Be Prepared

1 Timothy 6:7
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

Famous American inventor and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, is credited with saying, “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” It seems we spend much of our time, effort, and energy, trying to avoid these things, rather than preparing for them. Some of us will exercise regularly, change our diet, and get regular checkups with our family doctor, in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. Others, will avoid any thought whatsoever of death or dying, and live this life as though it will last forever. Some, might have a risk-it-all attitude, where they live life on the edge, while others will attempt to amass as much stuff in this life as possible. Remember the mantra “He who dies with the most toys wins”?While I am not suggesting that eating healthy or enjoying life are bad ideas, I am saying, attempts to avoid or ignore death, are not nearly as important as attempts to prepare for it.

Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Jesus explained the folly of living for this life only. He reminds us that all we have acquired in this life, is subject to theft or decay. Not long ago, a water line under our house sprung a leak and ruined the flooring in our living room. I can remember the excitement on my wife’s face when the floor was first laid. While we knew it would not last forever, neither of us thought it would go so quickly. Life is like that, we live as though things will continue on forever, not because evidence suggests it, but because we do not want to face the reality that we are temporal beings with a shelf life. All of us must take seriously the words of the Apostle, realize the brevity of life, and prepare for eternity.

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

While it is true we can take nothing with us, we certainly can send things on ahead. Jesus maintained, we can store up treasures in heaven. We are all taking a trip one day into the unknown, to a destination where we have never traveled. While we cannot know everything we will face when we arrive, we can prepare in advance for our destination. Step one is to receive Christ; He alone is the way into heaven. Step two, get to know His Word, and live for the things that will outlast this life. The Bible teaches us there are only three things which are eternal: God, His Word, and the souls of men. If we want to live for that which will outlast this life, we must put Jesus first, get to know Him through the pages of our Bible, and seek to impact as many as possible for the kingdom of heaven.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 1 Timothy 6

  1. What do you learn about employer – employee relationships from verses 1-2?
  2. What does Paul teach about contentment?
  3. We learn in school about adrenalin and “fight or flight” what does Paul say we should flee from and fight for?
  4.  What do you learn about riches from verses 17-18?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 49- Inscribed 
Isaiah 50- Walking In The Dark

Walking Dead

1 Timothy 5:6
“But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.”

Back in the mid 1970′s, disaster movies were the big craze. Towering Inferno, Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure, and Tidal Wave, were just a few of the titles that topped the charts. Nowadays, it seems people are fascinated with the concept of the undead. Not only have multiple movies and TV shows been released on the subject, but books, magazines and websites, are devoted to zombies and other undead creatures. There is even a popular TV show called “The Walking Dead.” While these all show mindless creatures, who cannot be killed by normal means, walking about with an insatiable appetite for blood, the Bible paints a different picture of the walking dead. Paul speaks of those who have not surrendered to Christ, as being dead while they live.

Ephesians 2:1 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”

The Bible teaches, as long as we are apart from Christ, we live in a condition of being spiritually dead. We are capable of doing many things, contributing to society, even making life better for others, but we are not able to carry on a relationship with God. Our sins act like a giant wedge keeping us from knowing God; which is the primary purpose for our existence. As long as we continue in this condition, we are missing out on the life Jesus intended for us. If we die in this state, we will live forever separated from God. The way to escape death is to trust in Christ. When a person puts faith in Christ, the Bible teaches that his sins are forgiven, and he is made alive spiritually. Since sin is no longer an issue keeping you from God, you can begin to experience the life He created you for; a life of fellowship with God.

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Jesus came into our lives so we might experience the life God intended for us. That life is found through complete surrender to Him. Speaking to His disciples, Jesus explained one of life’s great paradoxes. He said, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39) He was speaking about surrendering all to Him. Some of us have never experienced the life Jesus promised because we are holding on to some sin from our past. When we give that up, we will begin to find life in Christ like we have never known before.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 1 Timothy 5

  1. This chapter deals with how we are to treat others in the church. Describe what you learn about treating:.
    1. Older men
    2. Older women
    3. Younger men
    4. Younger women
    5. Widows (or those in need)
    6. Elders (pastors, those serving in ministry)

Old Testament:
Isaiah 47- Plan Ahead
Isaiah 48- Life, What Does It Offer?


1 Timothy 4:7-8
“But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”

If you are like me, you have probably seen a great number of motivational quotes posted on your Facebook wall. Things like “Pain is only weakness leaving the body” – “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – “It’s never too late to become what you might have been” – or “just do it”. While many of us might benefit from a little more exercise, ALL of us will benefit from a little more godliness. Paul is not suggesting that getting in better physical shape is a bad thing, but is contrasting it with the benefits of being in better spiritual shape. He speaks of the profitability of godliness.

Godliness is a term which means to be living in a way that is well pleasing to the Lord. The godly man is one who is not considering his personal happiness, comfort, or his own wishes, as the determining factor in his decision-making. Instead, he is making decisions based upon what God has revealed in His Word. Often, when faced with a conflict, an impasse, or a fork in the road, we are tempted to make our decisions solely based upon our own desires. That will often lead us away from what God has for us. The godly man will look into the Word to determine what God has to say on the subject and ultimately make decisions that will be well-pleasing in the Lord’s eyes. Paul speaks of the great benefits of living such a life.

First, he says godliness benefits us in this life. Many of the trials, pains, and scars we endure, are self-inflicted. They have been caused by getting off track and doing things our way, instead of God’s way. If we trace some of our difficulties back to their source, we will find they started with a decision to do what we wanted, instead of submitting to God’s Word. It is wonderful to know, God can always pick up the pieces of a broken life and do great things with it. We need only think of Legion, the naked, demon-possessed man who lived in the tombs, to see that God can always repair a shattered life that is surrendered to Him (Mark 5:2-15). However, it is also important to remember, much of the hardships of life can be avoided by surrendering all to Christ, and determining to live in line with His Word.

Second, he says godliness has great benefits in the life to come. While much of what heaven will be like is still shrouded in darkness, we do know that entrance into heaven is reserved for those who have trusted Christ for salvation. Jesus said He alone was the way and that no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). We also know, while entrance into heaven is a free gift received by faith, treasures are stored in heaven for those who live committed to Christ. Paul spoke of crowns that were awaiting the righteous. I do not pretend to know all the mysteries of heaven, but I do trust the words of Christ, who exhorted us to live this life in a way to be rewarded in the next.

Let’s be sure to commit ourselves to a daily exercise program that includes reading the Word, doing what it says, prayer, fellowship with other believers, and looking for ways to serve the Lord.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 1 Timothy 4                                                                           

  1. Take a moment to compare what Paul says about the end times and what our world looks like today.
  2. Verse 8 compares bodily exercise with godliness. What applications do you need to make?
  3.  Verse 13 tells us that some of what made ministry difficult for Timothy was his youth and inexperience. What things make ministry difficult for you? How can you grow past that?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 45- The Potter
Isaiah 46- Teddy Bear

Pillar Of Truth

1 Timothy 3:15
I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

The church, designed by God, serves many purposes in the life of the believer. It is a place for corporate worship, where the gifts and talents of others enhance our expression of praise. The Bible alludes to the fact that our praises are like a sweet aroma, filling the courts of heaven. The church provides a place for corporate prayer. As Jesus instructed us, there is additional power behind prayer when we gather with others to offer our requests to God. The church is also a place for fellowship. God designed us as social beings. We achieve our best when surrounded by those whose lives propel us forward with godly examples. Scripture informs us, that fellowship with other believers is like a steel file sharpening a knife to make it more useful in the masters hand. When we surround ourselves with other believers, we are in a place where we can share each others burdens, encourage each other through struggles, and lift each other up when we fall. While there may be many more benefits we can derive from the church, Paul writes in this passage, about what we might call the primary purpose of the church.

