031421SS-Book Of 1 Thessalonians.mp3

Posted on 14 Mar 2021, Pastor: Dr Gregg Nash

An overview of 1 Thessalonians


Phase 1 of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ – The Rapture

AUTHOR:    Paul

THEME:      The Appearing of Jesus Christ or “THE RAPTURE”

The first phase of Jesus’ Coming.

PURPOSE:  First Thessalonians reveals the basic fundamentals for the model Christian life. All of these fundamentals stem from a sincere faith in the inspiration AND preservation of the words of Scriptures (Ps. 12:6-7; 2 Cor. 4:1-2; 1 Thess. 2:13).

The fundamentals are the major beliefs for doctrine and living principles. Good athletes master the fundamentals of their sport, but great athletes seek to master every aspect of their sport (1 Cor. 9:24-27). True Bible believers believe the fundamentals AND every word of the Scriptures (Matt. 4:4; Acts 20:27; 24:14).

The converts of Thessalonica received the gospel of Jesus Christ with much assurance of salvation and they followed Paul AND the Lord in witnessing about their faith in Christ (Acts 17:1). They looked forward to the return of the Lord Jesus while they suffered for the Lord. Paul exhorted them to live an holy life until the Rapture and then closed the book with some final exhortations about the ideal goal at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

KEY WORD:           COMING       Found 4 times

COMFORT    Found 6 times

Jesus is referred to as LORD 25 times


1 Thessalonians 4:16‑17  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.

BACKGROUND READING:     Acts 17:1-10

Written from Corinth while Paul was on his second Missionary Journey.

DATE:           53 A.D.  (Paul was approximately 46-50 years old.  He had been saved for sixteen years.)





I and II Thessalonians


Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians


Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon


I and II Timothy, Titus


This is one of the most amazing churches in that Paul was only there for a period of 3 weeks.  Yet, in this short amount of time, Paul was able to win many people to Christ and then teach them some of the great doctrines of Scripture.

The Apostle Paul had founded the church at Thessalonica. The Gospel was first preached in Europe at Philippi on Paul’s second missionary journey.  He left Philippi and came to Thessalonica, which was a busy, thriving seaport which had a Jewish synagogue. There the Apostle preached and began his church. Thessalonica was on the great highway connecting Rome with the East. It was nearly 100 miles from Philippi, and it attracted the notice of Constantine. He loved the city so much that he almost selected it as his capital instead of the city of Constantinople.  The name of the city is now “Saloniki” and had a population of nearly 100,000.

The Apostle preached to the Thessalonians concerning the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. When our Lord was here, He instructed His disciples specifically concerning this important event. The night before His crucifixion He talked to them in the upper room about the coming of our Lord. He comforted them with the statement that He would c0me as surely as He was going away, and that His coming would be literal, bodily, physical, etc. Paul stressed these doctrines to the Thessalonians.  They became so interested in the doctrine of the coming of the Lord that they were anxiously awaiting Him to come at any moment.  Something happened to them, however.  The Apostle had taught them that our Lord would come in the sky and call all Christians up in the air to meet Him.

The thing that happened at Thessalonica was that one of the church members died. Now then, what would happen to him when the Lord returns?  The church at Thessalonica had written Paul a letter asking him to explain this great doctrine of the coming of the Lord in the light of the death of this man. What would happen to this dead Christian?  What would happen to the dead saved man when the Lord returned?

The book of I Thessalonians was written to explain the exact order of our Lord’s return, especially as it pertains to the dead in Christ.

The Second Coming is best seen as occurring in 2 distinct phases:

Phase 1 being the rapture of the church, Phase 2 being the return of Christ with His saints immediately following the Tribulation. The two aspects of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ are PRIVATELY at the Rapture in the air and PUBLICLY at the Second Advent to the earth. In the Rapture the Lord Jesus MEETS believers in the air, but in the Second Coming Jesus BRINGS the saints WITH Him as an army (Joel 2:1-11; 1 Thess. 4:16-17). Paul’s 2 letters to this church deal specifically with these 2 phases of the Second Coming.  First Thessalonians deals with the Rapture of the church while Second Thessalonians deals with Christ’s personal return to establish the Millennium.

In this epistle are Paul‘s first written instructions regarding this important doctrine. The church at Thessalonica was one vitally interested in the blessed truths concerning the coming of our Lord.


The Mystery of the Rapture is to be faithfully imparted to believers (1 Cor. 15:51-58). The souls of the dead believers will be united with their glorified, resurrected bodies after the first trump (Matt. 27:52-53). Living believers will simply be translated into heaven as Enoch at the last trump (Heb. 11:5). The mysterious truth of the Rapture provides comfort to believers about their loved ones in Jesus Christ.  Biblical Christianity is the only faith that gives true comfort at the graveside (1 Thess. 4:18). The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a mystery, but the Rapture is a mystery revealed to the Apostle Paul. Failure to be a faithful steward of this mystery breeds the false belief of a split-rapture or a mid-trib rapture of the church in the Tribulation (1 Cor. 4:1-2).


