

Galatians 1:13-16a

“For ye have heard of my conversation in time past I n the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church (or assembly) of God, and wasted it: 14. And profited in the Jews religion above many my equals in mine own nation,: being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16. To reveal his Son in me,…” (Paul)

See, through Paul’s teaching is how we have the further revelation of who Jesus Christ really is. You know so many folks in Christendom today don’t know who Jesus Christ really is. They just don’t know it, and the reason for that is they haven’t studied Paul’s epistles. We do not get a concept of who He really was until we get to Paul. We don’t get a concept of what we really are, until we get to Paul. Yes, Jesus referred to sinners, and the problems that the Pharisee and the Sadducees had with their pride, but never, never are we explained in Scripture that our basic problem is, “we’re sons of Adam.” Only Paul shares “for as by one man sin entered and death by sin.” Who was the one man? Adam. See, you don’t get any of that until you get to Paul’s letters, so these were all things that were revealed to this man from the ascended Lord. Now verse 16 again.

Galatians 1:16a

“To reveal his Son in me, (Paul) that I might preach him among the heathen; (Gentiles)

Consequently, since Paul is going to be a designated apostle to whom God is going to reveal things that have never been revealed before, the Lord isn’t going to muddle Paul’s brain by sending him back to Jerusalem and checking in with Peter, but instead God sent him in another direction. Isn’t that amazing? And most of Christendom misses this, He sent him for three years to Arabia instead of down to Jerusalem. And this is what Paul is making so plain in verse 17.

Galatians 1:17

“Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia,…”

Now direction wise, what is that? The opposite direction. Instead of sending him to Jerusalem God sends him into the desert so that his mind wouldn’t be cluttered with everything that Peter, James and John would want to put on him. But rather that he could get alone with the Lord in heaven, and have these doctrines of Grace poured out on him, and that’s why he’s constantly then taken credit for being the one to whom were revealed the mysteries or the secrets of God. And this is what you have to constantly keep in your mind. Until you get into the depths of this apostle’s letters, you’re going to miss most of the basic doctrines of Christianity.

Oh there’s nothing wrong with studying Christ’s earthly ministry, to be able to see His miracles, and all the things that He accomplished, but listen, you don’t find our basic doctrines back there in the four gospels. You have to get into this section of the Book that a lot of people would like to throw away, which is Romans through Philemon. Now in the minute we have left let’s look again at verse 1 on I Thessalonians chapter 4, so we’ll have a place to kick off from in our next lesson.

I Thessalonians 4:1b

“…”that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk…”

I hear the statement all the time “walk the walk and talk the talk” or something like that. Well, this is what Paul is talking about, that as a believer we are to walk and to please God so that you would abound and grow in Grace and knowledge more and more. Now we all know how heart breaking it is to have a child maybe 4 or 5 years old who never matures. They can be 30-35 years old and they still have the physical and mental attributes of a 4 or 5 year old, and it is heart breaking. Iris is a nurse that has come across people like that. But listen, how many believers are in that same state in their Christian experience? They are still infants in their faith.

497 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 42 - The Body Of Christ Removed From the Earth

497: The Body Of Christ Removed From the Earth – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 42

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 42

The Body of Christ Removed from the Earth

I guess as we begin that I should remind you that Paul is writing to a group of believers now with whom he had only spent somewhere between 3 and 4 weeks. He calls it 3 Sabbaths which could be 21 days or on up to 26 or 27, but nevertheless it was a very short period of time that Paul had with the Thessalonian believers. I want you to also remember that they came out of abject paganism without absolutely no knowledge of the Scriptures. I mean he’s not dealing here with Jews who had been steeped in the Old Testament, but these are pagan Gentiles. So always keep that in mind how he must have, by the power of the Holy Spirit, unloaded so much on these people that they retained it, because when we get to chapter 2, you’ll see he says, “You know I told you these things.”

Well that was not a superfluous statement. He knew that these people understood all the basics. Now as we come out of the ending of our last program we’ll pick right up in verse 15 where Paul is speaking of the Jews there in verse 14, who had been opposing him every step of the way. He makes reference to the Jews in verse 24 of the ones who had killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us. In other words, we know that all the way up through Israel’s history that even though they were the covenant people, they were God’s favorite people, yet they were just as rebellious as any other race of people.

I’ve always said that I think the reason it was that way, was that even though they’ve had that exalted position among the nations, yet when it came down to the person they had the same old Adam that we Gentile have. So what it really proves from Scripture then is that no matter who you are, Jew or Gentile we’re all sons of Adam, and have that rebellious sin nature.

Here of course it’s epitomized by the Jew because Paul himself was one, and a thought just comes to mind, and if Monte was here, he’s say, “Here we go again.” I know I start out in a verse, and almost immediately another reference comes to mind. When that happens then I have to take you to that reference also. So the thought comes to mind to turn to a verse in Romans chapter 9, and evidently I’m suppose to use it. I want you to remember that Paul never lost his love for his kinsmen according to the flesh, the Jewish people. So even when he makes statements like verse 14 in Thessalonians that they were the ones who rejected and killed the Lord Jesus, it wasn’t that he had any hatred for them, because he had a deeper love for the Jew then any other human being could have had short of the Lord Himself. Let’s begin in verse 1, and look how the apostle pours out his heart.

