September 13, 2021

Children of the Day

1 Thessalonians 1–5

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Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

The Thessalonians' Faith and Example

We give thanks to God...


Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

The Thessalonians' Faith and Example

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly 1 mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers 2 loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you 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, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Paul's Ministry to the Thessalonians

For you yourselves know, brothers, 3 that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, 4 as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle 5 among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

13 And we also thank God constantly 6 for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men 7 but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 8 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! 9

Paul's Longing to See Them Again

17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker 10 in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

Timothy's Encouraging Report

But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— for this reason, brothers, 11 in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 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.

A Life Pleasing to God

Finally, then, brothers, 12 we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: 13 that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body 14 in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

The Coming of the Lord

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, 15 that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

The Day of the Lord

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, 16 you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children 17 of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Final Instructions and Benediction

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, 18 encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

23 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. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

25 Brothers, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.


[1] 1:2 Or without ceasing
[2] 1:4 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters
[3] 2:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 9, 14, 17
[4] 2:5 Or with a flattering speech
[5] 2:7 Some manuscripts infants
[6] 2:13 Or without ceasing
[7] 2:13 The Greek word anthropoi can refer to both men and women
[8] 2:14 The Greek word Ioudaioi can refer to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, who opposed the Christian faith in that time
[9] 2:16 Or completely, or forever
[10] 3:2 Some manuscripts servant
[11] 3:7 Or brothers and sisters
[12] 4:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 10, 13
[13] 4:3 Or your holiness
[14] 4:4 Or how to take a wife for himself; Greek how to possess his own vessel
[15] 4:15 Or by the word of the Lord
[16] 5:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 4, 12, 14, 25, 26, 27
[17] 5:5 Or sons; twice in this verse
[18] 5:14 Or disorderly, or undisciplined

Children of the Day

Key Verse | 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command . . . . And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Bio | Heather Timmons

Grace and peace to you! I'm Heather Timmons. Today, we are spending time in my favorite epistle, the gem of a book that is 1 Thessalonians. I hope to share with you one potent phrase that has helped me through a dozen different kinds of bad days—a promise from His Word to all who are children of God. I pray His truth breathes hope and life into your heart. "Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good . . . ." (Proverbs 16:20)

Central Truth

Do you face heartache, loneliness, pain, uncertainty today? Let this radiant truth seep into the pores of your weary heart: "[S]o we will always be with the Lord." If you are a child of God, you may be certain that one day soon, we will be with the Lord forever. 

Devotional | 1 Thessalonians 1–5

Red-letter days have a way of commanding life's attention! They represent dreams, plans, budgets, schedules, and sacrifices so that all is ready for their dawning.

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul challenges...

Red-letter days have a way of commanding life's attention! They represent dreams, plans, budgets, schedules, and sacrifices so that all is ready for their dawning.

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul challenges believers to live distinctly from the world, with the day of Christ's return ever prominent. Live as "children of light," he urges, as "children of the day"! (1 Thessalonians 5:5) 

We can approach 1 Thessalonians in a couple of connected ways:

1. It highlights a number of things we need to do to be living as "children of the day";

2. The day—that is, "the day of the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 5:2)—is why we live as "children of light."

Paul writes to a faithful, suffering church. He doesn't add to their burden but brings into focus their reason to endure. And it all culminates in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the majestic moment of Christ's glorious return for His church! 

Then, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 arrests me: ". . . [A]nd so we will always be with the Lord."

Is there any worry not eased by this exquisite truth? Our griefs will come to an end. The separations and losses and disappointments now so heavy will melt away on that day. It may not erase our burdens, but it lightens their power, for behold—soon we will always be with the Lord.  

With that day as our focus, we are spurred on to walk worthy of our calling (1 Thessalonians 2:12), live in purity and integrity (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12), and love the Church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15). We respond differently to suffering, grief, and even death (1 Thessalonians 3:1-10). We are shaped not by fear or shame, but by hope and power (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10). It is the God of peace Himself who does this sanctifying work within us. "He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it." (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

As a student faithfully prepares for exams, an expectant mother awaits with loving yearning, or a bride steadfastly prepares for her wedding day, may we live ever oriented toward "the day." May we, too, be commended for our "work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 1:3) And then we will always be with the Lord! 

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Discussion Questions

1. Paul starts this letter with a strong commendation toward believers who have been faithful amidst suffering (1 Thessalonians 1:3-7). Who might you commend for their example? Are there others in your midst who may need admonishment, help, or encouragement? (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

2. Paul closes his letter with a machine gun blast of practical applications (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22). Look over this passage and choose one instruction or phrase to live out this week.

3. "And so, we will always be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:17) Do you know this truth to be true for you? If so, how might that perspective change the way you walk and live today?

