This first epistle to the Thessalonians varies in its subject matter but I think one key takeaway is to expect afflictions if you are a Christian and to not let them turn your from Christ.
Notes on the First Book of Thessalonians
- Paul, a true shepherd and apostle, speaks not to please men but God, without flattery and with no profit motive. (1 Thessalonians 2:4-5)
- Paul’s witness to the the words he speaks is God not man. (1 Thessalonians 2:5). So too we should not care about the opinion of men as long as the witness of God in our spirit approves the things we do.
- Like Paul we not only can evangelize with our words but can (and should) evangelize with our conduct amongst people, in a manner of holiness, righteousness and godliness. (1 Thessalonians 2:10)
- Expect Satan to try and hinder your plans to promote Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2:18)
- Do not let yourself be moved away from Christ by the afflictions that you suffer, afflictions come with being a Christian. (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
- Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians: “Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 English Standard Version)
- Sexual immorality is a sin that Paul keeps hitting on again and again throughout his epistles. (1 Thessalonians 4:3). I think this sin in all its forms can really hinder our walk with God.
- Let us not be content with where we are in our walks but abound “more and more” in all good works in Christ. (1 Thessalonians 4:10 ESV)
- “[A]spire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 ESV)
- The day of Christ’s return will be “like a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2 ESV). People will believe they are in peace and safety but then “sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3 ESV)
- Given this we should be watchful, “let us keep awake and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 ESV)
- We should not fear this day “[f]or God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9 ESV)
- We should encourage the brethren, respect those in authority over us, be at peace with each other, chastising those who are not working, encouraging those who are scared, helping those who are weak and being patient with all. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-14)
- Do good, rejoice, pray, be thankful, honor the Holy Spirit, test all things (including prophecies). (1 Thessalonians 5:15-21)
- Paul’s second prayer for the Thessalonians: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV)
- Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for him and I think we too must not be shy in asking others to pray for us. (1 Thessalonians 5:25)