Romans 9:1-3

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost. 2. That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”

Now a greater love than that a man couldn’t have, there was only one other person in all of Scripture who made that same kind of statement concerning his own people, and who was it? Moses. Moses said in effect, “If only God could spare Israel, he would ask that his own name would be blotted out from the Book of Life.” Satan knows that if he can destroy Israel, then he’s got the battle between him and God won. So consequently remember also that the Jewish people are under a constantly Satanic attack because of their position in the world. Now back to I Thessalonians, chapter 2. I had to do that so people couldn’t say, “Well Paul hated the Jews.” No he did not, he had a love for the Jewish people like no one else. So Paul is making reference here to his kinsman.

I Thessalonians 2:15a

“Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us;…”

Which we know they did. All the way up through the Old Testament, if Israel didn’t like the message they’d kill the messenger, and many times they didn’t like the message of the prophets so they would kill them. In fact Jeremiah, at the time of the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem, when they seized the city, and where did the Babylonians find Jeremiah? Down in some deep, dank dungeon, because Israel didn’t like Jeremiah’s message. Now reading on.

I Thessalonians 2:15b-16

“and they pleased not God, (of course not) and are contrary to all men: 16. Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”

Now let’s go back to the Book of Acts, chapter 13, and we’ll see that from the onset of Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles, this was what he was up against. I think we can begin with verse 4 so that you can get the background of how Paul had constant opposition from the Jewish people. Now you’ll remember in the earlier verses of the chapter, they were commissioned from Antioch to go on their missionary journey, but here in verse 4 well pick it up.

Acts 13:4-7

“So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus, 5. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they had also John to their minister, (now here it comes) 6. And when they had gone through (to the western end, to) the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus; 7. Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, (no doubt a Roman) a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.”

Do you see that? Here we have a Gentile now who is getting exercised now by the Holy Spirit to hear the Word of God. Now look what happens in verse 8.

Acts 13:8

“But Elymas the sorcerer (a Jew) (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.”

Now this was at the very onset of Paul’s ministry to Gentiles, and just an indication what he’s going to experience from here till he’s finally martyred. So what happens next?

Acts 13:9

“Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10. And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, (remember he was a Jew, but he was a magician, a sorcerer, and was drawing magical arts from the Satanic powers, and that’s why Paul refers to him as a child of the devil) thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

Now at this point we see Paul exercising some of his early apostolic powers which later on he no longer makes reference to, but now he uses that power, and he says –

Acts 13:11a

“And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, (physically blind) not seeing the sun for a season,…”

It was for a limited period of time that Elymas the sorcerer was going to be blind. This is also part of prophecy because it is telling us, that this is a sample of the Jewish people all through the period of the Church Age, this 1900 + years now. But remember the Jewish people’s blindness is not permanent as their spiritual blindness is going to end one day. They are yet going to see the coming Christ, not at the Rapture, but at His Second Coming in all of His glory, they’re spiritual eyes will be opened, and as the Old Testament says, “a nation shall be born in a day.” But until then, they are blinded as Paul tells us in Romans chapter 11, to these things and so consequently they are the chief opposition to the Gospel going out to the Gentile world. Now come back with me to I Thessalonians chapter 2, and moving on into verse 17.

I Thessalonians 2:17a

“But (Paul writes) we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart,…”

Remember he had only been with them physically for 3 or 4 weeks, and now I think he’s writing from Corinth in southern Greece. And oh, he has such a heart for these new believers whether it was back in Asia Minor or at Ephesus or Philippi or here in Thessalonica, it made no difference because of his love for those new believers. Iris and I can relate to that, as we are beginning to get a little glimpse of that. We just got back from Florida, and my goodness, the sweet fellowship we enjoyed with those folks, it’s just unbelievable, and next week we’re going out to Denver for a seminar and then down to Albuquerque and it will be the same way. Everywhere we go we find believers who have such a love, we can understand how Paul felt about these folks he had brought out of darkness and into the light of his Gospel of I Corinthians 15:1-4.

So that’s what he’s talking about, and he was only able to stay there with them for 3 or 4 weeks. Maybe we should stop for a few moments and see why Paul had to move out of Thessalonica so quickly when he had such a good response to the Gospel he was presenting. Again come back to the Book of Acts chapter 17, and let’s begin with verse 1, and then we’ll pick up with the account beginning with verse 5. This is why he had to leave Thessalonica after just a few short weeks.

Acts 17:1

“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:” Now let’s pick up the account beginning with verse 5.

Acts 17:5-6

“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people, 6. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;” Making reference to what Paul had accomplished in his previous places he had visited. Now verse 7.

Acts 17:7

“Whom Jason hath received; and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.”

Boy, they’re subtle aren’t they? See, the Romans probably would not have had much concern about this new sect of Christianity, but when the Romans got wind that the sect was proclaiming a coming King, and kingdom, that got under their skin. So consequently they persecuted the Christian sect unmercifully, because the Jews brought to their attention that they were proclaiming another king, who would be in total opposition to the Caesars, Now verse 8.

Acts 17:8-10a

“And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. 9. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go. 10. And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea:…”

From there they went on to Athens and on down into Corinth. But now drop down to verse 13. This is all that Paul is making reference to now in his letter to the Thessalonians.

Acts 17:13-14

“But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. 14. And when immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea:…”

So they had to send Paul away again, and this was constant in his ministry that wherever he had some converts, wherever he begin a small congregation of believers the Jews would come in and either infiltrate them with false teachings, or would physically persecute them, and this was in addition to what the Roman government themselves brought in. Now coming back to I Thessalonians chapter 2 again, and hopefully we can stay here till at least the end of this lesson. Now verse 18.

