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Life Lessons from 1 and 2 Thessalonians: Transcendent Living in a Transient World

Life Lessons from 1 and 2 Thessalonians: Transcendent Living in a Transient World

by Max Lucado
Life Lessons from 1 and 2 Thessalonians: Transcendent Living in a Transient World

Life Lessons from 1 and 2 Thessalonians: Transcendent Living in a Transient World

by Max Lucado

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Overview

The church in Thessalonica was a study in contrast. They had been a quiet and holy people. But after a while, they had become restless and impatient. They needed direction on how to live.

So Paul wrote the young church two letters. The first commended the believers for their faith and encouraged them to continue living according to the gospel principles he had taught. The second letter was filled with helpful hints that corrected their wrong beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors. Whether we are living a quiet and holy life or one that leaves us restless and impatient, Paul's letters encourage us. They challenge us to remain faithful in a temporary world.

As you read, study, journal, and discuss the books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, watch for these key themes that Max will unpack throughout the book:

  • We should live in preparation for Christ's return.
  • God wants holy and pure worship.
  • The time of Christ's return will be unpredictable.
  • How we live our everyday lives, matters.

The Life Lessons with Max Lucado series brings the Bible to life in twelve lessons filled with intriguing questions, inspirational stories, and poignant reflections to take you deeper into God's Word. Each lesson includes:

  • An opening reflection on the Bible book you're studying.
  • Background information to deepen your understanding of the cultural and historical setting.
  • An excerpt of the text (from the NIV and the NKJV).
  • Exploration questions with plenty of room to write your own thoughts and notes.
  • Inspirational thoughts from Max as well as a closing takeaway for further reflection.

The Life Lessons series is ideal for use in both a small-group setting or for individual study.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310086543
Publisher: HarperChristian Resources
Publication date: 11/27/2018
Series: Life Lessons
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 1,107,717
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Since entering the ministry in 1978, Max Lucado has served churches in Miami, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as Teaching Minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. He is the recipient of the 2021 ECPA Pinnacle Award for his outstanding contribution to the publishing industry and society at large. He is America’s bestselling inspirational author with more than 145 million products in print.

Visit his website at Max Lucado.com

Facebook.com/Max Lucado

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Twitter.com/Max Lucado

Youtube.com/Max Lucado Official

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

LESSON ONE

TRUE TRANSFORMATION

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:2–3 NKJV

REFLECTION

It's been said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. But we could add another item to that list — change. Think about it. Nothing in this world stays the same. Emotions vacillate. Relationships fluctuate. Material things deteriorate. Look at your own life. What are some of the primary things in your life that are different now than they were ten years ago?

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SITUATION

The city of Thessalonica was a major trade center in the ancient world with an excellent natural harbor. In Paul's day it attracted a number of Jewish merchants, and a synagogue had been built there. This building offered Paul an obvious place to begin to share the gospel, and both Jews and Gentiles came to believe in Christ — including a man named Jason, who allowed Paul to stay in his home. Yet Paul's success angered certain other Jews of the city, and the apostle and his team ultimately were forced to leave. When Paul later received a favorable report on the status of the church, he immediately wrote a letter to encourage the believers to persevere and continue to allow God to bring about the transformation he had begun in their lives.

OBSERVATION

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10 from the New International Version or the New King James Version.

New International Version

1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace to you.

2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia — your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

New King James Version

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

EXPLORATION

1. Read about the founding of the church at Thessalonica in Acts 17:1–9. How does the beginning of their community compare with the history of your church? __________________________________________________________________________

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2. What are some reasons Paul gives for being thankful for the believers in Thessalonica?

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3. What do you think Paul means when he says that God "chose" the believers? __________________________________________________________________________

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4. How does Paul describe the gospel that he presented to them? Why do you think he stresses the message he delivered was not "in word only, but also in power" (verse 5)?

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5. In what ways were the believers in Thessalonica an example to the other churches?

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6. Which is more important — a transformed character or a rock-solid reputation? Why?

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INSPIRATION

Here is (dare I say it?) the greatest miracle of God. It is astounding when God heals the body. It is extraordinary when God hears the prayer. It is incredible when God provides the new job, the new car, the new child. But none of these compares to when God creates new life.

At our new birth God remakes our souls and gives us what we need, again. New eyes so we can see by faith. A new mind so we can have the mind of Christ. New strength so we won't grow tired. A new vision so we won't lose heart. A new voice for praise and new hands for service. And most of all, a new heart. A heart that has been cleansed by Christ.

