SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul continues his teaching (from the previous chapter) on the return of Jesus, saying that he will come when no one is expecting it. However, it shouldn't take us by surprise, as we should always be waiting and prepared.
- In verse eight Paul tells the Thessalonians to put on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. This means that our faith hope and love should protect us from the temptations that can hit our thinking and emotions.
- Jesus' followers will not suffer the wrath of God we deserve since we have received salvation (been saved) through Jesus' death (see verses 9-10).
- Verses 12-24 provide a list of things God wants us to be about.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- We need to live in a way that we're ready for Jesus to return at any time, so we can welcome him and be unashamed at his coming.
- We need to build up our faith, hope, and love so we can take a stand against temptation.
- We need to be grateful every day that on the cross took the punishment we deserve and so we get to escape it and enter God's good graces.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Read back through verses 12-24. What of these teachings are you doing good at, and which do you need some help with?
- Consider memorizing verses 16-18, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Write it down on a piece of paper or card, carry it with you, and read it throughout the day until you have it committed to memory.