I Thessalonians 2:18

“Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”

Now we always have to realize that the Satanic powers are in constant opposition, and using whatever vehicles Satan can use. So here again we find the true culprit are the Satanic powers that hindered him. Now verse 19.

I Thessalonians 2:19

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”

Do you know what Paul is making reference to? When the Lord comes, and we have that great meeting in the air, Paul recognizes that he will probably never see these believers again in the flesh, but as soon as they come into the presence of the Lord at His coming he will know them, which is another scriptural truth. We’re going to see and know our loved ones when we get to glory, in fact we’re going to be reunited even before we get back to glory itself, in the meeting in the air. Now verse 20.

I Thessalonians 2:20

“For ye are our glory and joy.”

Now remember in the original letter there were no chapters heading, so let’s go right on into chapter 3 which would actually be the next paragraph of his letter, and what’s the first word?

I Thessalonians 3:1

“Wherefore (because of this relationship that he had built in those few days he had been with these Thessalonians believers, Paul says,) Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;”

And instead of taking the chance of going back into probably physical harm, he stayed in Athens. Now verse 2.

I Thessalonians 3:2a

“And sent Timotheus, (Timothy) our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you,…”

See this is what new believers always need. So many times new believers may come in and have a profession of faith, and then no one sticks around to teach them, and what happens? They just fall away. Now if they were genuinely saved they won’t lose their salvation, but they lose their impact in their community, unless they are stable in the Word. And that’s where teaching comes in, and this is where I have faulted Christendom as a whole, because people are not taught the deep things of Scripture. They are just fed milk, and Paul makes it so plain then Timothy would be sent back to these little congregations to establish them in the faith. To teach them these basic truths. Now finishing the verse.

I Thessalonians 3:2b

“… and to comfort you concerning your faith:”

Faith is at the root of all of our Christian experience, but that faith has to be fed. In fact I’d like to take you to an appropriate verse that Peter wrote in his little epistle, it’s a perfect parallel. This is a verse that many of you know, but it’s good to exercise your fingers by turning the pages in the Book. And this verse 2 just says a truck load, as new born babes. And this is what all these believers in Paul were, they were fresh out of paganism, and were just as fresh to Christianity as new born babes that have just been born to it’s mother.

I Peter 2:2

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

But are you supposed to stay on milk? See Paul says in the Book of Hebrews 5:12-13, “that the problem was that too many believers never get off the baby bottle.” They never get to the place where they can take in the meat and potatoes of Scriptures, and hopefully that’s what I try to do. I try to take people into the deeper things and not be content with the milk. Now back to I Thessalonians once again.

I Thessalonians 3:3

“That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.”

Now we in America know nothing of persecution. Oh we may hear some snide remarks made against us, we may have a few people stay away from us, but we don’t have any real persecution, but that has not been the norm throughout Christianity. From day one the moment you took a stand for Christ, you also invited persecution, and if you doubt me you just look at some of the books on that subject. There have been millions upon millions of believers that went through horrible torture, and never relinquished their faith. Isn’t it amazing that these folks here in Thessalonica had just been won out of paganism with all of it’s appetite of the flesh, and all of it’s pagan worship, and they came out of that to face persecution, isn’t that something? Then to be able to be so strong that even in the face of death, and torture, and suffering they never relinquished their faith.

I wonder how many American believers could do that today? If all of a sudden we would be faced with torture just because we’re Christians. I hope you realize that we’ve been so blessed these last couple hundred years, because most of Christendom has had to suffer for their faith, and Paul makes that even plainer in Galatians chapter 4. It’s evident that when you become a child of God you become then the object of hate and persecution by the world around us. Now back to I Thessalonians chapter 3.

I Thessalonians 3:4

“For verily, when we were with you, we told you before (see he didn’t promise them peace and prosperity, or if you’ll just become a believer every thing will just go your way. No, but it was quite the opposite. As soon as he brought them into a knowledge of salvation we told you before) that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.”

And the word tribulation here means a lot more than just problems and troubles. Tribulation was for those people abject persecution even to the losing of their life. So Paul had warned them, and in the time that had lapsed from the time he left them till he writes this letter, they had evidently come under intense persecution. Now verse 5.

I Thessalonians 3:5a

“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith,…”

Can you imagine what was going through the apostle’s mind down there a couple of hundred miles south of Thessalonica, with no communication in those days like we have today? And he’d have to wait for maybe a letter or a messenger or something, and don’t you know he was just commiserating in his mind with these people. Knowing that they were under terrible persecution. Are they all standing fast, or are they slipping back into their old pagan ways? And that’s what’s on his heart, so it must have burdened him, as he wondered, “are they holding fast?” Now reading on in verse 5.

I Thessalonians 3:5b

“…lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.”

Don’t you know it just plagued the apostle to wonder if he had gone through all of his own persecution in vain? Remember not long before Thessalonica, he had been whipped unmercifully, thrown into the dungeon, and under normal circumstances probably would not have lived, but all of this he had done for the sake of the Gospel, and for the sake of these Thessalonian believers. And now he’s wondering, “did we go through all that suffering in vain?” So this is what’s on the apostle’s heart.

496 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 42 - I Thessalonians 1:1-2:14 - Part 2

496: I Thessalonians 1:1-2:14 – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 42

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 42

I Thessalonians 1:1 – 2:14 – Part 2

Now in our last lesson I couldn’t find the right verse to give you as we closed, as I was in II Corinthians chapter 11 rather than I Corinthians chapter 11. That just keeps you humble you know. I’m going to finish my thought though in this half hour because we trust that most of our television audience watch us every morning. Now let’s continue on with I Corinthians chapter 11 with this admonition from the apostle Paul to follow him. You know, everybody’s got the idea that we have to walk in the footsteps of Jesus but Paul doesn’t teach that. We follow Paul, who follows Christ. So actually yes, Christ is preeminent in our life – not Paul. Christ is the one who died for us, not Paul. But Paul is the one who has been commissioned to be our apostle. And it’s through his writings that we have the Word of God for Church Age believers. Now let’s jump back in where we should have ended in I Corinthians chapter 11, verse 1.

I Corinthians 11:1

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

Now the next time he says it is in Philippians chapter 3, verse 17. And you know I’m always stressing the apostle Paul did not have an ounce of conceit or egotism. He was probably as humble as could be. But the Holy Spirit led him to say these things so that we can get it straight. Otherwise it would get confusing if we were told that, yes, Paul’s got the message, but we follow in the footsteps of somebody else. So we follow Paul, who followed Christ.

Philippians 3:17-19

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind (what kind of things?)earthly things.”

They are materialistic and consequently that flies in the face of Paul’s admonition to be first and foremost, spiritual. And then God will provide our material needs. Now let’s go back to I Thessalonians where we left off. We’re now ready for verse 7. Let’s read verse 6 again to just pick up the flow.

I Thessalonians 1:6-10

“And ye became followers of us, (speaking of himself) and the Lord, (he follows the Lord and we follow him) having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe (in other words, to all new Christians throughout Greece. Remember Greece, in Paul’s day, was divided into two states, Macedonia to the north and Achaia down to the south.) in Macedonia and Achaia. 8. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith (It was their faith that so astounded their fellow Greek people.) to Godward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. 9. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, (and this is the verse we covered in our last half hour) and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;(that was the response of love) 10. And to wait (the blessed hope. And Paul thought that the Lord would come in his lifetime. Now, of course, we think the same thing. We think the Lord’s going to come in our lifetime and I think we’re appropriate in that attitude.) for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

Now I have to feel that the wrath to come here is not speaking of Hellfire, not the Lake of Fire, but it’s speaking of the Tribulation wrath. It’s speaking of that wrath and vexation that Psalms 2 prophesied would come upon the world after the world had rejected the Messiah. And as we showed in our timeline this afternoon how that now the period of time has been opened up to include the Church Age and as soon as the Church Age is completed and the last believer has been brought in, then, of course he has to take it out of the way and continue on where he left off with the Nation of Israel.

I may have shared it before on this program, but early on in our television ministry I had a young Jewish listener out in California who was an Orthodox Jewish fellow and he was under the tutelage of the Rabbis and he was in a Yeshiva and he would call periodically and we had a lot of good conversations. I’ll never forget the one that hit me the hardest. He said, “Les I know that you’d like to convert all of us Jews and make us believers. But if that were the case, and the Lord would come as you expect Him to come, there wouldn’t be any Jews left here to fulfill prophecy!” TRUE!!! Isn’t that exactly true? There has to be the Nation of Israel, on the scene, to fulfill the program that initiated with Abraham. And so we can’t expect every Jew to become a believer. They have to be here for when Christ once again deals with them on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant. So never lose sight of that.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have a concern for Jewish people. Of course we do. But on the other hand we have to realize the nation is going to have to be intact. That’s why I’m not too worried about this peace process. I know Israel is going to get squeezed. Israel is going to come under a lot of pressure to give up the Golan and the West Bank. But you rest assured they’re not going to push Israel into the sea. Because the Nation of Israel is merely there as a prop on God’s stage, waiting for the curtain to be lifted and the final days would be brought to fruition. Now let’s go on the chapter 2 of I Thessalonians and verse1.

I Thessalonians 2:1

“For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:”

Boy, I guess not. Here he comes into this pagan city, no doubt still stiff and sore. Some of you have played football. Some of you have done various kinds of work. Gardening, haying, etc. And the next day, how do you feel? Like somebody has just beaten you with ball bats. Well, they had him! Paul and Silas had just been beaten up there in Philippi with the scourges of the Romans and cast down into the dungeon without benefit of antiseptics or antibiotics, and so I can imagine that by the time these men walked into Thessalonica they were, as we would say, as stiff as a board. They must have been physically miserable. But, in spite of it, what an impact they had on that pagan city, so that they were able to establish a little local congregation of believers in just four weeks time. I have to just keep emphasizing that. Can you imagine doing that in four weeks out of paganism. And then be able to have them so establish that in spite of all the pressure of persecution that you know came upon them from two quarters.

From the Jewish element, who hated everything Paul was doing, as well as from the pagan element who, of course, had nothing to do with Christianity. In fact, come back with me again to where we were in the beginning our Thessalonian study to Acts chapter 17 and jumping in at verse 10. Okay, here they come from Philippi to Thessalonica down to Berea and that’s where we’re going to pick it up here in the Acts account. And then he goes on down to Athens and down to Corinth, where he writes these two little letters, probably in close proximity back to the church up there in Thessalonica. Now they had escaped the persecution in Thessalonica.

Acts 17:10

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11. And these (the Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.(that Paul was teaching)12. Therefore many of them believed: (because they were able to search the scriptures and then realize that Paul was not something from out of left field. He was not coming out of the woodwork, but he had the truth of the Word of God.) also of honorable women which were Greeks (Gentiles) and of men, not a few.”

Now look what happens. As soon as the Jews up there in Thessalonica, which was about 30 something miles distance. From what I can gather from history, there was between 30 and 40 miles between all of these cities. Between Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea and on down to Athens.

Acts 17:13-14

“But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also ( not willing that he get away with anything) and they stirred up the people. 14. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea; but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.”

Now let’s come back to Acts again and just see how the Jewish people, bless their hearts, just could not give in to the fact that these Gentiles were coming in to a relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Come back to Acts chapter 13 for just a moment. This is at the very onset of Paul’s missionary journey, coming from Antioch, stopping on the island of Cypress and Barnabas, of course, was with him on this trip.

Acts 13:6-7

“And when they had gone through the isle (the island of Cypress) unto Paphos (which is clear on the west end) they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus; 7. Which was with the deputy (governor, the ruling individual) of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man (a Roman, a Gentile) who called for Barnabas and Saul and desired to hear the word of God.”

Now isn’t it amazing that without benefit of any New Testament Scripture whatsoever, all they have if anything, is the Old Testament. And yet, even these pagan Gentiles, as soon as they got word of Paul, they knew that he had the Word of God. Even before his letters were written. Isn’t that amazing? And so here is this governor of the Island of Cypress, hears that Paul is in the vicinity and he wants to hear the Word of God. And so he calls for him. Now let’s go on to verse 8.

Acts 13:8

“But Elymas the sorcerer (the Jewish gentleman up there in verse 6) (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy (governor) from (what?)the faith (from believing)

So right from the very beginning of Paul’s missionary ministry to the Gentiles, he has opposition from the Jewish people from start to finish. And they never quit. The early churches were constantly bombarded by either the Judaisers, who were, I think, even believers of Christ’s ministry and they had the Gospel of the Kingdom, but that still implored them to be circumcised and to keep the Law of Moses. And so even a lot of those Jews came in and infiltrated these early Gentile congregations, that they had to keep the Law of Moses or they couldn’t be saved. In fact while you’re in Acts, you might as well turn the page to Acts chapter 15. Now this is exactly what the early congregations were being subjected to and to which Paul had to constantly overcome one way or another. Either by writing them a letter or sending back Timothy or Titus or one of his helpers, but it was a constant battle to keep these Jewish believers from Jerusalem at bay.

Acts 15:1

“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, (Paul’s converts) and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”

Now listen, people were just as human then as they are today. My, how many phone calls don’t I get where somebody calls and says, “Les my pastor tells me that if I don’t do such and such, I’m going to go to Hell.” Well nobody likes to hear that, and it scares them to death. My, sometimes they’re in tears because they’re so afraid. Well these people were no different. Here comes these Jews from Jerusalem, seemingly having religious authority, and they bombard these poor earthly Gentile believers with ” Well that’s all well and good as far as Paul went, but he didn’t go far enough. He should have told you that you have to be circumcised, and keep the Law of Moses.” Now look at verse 5, and it’s repeated again.

Acts 15:5

“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, (these Gentile believers) and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

Who commanded this? Believing Jews! Do you see how plain that is? And that’s what the early congregations were constantly subjected to. But Paul kept fighting back with his theme, “You’re not under Law, you’re under Grace.” My, I think one lady put it so appropriate the other day when she said, “Les I just feel like the shackles have fallen off.” Well said! Because that’s what legalism does, it just shackles people, puts them under fear and superstition. As I said several programs back, you look at every religion in the world, and you will find that’s how they control their people. See, that’s really- who was it? Lennon or one of the Communists in Russia called religion the opiate of the people, and most religions are because religious leaders will put them under fear and superstition and that’s how they control the masses.

Now you and I aren’t under that, we’re not under any kind of fear and superstition, but rather we’re under Grace, and this becomes our guide, and we follow the apostle Paul of course as he followed Christ, we practice faith, hope, and charity. Now back to I Thessalonians, enough for that. Let’s just drop in at verse 5 now, and again I want you to see the heart of this apostle. He could have gotten puffed up, he could have gotten proud and egotistical seeing what an impact he was having on the Roman Empire. He was accused of turning the Roman Empire upside down single-handedly with the Lord’s help of course. So he could have gotten puffed up but it was just the opposite.

I Thessalonians 2:5-8

“For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: (the apostle Paul never came into a city with the idea that he was going to see how much of their money he could get before he left. Never! That’s quite a change from today isn’t it?) 6. Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 7. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 8. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.”

Now verse 9, and this is something I want you to see and you can realize why again the Jews put so much doubt on the man’s ministry.

I Thessalonians 2:9

“For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable (or put in debt) unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”

Now what was part and parcel of the Jewish mentality with regard to the priesthood? Hey, they didn’t have to work to make their living. Those of the tribe of Levi had all their needs provided by the other 11 tribes. Isn’t that right? Sure, that was the purpose of the tithes and offering under the Law. So the Levi’s had to do nothing but just simply the service at the temple. They didn’t have to work with their hands to make a living, but Paul did. So what would they say? If you’re a true man of God, you should be able to live off of the tithes and offerings of God’s people. Boy that sounds typical doesn’t it? But Paul says, “I won’t do it. Oh I could, and I have every right to, the Old Testament did say, you don’t muzzle the ox who treadeth the corn. I do have a right to expect my livelihood, but I’m not going to do it. I’m going to work with my own hands day and night if need be to provide my own physical needs so that none of you pagan Gentiles can ever accuse me of coming in merely to take your money.” Pretty good idea wasn’t it? And so he rehearses this throughout this Thessalonian letter that he never came into a Gentile city with the idea of living off the people, although he certainly had every right to do it. Now verse 10.

I Thessalonians 2:10

“Ye are witness, and God also, how holily (without anyone pointing a finger at him) and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believed:”

Paul was so careful in his daily behavior that none of these new Christians could suddenly become disenchanted with some kind of hypocrisy.

I Thessalonians 2:11

“As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,”

Do you see what a love he had for these pagan people? Remember they were pagans, they had just recently been offering offerings up to the gods and goddesses of the pagan world. They had their idols in their homes, and Paul loved them with a love where he would have given his life for them as a father would his children. Now verse 12.

I Thessalonians 2:12-13a

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 13. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, (underline that next portion) ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God,…”

Wouldn’t that be something if people could say that of all of us? Whenever we quote a Scripture, or make a doctrinal statement that people could just sit up and say, “Boy, now that’s God speaking!” When the Word of God permeates us it’s just going to flow through us and they’re going to know whether we’re fake or not. Reading verse 13 again.

I Thessalonians 2:13

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, (every thing he spoke to these pagan was understood to be the Word of God) which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

See the unbelieving world can never accept the Word of God whether it’s in this Book or in your mouth or mine. But people of faith can immediately recognize the truth. Now verse 14.

I Thessalonians 2:`14

“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: (now don’t let that throw you a curve. That simply means that the same God who began the work with Christ’s earthly ministry, and the assemblies there in Jerusalem, had now gone on to the places where Paul was sent to the Gentiles. It’s the same God.) for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:”

Stop and think a minute. How did the rank and file Jews who remained true to the Mosaic system treat the Jews who embraced Jesus of Nazareth? Hey, Saul of Tarsus was the typical example. What did he try to do? Obliterate them, threw them into prison, voted against their being left alive, he voted for their death, and so it wasn’t just the Gentiles who suffered at their hands, their own fellow Jewish people did, also, and this is what we have to remember.

495 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 42 - I Thessalonians 1:1-2:14

495: I Thessalonians 1:1-2:14 – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 42

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 42

I Thessalonians 1:1 – 2:14

Now in a moment we’re going to start in I Thessalonians 1:1. But before we do, I’d like to give a brief historical background of this letter. I’ve got a makeshift map on the board of the area that Paul is in in this study. We have our Mediterranean Sea, and up here is Asia Minor in Scripture, it’s Turkey in our geography today, Here we have Ephesus which was one of the earliest Churches on Paul’s journey from Antioch up in Asia Minor, and then he came back to Antioch. Then I believe it was on his third missionary journey, he went up through central Asia Minor, and you remember when he got here on the sea coast, he was intending on coming back to east to Asia, but instead the Spirit appeared to him in a vision and said, “Come over to us in Macedonia and help us.”

Well Paul didn’t argue with the vision, he took a ship and went across to Philippi. And of course Philippi is clear up here in northern Greece, and over here is Italy, but as he started his ministry in Philippi, that’s where he and Silas were beaten back there in the Book of Acts chapter 13. In fact it would probably be good just to go back and look at that account. I hadn’t intended to do that, but maybe we should. Here Paul and Silas leave the Church at Antioch, and then in chapter 14 then move on into central Turkey, Asia Minor, and go into the work at Iconium, and Derbe, and Lystra then all the way up to chapter 16 is the account of what happened in Philippi.

Now of course, if you know your history, all of this was part and parcel of the Roman Empire. So Philippi was a Roman colony, and you have to know a little bit of your history to know the difference. Philippi, a Roman colony, meant that there was a Roman Garrison stationed there at the city, or like today we call them occupation troops. Where as, Thessalonica which is just the next city down toward Athens from Philippi was a free city, they didn’t have Roman troops roaming up and down the street, they just had complete freedom. Probably they helped out a couple of Roman generals in a battle sometime earlier. But any way you had these different Roman rules, but in Philippi where Paul began his ministry in Europe, you know the account, how they were beaten and thrown into the dungeon. And out of the jail experience with the earthquake setting them free, we had the salvation then of the Philippian jailer. Who, if I would have had more time in the last half hour, would have used as the counter example of Acts 2:38.

In Acts 2:38 the Jews said, “what must we do to be saved?” The Philippian jailer a Gentile in Acts 16:30, says, “what must I do to be saved?” And remember Paul does not tell him to“repent and be baptized but simply believe.” Well anyway after having been beaten in Philippi he makes his way on down to the next sizeable city, which is Thessalonica, and we pick that up in chapter 17.

Acts 17:1-2

“Now when they (Paul and Barnabas and whoever was with him) had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews.(Now there weren’t any synagogues in Philippi, if you remember) 2. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, (to these Jews meeting in the synagogue) and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.”

The very most you can get out of three Sabbaths would be how long? 4 weeks, assuming that he didn’t stay for the next Sabbath. So the length of time that he ministered in this city of Thessalonica was at the max 4 weeks. Some Bible students will say three weeks because of the three Sabbaths. But you see, there could be another six days extended and still be just three Sabbaths. But it was not more, evidently, than 4 weeks in this pagan Greek city.

Acts 17:3-4

“Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. (Now verse 4 and this was the reaction as it was almost everywhere) 4. And some of them believed, and consorted (took up with) Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.”

Now you see the Gentiles are more and more latching onto this Gospel of Grace to the consternation, of course, of the Jew. Now look at verse 5.