And, oh, how we need it. We have soiled what he gave us the first time. We have used our eyes to see impurity, our hands to give pain, our feet to walk the wrong path, our minds to think evil thoughts. All of us need to be made new again.

The first birth was for earthly life; the second one is for eternal life. The first time we received a physical heart; the second time we receive a spiritual heart. The first birth enabled us to have life on earth. The second birth enables us to have life eternal. (From A Gentle Thunder by Max Lucado.)

REACTION

7. What were the circumstances surrounding your decision to accept Christ as your Savior?

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8. What prompted you to listen to the messengers who first explained the gospel to you?

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9. What are the unmistakable signs that Christ has made you a new creature — that the Spirit of God lives in you?

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10. In what ways do you feel that you are an example to other believers?

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11. When other people discuss your faith, what do you suspect they say about you, about God, and about the church?

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12. What areas of your life do you sense God's Spirit prompting you to examine?

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LIFE LESSONS

Here's an arresting truth: we each have a reputation. Good or bad, everyone who is acquainted with us has an opinion about us. If our name comes up in conversation, people remember interactions and incidents they have had with us. If we are not around, they may say things about us — either good ("she is one of the kindest people I know"), or bad ("Oh, yeah, him ... he's a self-absorbed jerk"). The fact is, if we claim to be followers of Jesus, our reputation is enormously important. So, how do we go about making ours better? Not by working on our image but by focusing on our character. When we let God do his transforming work in our hearts, the difference Christ makes will slowly become evident on the surface of our lives.

DEVOTION

Father, thank you for the great hope of the gospel — that we don't have to stay as we are. We can change, by the power of your Spirit. Work in us. Show us the inconsistencies in our lives. Help us to be a better example to those around us today.

JOURNALING

In what ways do you see God gradually transforming your heart and your mind?

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FOR FURTHER READING

To complete the books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians during this twelve-part study, read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. For more Bible passages on the need to live transformed lives, read Daniel 1:8; Matthew 5:13-16; Acts 5:20; 1 Timothy 6:18; and 1 Peter 2:12; 3:15.

CHAPTER 2

THE QUESTION OF MOTIVES

For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.

1 Thessalonians 2:3–4

REFLECTION

It isn't enough to merely do the right things. The Bible makes it clear that God not only cares about what we do but also why we do it. Take a few moments to ponder your own heart in each of these areas: Why do you go to church? Why do you hang out with the friends you have chosen? What are your motives for working where you do and the way you do?

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SITUATION

Paul, having explained why he was thankful for the Thessalonian believers, now expresses one of the primary purposes for writing his letter: to defend his motives for the work he did when he was with them. It appears that after Paul left Thessalonica, he became the target of multiple accusations in this regard. The identity of these opponents is not known, but they could have been pagan Gentiles who lived in the area or the relentless band of hostile Jews who shadowed his movements. Paul responds to these false accusations by explaining his true motives.

OBSERVATION

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1–12 from the New International Version or the New King James Version.

New International Version

1 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed — God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

New King James Version

1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.

4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness — God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.

10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

EXPLORATION

1. Read about what Paul suffered in Philippi in Acts 16:16–24. Why do you think Paul reminds the Thessalonian believers of these events as he begins to defend his motives?

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2. How does Paul describe his motives in sharing the gospel with them (see verse 3)?

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(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Life Lessons from 1 & 2 Thessalonians"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Max Lucado.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

How to Study the Bible v

Introduction to the Books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians ix

Lesson 1 True Transformation (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10) 1

Lesson 2 The Question of Motives (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12) 11

Lesson 3 When Hell Breaks Loose (1 Thessalonians 2:13-20) 21

Lesson 4 Encouraging Others (1 Thessalonians 3:1-13) 31

Lesson 5 Godly Living (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12) 43

Lesson 6 The King Is Coming! (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11) 53

Lesson 7 The Christian's Survival Kit (1 Thessalonians 5:12-28) 65

Lesson 8 The Upside of Trouble (2 Thessalonians 1:1-12) 75

Lesson 9 The Great Deceiver (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) 85

Lesson 10 Standing Strong (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17) 95

Lesson 11 The Importance Of Intercession (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5) 105

Lesson 12 The Value of Work (2 Thessalonians 3:6-18) 113

Leader's Guide for Small Groups 123

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