After speaking of the resurrection and second coming of Christ at the end of the foregoing chapter, the apostle proceeds to speak of the futility of inquiring about the time appointed for Christ's return, which would be sudden and dreadful, but convenient for the wicked to the saints ( verses 1-5). He then exhorts them to the duties of watchfulness, sobriety, and the exercise of faith, love, and hope, as befitted his state (vv. 6-10). In the next words he exhorts them to various duties which they owed one another or one another (vv. 11-15), then to several other Christian duties of great importance (vv. 16-22), and then concludes this letter (vv.23-28).
notice in these words
I. The apostle tells the Thessalonians that it was unnecessary or futile to inquire into the time appointed for the coming of Christ:Of times and seasons you don't need me to write for youV. 1. The matter is certain that Christ will come, and there is an appointed time for his coming; but it was not necessary for the apostle to write about it, and therefore no revelation was given to him; neither they nor we should ask about this secret,which the Father preserved in his own power. Nobody knows about that day and time.Christ himself did not reveal this while on earth; it was not in his commission as a great prophet of the church, nor did he reveal it to his apostles; there wasthere is no necessityof this. There are times and seasons when we can do our work: it is our duty and interest to know and respect them; but the hour and season at which we should give up our account we do not know, nor need we know. Note, There are many things which our vain curiosity wants to know which we need not know, and knowing them would do us no good.
II. He tells them that Christ's coming would be sudden and a great surprise to most people, v. 2. And this is what they perfectly knew or could have known, because our Lord himself had said:In such an hour when youth is not thinking, the Son of Man comesMatthew 24:44. Also MK. 13:35, 36,So beware, because you don't know when the master of the house comes; so that he does not suddenly find you sleeping.And no doubt the apostle had spoken to them of Christ's coming also of his sudden coming, which is the meaning of his coming.like a thief in the nightRevelation 16:15. As the thief usually arrives at the dead of night, when least expected, aSurpriseit will be the day of the Lord; so sudden and surprising will be his appearance. Knowing this will be more useful than knowing the exact time, because that should wake us up to be on our guard so we can be ready when he comes.
III. He tells them how dreadful the coming of Christ would be to the wicked, ver. 3. It will lead them to destruction in that day of the Lord. The righteous God will bring ruin to his enemies and those of his people; and this is his destruction, as it will be full and final, so 1. It will be sudden. He will overtake them and fall upon them in the midst of their carnal safety and happiness, when they say in their hearts,peace and security,when they dream of bliss and delight in the vain pleasures of their fancy or their senses and think not of it,as labor pains come to a woman with child,indeed at the appointed time, but perhaps not expected, nor much feared. 2. There will also be inevitable destruction:You'll realize;there is no way for them to escape. There will be no escaping the terror or punishment of that day. There will beThere is no place for evildoers to hideno shelter from the storm, no shade from the scorching heat that will consume the wicked.
4. He tells them how pleasant that day will be for the righteous, vv. 4, 5. Observe here, 1. Its character and privilege. You are not in the dark; they are children of light, &c. This was the happy state of the Thessalonians, as it is of all true Christians. They were not in a state of sin and ignorance like the Gentile world. They aresome darkness in time, but they were made light in the Lord.They received divine revelation of things invisible and eternal, especially concerning the coming of Christ and its consequences. they were thechildren of the daybecause the morning star had risen over them; yea, the sun of righteousness shall rise upon them with healing under his wings. They were no longer under the darkness of heathenism, nor under the shadow of the law, but under the gospel which brings life and immortality to light. 2 Tim. 1:10. 2. Its great advantage in this respect: thatthis day shall not hit her like a thief,V. 4. It was at least their own fault if they were surprised that day. They had due warning and enough help to provide that day, and they could look forward to standing before the Son of Man with comfort and confidence. This would be a time ofrefreshes them from the presence of the Lord,to whomthose who seek him will appear to their sinless salvation,and will come to them as a friend in the day, not a thief in the night.
On the basis of what has been said, the apostle lays down timely exhortations to various necessary duties.
