Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 42
I Thessalonians 5:1-12 – Part 2
Now let’s get right back where we left off in I Thessalonians chapter 5, and now verse 7. We’re having this constant flipside one to the other of those who are left behind at the Rapture – that are left behind because they’ve been in spiritual darkness. They’re enjoying the things of this world, and they have no appetite for the things of the Spirit.
I Thessalonians 5:7-8
“For they that sleep (spiritually) sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. (now he comes back to us believers) 8. But let us, who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” These are the same things that he listed in Ephesians chapter 6. Now verse 9, and oh what a tremendous lesson for believers.
I Thessalonians 5:9a
“For God hath not appointed us (as believers ) to wrath. but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Now isn’t that plain? Now these people that are insisting that the Church is going to go into or through the Tribulation, they just have to blink and miss this verse. But here it is, as believers we are not appointed to the day of the Lord, the day of judgment, the day of wrath. I don’t care whether they want to call it the Tribulation or the eternal destiny to come, it’s still the same premise, that those of us who are part and parcel of this day of Christ are out of here before the day of judgment falls on this planet, and over and over Paul makes that so plain. But on the other hand, what I’ve learned from our mail, from talking to people that call, when everyone who says they can’t agree with my stand on the Rapture, they hardly ever look at Paul’s epistles. All the verses they give me to back up their theory is Old Testament, the four gospels, and Revelation, which of course are all attendant with the Tribulation and the day of the Lord.
But you see Paul never alludes to that as I’ve been showing now for the last three programs. Paul alludes only to the day of Christ. Now there’s one exception to that, and we’ll probably get to that in our next taping session, and that’s in II Thessalonians chapter 2, where he comes the closest to end-time prophecy of any place in any of his letters. But here he’s talking only about we believers not being associated with the day of God’s wrath, but rather how we have not been appointed to this day of wrath, but we obtained salvation no only from eternal Hell fire, but we’ve also going to be saved from this horrible 7 years of Tribulation on earth. And it’s all through the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now verse 10.
I Thessalonians 5:10a
“Who died for us,…”
Do you see how Paul is constantly bringing up that finished work of the cross, the Gospel of salvation? And again wherever we go, we’re finding people who have been in Church all their lives, and have never heard the pure simple complete work of the cross Gospel for salvation. They just don’t hear it, and that’s so sad, and I can’t figure out why. They all celebrate Easter, they can all talk about His crucifixion, but they can’t seem to put that package together that when we believe it then it becomes our means of salvation. But somehow a lot of people are missing the most important part of the Bible, it’s just a sad commentary. But Paul is telling us that we’re not doomed to the day of the Lord, or an eternal separation, because Christ died for us.
I Thessalonians 5:10b
“… whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”
Now the word sleep here is a reference to physical death. It doesn’t make any difference if we die physically, we’re still alive with Him eternally. Let’s look at a Scripture in Colossians chapter 3 and we’ll drop in at verse 3.
“For ye are dead,…”
That is the old Adam that we’re born with. It’s been crucified, it’s been put to death by virtue of our faith in the Gospel. So you are dead, but just like that kernel of wheat that falls into the ground, and it hits the moisture and sunlight, what does it do? It dies, but brings forth new life, and that’s the allusion that Jesus makes in John’s gospel chapter 12. So to have eternal life, we have to die to the old Adam, that’s a premise of Scripture.
“For ye are dead, (you have been crucified with Christ according to Galatians 2:20) and your (eternal) life is hid with Christ in God.”
Do you see that? A moment a go I made an allusion to the kernel of wheat in John chapter 12, and let’s look at it for a moment. I haven’t used any of the four gospels all day have I? I’ve got to use them every once in a while to satisfy some of these people that don’t read Paul much. I don’t want them to ever think that I’m taking the four gospels out of the picture, it’s just that they are not directed to us as Paul’s epistles are. But look what Jesus said in John’s gospel chapter 12, and I love these verses. They back my teaching that Jesus had nothing to do with Gentiles, the non-Jews all through His earthly ministry, with the two exceptions, of the Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion, and they were exceptions. Here in this passage there could have been a third exception, but Jesus doesn’t get into it. Let’s start with verse 20. Now I know this is kind of off the beaten path, but the point I’m trying to make is, that as a kernel of wheat falls into the grounds and dies, so we die in order to experience new life. Now Jesus uses this example Himself, and this is only a few hours leading up to His crucifixion, and the feast of Passover crowds are gathering in Jerusalem, multitudes of Jews from all over the world.