  1. Paul’s commendation and personal interest.


I Thessalonians 1-3.  He expressed his gratitude for their faith and for the fact that they were examples to others in Macedonia and around the world. He told them that he desired their confidence in the sincerity of his ministry. He reminded them that he could not return to them.

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10    For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

The wrath to come refers to the Tribulation and the wrath of the Lamb of God (Matt. 3:7; Luke 3:7; Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 16:1). Christians will be enraptured prior to the Tribulation because the Tribulation is called Jacob’s Trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1).

1 Thessalonians 2:13    For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

The word of God works effectively in the lives of people who truly believe it. When the scholars believe that the King James Version is just a mere translation of men, they forfeit the powerful working at the Scriptures in their lives (2 Thess. 3:1-3).

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16    For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

God’s wrath upon the Jewish people has been evident by the anti-Semitism throughout the time of history (Matt. 27:25). This persecution is the rotten fruit of slain the innocent blood of the Lord Jesus (Deut. 21:1-9). The completion of this wrath of God will occur in the Tribulation, which is called Jacob’s Trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1). The word uttermost is the description of the international punishment of the nation of Israel (Deut. 28:63; Isa. 24:16-20; Mark 13:27; Heb. 7:25). Uttermost does not mean forever because the believing remnant of Israel will inherit the everlasting covenant of God (Ps. 105:9-12; Heb. 8:8-12; 13:20-21).

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20    For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

20 For ye are our glory and joy.

The soul winners crown will be awarded to the faithful witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Jewels of precious stones may appear in each crown according to the souls won (Dan. 12:3; 1 Peter 2:4-5).

  1. Exhortation to purity and brotherly love.

I Thessalonians 4:1-12.

  1. Instruction concerning the second coming.

I Thessalonians 4:13-5:28. These believers were disturbed concerning those who had died who they feared would have no part in the glory of this event which they supposed would happen soon.  The Apostle Paul told them that their sorrow was groundless, that those living at the coming of Christ will have no advantage over those who would be asleep, for they will not precede them, but the dead in Christ shall rise first.

The Apostle Paul gives them the order of these great events. First, the Lord will descend from Heaven with a shout, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God.  Then the dead in Christ should rise first. Then the living believers shall be translated and caught up in the air to meet the Lord.  The whole company, both dead and living believers, will rise to meet the Lord in the air and shall be with Him.

The Apostle Paul reminds them that the time of His coming is unknown. I Thessalonians 5:1, 2.  He then reminds them of the spiritual effect of this great truth.  In other words, this truth should lead us to holiness and living for God.

I Thessalonians 5:3-24. We are admonished to live under the power and inspiration of this great hope and to be ready for His coming, whether we belong to the resurrected or to the translated company when He cones.


I Thessalonians 4:13.  Here is one of the key verses in the entire book.  The Christian is to sorrow, but not with the same sorrow as the unconverted have.  When we bury a loved one, we weep, but not with the same tears of the unconverted.  The Apostle is telling us that we are to sorrow, but not as those which have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22   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.

These seven versus give seven admonitions that aid in the goal for the ideal standing for the servant at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Col. 1:21-29; 1 Thess. 5:16-23). The admonition quench not the Spirit is committed by failing to obey the other admonitions. The Holy Ghost can be quenched and grieved by the believer, but this will result in a loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat. And humble believer receives true preaching and further studies to verify the words of God (Prov. 14:15, 18; Acts 17:11).

1 Thessalonians 5:17    Pray without ceasing.

Prayer and fasting with the blood, name, and word of the Lord Jesus are powerful tools to bind unclean spirits and loose the spirit of liberty for the work of God (Mark 9:29). The Lord Jesus sets the captives free (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18; John 8:31-36; Gal. 5:1)). When people yield to Satan and sin, they become servants to sin (Rom. 6:16-22) and they can be in snared by the unclean spirits or possessed with devils (2 Tim. 2:24-26). The soldier of Christ Jesus wrestles against unclean spirits through prayer and the ministry of the word (Eph. 6:12).

Specific prayers against Satan and his forces are powerful tools.

A sample intercessory prayer for others is (1 Tim. 2:1-3):

I expose all enemies of Jesus Christ operative against…(name of person). I sever you from Satan and any power above you. I remove your ability to afflict, hinder or blind…(name) and proclaim your judgment. I weaken you with the blood of Jesus Christ. In the authority of the Lord Jesus, I bind all unclean spirits and Devils present together and declare … (name) loosed from your power. I command you to go where Jesus Christ tells you to go by the voice of His Spirit.