I. On Vigilance and Sobriety, v. 6. These duties are different, but they are friends with each other. For while we are surrounded by so many temptations to intemperance and excess, if we are not on our guard we will not pass the night, and if we are not sober we will not stay awake long. 1. Solet us not sleep like others, but wake up;we must not be safe and carefree, nor give ourselves up to spiritual inertia and idleness. We must not be negligent, but be constantly on guard against sin and temptation. The general public are very careless of their duty and indifferent to their spiritual enemies. one sayspeace and security,when in greatest peril they slumber their precious moments on which eternity depends in idle dreams, having no more thoughts or cares about another world than sleeping men have about this one. Either they don't look at otherworldly things because they're asleep; or they don't think it's right because they're dreaming. But we will watch and act like watchmen on guard. 2. Let us toobe soberor tempered and tempered. Let us keep our natural desires and appetites for the things of this world within reasonable bounds. Sobriety is generally opposed to excess of food and drink, and here especially to drunkenness; but it extends to all other temporal things as well. Our Savior warned His disciplesbeware lest their hearts be weighed down with gluttony and drunkenness and the cares of this life, and that the day will come upon them unexpectedly,Lu. 21:34.our moderationthen, with regard to all things temporal,it must be known to all men, because the Lord is near.Moreover, vigilance and sobriety are more suited to the Christian's character and prerogative as a human being.children of the day;goodsleepers sleep at night, and drunks get drunk at night,V. 7. It is a most reprehensible thing for men to sleep in the day which is for work and not for sleep, to go to bed in the day when so many eyes are upon them to see their shame. It was not so strange when those who had not the enjoyment of divine revelations let themselves be lulled by the devil into carnal security, and when they put the reins about the neck of their appetites, and gave themselves up to all manner of wantonness and wantonness; because it was night with them. They weren't aware of his danger, so theyhe slept;they were ignorant of their duty, so they were drunk: but it does not become Christian to do so. What! shall Christians, having the light of the blessed gospel in their faces, neglect their souls, and care not for another world? Those who attract so many eyes to themselves must behave with special decency.
II Be well-armed and watchful: put on the whole armor of God. This is necessary to prepare us for the day of the Lord, for our spiritual enemies are numerous, powerful, and cruel. They attract and hold many to their interest, making them careless, secure, and haughty, intoxicating them - drunk with pride, drunk with passion, drunk and dizzy with complacency, drunk with sense gratifications: thus must we arm ourselves against their attempts. , putting on the spiritual breastplate to guard the heart and the spiritual helmet to protect the head; and this spiritual armor consists of the three great graces of Christians, faith, love, and hope, vv. 8. 1. We must live by faith, and that will keep us alert and sober. If we believe that the eye of God (which is a spirit) is always upon us, that we are fighting spiritual enemies, that there is a spirit world to prepare for, we will see a reason to watch and stay sober. Faith will be our best defense against the onslaughts of our enemies. 2. We must have hearts inflamed with love; and this also shall be our defense. True, fervent love for God and the things of God will keep us alert and sober and prevent our backsliding in times of tribulation and trial. 3. We must make salvation our hope and have a living hope in it. That good hope of eternal life by grace will be like a helmet to guard the head and keep us from being intoxicated with the joys of sin, which are but temporary. When we have a hope of salvation, let us beware of doing anything that will shake our hopes or make us unworthy or unfit for the great salvation we hope for. After mentioning salvation and the hope of it, the apostle shows what grounds and reasons Christians have for hoping for that salvation, and what remarks he says he does not deserve. No, the doctrine of our merits is wholly unscriptural and unbiblical; There is no basis for good hopes on this account. But our hopes must be dashed, (1) according to the purpose of God: becauseGod has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation,@9 . If we trace our salvation back to the first cause, that would be God's purpose. Those who live and die in darkness and ignorance, who sleep and get drunk like the night, it's all too obvious,appointed to wrath;but those who are in the day, when they are awake and sober, it is obvious that they areappointed to achieve salvation.And the certainty and firmness of divine destiny is the great support and encouragement of our hope. If we obtained salvation by our own merit or power, we might have little or no hope; but how are we to obtain it by the power of God's will, which we certainly cannot shake(for your purpose, the choice, will remain),on this we build an unshakable hope, especially when we consider (2) the merit and grace of Christ, and that salvation is through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us. Our salvation, therefore, is due to the atonement of Christ and the purpose of God, and our hope in it is based on that: and as we are to remember God's gracious plan and purpose, so also Christ's death and suffering for that purpose. .if we wake up or sleep(Whether we live or die, for death is but a sleep for believers, as the apostles had previously indicated)we must live together with Christlive with him forever in unity and glory. And because it is the salvation that Christians hope forBe with the Lord foreverA foundation of their hope, then, is their union with him. And if they are united with Christ, and live in him and live for him, the sleep of death here will not be a detriment to the spiritual life, much less to the life of glory in the Hereafter. On the contrary, Christ died for us, that living and dying we might be his; that we could live for him while we are here and live with him when we leave here.
In these words the apostle exhorts the Thessalonians to various duties.