“And there were certain Greeks (Gentiles) among them (now I don’t think they were proselytes that had come to worship, but rather they were curiosity seekers. They were just onlookers, just seeing how these Jews made such a big deal over these feast days. So these Greeks were among them) that came up to worship at the feast: (it doesn’t say they came to worship) 21. The same (Greeks) came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.”
Now Philip knew that Jesus had nothing to do with Gentiles all through His earthly ministry with the two exceptions that I’ve already alluded to. In the Old Testament and in Christ’s earthly ministry there were just a few exceptions, but in general the Gentiles had been left out, and Philip knew that. It’s been a long time since we’ve put that on the program so let’s just stop and look at Matthew 10:5. Now keep your hand in John, and Colossians, and I Thessalonians, because we’ll be back in a moment.
Now you’d be amazed how many people that have been in church and Sunday School all their life, and they don’t even know this is in their Bible. I’ve had folks now who have picked up on this and are teaching it themselves and they tell me, “Les my Sunday School class sits in front of me aghast. They also never knew this was in their Bible, but I just let them read from whatever translation they’ve got and when they get through reading, I say, “Well what does it say?” And he said, “They’re so shook that they don’t even like to answer.” But here it is! Jesus here in Matthew has now chosen the twelve in the first four verses, and now verse 5 of Matthew chapter 10.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samarians enter ye not: (now you can’t make that any plainer. This is just as plain as English can make it, and why couldn’t they go to the Gentiles?) 5. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Now folks that shakes people up. Most think Christ came to the whole world from the very start, but this says He didn’t! I’ll never forget a gentlemen we had in a class I taught in Jerusalem on one of our tours. Now he wasn’t part of our group, but he came to this one time after I had been teaching about 3 or 4 nights. Oh this guy got mad, his face turned red, and said “Well what do you do with John 3:16?” I said, “Well it certainly didn’t apply to Gentiles in His earthly ministry. He came and the end result was, to go to the whole world, but He came only unto His own to begin His 3 years of earthly ministry.”
And the reason He could not reach out to Gentiles was because He had come on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant. And remember the Abrahamic Covenant was given to no one but the Nation of Israel. So being the God of creation in His Sovereignty, He knew what most people today don’t, and that was His position in that Covenant. So He had nothing to do with Gentiles, He couldn’t until He had committed Himself to the Nation of Israel, and they had shown their rebellion, and their rejection, which I always claim was epitomized, or brought to a crescendo, at Stephen’s stoning in Acts chapter 7. Then Acts chapter 8 introduces us to Saul of Tarsus, who in Acts chapter 9 experiences his conversion on the road to Damascus, and a few verses later God tells Ananias –
“But the Lord said, unto him, Go thy way: for he (Saul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…” Do you see that? But until that time it was Jew only, and to show you that from Scripture all you have to do is read Acts 11:19.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word (Old Testament) to none but unto the Jews only.” And that was 7 years after Pentecost. So here in Matthew chapter 10 we have Jesus telling the twelve-
“Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans, enter ye not: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Now come back to John’s gospel chapter 12, and do you think Philip had forgotten that in those 3 years? No way. So when these Gentiles said, “We would see Jesus.” Philip said, probably to himself “Now wait a minute, I don’t know what to do with this one,” So he goes and tells Andrew. But does Andrew say, “Bring them along and we’ll take them into see Jesus?” No way. Andrew too knows that Christ only deals with the children of Israel, and so reading on in verse 22.
“Philip cometh and telleth Andrew and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.”
Do you know why I think they were reluctant? All we can think of is the Lord’s compassion, and His patience. But do you think our Lord could get a little sharp sometimes? I think He could. I also think that those men knew that if He would see them trying to bring Gentiles, He could have rebuked them, like He would do Philip in John chapter 14.
“Jesus saith unto him, (Philip) Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?…”
So here He could of done the same thing, “Have I been with you for such a long time, and you still don’t know that I can’t minister to Gentiles?” Then Jesus gives the reason He couldn’t go to the Gentiles, and it’s so obvious. Remember the reason I brought you back here was to show when we as believers have died to the old sin nature, up springs what? New life, and here’s the analogy. Verse 23. I know it took me a long time to get there didn’t it?
