Category Archives: Discipleship

BLAMELESS CONDUCT

If the Thessalonians emulate the apostolic example, they will receive the “crown of glory” at Christ’s return 1 Thessalonians 2:1-20.

Opposition from the local synagogue had compelled Paul to leave Thessalonica prematurely. Though initially, some members of that group had welcomed his message, they turned against him once large numbers of Gentiles began to embrace the gospel. And even after he left the city, some of the synagogue leaders pursued him as he preached elsewhere in Macedonia.

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TO THE ASSEMBLY

The Thessalonians received the gospel in tribulation but remained faithful in anticipation of the arrival of Jesus 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.

Opposition to the new faith forced Paul to leave Thessalonica before his work was completed. When he attempted to return to the city, he was thwarted “by Satan.” Because of anxieties about the congregation, he sent Timothy to investigate. His first letter is his thankful response after receiving good news about the congregation’s faithfulness.

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STAND FAST

Believers prepare for the “apostasy” and the coming “man of lawlessness” by “standing firm” in the apostolic tradition.

Having explained the coming “apostasy” and “man of lawlessness,” Paul then provided instructions on how believers avoid the coming deception and find themselves standing “blameless” before Jesus when he “arrives with all his holy ones.” And above all, they must “stand fast” and cleave to the teachings received from the apostles.

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THE FAITH OF JESUS

According to Paul, men are not set right before God “from the works of the law,” but instead, “from the faith of Jesus Christ.

Having demonstrated that all men have sinned and violated the revealed will of God, both Jews and Gentiles alike, Paul concludes that no one can be set right before God “from the law.” Jews have the Mosaic Law but fall short of its requirements. Gentiles have the witness of their own conscience yet continue to live and even revel in sin.

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FOLLOWING JESUS

The Messiah of Israel submitted to the way of the Cross and summoned his disciples to follow him on the very same path.

One day, Jesus told his disciples that if anyone wished to come after him, “let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” This was more than metaphorical or hyperbolic language. It was said at the very time Jesus was on his final journey to Jerusalem where he would demonstrate to the world just what it means to “deny oneself and take up the cross.”

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HE HUMBLED HIMSELF

Christ’s submission to a shameful death on the Cross is the paradigm for Christian service and conduct.

Paul presented the self-denying obedience of Jesus as the pattern for Christian conduct towards others, the model that we must emulate if we wish to be his disciple. Moreover, his elevation to reign over all things resulted from his “obedience even unto death.” His exaltation to God’s “right hand” did not precede his death. It followed it.

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