“The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

The city of Ephesus was known in the ancient world, for the grand temple of the goddess Diana. This elaborate building sat on a hill overlooking the city, and in classic Grecian style, was surrounded by enormous pillars. It has been suggested by some that each of the pillars was more elaborate than the next, as they expressed the glory of the temple. Imagine what it must have been like for Timothy, to open this letter from Paul, read that the church is the pillar of the truth, while sitting under the shadow of that temple. Just as the pillars were designed to hold up the roof of that massive structure, so was the church designed to hold up the truth of the Word of God.

In a culture that is becoming increasingly secular, we are in need, more than ever, of the clear and simple teaching of the Word of God. Scripture compares itself to meat, milk and honey, which feeds the soul and strengthen the spirit. It is also equated to light, helping guide us through the difficulties of life and directing us into the will and ways of God. Scripture is synonymous to oil and water, that works to soften our hearts to the things of God. It can act as a hammer, breaking up the fallow ground that keeps us from trusting in His promises. His word is also like a sharp knife, able to cut away things that don’t belong in our lives, thus making us better equipped for service, and able to experience the abundant life He promises. The Word can remove the veil that hides the face of God and reveal who He is, and what He is like. We are told that through the promises of God, we are able to partake of His divine nature.

There have been times in history where the earth has faced a famine of the teaching of the Word. Christians starving spiritually because of a lack of clear teaching of Scripture. This is not one of those times. There are many good churches holding forth the Truth of the Word. It is critical, as a Christian, that you find yourself in regular attendance, where you can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Questions for 1 Timothy 3

  1. The word Bishop is used synonymously with the word elder and speaks of those who are interested in pastoral ministry. Paul gives a list of requirements. What is the only ability he lists?
  2. The word deacon means servant and is used to describe those who serve around the local church. Whether they volunteer their time or are on the payroll they do the work of the ministry in the church. Use this list to examine if you are living up to the standard required to serve the Lord.
  3. Verse 15 is the key to this whole book. Paul is instructing on what the primary role of the church is. Notice he calls it the pillar and foundation of the truth. How can the church fulfill its role of being the foundation for truth?
  4.  The final verse of the chapter may have been an ancient hymn. Take some time to put it to memory.

Pastor Jim

Old Testament:
Isaiah 43- Walking Through Waters
Isaiah 44- Look What I Made

He Made A Way

1 Timothy 2:3-4
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”

Shakespeare’s character, Juliet, is famous for her statement, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” To her, a name meant nothing and love meant everything. Biblically speaking, there is much to a name. Throughout the Bible, God is called by a variety of names, each of which details certain aspects of His character. Here, Paul describes Him as, “God our Savior” and explains His deepest desire; “who desires all men to be saved.” The word desire means to take delight in, to love, and to determine to resolve. Paul is declaring that the determined purpose of God is for every person to be saved. He loves you, your family members, your neighbors, acquaintances and those who you have never met or been concerned. God’s desire is unlike our desire in that it does not stop with a wish or an ambition, but is worked out in action. It is because of the desire of God for all men to be saved that Paul goes on to say,

1 Timothy 2:5-6 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time”

In other words, when there was no way, God made a way. The Father sent His Son to bridge the gap between sinful men and a holy God. In order to build that bridge, Jesus gave His life as a ransom. The penalty of sin was paid and a way was made for us to come to God. Most of us are familiar with Job. His trials are infamous and his faithfulness serves as an inspiring example to us in the midst of difficulty. In the crux of his trial, as he is being confronted by his friends, Job expressed man’s greatest problem. He said,

Job 9:32-33 “For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both.”

In Job’s day, there was no one who stood between man and God to make a way for us to be saved. To resolve that dilemma, God sent His Son to the cross, where He laid down His life for your sin and mine. All this was done that the desire of God might be fulfilled, and we might be given the free gift of eternal life. Paul goes on to say,

