v1-11 - One big thing the people Paul wrote this letter to were struggling with was trying to figure out exactly when Christ would return. Many still struggle with trying to figure this out today! The answer is crystal clear:
The timing of the Lord's return will be a surprise to everyone; it's totally unpredictable.
Even so, as a Christian, you know it's coming. so be ready for it.
Live as 'day people,' alert and ready at all times;
Keep your faith, love and hope of salvation strong and rely heavily upon them;
Above all, stay close to the church, so that you might be encouraged, building up others and being built up yourself.
v12-22 - Respect the elders in the church, who admonish and care for you.
v13b-22 includes sixteen different commands Christians must adhere to.
This list is a basic definition of what it means to build up others while allowing them to build you up.
v23-28 - Paul ends this letter, as he often does with a beautiful benediction.
I really like verses like v16. It's only two words:
Yet those two words pack a massive dose of theology. What things must be true for you to rejoice always? Everything the Bible says is true: God created all things, and although sin has stained so much of God's creation, He's redeeming all things and will make all things new. Therefore, you can rejoice. What sort of things must you do to rejoice always? Paul has an easy answer for that in v17:
This doesn't mean being on your knees in deep, fervent prayer 24/7, rather it means that as you go about your daily activities, you're constantly Acknowledging who God is, Aligning your life with His will, and:
give thanks in all circumstances.
You didn't see that last one coming, did you. You thought the third step of praying continually was to Ask for what you need. It is. But Paul writes elsewhere to present your requests with thanksgiving (Phil 4:6). Think about how every request you have is tied to something you should be giving thanks for.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Leviticus 19:18 (NIV)
“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— Near the end of this chapter, Paul uses a brief phrase to describe God. What is that phrase? (See verse 23.)
From what you see in this chapter alone, what would you say are the most important moral standards for Christians?
Questions from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God of peace who is coming to bring justice to all things (v2, 23)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (v16-18)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: