#1 Tell the Truth/Share the word of God
1 Thessalonians 1 - Examples of loving people in the Bible means that it always directs people to eternity with God in all His glory. We do this by telling people the gospel, which is our duty as Christ followers (Matthew 28:19), whether they receive it or not. In 1 Thess 1, it is known that the Thessalonians did, in fact, receive the gospel, which has the power to transform and lead people away from idols and to the one true living God. When we speak (or type) the gospel to someone, it is not us who changes them, but rather the power it has in itself, along with the Holy Spirit (verse 5). We just need to be obedient to share in love and truth. If we love someone, we care about their eternity, not their feelings being hurt for a temporary time (1 Thessalonians 2:4-6).
#2 Be gentle
1 Thessalonians 2 - We are called to tell the truth without any fluff and without being vain (verses 1-6). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be tactful. Paul mentions that he presented the gospel in a gentle and loving way as a mother cherishes her own children (verses 7-8). We also should be tactful to not burden anyone with our actions in trying to speak to them; meet them where they are at (verses 9-10). Paul also mentions the act of being like a father who exhorts, comforts and challenges (verses 11-12).
1 Thessalonians 2 - Paul mentions how because of the Thessalonians’ faith, they’ve become imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus; they have faced some persecution, so they are doing something right. Although, we should count it all joy that trials and persecution come our way, because we grow our faith and patience (James 1:2-4). Some persecutions mentioned were that the Judean church was being stopped from spreading the gospel to Gentiles and that Paul was hindered from Satan from visiting the Thessalonians. Just because we experience obstacles and pushback, that doesn’t mean our hope should be gone. Paul states that the hope is believers in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ (verses 13-20).
1 Thessalonians 3 - Knowing persecution and how it can discourage believers’ faith, Paul didn’t want the Thessalonians to go through it alone. He sent Timothy, a brother and minister of God and laborer of the gospel to establish and encourage their faith (verses 1-5). When we help lead people to Christ, may Paul be an example of how we should follow up with new believers and even seasoned believers, since it encourages growth in everyone involved (verses 6-10). Paul then prays that each one of them would be directed by Christ to love each other and to holiness, looking forward to the Lord’s coming (verses 11-13).
#4 Challenge, Motivate, Remind
1 Thessalonians 4 - Paul starts off by telling the Thessalonians to continue growing and walking in the commandments Christ gave (verse 2, Matthew 28:20). Paul motivates and reminds the Thessalonians to abstain from fornication because, simply, it is the will of God (verses 3 and 6). Anything outside the will of God compromises not just your relationship with God, but the relationships around you (i.e. you significant other [verse 4], neighbors [verse 6]). You don’t want to ruin your destiny because of the fleshly desires. Your body is not your own, but rather God’s. You have died with Christ and your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
Living in Christ also means to remember what you specifically are called to do. We all have the same goal, but our personal journeys to get there may look different. We are supposed to live in love that God teaches us, but to not be satisfied in how much we can learn to love. In doing so, we also are supposed to live a quiet life, mind our own business, and work with our own hands (verses 9-12).
#5 Comfort, Edify, Protect
1 Thessalonians 4 - Christ followers who have passed away are depicted as sleeping in verse 13. Paul tells us that God will bring with Him who sleep in Jesus; believers who are alive will remain until the ones who are asleep rise first, then they’d be all caught up (verses 13-18). The comfort comes from knowing that anyone who believes in Christ, whether dead or alive, will all be together again at Christ’s coming. I think the most hopeful thing said here, though, is the visible glory of the Lord Himself coming in such a way that encompasses all the hope we have (verse 16).
1 Thessalonians 5 - Paul has made sure that the Thessalonians are growing and aware, particularly in Christ’s coming. He reminds them the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (verse 2). We shouldn’t be surprised, though, but rather something we are anticipating, hence being sober-minded night and day, rather than those who live a lifestyle without integrity. Everything we say and do, we must do unto the Lord as if he is coming, being ready for Him (verses 1-7, Colossians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13). Part of being ready is protecting ourselves from anything that can hinder us walking in faith and being of the day and sober. Armor is used to protect, so he mentions the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation, which is also mentioned in Ephesians 6:10-20. Spiritual warfare is usually tied to the armor of God, and in verse 11, Paul implores us to comfort and edify, which can imply that we fight together as the body of Christ to continue in the faith (verses 12-15).
1 Thessalonians 5 - Paul ends this letter with telling the Thessalonians to rejoice, pray without ceasing, and giving thanks (verses 16-18, Philippians 4:4), along with a specific request to pray for Paul and his fellow brothers (verse 25).