1 Timothy 2:7 “. . . for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

God’s desire led Him to send His Son to the cross, and His servants into the world. Paul lived his life with the determined purpose of bringing the good news of salvation to all people. Writing to the Roman church, he said he considered himself to be in debt to all men and that this debt was paid through declaring the Gospel message. Paul faced hardship, want, persecution, danger, and imprisonment, all because the desire of God is for all men to be saved. Think about how amazing the love of God is. He allowed His only Begotten Son to be ransomed, and He allows His precious children to be mistreated, all so you and I might hear the message of the cross and be saved. As you sit back in a comfortable seat at church, hearing the Word of God proclaimed, don’t forget that the simple message of salvation came at the highest price. While salvation is free for the taking to any who believe, it was certainly not cheap to attain. The desire is met because the price was paid.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 1 Timothy 2

  1. According to verse 4 and 8, what does God want from men?
  2. Paul exhorts the woman not to find their identity in their outward appearance but in godliness and good works. What are some ways we can improve our godliness and accomplish good works?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 41- I Am With You
Isaiah 42- It’s Not Broken


1 Timothy 1:19-20
“. . . having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

As Paul traveled the world to preach the Gospel, he had the great joy of seeing many come to Christ. Sadly, however, he also had the difficult experience of seeing some fall away from the Lord. Here he mentions two such individuals and describes their backsliding as being shipwrecked. They once had sails unfurled on course for the Kingdom, but had drifted off course and were no longer serving or following Christ. He mentions them as a warning to us of the dangers of falling away from Christ. A shipwreck is an appropriate analogy for the Christian because of the dangers we face on our journey towards what John Bunyan called “The Celestial City.” Unfortunately, shipwrecks, like backsliding, have a variety of causes.

A few years ago, Hollywood produced a movie called “The Perfect Storm” about a fishing vessel lost at sea due to extreme weather. There are times when the conditions we face are like a turbulent sea, tossing us to and fro. If we are not careful, we will find we have run aground and are no longer pursuing the Lord. These trying times can even leave us bitter and disenchanted regarding Christ. It is crucial that we learn to take refuge from life’s storms in the safe harbor of Christ and the promises of His Word.

Just a couple years ago, a large cruise ship ran aground in Europe. The news sites were filled with images of this mighty vessel being battered by the waves, and it was reported that many had lost their lives. The initial reports alluded to the captain being intoxicated, and as a result, had drifted off course and into the shallows. It is not uncommon to hear of Christians who have done the same thing. Not being careful to remove ungodly influences from their lives, they find themselves tripped up by the sins of their past. They are usually filled with shame and guilt because of the mess they have made of things. This guilt may keep them on the rocks, being beaten by the waves of life. If that describes you, allow me to encourage you. Whatever your sin may have been, there is forgiveness. David described the condition of the one who finally accept the forgiveness available to him, regardless of the severity of the sin committed:

Psalms 32:1 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”

Another common cause of shipwreck is being ill-prepared for the conditions we face. Not long ago, I watched as a boat attempted to navigate its way through one of Florida’s more challenging inlets. Standing there, unable to do anything but watch, myself and a few other onlookers, stared in dismay as the vessel was tossed into the rocks. His failure was not for lack of trying, but because he was simply a novice and did not have the proper training for such difficult conditions. All too often, Christians fail for the same reason. Not taking advantage of the present calm to develop deep foundations in the Christian walk, they find themselves unable to withstand the trial and temptation that is just ahead. Don’t let that happen to you. If life is somewhat calm at the moment, use that to your advantage to become a disciple of Christ. Don’t wait until you are being battered against the rocks before you begin to invest in the Word, fellowship and prayer.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 1 Timothy 1

  1. What was Paul commanded to be? How does that she’d light on the purpose God hassle your life?
  2.  Doctrine is a word that speaks of what the Bible teaches. Timothy was commanded to teach the Bible from the pulpit. What value will learning what God has to say have upon how we live?
  3.  What value will the law of God have on a person who is living in sin?
  4. What does Paul say was the primary ingredient in taking him from being the chief of sinners to becoming a servant of Christ?
  5. What do you think “The good fight” is referring to?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 39- Where Credit Is Due
Isaiah 40- Waiting Room

Follow Me

2 Thessalonians 3:9
“. . . not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.”

I don’t know who thought this was a good idea, but when I was in the eighth grade, all students were required to take a semester of Home Economics. The eighteen week course was divided between cooking and sewing. In the sewing section we learned the basics of operating a sewing machine and were required to make a pillow as a final project. Most of the students went to the local fabric stores and purchased a pillow pattern. I may have had a slight advantage in that my mom was a seamstress and actually taught textiles and design for fashion students at the university level. When I arrived home with my assignment, instead of purchasing a standard pillow pattern, she made me one in the shape of a surfboard. Needless to say, at the end of the term when I turned in a polka dot pillow, fin and all, I received the highest marks.