This prayer is like an aerial assault that precedes the ground assault of the faithful soldier with the sword of the Spirit (Acts 4:31; Eph. 6:10-20; 2 Tim. 2:1-5). The weapon of resistance aids the soldier from the interference of unclean spirits (2 Cor. 4:3-5; 10:3-6; James 4:7). Unclean spirits can hinder or steal the word from the heart of the hearer (Matt. 13:19). Faithful soldiers may resist the influence of Satan and his ilk through the authority of the blood and name of the Lord Jesus and command them to be silent and not interfere with the message (Mark 1:25; Luke 10:17-20; 11:20-23; 21:15). This prayer aids in the matter of spiritual blindness in the ability to see the light of the word (Acts 26:18; 2 Cor. 4:1-4). This prayer does not guarantee acceptance of the truth (Acts 6:10; 7:51), but it does remove the hindrances of unclean spirits (Eph. 6:16). The vigilant soldier of Christ is alert to the subtle ploys of Satan and attacks his forces relentlessly through the power of the Spirit (2 Cor. 2:11; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Rev. 12:11).

1 Thessalonians 5:22    Abstain from all appearance of evil.

The blind revisers of the new Bibles remove the warning against the APPEARANCE of evil. The sincere believer avoids anything that APPEARS evil through the warning of the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:27    I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

There are two books in the New Testament that are commanded to be read in church. The first letter to the Thessalonians should be read publicly to born-again believers as the Epistle to the Colossians (Nehemiah 8:1-8; Col. 4:16).






Because Jesus is coming again, there should be 3 great goals existing.

  2. They are an elect group.

1 Thess. 1:4     Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

  1. These Christians had been enduring persecution, the same persecution which ran Paul out of town. They were new Christians and scared.
  2. Paul is trying here to comfort them with the fact of their election. God knew them before they were even born. And because they are His chosen people, they should not worry because Jesus is coming again!

They are an exemplary group.

1 Thess. 1:6-7   And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

  1. This church had a tremendous testimony. Paul used them to encourage other churches. They, unknowingly, were blessing other churches who were enduring similar circumstances.
  2. One of the greatest ways to motivate yourself, outside of Scripture, is to read biographies of famous Christians, such as George Muller, David Brainard and Hudson Taylor. And then realize that someone is watching you – and wanting to draw strength from your example.

They were an enthusiastic group.

1 Thess. 1:8   For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

This church’s enthusiasm was spreading like wild-fire! They were excited about what God was doing and everyone who came in contact with them caught the same excitement.

They were an expectant group.

  1. Paul then commended these people because of their willingness to not only turn their backs on idolatry, but also 1 Thess. 1:10 – to wait for his Son from heaven.
  2. The reason their church was so vibrant and life-changing was because they were joyfully living in the very shadow of Christ’s second coming!


  2. They should be faithful.
  3. To their message.

1 Thess. 2:4a –  …put in trust with the gospel

Paul had received the gospel from Jesus Christ. He in turn was to pass it on to others (Timothy, etc.) who were then to pass it on.

Christ’s plan for spreading the gospel hinges upon our faithfulness of passing it on!


  1. To Their Master

1 Thes. 2:4b – even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God.

In spite of hardship or suffering, the faithful servant stays true to his master. And so we Christians, though we may not like or understand our circumstances, are to continue serving Christ.

  1. They should be gentle.

1 Thess. 2:7 – But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

Paul likens his care for them as like a mother. He was patient yet persistent. He was loving yet firm. He was allowing them room to grow, which is so vital when dealing with new Christians.


  1. They should be concerned.

1 Thess. 2:11 – As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,

Paul did not simply teach them the Bible and leave it at that, but he stayed after them and encouraged and helped and showed them how to grow in grace.

Paul was like the father who bought his boy a bicycle for Christmas. He didn’t just buy it and give it to his son, but he stayed up late putting it together and then he taught him how to ride it!


  1. They should be steadfast.

1 Thess. 2:14 – For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

As they shared in the gospel, so must they share in suffering. And while trying to encourage this church to be ready to suffer, Paul further remarks on his own life as a servant in (1 Thes. 2:18) – “Satan hindered us.” But he didn’t quit!

  1. They should be generous.

I Thess. 3:1-2 – Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

Paul chose to remain in Athens alone, willing to send Timothy for their benefit. Paul is demonstrating in his own life the priorities of a Christian: God – others – self.

  1. They should be prayerful.

1 Thess. 3:10 – Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

Paul’s great desire apart from living with them is to be able to help them develop as Christians. What a joy it is for the pastor to be able to see his people growing in prayer, in giving, in witnessing, in faithfulness, in studying the Bible!

But Paul underlines the one great method of causing that kind of spiritual growth – prayer!



  1. The Second Coming of Christ ought to have an impact on how we live as Christians.

I John 3:2-3 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifleth himself, even as he is pure.

So Paul reminds these people of the importance of their conduct.

1 Thess. 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.


  1. Paul then gives 7 characteristics that mark the Christian who is living as if Jesus is coming again.
  2. They should be holy.

1 Thess. 4:7 – For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

  1. They should be loving.

1 Thess. 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.

  1. They should be honest.

1 Thess. 4:11-12 – And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may lack of nothing.

  1. They should be comforting.

1 Thess. 4:18 – Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

  1. They should be watching.

1 Thess. 5:6 – Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

  1. They should be grateful.

1 Thess. 5:12-13 – And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

  1. They should be obedient.

1 Thess. 5:14-27 Paul concludes this letter with a list of 11 things which they should do, because Jesus is coming