“And Jesus answered them, (Philip and Andrew) saying, The hour is come, (remember it’s a matter of hours before He’ll be resurrected from the dead) that the Son of man should be glorified.” Now we know He wasn’t glorified until He arose from the dead. Now verse 24.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn (kernel) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: (just a point of biology. When you plant a seed in the ground, what’s the first thing that happens? It dies. And it must die or it won’t come up and reproduce.) but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
And of course He was using wheat as an example. That one stem of wheat can come up and produce maybe a hundred kernels, and that’s the whole purpose of death, burial, and resurrection. That now because of what Christ has accomplished – yes new life can come up for every believers. Now on our way back to Colossians stop at Romans chapter 6, and verse 5. See this is where good works falls by the wayside, they just simply disappear into the fog, because good works cannot take the place of dying. Good works cannot take the place of that kernel dying and reproducing.
“For if (conditional) we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,…”
Now what does that mean? Every one of us in the eyes of God as a believer now had to have been identified with Christ in the tomb. And I’ve put this way for years, when Christ hung on the cross, He saw every believer dying to the old Adam. When Christ laid in the tomb, God saw every believer epitomized in that tomb experience. Now reading on in that last part of the verse. If God has identified with Christ on the cross, with Him in the tomb, then He can also identify in His resurrection.
“…we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”
And what does resurrection depict? New life! See that’s why God has arranged spring time the way He arranged it. Every spring, every human being on the planet is once again reminded of what? New life, resurrection, the whole nine yards. I think that’s another reason that God says, “Every man has been lighted that comes into the world.” (John 1:9) My if they see that flower come up, that was nothing but a dead seed, or dead bulb, that’s new life. When the trees begin to blossom out with their leaves, it’s new life, resurrection, that’s the picture. Then verse 6. We’re still in Romans.
“Knowing this (as a believer now. We know this beyond a shadow of a doubt) that our old man (our old Adam) is crucified with him, (he’s been put to death) that the body of sin might be destroyed, (or put out of commission) that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Why? Because that old man is dead, but out of that dead nature we get new life. Now flip back to Colossians chapter 3 for a minute on your way to I Thessalonians and maybe we can get a verse or two more yet.
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
You’ve been crucified with Christ. The old Adam has been put to death, and your eternal life, your new life in Christ, and where is it? It is hid with Christ in God. A safety factor? Boy, I reckon, and what a place to be. You talk about security, you just can’t get it much better than that. Here we are with Christ, and Christ is in that Godhead, and there we are, never to be removed. Remember even that adulterous Corinthian couldn’t be removed, as he was with Christ. Oh he’s going to suffer loss of rewards, absolutely, as God’s not going to let him just escape without any reprimands, but he’s not going to lose his salvation. So for the true believer who is with Christ, we are hid in God, and then verse 4.
“When Christ, (the day of Christ) who is our life, shall appear, they shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Now you know the Bible really doesn’t tell us much about our eternal inheritance so far as what heaven is like and so forth. All it does is use superfluous references like, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.” But it doesn’t tell us very much. We usually like to hear about the streets of gold, but that’s mundane compared to the real, real experience. It’s just beyond human comprehension, the things that God has prepared for us when we join Him in glory. Now back to I Thessalonians chapter 5, and verse 10 again.
I Thessalonians 5:10
“Who died for us, that, whether we wake ( the living) or sleep, (have died) we should live together with him.”
It doesn’t make any difference so far as eternity is concerned, we’re all going to be together with Him one day. Now verse 11. So consequently what can believers do with each other that the unbelieving world can’t do?
I Thessalonians 5:11
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
Oh what comfort we have. Everyday we get a letter that someone has lost their loved one, a spouse, a child, a daughter, a son, but oh listen what can we tell them? If they’re believers we’re going to see them again. That’s our comfort.
I Thessalonians 5:11
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
Paul says I know you’re already faithful in doing that. Paul thought the world of these Thessalonians, and do you know why? Remember I told you several weeks ago that Paul only spent about 3 weeks with them. He said 3 Sabbaths, so that’s 3 full weeks and maybe a few days in the next week, but it wasn’t long enough to go to the fourth Sabbath. And out of that 3 weeks experience in Thessalonica, he had seen this little group of believers come out of paganism, out of spiritual darkness, and became so rooted, that several weeks later, Timothy evidently brought him the news, and we’ll pick that up in the next letter, of how steadfastly these Thessalonians were standing in their faith in spite of intense persecution from their pagan peers. In spite of the pressure from Rome, and in spite of the pressure Judaisers, these little ex-pagans stood fast and Paul just shows his joy with them, that in spite of everything they were such a comfort to him. Now verse 12.
I Thessalonians 5:12-13a
“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13. And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake….”
Yes, God does expect believers to recognize their leadership, to recognize those who are feeding them spiritual truths, and we’re to appreciate them. I know I have in the past, and I still do when I read men of God, and how I can thank God that over the years, He has raised up men who were faithful to His precious Word.