“. . . but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.”

Paul desired that the Thessalonians would receive the highest marks, on the day when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ. In order to ensure their success, he made himself an example. Their walk with the Lord was clearly patterned for them by looking at the way Paul lived. In this chapter alone, he sets the example as a man of prayer, as he prayed earnestly for them. As a man of the Word, not simply one who read and memorized it, but as one who was determined that it be shared with others. I love the phrase he uses in verse one, as he asked them to pray that “the Word of the Lord may run swiftly.” It was his desire that all would hear the Gospel, and all would come to faith in Christ. He was also an example in faith. He speaks of wicked men who are opposing them, and yet he is confident in the faithfulness of the Lord.

Finally, this chapter is filled with exhortations to work hard. That famous statement, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” is found here, and Paul exemplified what it meant to work hard so as not to be a burden to others. My father-in-law and I were discussing basic economics when he reminded me, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone is paying for it. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to understand that as they worked diligently as unto the Lord, they would in turn be an example to others, showing what it means to follow Christ.

There are a lot of examples out there, but not all of them are worth following. If you want to succeed in following Christ, determine to follow the example Paul set, then go one step beyond, and make yourself a pattern that others may follow.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 2 Thessalonians 3

  1. Paul asks them to pray for him that the word of God may spread through him. Take some time to pray for the spiritual leaders in your life.
  2. Verse 3 isn’t it nice to know that God will keep us from the evil one?
  3. Paul gives them practical instructions about work. Are you working hard in all that you do?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 37- Super Strong
Isaiah 38- Setting Things In Order

Don’t Be Shaken

2 Thessalonians 2:1
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.”

One of the primary themes of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonian church is the return of Jesus Christ. Paul lived with the expectation that Christ would return in his lifetime, and urged others to always be on guard. He had warned in his first letter that, “the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Looking around at the condition of the world they lived in, through the lens of Biblical prophecy, had caused some of them to be alarmed, and even gripped with fear. Paul mentions how they were shaken in mind and troubled. The term ‘shaken’ would describe a ship being tossed to and fro by the raging seas. The word ‘troubled’ carries the idea of crying out for help. Paul had written to a group of Christians facing turbulent times, with the purpose of encouraging them with the “blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Yet the message designed to give them hope, had actually robbed them of peace, filled them with fear, and was causing them to cry out in despair.

In my experience, this response is all too common. We look around at the present world conditions, and realize the sun is setting, and the day of the Lord is approaching. Because we do not fully understand what that entails, we are often gripped with fear, instead of being filled with expectancy, joy, and a new vigor to share Christ with friends and family. The Thessalonians were shaken and troubled because they misunderstood the Bible’s teaching regarding the return of Christ. Some thought it had happened and they had missed out. In an age without satellite TV, Google, or cell phones, news did not travel in real-time; rumors of what had taken place in a distant land could take weeks to verify. Paul wrote to assure them the return of Christ is imminent, but still ahead.

“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him…”

“The coming” is a translation of the Greek word “parousia.” This word was used to describe the visit of a king or dignitary to a city, in order to show his magnificence to the people. Paul is stating, King Jesus is coming back in all His glory to set up His kingdom and rule in righteousness. He assures them that before this event can happen, another ruler must appear on the scene. This ruler is called “the Man of Sin”, who will exalt himself as God. The Bible uses many different terms to describe this individual; the most well-known is the term Antichrist. Paul explains, before Christ comes back as King, the Antichrist will be revealed. If this verse stood alone, we might conclude that we should not be looking for the return of Jesus, but for the reign of this Man of Sin. Our eyes would be taken off Christ and His Word, and we would be searching the news feeds for information on world leaders. But this verse does not stand alone. Paul adds,

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”

Notice the words “And then the lawless one…” it is after the restraining force in the world is removed, that the Antichrist is revealed. It is after this event that Christ will return from heaven, with a shout and set up His earthly reign. It is believed by many, that the restraining force Paul refers to, is the church. Paul is reminding us, the next event we should be looking forward to is the sudden and instant removal of the church from earth, and into the presence of the Lord. He described this event to the Corinthians as something that would happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52).

