I Thessalonians 4

The design of the Gospel is to teach men not only what they should believe, but also how they should live. It is God’s will that all His should be holy in heart and pure in body for “He that calleth us is holy.”
The Christian should not be in ignorance of the blessed hope, the return of Christ to resurrect the dead in Him and translate living believers, for this is designed to be the greatest comfort of believers.

1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;

11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

I Thessalonians 4:13 – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 4:13 cont. – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 4:13 cont. – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 4:13 cont. – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 4:14-15 – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 4:16-18 – J. Vernon McGee

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 – ​Called to Sanctification

   The first paragraph of this chapter exhorts to purity, the second to industry, the third to expectation of the Second Advent. But the three are closely combined, because those who wait for the Lord will instinctively wear white robes. The body is compared to a vessel, and we must keep it clean for the Master’s use, walking day by day so as to please Him. Before Enoch was translated, he had the testimony borne him that he had pleased God, Hebrews 11:5. It is God’s will that we should be holy—the whole object of our redemption has this for its purpose. Therefore we ought to be holy, and if we ought we can, and if we can we must; and if we must we will! If you cannot possess yourself of your own nature, be possessed by the Holy Spirit. God giveth His Holy Spirit for this purpose.
   No one must come in between husband and wife to defraud either of the lawful love which each should receive from the other. The home has been rescued and exalted by Christ, and the Christian Church must still be its custodian, not only inculcating the ideal, but revealing the sufficient power for its defense. —Through the Bible Day by Day

1 Thessalonians 4:9-18 – ​United Now and Hereafter in the Lord

   It is suggested that God Himself is the teacher of love. Others may teach the lower classes in the school of grace, but the highest is reserved for the Supreme Teacher. Note that recurring more and more, I Thessalonians 3:12; 4:1, 10. The distribution of goods in the early Church may have led to abuses, which the injunctions here given were intended to rectify. It is well to bring up every child to know one means of livelihood, and children are much more likely to grow up into noble and useful people, if they are encouraged to work for their living. Do something in the world!
   These disciples anticipated the speedy return of the Lord and feared lest those who had died would be worse off than they: The Apostle bade them dismiss such fears, because they who remained alive until the coming of the Lord would have no precedence over others who had died. Paul assures them that they who had fallen asleep were with Jesus, and that they would accompany Him when He came again; To those who needed to be raised, Jesus would be “the Resurrection”; to those who were living, He would be “the Life” (John 11:25). They that believed in Him, though they had died, yet would they live; and they who lived till He came would never die. —Through the Bible Day by Day

I Thessalonians 4:13—Sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

​   Nature will have her due. Tears will fall, and hearts seem near to breaking. Nowhere does God chide the tears of natural affection; how could He, since it is written that “Jesus wept” (John 11:35)? But He sets Himself to extract their bitterness. Sorrow you may, and must; but not as without hope.
   Those who die in Christ are with Him. — They are said to sleep, not because they are unconscious, but because their decease was as devoid of terror as an infant’s slumbers. Believers have all died once in Christ, and it was necessary to find a word which, whilst significant of death, was not death, in order to describe the moment of our farewell to this world and birth into the next. This word was furnished by Death’s twin-sister Sleep. The catacombs are covered with the brief significant sentence, Obdormivit in Christo (He slept in Christ). But just as in sleep the spirit is conscious, of which dreams bear witness, so in the last sleep. Absent from the body, we shall be present with the Lord.
   Those who die in Christ will come with Him. — They are now waiting around Him till He give the final order for the whole heavenly cortege, which has been collecting for ages, to move. The holy angels will accompany; but the beloved saints shall ride in the chariots of God as the bride beside the bridegroom.
   Those who die in Christ shall be for ever reunited with us who wait for Him and them. — They shall come with Him. “God will bring them.” We, on the other hand, if we are living at that supreme moment, shall be changed and caught up to meet Him and them; and then, all one in Christ, we shall be for ever with Him, to go no more out. (Meyer)