Center Point Bible Study is excited to be back meeting in the Fellowship Hall from 6:46 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.. This study is open to anyone who would like to take part! We love you all dearly and look forward to the time when we can be together again! Pastor Colin, Buck Mills, and Jim Conaway facilitate this Life Group. The New Creations Children’s Life Group also meets during this time for children 2 years old through 5th grade. CDC protocols are in place and masks are required for the children and adults.
The notes for the Center Point Study will be posted every Wednesday below with a link to the archived notes here, Center Point Archive.
We encourage everyone to dig into God’s Word together and share what the Lord is teaching them.
We endeavor to journey chronologically through the Book of Acts and read Paul’s Epistles as they fit into the narrative. We are currently going through the Letter to the Galatians.
This study is open to anyone who would like to take part! We love you all dearly and look forward to the time when we can be together again!
Pastor Colin, Buck Mills, and Jim Conaway facilitate this Life Group.
NOTES FOR CENTER POINT BIBLE STUDY
March 31, 2021
Buck Mills, Teaching Team
The God of Peace
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (ESV)
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, 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.
The first chapter of 1 Thessalonians was an encouragement to the brothers and sister there. The faith of the Thessalonians was sounding out into all the nearby regions. Paul wanted them to assure them of their salvation, based on evidence, and their hope in the coming of Christ.
In the second chapter, he dives right into the meat of his letter. Even though the church was sounding out and there was evidence of salvation, there were still issues that needed to be addressed.
Chief among them was the accusations that were reported to him from Timothy. Paul was being accused of having a deceitful character and being nothing more than a travelling swindler who left them when things got tough.
He addresses the accusations against his character and conduct first in verses 1-16. Then turns his attention to his departure, delay in return, and determination to visit again in verses 2:17- 3:13.
After addressing the accusations, Paul began to instruct the brothers and sisters in Thessalonica on certain behaviors that Timothy reported to him. In chapter 4, he clearly outlines the standards of right and wrong in three areas of life that still apply today: sex, work, and death. The idea of death, for believers, necessitates an understanding of our resurrection at the second coming of Christ.
Therefore, death has a different meaning for Christians than for others. Likewise, at the end of chapter 4, Paul comforts, instructs and exhorts the believers in Thessalonica about death and the coming of the Lord. They are reassured that the dead in Christ will rise first and then the believers who are alive will be caught up with them in the clouds.
Regarding the coming of the Lord, Paul reminds the Thessalonians, in 5:1 -11, of what he said when he was with them. This includes the attitude and behavior believers should have in expectation for, and the judgment of those who persist in unbelief on, the day of the Lord.
Paul concludes this letter with some final instructions. These instructions include how to treat their leaders, how to handle those who are immature in their faith, and how to come together in worship for the good of the body of Christ.
It was important that all the believers in Thessalonica hear the contents of this letter. We too have the amazing ability to read this letter as it was preserved for us. As much as it informed them, it also left them with more questions. We will see in the second letter what Paul wrote in response.
Paul spent much of this letter affirming the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers in Thessalonica. Accompanied to this affirming work is the necessary response of the believer in right living as an act of worship. With such a short time given to Paul to explain right living, as evidenced through the Spirit, it is truly amazing that he was able to convey so much.
Paul’s life was an example to them as he sought to follow Christ’s example and teaching. In turn, their lives would be examples to those around them as they follow Paul’s example and teaching. This involves how they order their personal lives and worship as well as how they interact with others in the community of faith.
No family will function properly if the members do whatever they want, just as any local church will not function properly if Christ is not recognized as the head. God placed children in the care of their mothers and fathers as physical guardians with the responsibility to teach them how to live in this world. Likewise, God placed infant believers in the care of spiritually mature men and women to help them discern the truths of God’s kingdom, in which they now live.
How we act as believers is important and directly stems from how we view God and who we believe Him to be. Our actions should be informed by the knowledge of what God has done, what He is doing now, and what he will do to at the culmination of time.
How do you stay focused on God throughout your day?
How does this inform your actions and behavior?
Verses 12-13: Paul uses the verb ‘kopiao’ to reference the ‘labor’ of those that shepherd the local church. This normally refers to manual occupations and means to ‘toil, strive, struggle’. It has the idea of working the land which requires daily care and causes man to grow weary.
The phrase ‘over you’ only works when it is combined with ‘in the Lord’. It is also a connector between ‘labor’ and ‘admonish’. The role of the shepherd requires a sense of protection, care, and nourishment.
How do we understand protection, care, and nourishment as being ‘in the Lord’?
Paul has given a perfect example of what it looks like to ‘admonish’ in this letter. It carries with it an ethical understanding of one’s behavior and points to the role of a father teaching and disciplining his children.
