Let Christians live like men who are awake, living in constant expectation of Christ’s return, and having all natural desires under Christ’s control. Christ’s coming will be sudden, overtaking many who are in the midst of their carnal security and jollity, and bringing them destruction from which there will be no escape.
I Thessalonians 5
1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
25 Brethren, pray for us.
26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
¶ The first epistle unto the Thessalonians was written from Athens.
I Thessalonians 5:1-2 – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 5:3 – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 5:4-6 – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 5:7-10 – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 5:11 Intro. – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 5:11-13 – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 5:14 – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 5:15-18 – J. Vernon McGee
I Thessalonians 5:19-28 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 – Ready for “the Day of the Lord”
To the Apostle “the day of the Lord” was near. He expected it in his lifetime, and if we remember that the Lord’s words with reference to it were in part fulfilled when Jerusalem fell, it is clear that his expectation was not altogether vain.
The suddenness of the Advent was the theme of Jesus’ reiterated assurances. See Matthew 24:38, 43; Luke 17:29-30. The world spends its days in careless indifference (sleep), or in sensual enjoyment (drunkenness); but believers are bidden to be soldier-like in their attire and watchfulness. Ponder that wonderful word in I Thessalonians 5:10. Together implies that Christians now living are closely united with those who have died. The state we call death, but which the Apostle calls sleep—because our Lord’s resurrection has robbed it of its terror—is as full of vitality as the life which we live day by day in this world. We live together, animated by the same purposes—they on that side and we on this. Whether here or there, life is “in Him.” The closer we live to Him, the nearer we are to them. —Through the Bible Day by Day
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 – “Without Blame” at His Coming (Ephesians 1:4)
The remainder of the chapter is filled with brief sentences of exhortation, like cablegrams from our Heavenly Captain to his soldiers, who, in the previous section, are described as wearing the breastplate of faith and love. As we endeavor to put them into practice, we become conscious of a new and divine energy entering and quickening our nature. It is the God of peace who is at work, co-operating with our poor endeavors and sanctifying us wholly.
Each soul has a ministry to others, I Thessalonians 5:14. A sketch is here given of the ideal believer, I Thessalonians 5:16-22; full of joy, constant in prayer, giving thanks in everything, loving with the unquenched fire of the Holy Spirit, willing to listen to any voice that may bear a divine message, testing all events and utterances with a celestial solvent, steadfast in good, and persistent against evil. This is a high standard, and impossible of realization apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But when the inner shrine is truly surrendered to Him, He will possess the whole temple, even to our physical well-being. God is faithful and will never fail the soul that dares to be all that He wills. —Through the Bible Day by Day
I Thessalonians 5:23-24—The very God of Peace sanctify you wholly.
Our God has set Himself the work of our sanctification. As the Greek indicates, He looks upon us as his inheritance, and He will not rest until He has brought every acre of territory under cultivation. It is not enough that briars and thistles should be exterminated; they must be replaced by the rare growth of Christian virtue, which is Christ.
The work of sanctification is quiet and silent. — It is wrought by the God of Peace. The mightiest forces of nature are stilled; and when God comes with power into the human spirit there is often no hurricane, tempest, fire, or earthquake, but the thrilling whisper of the still, small voice. Do not be afraid, as though God would treat you roughly. So long as peaceful, gentle methods will effect his purpose, He will gladly employ them.
The work is also gradual. — We are not made faultless, but preserved blameless; i.e., we are kept from known sin, preserved from incurring perpetual self-reproach. “There is… no condemnation” (Romans 8:1). I saw the other day the love-letter of a little boy to his father. It was anything but faultless; but the father, at least, did not count it worthy of blame, since he carried it next his heart. So we are not to be faultless, as judged by God’s perfect standard, till we are presented before the presence of his glory; but we may be blameless up to our acquaintance with the Divine will.
The work is from within outwards. — Notice the order — spirit, soul, body. The Shechinah of his presence shines in the holy of holies, and thence pours over into the holy place, and so into the outer court, until the very curtains of the body are irradiated with its light. He will do it. (Meyer)