Rather than being filled with fear, we should be living in expectancy; looking forward to the trumpet sound when Christ will call His church home to heaven.

Pastor Jim

Questions for 2 Thessalonians 2

  1. Paul brings up a lot of the “signs of the times” in this chapter, what are some of the things in our world today that are proof that Jesus’ return is soon?
  2. He encourages the Thessalonians to stand fast (v. 15). Sometimes during trials we need to remember to stand fast. How can you stand fast in your faith during trials?

Old Testament:
Isaiah 35- Stream In The Desert
Isaiah 36- The Lord Will…


2 Thessalonians 1:1
“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ . . .”

The Thessalonian Christians were going through great difficulties. Paul speaks of the tribulations and persecutions they were forced to endure. He also refers to sufferings, and their ultimate rest from these things will not happen until they are in the presence of the Lord. They are not alone in the these difficulties. Paul wrote to Timothy, explaining, “All who desire to live godly in Christ will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus explained, in this world we would face tribulation, but He was greater than the world (John 16:33). It is the lot of all Christians to experience difficulties that try the genuineness of our faith. What strikes me, is not that they were facing trials, but that they received answers from the Lord. This entire letter is God speaking to the Thessalonians regarding the difficulties they are forced to endure.

“To the church of the Thessalonians…”

We are often faced with trials that test our faith and cause us to cry out for answers. One of the most common questions we ask is simply, “Why?” Why am I experiencing this difficulty. Why, if God is loving and powerful, am I forced to endure such struggles? There are certain questions we will not find an adequate answer for until heaven. There are times when the only way to hear from God is to follow the example of Habakkuk, and get alone with Him and His word (Habakkuk 2:1). There are also times when the answer comes in corporate worship. Since their experience of persecution and hardship was common to all, the answer was found in a message to the entire church. Imagine what a blessing it must have been, when they met that Sunday to listen to this letter for the first time, and they heard a message from God directed toward their circumstances.

I have found corporate worship to be like that. It is not uncommon for me to experience God speaking directly to the concerns of my life, as I sit in church worshipping and studying of the Word. As a pastor, I am often accused of “spying” on the people (as they poke fun at me) after a message that so directly addressed the things they are experiencing, or even the conversations they have been having about following Jesus. The message the Thessalonians heard may not have been exactly what they wanted (I am sure they wished it left out words like tribulation), but it was exactly what they needed to hear, and was tailored in heaven, specifically to enable them to persevere on earth. I think this is one of the major purposes of the church, and why it is so dangerous to neglect regular fellowship and the study of the Word.

Allow me to encourage you to make a commitment to be in regular attendance at a healthy, Bible-teaching fellowship. Answers await, as you gather to feast at the table of God’s Word.

Pastor Jim

Chapter 1 
1. Paul starts his letter to the Thessalonians talking about their faith and love for each other. What a beautiful thing to be known for! Do you think people know you for your faith and love? How could you improve your reputation on that subject? 

2. Paul talks about the persecutions and trials that they are going through and how it counts them worthy of the kingdom of God (v. 5). Do the trials that we go through excite you for the rest we will get with Jesus in eternity? 