Paul identifies two imperatives for the flock on how to treat their shepherds, respect them and esteem them very highly. This attitude will protect the believers from despising or flattering those in authority.
When the shepherds and sheep are all behaving in the Lord, the church members will be at peace among themselves. What obstacles/attitudes are you facing that may hinder the proper functioning of the church?
Verses 14-15: In verses 14-22, Paul provides a series of responsibilities for the sheep that are, unfortunately, commonly passed on to the shepherds. We can place these responsibilities into 2 main categories: assist in support and care for common problems within the church, maintain a proper attitude and right conduct in worship.
These two categories are not by any means separate from each other. One cannot assist in support and care for others if they do not maintain a proper attitude of worship that is demonstrated in their lives. Try to see their relationships as we go through them individually.
First, we are told, in verses 14-15, how we are to assist and support others through the common pitfalls of living for Christ in a fallen world. He seems, initially, to be referring to the issues he presented in Chapter 4.
These are the people who quit working in anticipation of the coming of the Lord, who were unsure about the salvation of their loved ones who had died or those that were concerned about the delay in the Lord’s coming, and who lack the strength to resist certain sexually immoral desires.
What is the importance of being ‘patient with them all’?
Next, Paul presents responsibilities, in verse 15, that go beyond what he previously mentioned. This includes not seeking revenge, but to return good for evil. We must forgive as, in Christ, God forgave us. For Jesus, it was important that we reconcile with our brother before we offer our gift at the altar, Matthew 5:23-24.
Verses 16-18: The responsibility to maintain a proper attitude and right conduct in worship is both a private and public duty. Many times, these 2 spheres overlap. However, verses 16-18, take on a personal tone.
To rejoice always represents an attitude that says, “I will worship God regardless of what comes.” There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.
To pray without ceasing represents a lifestyle in which one begins talking to the Lord when they wake up and then continues to communicate with Him through out the day. Rather than continuous, it is reoccurring. It points to a desire to know the Lord in all areas of this life.
To give thanks in all circumstances represents a mature attitude praise. Thanksgiving is a vital element of worship and goes hand in hand with our understanding of who God is.
The Holy Spirit not only draws us into these attitudes of worship, but God has already made them available in Christ Jesus. In what ways do these attitudes of worship portray spiritual maturity?
How are these 3 attitudes related to our faith?
Verses 19-22: The attitude of worshippers will be evident in the conduct of their worship. Right conduct here requires the Spirit to be unquenched, prophesies to receive consideration, and to abstain from forms of worship that promote evil.
The fire of the Spirit can be quenched in many ways. Among them are when the gifts given by Lord to the members are not properly tended or when they are ignored by the body, and when those gifts are overwhelmed by other things deemed more important.
Prophesy always aligns with the Word of God and therefore can be tested. The Bereans searched the Scriptures when Paul came to them with the gospel. With social media so prevalent, do not believe everything you hear or read. Many will come as false prophets. When something is good and has been tested, hold on to it.
If something is found to not hold up when being tested with Scripture, then it is evil and must be avoided. Evil and deception can show itself even in spiritual settings. Satan used scripture to tempt Jesus in the desert. The idea here is the evil will be evident and seen.
What should you do if you feel that an element of evil has made its way into our worship?
Verses 23-24: God’s sanctifying work will be made complete when we are like Him and fully known by Him. We will set apart from all evil and sin at that time. This points to the hope that we have in Christ at His coming, a recurring theme in this letter.
Considering all that Paul has just told them to do, he reveals that the intent is not for them to do it all on their own. It is only by the power of God through His Spirit that man can have right conduct with a proper attitude in worship.
Regardless of how Paul has divided the personhood of the believer, their whole self will be kept blameless because God will fulfill his call by making you holy, guarding you, watching over you, and protecting you as His own. When has God shown you that He is faithful to do it?
Verses 25-28: It was important for Paul, an apostle of Christ, to have those in Thessalonica pray for him and his company in Corinth. This informs our own prayers, that we should continue to pray for our spiritual leaders. It was also important that all the believers be treated equally in their greeting, a holy kiss. Are we subject to favoritism amongst the brothers and sisters in our greetings?
Because of the previous accusations brought against Paul and to avoid further accusations that he did not contact them after they sent word through Timothy, he made it apparent that all the brothers and sisters hear the contents of this letter.
The idea of grace is in all of Paul’s writings and reminds us that any understanding we have is because God first loved us. We do not merit any favor of our own to receive these teachings. An element of grace is required in everything we do, in all our relationships, and even for ourselves. We are who we are because of who He is and what Jesus has done.
Praises & Prayers ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________