1 Thessalonians 4
by Philip Layton
Paul reminds the Thessalonians about the Resurrection and the Rapture
- Why do you think Paul refers to the dead as those who ‘sleep’ (v 13)?
- ‘According to the Lord’s word’ (v 15). Is there any record of this? If not, can we presume that Jesus provided teaching on the Resurrection that is not recorded?
- Are we led to believe that the ‘dead in Christ’ have already been resurrected and are living in Heaven, or is this a future event (vv 13-16)?
- The Latin word for being ‘caught up’ is raptus, which is where the word ‘rapture’ comes from, when talking about our resurrection and being taken to Heaven (v 17).
- What are the similarities between verses 13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52?
- Some people believe that there will be a future event when God will resurrect those who have died trusting in Christ and takethem to Heaven. This will be accompanied by the rapture of living believers into Heaven. Is there any other way of interpreting these verses?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
Pleasing God should be our constant goal, our life’s ambition, our reason for living. Paul infers in this scriptural passage that even though sin surrounds us, we are still to live lives that please God. It means being disciplined; it means having high ethical standards. But above all, it means we are to be like Christ: living holy lives and having purity of heart. This is what pleasing God is all about.
Even the most disciplined person can fall short when it comes to pleasing God. Habits can get in the way. Some habits seem inconsequential, yet they can lead to things that are not only unhealthy but also unholy. Most of us don’t struggle with smoking, alcohol or drugs. Yet it’s possible some of us don’t do well when it comes to controlling our food intake. Does this eating habit matter to God? I believe it does. We can become unhealthy – physically, emotionally and, yes, even spiritually. Rather, we are to please God.
Then there’s inactivity. There’s nothing quite like a good, healthy walk. It clears the mind and refreshes the soul. It’s experiencing God’s creation as we walk. Whatever form of exercise, it’s important for our health and wholeness. It pleases God.
And what about stress? When we are stressed, things often get out of perspective. Paul mentions things such as sexual immorality, lust and not caring for others. If we are constantly stressed we need to address it, and get things right before God – in order to please him.
After Paul gives his words of instruction, he says:
Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit (v 8).
Lord God Almighty, may your Holy Spirit help me to please you today, and for all the days to follow.
John GowansTags: 1 Thessalonians