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Showing posts from January, 2022

Sanctified Wholly

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Considering the future arrival of Jesus, Paul summoned believers to become sanctified completely by that day  –  1 Thessalonians 5:23 .  Paul concluded his first letter to the Thessalonians with a series of exhortations summoning believers to righteous living in the interim between their conversion and the “ arrival ” of Jesus “ from heaven ,” and ended with a call for their complete sanctification by that day. His final exhortation included verbal links to the preceding sections of the letter - [ Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash ].

Sons of Light

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The Day of the Lord will mean salvation to the “sons of light” who remain ever vigilant and prepared for it – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 . R ather than provide a list of “signs” whereby believers can ascertain the imminence of the “ Day of the Lord ,” the Apostle Paul gave instructions on how they must live in anticipation of that day’s sudden and unexpected arrival. It would not overtake the Thessalonians because they “ were not in darkness ,” but instead, they were “ sons of light ” and “ sons of the day ”- [ Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash ].

Times and Seasons

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Paul did not detail the “times and seasons” since the Thessalonians understood that the Lord will come “like a thief in the night” – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 .  Paul continued his discussion about the “ coming ” of Jesus by addressing its timing and how it will impact believers and nonbelievers. But rather than provide any chronological information, he reminded the Thessalonians that the “ Day of the Lord ” will come just like “ a thief in the night ,” as they already knew. No one except God knows the timing of that day - [ Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash ].

Sorrow Not - Resurrection Hope

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Foundational to the hope of the church is the bodily resurrection of believers that will take place when Jesus arrives from heaven .  Paul’s description of the “ coming ” of Jesus in his first letter to the Thessalonians was written to comfort Christians concerning the fate of believers who die before that day. Disciples must not sorrow “ like the others ” BECAUSE dead Christians will be resurrected when the Lord " arrives ,” and both the living and newly raised believers will “ meet him ” as he descends from heaven - [ Photo by Dawid ZawiƂa on Unsplash ].

The Dead in Christ

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Paul reassured believers concerning those who had died in Christ and their full participation in the future resurrection - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 .  Paul addressed the concerns about the fate of fellow believers who die before Jesus will arrive “ from heaven .” Apparently, some believers at Thessalonica were concerned that dead saints might not participate in the glories of that day. But he reassured them; not only will dead believers be resurrected on that day they will also precede those still alive, and all together will meet Jesus - [ Photo by Madeleine Maguire on Unsplash ].

Blameless in Holiness

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Believers must persevere in afflictions and pursue love so they may be stand “blameless in holiness” when Jesus returns – 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 . After being driven from Thessalonica and Berea, Paul traveled to Athens where he proclaimed the resurrection of the dead before the Greek philosophical schools. At that time, he  sent Timothy  to strengthen the Thessalonian congregation in the  faith , which was even more necessary because of “ these afflictions ” endured by the Apostle and his converts  - [ Photo by Gerald Berliner on Unsplash ].

Crown of Boasting

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If the Thessalonians emulate the apostolic example, they will receive the “crown of glory” at Christ's return – 1 Thessalonians 2:1-20 .  Opposition from the synagogue had compelled Paul to leave Thessalonica prematurely. Though initially, some members of that group had welcomed his message, they turned against him once large numbers of Gentiles began to embrace the gospel. And even after he left the city, some of the synagogue leaders pursued him as he preached elsewhere in Macedonia - [ Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash ].

To The Assembly

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The Thessalonians received the gospel in tribulation but remained faithful in anticipation of the arrival of Jesus – 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 .  Opposition to the new faith forced Paul to leave Thessalonica before his work was completed. When he attempted to return to the city, he was thwarted " by Satan .” Because of anxieties about the congregation, he sent Timothy to investigate. His first letter is his thankful response after receiving good news about the congregation’s faithfulness - [ Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash ].

The Greater Lawgiver

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Matthew portrays Jesus as the Greater Moses, the True Lawgiver who brings the “Law and the Prophets” to their intended fulfillment .  In Matthew’s gospel, the life of Jesus echoes events from the history of Israel. The point is not that Christ reenacted what Yahweh did in Moses and for Israel, but that he brought what God had begun in the distant past to fruition. He is the Greater Lawgiver foreshadowed in the story of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt under Moses - [ Photo by Ian Cylkowski on Unsplash ].

Following Jesus

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The Messiah of Israel submitted to the way of the Cross and summoned his disciples to follow him on the very same path .  One day, Jesus told his disciples that if anyone wished to come after him, “ l et him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me .” This was more than metaphorical or hyperbolic language. It was said at the very time Jesus was on his final journey to Jerusalem where he would demonstrate to the world just what it means to “ deny oneself and take up the cross ” - [ Alpine Path - Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash ].

Living Word

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Jesus is the “word made flesh” in whom the glory of God is revealed, the same “word” by which He created all things  –  John 1:14 .  The gospel of  John  identifies Jesus as the  Logos , the “ word ” by which God made all things. This is one of the central themes that is explicated in the body of the book. In doing so, John was not engaging in metaphysical speculation but building on traditional ideas from the Hebrew Bible about how Yahweh created the universe and gave life by His spoken word - [ John 3:16 - Photo by  wisconsinpictures  on Unsplash ].

He Humbled Himself

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Christ’s submission to a shameful death on the Cross is the paradigm for Christian service and conduct .  Paul presented the self-denying obedience of Jesus as the pattern for Christian conduct towards others, the model that we must emulate if we wish to be his disciple. Moreover, his elevation to reign over all things resulted from his “ obedience even unto death .” His exaltation to God’s “ right hand ” did not precede his death. It followed it - [ Cross Photo by Hugo Fergusson on Unsplash ].