1. In our study of First Thessalonians, we have seen that it divides itself into two sections:
2. Mention is made of the second coming of Christ in every chapter
3. In the final verses of Paul's letter, we find words that certainly fit in with such a theme:
a. In the form of a closing prayer
b. In the form of final admonitions
A. THAT THEY BE SANCTIFIED
1. That is, set apart for a holy purpose:
a. As stated earlier, this is God's will for them - 1 Thessalonians 4:3a
b. Especially in regard to sexual purity - 1 Thessalonians 4:3b-4
2. By God Himself
a. Not just in part, but in whole
b. In body, soul and spirit - 1 Thessalonians 5:23b
4. Of course, we must cooperate with God if this prayer is to be answered in our lives - II Timothy 2:19-22
B. THAT THEY BE PRESERVED BLAMELESS
1. For which Paul prayed earlier in this epistle - 1 Thessalonians 3:13
a. To be blameless in holiness
b. When? As here in 5:23... at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!
2. Blameless not just in spirit, but also in soul and body
b. They are also used to distinguish one from the other (Hebrews 4:12), in which case
1) Soul refers to the human life, as distinguished from the mind or spirit
2) Spirit refers to the spiritual part of man that continues after death
C. GOD IS FAITHFUL, and can be counted on to help us answer this prayer; but again we must cooperate with God - Philippians 2:12-16
A. PRAY FOR THE BRETHREN
1. Paul requested that they pray for him - 1 Thessalonians 5:25
b. Especially that the gospel might have free course - 2 Thessalonians 3:1
2. Certainly we should pray for one another as well
a. When we are sick - James 5:14-15a
b. When we sin - James 5:15b-16
3. If the prayer of one righteous man avails much, how much more the prayers of many righteous!
B. LOVE THE BRETHREN
1. Paul charged that they greet the brethren with a holy kiss - 1 Thessalonians 5:26
b. Greeting one another with a kiss was a common practice in those days, and in many European and eastern countries today
c. The emphasis is greet each other in love, and in holiness
2. Certainly we should have a deep love for one another
a. It is a mark of discipleship - John 13:34-35
b. It is a sign of true conversion - 1 John 3:14
c. Brethren who truly love one another will help each other stay on the straight and narrow, to remain sanctified and blameless in anticipation of the Lord's return!
C. READ THE SCRIPTURES
1. Paul charged that this epistle be read to all the brethren - 1 Thessalonians 5:27
b. Believing in the Word of God to build them up and give them the inheritance among all those who are sanctified - Acts 20:32
2. We must realize the importance of the Scriptures in our lives!
a. The means by which God sanctifies us - John 17:17
b. By which we are born again and have purified our souls - 1 Peter 1:22-25
c. By which God brought us forth, and will save our souls - James 1:18, 21
d. Just as Paul commended his brethren to the Word of God, so we need to be committed to the Word of God if we desire that inheritance promised to those who are sanctified!
1. Paul ends his epistle with a simple prayer: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." - 1 Thessalonians 5:28
2. It is a prayer that we should all offer to one another
a. Donít we all need grace?
b. Donít we all want the grace of the Lord in our lives?
3. It is a prayer that we can help fulfill in our own lives
a. By praying for one another fervently
b. By loving one another in all purity
c. By reading the scriptures diligently
4. Doing such things will also help fulfill the prayer for God
a. To sanctify us completely
b. To preserve our spirit, soul, and body blameless at the coming of the Lord!
5. My prayer is that our study of this brief epistle has encouraged us to always have holiness in view of the coming of Christ. Are you getting ready for that great event?
"And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." - 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
-- Don Treadway, December 2009 --