1 Thessalonians 4: Formula for Pleasing God

What is the difference between hearing and heeding the message of the Lord?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 7:24 “Everyone who not only hears my words but also puts them into practice is like a wise man who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on solid rock.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally, my friends, I urge you to heed the message of the Lord Jesus that you received from us so you will please God and enjoy abundance of life in him.
James 1:22 Don’t just hear God’s voice as if that’s enough, deceiving yourselves. Listen to him, and then do what he wants.
King James
Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
1 Thessalonians 4:1 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.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

After we hear the message, what can cause us to forget?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
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Luke 22:19 He took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and passed it to the disciples. “This is my body that is given for you. Do this to remember me.”
1 Thessalonians 4:2 You should remember what we told you about the commandments of the Lord Jesus.
James 1:23–25 Hearing but not doing is like seeing yourself in a mirror and walking away with no memory of who you are. Look at the freedom you have to become the person God wants you to be. Remember what he said and do what he wants, and you will find happiness in all you do.
King James
Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
1 Thessalonians 4:2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
James 1:23–25 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

How should we define “sexual misconduct”?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Job 31:1 I made an agreement with my eyes. When I see a beautiful maiden, I will not look at her with desire.
Matthew 5:27–28 “You have heard it said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say that people with a lustful look have already committed adultery in their hearts.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For a pure life as God wants, you must avoid every form of sexual misconduct.
King James
Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
Matthew 5:27–28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

Controlling our physical desires is a major victory. How is that accomplished?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Proverbs 16:32 Constraining your anger makes you stronger than a bodybuilder, and controlling how you feel is a greater victory than conquering a city.
Romans 7:15–18 A battle rages between what we know in our hearts and what our minds and bodies say would be good. I don’t do what my spirit says I should do, so I wind up doing what my moral instincts condemn. If my conscience convicts me for my wrong thoughts or actions, I am agreeing with the goodness of the law that says I should have acted differently. Clearly then, the real “me” desires to do right, but my contrary, fleshly desires are still alive, preventing me from doing the good I know to do.
1 Corinthians 9:26–27 I run the race with relentless determination. I don’t fight like the boxer who throws punches at the air, but I surrender my body, making myself a captive to Christ, lest I should miss the truth of my own preaching.
1 Thessalonians 4:4–5 Keep your physical desires under control and maintain your integrity and honor, not driven by fleshly desires as ungodly people of this world are driven.
King James
Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Romans 7:15–18 A battle rages between what we know in our hearts and what our minds and bodies say would be good. I don’t do what my spirit says I should do, so I wind up doing what my moral instincts condemn. If my conscience convicts me for my wrong thoughts or actions, I am agreeing with the goodness of the law that says I should have acted differently. Clearly then, the real “me” desires to do right, but my contrary, fleshly desires are still alive, preventing me from doing the good I know to do.
1 Corinthians 9:26–27 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1 Thessalonians 4:4–5 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

In what ways can we take advantage of others?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
1 Thessalonians 4:6 Never take advantage of others. As we’ve strongly preached before, God has punishment in store for those who lie, cheat, and steal.
King James
1 Thessalonians 4:6 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.

Is it possible to live without sin? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Galatians 5:19–21 Your self-serving nature can lead you to such things as infidelity, pornography, and other sexual impurity—contentions, anger, and resentment—false doctrines, psychics, and misplaced worship—envy, jealousy, and preying upon others—alcohol, drugs, and mindless partying. As I’ve said before, don’t think for a second that you can do such things and have any place in the Kingdom of God.
1 Thessalonians 4:7 God has not called us to sin, but rather to live without sin.
1 John 1:10 If we say we haven’t sinned, we have made a liar out of God, rejecting his message.
1 John 2:1 My youngsters in the faith, I write these things to you so you will not sin. But if you do, Jesus Christ, who is without sin, will change your heart and make you right with the Father.
1 John 3:8 Those who do what is wrong when they know what is right are like Satan, who did that in the beginning. The Son of God was revealed to change our desires and destroy what Satan started.
1 John 5:17–18 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is a sin that does not lead to death. That which is born of God cannot sin, so those who are born of his Spirit keep themselves pure and Satan can’t touch them.
King James
Galatians 5:19–21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 5:17–18 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

How important is loving people, including our enemies?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 5:43–44 “People usually say, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy,’ but I say you should show kindness to your enemies, doing good to those who persecute you.”
Luke 6:28 “Show kindness to those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you.”
1 Thessalonians 4:8 Therefore, if you fail to love people, you have shunned God, who gave you his Spirit.
King James
Matthew 5:43–44 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Luke 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
1 Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Why do children have to be taught to share? Why do Christians sometimes have trouble loving others?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
1 Thessalonians 4:9 I shouldn’t have to exhort you to love one another, because love is fundamental to all that God has taught to you.
King James
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

What makes our love different and most noticeable?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 6:33 “You get no credit for showing kindness to those who treat you well, because sinners do that much.”
John 13:35 “If you love one another, people will know you are my disciples.”
1 Thessalonians 4:10 Certainly, you’ve shown love to the believers in all of Macedonia, but we urge you to excel in love even more.
King James
Luke 6:33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 Thessalonians 4:10 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;

What does it mean to “quietly go about our business?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
1 Thessalonians 4:11 As you’ve heard from us before, quietly go about your business, earning a living.
King James
1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

What does showing love and kindness have to do with having our needs met?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 6:2–4 “When you give to the needy, do not call attention to yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and streets. They want people to praise them. Without a doubt, they have received all the reward they will ever get. Instead, when you help someone, do it quietly, without fanfare. Then your Father will see what you have done in secret and will reward you.”
1 Thessalonians 4:12 Give people reasons to admire your integrity so your needs will be satisfied.
King James
Matthew 6:2–4 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
1 Thessalonians 4:12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

How should our faith change the nature of our grieving over the loss of a loved one?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
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2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforts us during hard times so we may comfort others in similar situations, sharing the hope we had in Christ that brought us through.
2 Corinthians 5:8 Without a doubt, we would rather be free from our earthly bodies so we can be at home with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 I want you to know, my friends, you don’t have to grieve over the death of loved ones as unbelievers do, those who have no hope in Christ. If Jesus died and rose from the tomb, God will raise to life with Jesus the believers who have died. I declare the word of the Lord to you, those who are alive when he returns will not precede those who have died. The dead in Christ will rise first, when the Lord descends through the clouds with shouting, at the blast of God’s trumpet and the cry of the archangel. We who are alive on Earth will rise to meet them in the clouds, so all Jesus’ followers will be with him forever. Use this truth to comfort those who are grieving over the loss of a loved one.
King James
2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. 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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Why do we grieve over loved ones when we know they are “in a better place”?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 I want you to know, my friends, you don’t have to grieve over the death of loved ones as unbelievers do, those who have no hope in Christ. If Jesus died and rose from the tomb, God will raise to life with Jesus the believers who have died. I declare the word of the Lord to you, those who are alive when he returns will not precede those who have died. The dead in Christ will rise first, when the Lord descends through the clouds with shouting, at the blast of God’s trumpet and the cry of the archangel. We who are alive on Earth will rise to meet them in the clouds, so all Jesus’ followers will be with him forever. Use this truth to comfort those who are grieving over the loss of a loved one.
King James
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. 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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.