October 18

Today's Bible Reading
     I Kings 21
     I Thessalonians 4
     Daniel 3
     Psalms 107
“But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,”  (I Thessalonians 4:10-11)
            The early church greeted each other with “Maranatha”, indicating their belief that Jesus was coming soon. Our lifestyle should now reflect that Jesus is indeed returning soon. It is clearly evident that Paul's mind is on the Second Coming of Jesus as he wrote this letter.  In this section, he is dealing with Christian behavior on a daily basis. The latter part of this chapter is probably the clearest presentation of the return of Jesus in the Bible. It is interesting that every one of the five chapters of this book closes with a reference to the Second Coming.
            One of the criticisms when we emphasize the Second Coming is that when people say we are so “heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.” They say we are interested in the “Sweet By & By” and have no concern for the Nasty Now & Now. This was true to a certain extent at the church in Thessalonica. So Paul makes it clear to them that an understanding of the Second Coming ought to motivate holy and effective living until He comes. The Second Coming is a powerful incentive to right living (I John 3:3, 
II Peter 3:11).
            Paul mentions three things that should characterize the life of the believer until Jesus comes again. One of those he mentions is in verse 9. He uses the term brotherlylove. It is the word philadelphos. Paul tells us it is a natural thing, and is always there when the person knows the Lord. The world will never find real love unless they find it among the people of God. In our memory verse, the word aspire means to “make it your ambition.” As a believer, you must have a goal and a purpose in your life. Paul sets forth several goals that every believer ought to have.
            When it says to be quiet, it carries the idea of tranquility, of being at rest. It is the opposite of restlessness, of being upset. It means just being quietly faithful. Paul then says, “until Jesus comes, keep your nose out of other people's business.” Paul would often name not only the problem, but the people that created the problem. In his second letter to this church, he called them “busybodies” (II Thessalonians 3:10-11). The word “busybody” means “a body who minds someone else's business.” It labels those folks who look around for someone else every time the preacher preaches. They know about everyone else's business, problems, and faults. They spend very little time, however, cleaning up their own lives.
            He then exhorts the believer to “work with your own hands.” There were many working people in the church at Thessalonica. They were slaves, artisans, and ship workers. Every child of God should be engaged in a noble profession. There is nothing disgraceful about any job if it is honest and honorable.
            So, as Paul prepares to introduce us to the subject of the rapture, he wants us to know that our lifestyle must be changed, holy, and committed to Him in preparation for His coming. In the early part of the chapter, Paul exhorts them regarding purity in the area of sexual activity. As you walk honestly and circumspectly in the world, those who are without Christ will see how God has blessed and met every need of your life.
            In many parts of the world, there are new religious movements that mix Christian concepts and terminology with indigenous non-Christian beliefs such as spiritism. This is known as Christo-paganism in Latin America, and indigenous syncretistic churches in Africa, new movements in China, etc. Pray that Christians throughout the world will have the wisdom to overcome this false teaching with the truth of the Gospel.