I. AGAINST THOSE WHO WERE NEARLY RELATED. These are to comfort or admonish one another and build one another up, vv. 11.1. You need to comfort or admonish yourself and each other; for the original Word may be translated either way. And we may observe, that just as those who can comfort themselves are better able and more likely to comfort others, so the way to comfort yourself or others is to follow the admonition of the Word. Note, We are not only to look after our own comfort and well-being, but also to promote the comfort and well-being of others. He was a Cain who said:Am I my brother's keeper?Usthey are to bear one another's burdens, fulfilling the law of Christ.2. You must build each other upfollow that by which one can edify the other,Pomegranate. 14:19. Since Christians are living stones that together have built a spiritual house, they should strive to promote the good of the whole church by promoting the work of grace in one another. And it is the duty of each one of us to study what is for the edification of those with whom we talk,please all men by theirrealto benefit.We should share our knowledge and experiences with each other. We should pray together and praise each other. We must lead one another by example. And it is the duty especially of those who live in the same neighborhood and in the same family to comfort and edify one another; and this is the best neighborhood, the best means of reaching the end of society. Those who are near relatives and have affection for one another, having the greatest opportunity, are under the greatest obligation to show kindness to one another. The Thessalonians did(which you also do)and it is in this that they are exhorted to continue and grow. Note, Those that do good need further admonition to inspire them to do good, to do more good, and to continue in what they are doing.
II He shows them their duty to their servants, vv. 12, 13. Though the apostle himself was cast out by them, yet they had others working under them, to whom they owed these duties. The apostle exhorts them here to observe
1. How the ministers of the gospel are described through the work of their ministry; and they should rather attend to the work and duty to which they are called than to bear the venerable and honorable names by which they are called. Your work is very important and very honorable and useful. (1) Ministers must work among their people, working diligently and to exhaustion (so the word in the original matters);they must work in word and doctrine,1 Tim.5:17. They are called workers and should not be loafers. They are to work with their people to teach, comfort, and build them up. And (2) ministers shall also rule his people, so the word is translated, 1 Tim. 5:17. You must rule, not with severity, but with love. They cannot exercise dominion as time lords; but to rule as spiritual leaders, setting a good example to the flock. They are above the people in the Lord, to distinguish them from civil magistrates, and also to signify that they are but ministers under Christ, appointed by him, and men are to rule by Christ's laws and not by their own laws. It can also mean the end of the office and all work; i.e. the service and honor of the Lord. (3.) You must also admonish the people, not only publicly, but also in private, depending on the occasion. You must instruct them to act well and scold them when they misbehave. It is their duty not only to give good advice, but also to warn, to warn the flock of the dangers to which they are exposed, and to rebuke negligence or other faults.
2. What is the duty of the people to their ministers. There is a mutual duty between the ministers and the people. If ministers are to work among the people, then (1) the people must know them. Just as the shepherd must know his flock, the sheep must know their shepherd. They must know him, hear his voice, recognize him as their shepherd, and give due heed to his teachings, directions, and admonitions. (2.) They must care for their ministers with love; they should highly esteem the minister's office, honoring and loving the persons of their ministers, and showing their esteem and affection in all proper ways, and that for the sake of their work, because their business is the glory of Christ and the good of the souls of men to promote. Note, Faithful servants must be far from being despised on account of their work, but must be highly valued for it. The work of the ministry is so far from being a disgrace to those who otherwise deserve respect, that it brings honor to those who are faithful and industrious which they could not otherwise claim, and gives them that respect and love among the people of good will. that otherwise would not wait.
