There is always so much that we could talk about, but one thing seems to stand out. Riches aren’t what we’re supposed to be about. In fact, we should use our wealth to help others, like widows. But there is a caveat: they should truly be on their own. That’s important to note, because it shows us that we can and should have guidelines for helping others (especially as a church).
Paul is writing to guide a pastor (Timothy) in his ministry. Paul starts out by emphasizing that teachers need to be focused on the right things (1:3-7). Doctrine is important!
He goes on to remind Timothy of God’s mercy, and uses his own life as an example of it (1:15-16). Why? Because a good understanding of God’s mercy through Christ is essential to ministry and to preaching.
He continues to guide Timothy by encouraging him to cling to his faith, fight for the Lord (1:18-19), and to pray for all people (2:1-2).
He concludes this section by giving some guidelines for church structure. These should help us to understand how and why the church today functions as it does. Some want the church to return to a more primitive structure, without recognizing that God guided and directed the structure we have today.
1Timothy 1:17 “All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.”
Paul is writing here to assure the Thessalonians that the ones persecuting them will finally receive judgment at the Day of the Lord (1:5-11). And yes, contrary to what some have said, the Day of the Lord is still future (2:1-2)! There are some signs that will show them when it is about to happen. They should look for a final rebellion and the revelation of the man of lawlessness (2:3-12). Until then they are to hold to the traditions they had been taught (2:15), pray (3:1), and work (3:7). Good advice for all of us as we wait for the Lord’s return!
Our introduction has a neat exercise that is worth doing:
Each of the five chapters of 1 Thessalonians ends with instructive verses based on the encouraging fact that Jesus Christ is coming again. Read the indicated verses prayerfully; then write out a step you can take today to begin putting your beliefs to work. Two example responses are provided.
1:9-10 I will look for someone to serve as I wait for God’s Son.
4:13-18 I will comfort someone today with the thought of Christ’s coming.
There are 4 great Christological passages in the NT: John 1:1-18, Hebrews 1:1-14, Philippians 2:5-11, and Colossians 1:15-20. These passages show that Jesus is not just a man, he is God incarnate!
Colossians 3:12-15 is a great summary of what we are supposed to be like as Christians: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
Did you catch that Paul is ready to die? He’s not fatalistic, he just understands that there is something better waiting for him (1:21). Do we really believe that? Even if we do, we recognize that it is our privilege to work here on this earth while we wait for our reward (1:22)!
Paul had a lot he could boast about (3:4-6). Instead he focuses on what Christ has done, and trusts in Him (3:8)! It’s this type of humility that Jesus Christ himself exhibited (2:5-8), and He serves as an example for us (2:5).
Peace through prayer (4:6-7). Have you ever experienced that? Sometimes it comes right away, other times it’s elusive. Sometimes you need to “pray through,” sticking with prayer until you get that sense of peace that passes all understanding. If you are worried and anxious, keep praying!
Paul shows us a pattern in his letters: he starts by giving us the reason to obey, and then shows us how to obey. The reason is because of all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ! He then gives us his grace, His strength, His knowledge and the Spirit, but we have a part to play. We put off the old, and put on the new (not made quite as clear in the NLT). We make a choice to take all that God has given us and do right!
Let’s make Paul’s prayer our prayer, for ourselves and all who believe: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (3:14-19).
NOT all the Questions in the Bible!
“Don’t Offend at the Dinner Table!”
1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1
I) Paul is _________ of what’s going on in the church
II) Paul is very ___________ about how they relate to others
III) One big issue has to do with table _______________
A) Food from _______ worship was available in the market
B) Paul says _______ worry about eating it
1) Food itself is a _______ from God
2) So don’t be afraid to _______ it
3) It shouldn’t be a matter of ________________
4) And don’t make an issue of it __________ at
C) But ______ eat it if someone else is concerned about it
1) It could be an _______________ with an axe to grind
2) It could be an unbeliever who is being _____________
3) It could be a ____________ who has a weak conscience
IV) We shouldn’t use our freedom as a reason to ______________
A) Not everything is _____________
B) Everything doesn’t ___________
C) Don’t use ____________ as an excuse
D) We should _________ God in everything we do
E) And God is glorified when we are _____________ about
F) Our _____________ should not stand in the way of someone
V) Other believers can be an example for us, but __________ is our greatest example!