9 Comments available

Michael Scaman 12 days ago

Three times Paul says he has no need to write or say anything to the exemplary Thessalonians about

→ sharing the gospel ( or even what is the gospel )

→ loving each other

→ some aspects of eschatology and the coming of the anti Christ

There is no other letter or place in the New Testament where a writer speaks of having no need to write about something, especially important issues.

Paul does write about:

→ ‘a word of the Lord’. Paul exhorts by ‘a word from the Lord’ they know the dead in Christ will rise first and later exhorts ‘do not despise prophetic utterance’

→ Jesus returning to a holy church holy. be holy and pleasing to God avoiding immorality, the importance of hard work and not to be idle, praying without ceasing and being at peace with each other

Surprising list of what’s in and out.

Hugh Stephenson 12 days ago

2 of 2

From age 15/16 to age 55 I had thousands and thousands of episodes. Each one a tragedy with an unhappy ending.

The joy today is that I know how the movie of my life ends. Paul quotes it in 1 Thessalonians 4:17; I will “…always be with the Lord”.

I don’t have the words to express the comfort of knowing how MY movie ends and knowing how THE movie ends.

800,000 words, 31,102 verses, 1189 chapters, 66 books.

One story.

The promise - “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

Jesus wins!

Hugh Stephenson 12 days ago

1 of 2

GM Heather. Great devo on great book.

I especially love your pull of 1 Thessalonians 5:5. I link to Genesis 1:3-4. Since God created the Heavens and the earth AND separated light from dark & day from night…

I should clearly choose the light of day.

My sinful nature draws me away otherwise.

Q3 - Director Ron Howard was asked what was on his mind as he was working through making the movie of Apollo 13. Specifically, what do you do when everybody already knows how it ends? How do you create/write a great story?

I am asked if I am ever tempted to drink again. Although I always say “yes” to the question of temptation I say no to acting on it. Why?

I know how the movie ends.

Linda Green 12 days ago

Love your excitement over Jesus’ return for us, Heather- me, too! I’ve recently realized that no matter what is happening in and around me, I can be joyful thinking about Jesus’ return!

In John 14:1-3, Jesus comforted His disciples with His promise to come back and get them. “In My Father’s house are many rooms…” One big happy family!

Jesus prepared my place through His death and by triumphing over death through the Resurrection. My heart is overflowing with thanks to my Savior!

Michael Scaman 12 days ago

The Thessalonians were exemplary. “…an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. …” Thessalonians shows how Paul exhorts an “exemplary” church

→ they are chosen and loved

→ They knew what kind of men Paul and his fellow workers were. Not merely ‘pulling rank’ but appealing to character

→ Paul comforted them in their affliction being persecuted as other believer were.

→ Paul rejoiced over their fruit of faith working in love

→ Jesus is returning and will make his church holy and part of that is Paul encouraged them to a life pleasing to God away from sexual immorality

→ Don’t quench the spirit (this spirit should be working among you) or despise prophetic utterances. ( If someone on TV or somewhere makes a ‘thus says the Lord’ statement it’s good to be cautiously discerning and that is not despising prophesy that is protecting prophesy)

Sue Bohlin 12 days ago

You’re a wonderful writer, Heather! Great devo!

LOVED Paul’s instructions on living in the light, and what a delightful concept in the first place! I especially love Paul’s “let me spell it out for you” directions for God’s will for us in 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” That’s an awfully heavy lift on our own, in the flesh, but when we walk in the light focused on Jesus, inviting Him into every part of our lives and every part of our day, it’s a total game changer.

I am struck by the fact that this triplet of commands have nothing to do with feelings and everything to do with choices: obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit. And what a difference it makes for ourselves and those around us!

Greg Jones 12 days ago

1Thessalonians, probably the first of Paul’s of letters, so a younger Paul is assumed. The influence of Jewish apocalyptic writing and thought from the preceding centuries is prominent in his early letters. There’s urgency when talking about Jesus descending from heaven. It even influences Paul’s advice on choices concerning daily living in other letters.

By the time Paul writes later letters like Romans and Philippians you don’t hear about a hope based on the quick return of Christ. But you definitely don’t hear a loss of hope.

If Paul doubts an eminent return later in life, that doubt has grown his resolve when he writes Romans8:35-39.

Paul, Roman citizen with privileges chooses a Jewish identity. Paul, Pharisee with privileges, chooses a lesser social identity. Sometimes I forget Paul was a real human being who experienced what he hopes to change for others.

Shawn Foster 12 days ago

1 Thess, Beautiful letter! Heather, this is a beautiful devo as well! Sooo encouraging. I know these truths to be true!!! Thank you for giving your life to follow everything we believe in… no turning back, no turning back. Blessed Assurance stokes my hope like a man electrified. Grace and power to you all.

Michael Scaman 16 days ago

Both first and second Thessalonians will start with a greeting and grace to you and pease.

It also will bring up something important in the mind and heart of Paul, he will bring up the faith working in love he sees in the Thessalonians as he did with the Colossians. If it’s important to him it should be important for us.

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