III. He gives several other exhortations about the duty which Christians owe one another. 1stbe at peace with each otherV. 13. Some take this exhortation (after reading some copies) to indicate the duty of the people to their ministers, to live peaceably with them, and at no time to raise up or encourage differences of opinion between ministers and the people, which certainly will arise will be an obstacle to the success of a minister's work and the edification of the people. It is right that ministers and people should avoid anything that would tend to alienate their affections from one another. And the people should be at peace with each other, do everything in their power to prevent differences of opinion from arising or persisting among themselves, and employ all appropriate means to preserve peace and harmony. two.To warn the rebels@14 . There will be some in every society who walk disorderly, who forsake their rank and rank; and it is the duty not only of ministers, but also of particular Christians, to warn and admonish them. These must be rebuked for their sins, warned of their danger, and clearly informed of the harm they are doing to their own souls and what harm they can do to others. These should be reminded of what they should be doing and reprimanded for doing otherwise. 3.To comfort the weak in spirit@14 . By this is meant the fearful and faint of heart, or those who are depressed and sad. Some are cowardly, fear difficulties and become discouraged at the thought of danger, loss and suffering; now such should be promoted; we must not despise them, but comfort them; and who knows what good a kind and pleasant word can do them?4.To support the weak@14 . Some are not able to do their work or carry their burdens; we must therefore support them, help with their weaknesses and lift a corner of the burden by helping to carry them. It is indeed the grace of God which must strengthen and sustain such; but we must tell them of that grace, and endeavor to minister that grace to them.5.be patient with everyone@14 . We must bear and forbear. We must be patient and contain our anger when it starts to rise for fear of being offended or hurt; at least we must not fail to temper our anger: and this duty must be exercised towards all men, good and bad, high and low. We must not be high in our expectations and demands, nor hard in our resentments, nor hard in our demands, but strive to do the best we can and think the best of everyone we can. 6.do not return evil for evil,@15 . We must heed this and be very careful, which means that we must definitely abstain from taking revenge. If others suffer damage, this does not justify us returning, doing the same or similar, or causing them any other harm. We have a right to forgive, like those whom God has forgiven and who expect to be forgiven. 7.Always follow what's goodV. 15. In general, we must learn to do what is our duty, and what is pleasing to God in all circumstances, whether men do us good or evil; whatever people do to us, we must do good to others. We must always strive to be charitable and instrumental in promoting the well-being of others, both among ourselves (especially those whobelong to the family of faith),and then,as we have opportunity, to all people,Girl. 6:10.
Here are some brief exhortations which will not burden our memory, but which will be of great use in guiding the movements of our hearts and our lives; for the duties are of great importance, and we can observe how they are interconnected and interdependent. 1.rejoice forever@16 . This must be understood as spiritual joy; for we must rejoice over our creatures as if we did not rejoice, and not expect to live many years and rejoice in them all; but if we rejoice in God, we can always do so. In him our joy will be complete; and it's our fault we don't have a permanent party. If we are sad about any worldly cause, we can still rejoice, 2 Cor. 6:10. Note, A religious life is a comfortable life, it is a life of constant joy. two.pray without ceasing,V. 17. Note, The way to rejoice always is to pray without ceasing. We should rejoice more when we pray more. We must keep to the times given for prayer and continue prayer immediately. We must pray always and not give up: pray without fatigue and keep praying until we come to this world where prayer will be absorbed by praise. The meaning is not, that people should do nothing but pray, but that nothing else we do should interfere with praying in due time. Prayer will advance, not hinder, all other legitimate business and good works. 3.Thank you for everything,V. 18. If we pray without ceasing, we need nothing to be thankful for.in particular.As in all things we are to present our requests to God by way of supplication, so we must not neglect to give thanks, Php 4:6. We should be grateful in all situations, including adversity and prosperity. It's never that bad for us, but it could get worse. However many opportunities we have to humbly complain before God, we have no reason to complain about God, and we always have plenty of reason to praise and thank: The apostle says, This is thewill of God in Christ Jesus for us, that we give thanks,Seeing that God is reconciled to us in Christ Jesus; in him, through him, and through him, we rejoice forever and command us to give thanks in all things. This pleases God.4.don't erase the ghost(verse 19) for it is that spirit of grace and supplication which helps our infirmities, sustains us in our prayers and thanksgiving. Christians are toldbe baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire.He works like fire illuminating, animating and purifying people's souls. We must be careful not to extinguish this sacred fire. As a fire is quenched by withdrawing its fuel, so we quench the spirit unless we awaken our spirit and all that is within us to obey the motions of the good spirit; and as fire is extinguished by pouring water on it, or putting a great deal of filth on it, so we must beware of quenching the Holy Spirit by yielding to carnal desires and affections, or by being concerned only with earthly things. 5.Do not despise the prophecies(v. 20); for when we neglect the means of grace, we lose the spirit of grace. Inprophecieshere we are to understand the preaching of the Word, the interpretation and application of the Scriptures; and this we must not despise, but cherish, as it is the ordinance of God instituted by him for our advancement and increase in knowledge and grace, ungodliness and comfort. We must not despise preaching, even when it is clear and not in the seductive terms of human wisdom, and when we are not told more than we knew beforehand. It is useful, and often necessary, to stir our minds, to awaken our affection and determination for those things which we formerly knew to be our interest and duty. 6.Check everything but hold on to the good@21 . This is a necessary warning to prove all things; for, while we ought to value preaching, we must not trust the minister, but test him by the law and by the testimony. We must search the scriptures to see whether what they say is true or not. We must not believe all the spirits, we must try the spirits. But we don't always have to try, always be insecure; no, finally we have to calm down and hold on to the good. When we are convinced that something is right, true, and good, we must hold fast to it and not give up any resistance or persecution we encounter because of it. Note that the teachings of human infallibility, unconditional faith and blind obedience are not the teachings of the Bible. Every Christian has and should have and should have the judgment of discretionhis senses trained to distinguish between good and evil,Truth and falsehood, Hebrews 5:13, 14. And all things must be tried to retain the good. We don't always have to be seekers or waver in our thoughts,like children tossed about by every wind of doctrine.7.abstain from all appearance of evil,@22 . This is a good means of avoiding being deceived by false doctrines, or being confused in our faith; for our Savior told us (John 7:17)If anyone wants to do his will, he will know from the doctrine whether it is from God.The corrupt inclinations that indulge the heart and the evil practices allowed in the life will be very apt to promote fatal errors in the mind; while purity of heart and integrity of life will lead people to receive the truth for its sake. We must, therefore, abstain from evil and from all manifestations of evil, from sin and what looks like sin, leading to it and bordering on it. Those who do not shun the manifestations of sin, those who do not shun the occasions of sin, and those who do not shun the temptations and approaches of sin, will not long refrain from committing it.
Observe in these words which close this letter,
I. Paul's prayer for them, ver. 23. He had told them at the beginning of this letter that he always mentioned them in his prayers, and now, as he writes to them, he lifts up his heart to God in prayer for them. Notice 1. For whom the apostle is praying, namely:The true god of peace.He is the God of grace and the God of peace and love. He is the author of peace and the lover of concord; and by his peace and unity, from God as the author, the things for which he prays would better be obtained. 2. The things he prays for on behalf of the Thessalonians are their sanctification, whichGod would sanctify them entirely;and their preservation so that they can beimpeccably preserved.He prays that they may be fully sanctified, that the whole man may be sanctified, and then the whole man, mind, soul, and body, preserved; or he prays that they might be fully sanctified, that is, more perfectly, as the best are partially sanctified while they are in this world; and therefore we must pray and press for complete sanctification. Where the good work of grace is begun, it must be continued, guarded, and preserved; and all who are sanctified in Christ Jesus will be preserved until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. And because if God did not continue His good work in the soul, it would fail, we must pray to God to finish His work andkeep us innocent,free from sin and impurity until finally we arespotless presented before the throne of his glory with exuberant joy.
II. His reassuring assurance that God answers his prayer:Loyal is he who calls you, who will also do it,@24 . God's goodness and love appeared to them when he called them to the knowledge of his truth, and God's faithfulness was his surety that they would persevere to the end; and therefore the apostle assures them that God would do whatever he wished; he would do what he had promised; he would fulfill all the pleasure of his kindness to them. Note, Our faithfulness to God depends on his faithfulness to us.
III. Your request to your prayers:Brothers, pray for us@25 . We are to pray for one another; and brothers should thus express brotherly love. This great apostle did not consider it beneath his dignity to call the brethren of Thessalonica or ask for their prayers. Ministers need the prayers of their people; and the more people pray for their ministers, the more good ministers can come from God, and the more benefit men can receive from their ministry.
IV. Your address form:Greet all brothers with a holy kiss,V. 26. Thus the apostle sends a friendly greeting from himself and from Silvanus and Timothy, wanting them to greet each other in their names; and so he wants them to express their mutual love and affection for each other by the kiss of charity (1Pe 5:14), here called the sacred kiss, to indicate how careful they are in using this ceremony should be with all impurity, then commonly practiced; as shall not be a treacherous kiss like that of Judas, nor a lewd kiss like that of a harlot, Proverbs 7:13.
V. His solemn invitation to read this epistle, v. 27. This is not just an admonition, but an invocation of the Lord. And this letter must be read to all the holy brethren. It is not only lawful for the common people to read the Scriptures, which none should forbid, but it is their inalienable duty, and to which they must be persuaded. To this end, these holy oracles should not remain hidden in an unknown language, but should be translated into common languages, so that all people who are anxious to know the Scriptures can read and become familiar with them. The public reading of the Law was part of Sabbath worship among the Jews in their synagogues, and the Scriptures were also to be read in the public meetings of Christians.
SAW. The common apostolic blessing in other Epistles:The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen,V. 28. We need not make ourselves happier than to know the grace revealed by our Lord Jesus Christ, to be interested in the grace which he purchased, and to partake of that grace which is in him as the head of the community. . This is an ever-flowing and overflowing fountain of grace to meet all our needs.