Old Testament:
Isaiah 33- That Will Fix It
Isaiah 34- Search And Read

Get Ready

1 Thessalonians 5:2
For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”

Years ago, when our twin sons were infants, my wife woke me in the middle of the night. Having been up with the babies, she saw someone in our yard. Concerned that we might be dealing with a home invasion, my instinct was to grab something to protect myself and head into the yard. As I peered through the front window, I realized that it was actually a group of teenagers who were toilet-papering our house. I immediately thought of grabbing the garden hose, getting on the roof and spaying them down. The problem was, the garden hose was in the front yard where I had left it after its last use. Frustrated that I was unprepared for the surprise visit, all I could do was run outside, make myself known and watch them run off. Thinking they might return to finish the job, I laid on the roof with the hose in hand for the next few hours, only to be disappointed by the fact that I had missed my opportunity. Paul reminds us that the return of Christ will be like an intruder in the night. The time to prepare for His return is not after His arrival, but in anticipation to His coming.

1 Thessalonians 5:3 “For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”

One of the most interesting signs the Bible warns us to be looking for is the fact that people will be suggesting He is not coming. Peter wrote, in the last days people would mock the very idea of Jesus’ return. They would be saying things like “you Christians have been talking about that forever.” Paul also reminds us, while many of the signs of Christ’s return are things that have been happening throughout history, they are things that will increase in severity and frequency. Like a woman having contractions, the pain increases the closer she gets to her delivery, so will the signs of Christ’s return increase as the day approaches.

1 Thessalonians 5:4  “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”

While we cannot know the day or hour of the return of Christ, we can be living in expectancy, so we are not caught unaware. The way to be prepared for His return, is not by twisting every current event into a fulfilled prophecy. Instead, we must be sure, that first, we have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, and second, we have surrendered to Him as Lord. You might be able to rattle off all of the signs that point to His coming, yet you are not living for Him. If that is your story, you will be overtaken as by a thief in the night.

There is little doubt, we are living in the last days. The State of Israel, the climate in the Middle East, the rise of immorality being accepted as good, all point to the imminent return of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The one question that remains is, are you ready should He come back today?

Pastor Jim

Chapter 5

  1. According to verses 1-3 Paul tells us that you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. People will be saying all is well and that everything is peaceful and secure. Then suddenly as a woman’s birth pangs begin, disaster will fall upon the world. We should be ready at all times. Suppose the Lord were to return today? How would He find you living? Are you ready to meet Him? Be prepared! 
  2. Verse 6 tells us not to sleep as others do, but to watch and be sober. Jesus said in Revelation 3:3, “If you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief.” We must be watching for the return of Christ. Over and over Jesus spoke to His disciples about His coming. He said, “Watch.” We are to be watching for signs. Are you aware of what is happening around you? Turn to Luke 21:25-28. We need to be looking, watching, and to be sober. The Lord Jesus Messiah is coming for His church. 
  3. Verse 9 is a glorious verse. We will not be here for the great tribulation. This is when the Lord’s wrath is upon the earth. Praise the Lord He has not appointed us to wrath. For reference and further study read Genesis 18. 
  4. In verses 12-13 Paul tells us to recognize our church leaders. Express your appreciation and tell them how you have been helped by their leadership and teaching. If you say nothing, how will they know where you stand? Remember that Paul is urging you to reach out in support and love for the Pastor and the other church leaders.
  5. According to verses 16-18 we are to be a joyful church, a praying church, and a thankful church. This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. We should be joyful because our sins have been forgiven and we are going to heaven. We should be praying without ceasing. This does not mean on our knees twenty-four hours a day, but to be in constant awareness and communion with God. We should in everything, give thanks! Do you know for sure your life is in God’s hands? If God allows something to happen in our lives then He has a purpose for it. Be thankful for the good He will accomplish through the trial. 
  6. In this fifth chapter, beginning at verse 11-27, Paul gives Christians a total of twenty-two commandments. The first commandment in verse 11 is, comfort each other and edify one another. The last commandment in verse 27, I charge you by the Lord that this epistle is read to all the holy brethren. Go through these verses and find the remaining 20 commandments. Jesus said if you love Me, keep my commandments. We are to always look for the coming of the Lord. It is also very important to be walking the straight and narrow while we are looking. Grace and peace to you. 

Old Testament:
Isaiah 31- Throw That Out
Isaiah 32- Peace And Quiet