Acts 17:5a

But the Jews which believed not, (now there were some that did, but the majority did not) moved with envy,…”

Now you always have to stop here. What were they envious of? They didn’t want these pagan Gentiles coming in and having anything to do with their God. Because I told one of my classes during this past week, you ought to take your concordance sometime and just look up how many times up through the scriptures you have the three names, right in order, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Sometimes it’s in a matter of three or four verses. “And the God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Peter, in Acts chapter 3 will repeat it. “The God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And so you see, they felt that they were so inclusive of their God that those Gentiles couldn’t have anything to do with Him. And when they saw Gentiles responding to Paul and Silas’ preaching, they were furious with envy. They probably said, “Those Gentiles had no business worshipping and believing in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And so verse 5 again.

Acts 17:5-6

“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd (unscrupulous) fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 And when they found them not, (Paul and Silas had already left and escaped and were headed on down to Athens) they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also:”

Isn’t that amazing? Here into this pagan world comes one man, with two or three of his friends, but by and large, it was the work of the apostle Paul that caused these pagans to think that they were literally turning their religious world upside down, or like most people say, “right side up”. But oh, what an impact this one man had on the pagan world. Now verse 7.

Acts 17:7-10

“Whom Jason hath received; and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. (That tells us that Paul was already proclaiming the coming king and His kingdom) 8. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go. 10. And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: (which is the next little city south of Thessalonica) who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.”

They spent some time at Berea and then Paul comes down to Athens alone. Then the others, Silas and Timothy and so forth, catch up with him and then they go on down to Corinth. Realizing that this little group of believers up here in Thessalonica had only heard him teach four weeks. Can’t you imagine how his heart must have burned wondering, “How are they fairing?” Four weeks isn’t very long. I’ve had to teach people three years before they see it. But four weeks and he had a sizable group of these pagans who had become believers of his Gospel. Almost unbelievable isn’t it? Now, that’s the backdrop, then, for these two little letters to the Thessalonians, the first that Paul writes, even while they’re at the end of his letters for the most part. Yet, as far as everything can tell, they were the earliest of his writings and they were written within a matter of weeks after having escaped Thessalonica, spent some time in Berea, a few days in Athens and evidently wrote these letters from the city of Corinth. Then Timothy, or whoever it was, took it back to the Thessalonian Church for their admonition and for their spiritual food. Now let’s take it verse by verse for a little bit.

I Thessalonians 1:1-3

“Paul and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church (assembly) of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ:… (that’s the same positioning that Paul teaches us in Colossians chapter 3, as we saw a week or two ago. Where are we as believers? We’re hid in Christ in God. That’s our position. These Thessalonians were the same way.) 2. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3. Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;”

Now, whenever the scripture repeats something in a rather short period of time, what’s my word? Emphasis!! Now let’s go down to verse 9 and what a tremendous verse. He writes to the ex-pagans, who he had only spent 4 weeks among.

I Thessalonians 1:9

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, (in other words, your testimony shows how God blessed our ministry among you) and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”

Now think about that a minute. What one word describes those people turning from their pagan idolatry to the truth of God? FAITH!!! It was their faith. They believed what God said through the apostle and when they believed it, what were they able to do? Turn their back on idolatry and accept the truth. Has anything changed? NO! It still takes faith in God’s word. And so the second one is after they had turned and exercised their faith to leave idolatry and “to cling to the God of truth” and what was the next one? “And to serve the living and true God.”

Now, put that over with the work in verse 3 and what was the labor in verse 3? Here’s how you learn to compare scripture with scripture. A labor of what? Love! So now what two words have you got? Faith and love. Now come on down to verse 10.

I Thessalonians 1:10a

“And to wait for his Son from heaven,…”

Come back and compare it with the third part of verse 3 and what’s the word? Hope! Now, where do I go first, I Corinthians or Titus? Let’s go to I Corinthians chapter 13. And you remember back, it was long time ago, when I was teaching I Corinthians 13 and we came to the last verse. Some of you should know it from memory. What three things are going to abide?

I Corinthians 13:13a

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity,…”(love),

And if you remember, many of you were sitting in this very same studio audience when I taught this chapter and I said, “Now if you will be aware throughout Paul’s writings, these three words just keep popping like cream on a bottle of unpasteurized milk. Some of you older ones know how that works don’t you? Remember how the cream just comes to the top? Well that’s what happens with these three words, Faith, Hope and Love. They just keep coming up and coming up. Let’s just compare verse 3 and 9 here in I Thessalonians chapter 1.

I Thessalonians 1:3a

“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, …” Comparing with the last part of verse 9.

I Thessalonians 1:9a

“…and how ye turned to God from idols…”

But what caused them to turn? Their faith! Back to verse 3 what was the next thing?

I Thessalonians 1:3a

“…and labour of love,…”

I Thessalonians 1:9b

“…to serve the living and true God.”

Now all you have to do is close your eyes and think. What is predominant reason for serving God right now today in the year 2000? Your love, first for Him, and then for lost humanity, and now I’m going to start adding, “untaught Christians.” Oh, it’s just pitiful, and it’s getting worse by the day, how ignorant – and when I use the word ignorant, I’m not referring to a lack of brain cells. Ignorance is simply a lack of teaching. You can have somebody in Church all their life, and they’re as ignorant as ignorant can be. Why is that? They haven’t been taught anything. You ought to read our mail, and this is exactly what we hear. I don’t care whether they’re 90 years old or 50, it’s almost always the same. “I’ve been in Church all my life, and I never learned any of this before. Well now somebody is going to be held responsible. Somebody has not been fulfilling their obligations. But you see Paul had so completely instructed these ex-pagans of Thessalonica, that they did all three. They practiced their faith, by turning from idols. They immediately went into a labour of love, and then in verse 3, what were they practicing?

I Thessalonians 1:3b

“…the patience of hope…” And comparing with verse 10, this patience of hope.

I Thessalonians 1:10a

“And to wait for his Son from heaven,…”

So again he’s used all three words of Faith, Love, and Hope. Now let me show you another verse where Paul uses those same 3 words. Come over to the Book of Titus, chapter 2 for a moment. To me this is what makes studying this Book so exciting. To see how it all fits together like that jigsaw puzzle I told you about earlier. When everything fits, you know you’re on the right track. I had a letter just yesterday that asked the question, “Well how do I know who’s right? He said, “You’ve got the Baptists, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Pentecostals, the Catholics, Church of Christ, the Mormons, and all of this, How am I to know who is right and who is wrong?” Well you know what I write back? Whoever is purely and completely going by Paul’s epistles is the one you can trust, and the rest of them, you’d better pitch, because it’s going to be a blended turned up on high mixture that’s going to give you nothing but a Spiritual indigestion. Now look what Paul writes concerning Faith, Hope, and Love.

Titus 2:11

“For the Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”

What does Ephesians 2:9 say?

Ephesians 2:9

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

So you’re saved, how? Through Faith! So what can you label this verse? Faith. All right then the next verse.

Titus 2:12

“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world:”

What’s that? That’s your labour of love. Do you see it? And what’s the next verse, verse 13?

“Titus 2:13

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”

So we have Faith, Love, and Hope. Isn’t it amazing? I mean you just can’t escape it, these are the three things of Paul’s teaching that are appropriate even today. Much of what he wrote about in I Corinthians has fallen through the cracks scripturally, but not those three. It is still predominant in our understanding of the Scriptures that we have to have faith, we have to have love, that’s the reason we serve, and we have to have hope.

I thought of this during the night. Iris woke up at 3 AM and I said, “You know I haven’t slept a wink yet?” She said, “What’s the matter, are you thinking about tomorrow?” I said, “That’s all I can think about.” So I don’t think I got an hour of sleep last night, because all of these things just keep coming up, coming up. And I think, how in the world can I put all of that in just four thirty minute segments? But here’s what I had to realize, that if we are exercised by our faith, and we are doing the labour of love, and we are living in that expectancy and hope that maybe today or tomorrow the Lord will come.

Do I have to go down to the book store, and I don’t say this with any malice toward book authors, but really if you have all of this going for you between these two covers, do you have to read book after book. I don’t think so. I don’t need a book on how to treat my wife, just ask her. I don’t need a book on how to treat my kids. Ask them, I’m not worried what they will tell anybody. I’ve never had to read a book on how to do this and how to do that. If you’re into this BOOK it’s going to come naturally.

And this is hard for even Christians to understand. that you don’t have to have a book that will tell you how to live victoriously, you’ve got it. Or you don’t have to have a book telling you how to pray, you’ve got it. You don’t have to have a book telling you how to study the Bible, you’ve got it. It explains itself. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. But oh we’re all shook up all the time by all these extraneous forces on the how to. And like I say, I’m not condemning them, but all I’m saying is, it’s really not necessary, if you can once get a handle on the Word of God. Now back to I Thessalonians.

Oh my goodness, I think we can come on down to verse 4. Now don’t lose sight of the kind of people he’s writing to. He’s only had 4 weeks with them, they were steeped in pagan idolatry, and as I have taught from this point for years, when you had paganism what was the moral climate? It was rotten through and through. They had almost no, what we call Biblical morality, and these people were no different. So Paul had brought them by simply proclaiming the Gospel, the good news out of that immoral pagan background,

I Thessalonians 1:4

“Knowing, (he didn’t have to wonder, he knew these Thessalonians were believers) brethren beloved, your election of God.”

Now don’t let that word election throw a curve at you. That just simply means, that you’re cemented in. You are in the Body, you have been placed in that place of adoption that he taught back in Ephesians, which was reserved for every believer. Now verse 5.

I Thessalonians 1:5a

“For our gospel…”

The one that he and Silas, and Barnabas, had now been proclaiming to the Gentile world. The Gospel Paul defines so clearly in I Corinthians 15:1-4. A lot of times Paul uses the plural pronoun we, us, and our, but you know what he’s really meaning? Himself. I just read that again the other night that this was very typical of the writers of this day and time. In order not to become egotistical they would use the plural pronoun, and not necessarily mean plural, but rather he’s speaking of himself. So you could very safely say,

I Thessalonians 1:5-6a

“For my gospel (for that’s what he says over and over. My Gospel) came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6. And ye became followers of (Peter, James and John? NO that’s not what it says. But rather you became follower of) us,…”(me)

Now come all the way back to I Corinthians chapter 4.and let’s follow up on that real quick. We’ve only got a minute left, so we’ll only have time to look at a couple of them, but they say it all.

I Corinthians 4:16

“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”

Do you see that? Paul says, “be ye followers of me!” Now come on over to chapter 11 verse 1.

Transcribers note: As Les was looking for I Corinthians 11:1, he accidentally turned to II Corinthians 11:1, and didn’t have time to finish the verse, before time ran out. He will pick up with that thought in the next lesson

I Corinthians 11:1

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ,”