Charles Simeon was a man who wouldn’t give up. In 1783, he was made pastor of a prominent church in England. Some of the wealthy members of the congregation opposed his desire to reach the world with the gospel. This was in the era when many denominations required that people rent pews. Disgusted with Simeon's desire to preach the gospel, many of the members locked their pew boxes so no one could borrow their seats and refused to attend services. When he tried to put benches in the aisles, the church wardens wouldn’t hear of it. This created an awkward situation – the seats were empty, but those who attended were required to sit or stand in the aisles. Despite the opposition, Simeon continued to preach the gospel. And the church grew. Because of his faithfulness, he trained hundreds of faithful gospel witnesses. This is a little picture of God’s faithfulness in a Christian’s life. As 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28 says, when He begins the work of salvation, He is going to finish it. Are you locking your heart against Him, or are you working with Him as He makes you more like the Lord Jesus? Study this passage to understand how God’s character impacts the Christian’s life.
Before reading and studying today's passage, ask God, who wrote it, to help you understand it and to show you how He wants to change your life through it today.
Read Focus Verses
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28 and notice how this wonderful book closes.
The Bible builds on and explains itself. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 to understand what leads up to today's passage.
What aspect of God's character is emphasized in verse 23?
What two things does Paul ask God to do for these believers in verse 23?
What event marks the completion of Paul's request?
In verse 24, what gives Paul confidence that His prayer will be answered?
God's Character 2
What aspect of God's character is emphasized in verse 24?
What request do Paul and his co-authors make in verse 25?
What instruction is given in verse 26?
Who is to be specifically greeted in verse 26?
What charge is given in verse 27?
A Final Prayer
What is the final prayer of this book?
Keyword - God's Character
Marking the two characteristics of God that are mentioned in this passage will help them stand out to you.
Mark the two words that describe God, peace, and faithful in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28.
If you have an extra minute, consider listening to the book of 1 Thessalonians. It will give you a fuller picture of what is being summarized in these verses.
God of Peace
God is referred to as the God of peace many times in Scripture. Looking at these passages helps us better understand what God means when He refers to Himself as the God of peace. Notice how similar the prayer to God as the God of peace in Hebrews 13:20-21 is to today's passage.
At Peace with Whom
Romans 16:20 shows that the God of peace has an enemy He will destroy.
Romans 5:1-9 tells us how a person can go from being God's enemy to being at peace with God.
In Your Words
What do these passages tell you about the God of peace?
Why does Paul especially point out that God is the God of peace in His request in verse 23 of today's passage?
In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 we see that it is God's will for His people that they are sanctified and part of what that looks like.
In Leviticus 20:7-8 we see that a believer's sanctification is their own responsibility, but it is also God's responsibility.
Take a moment to consider the definition of the word translated sanctify.
Origin: from (40)
- to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow
- to separate from profane things and dedicate to God
- consecrate things to God
- dedicate people to God
- to purify
- to cleanse externally
- to purify by expiation: free from the guilt of sin
- to purify internally by renewing of the soul
In Your Words
What does it mean to be sanctified, and why is it both your responsibility and God's responsibility?
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 explains part of the way the Lord preserves His people blameless.
Philippians 2:12-16 explains more of what this looks like.
He Is Able
It is clear from these verses that Christians have responsibility to live blameless lives. Jude 1:24-25 tells us who is powerful enough to do the work.
There are two ways a Christian is blameless - the first is in their standing before God they are perfect in the perfect righteousness of Christ which never changes - the second is their life on earth which must be perfect as God is perfect to reflect God's character to the people around them. How do these two positions work together in 1 Thessalonians 5:23?
Inside and Out
Why is this verse so specific that God desires our inside- soul and spirit- and outside- body- to be set apart wholly for God?
Where God Looks
In 1 Samuel 16:7 God tells Samuel that He looks not as people look on the outward appearance, but on the heart.
Avoid Appearance of Evil
1 Thessalonians 5:22 expands on our understanding of this verse.
When you understand 1 Samuel 16:7 in context of 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23, can 1 Samuel 16:7 mean that God doesn't care what the outward appearance looks like as long as the heart is right?
Proverbs 4:23 helps us explain why.
The Heart and the Outside
Based on what Proverbs says about the heart controlling the outside, use Scripture to explain why, when God says He looks at the heart, it doesn't mean He doesn't care about the outward appearance.
Perhaps it seems strange that Paul prays for God to keep His people blameless until Jesus Christ returns. 1 John 3:2 explains.
This video explains why after Jesus returns Christians will be perfect and won't need to be sanctified any more.
God is Faithful
God's faithfulness is highlighted so many times in Scripture. Read what He says about it in Deuteronomy 7:9-8.
In Lamentations 3:22-23 we read the lines about God's faithfulness that inspired the beautiful hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness."
Faithful to Save
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 is very similar to today's passage and also relates God's faithfulness to salvation.
He Who Began
Philippians 1:3-7 relates God's faithfulness to the surety of salvation. Notice especially verse 6.
In Your Words
Why is God's faithfulness as it relates to His work of salvation so important to the Christian?
In 2 Corinthians 1:11, Paul explains why he so often asks Christians to pray for him.
In Your Words
What reason does Paul give in 2 Corinthians 1:11 for asking people to pray for him?
Many people wonder, if God is in control of everything, why does He want us to pray? How could you use what 2 Corinthians 1:11 teaches us about God wanting us to pray so that we will praise and thank Him when He answers to help you answer that question?
Take a moment to look at the warmth implied in the word translated greet in verse 26.
Origin: from (1) (as a particle of union) and a presumed form of (4685)
- to draw to one's self
- to salute one, greet, bid welcome, wish well to
- to receive joyfully, welcome
Why do you think God specifically uses the word all in verse 26?
In Colossians 4:16 Paul similarly instructs the church to have other Christians read it. Some of the books like Galatians and James were written to multiple churches.
For Others Also
How does knowing that even the human authors of these books understood that they were for a broader audience impact our doctrine of (belief about) the Word of God?
All of Paul's Epistles (letters) in the Bible close with a request for God's grace to be with the believers he wrote to. Notice the first one in Romans 16:24
Many of Paul's Epistles also open with this blessing of grace. Notice this in 1 Thessalonians 1:1
God's grace is when He gives us good things through Jesus Christ that we don't deserve. This webpage explains God's grace briefly.Click To Visit Website
In Your Words
Why does Paul open and close this letter (and the others) with a prayer for God's grace to be with these Christians?
The book closes with a single affirmation - Amen. God is affirming the truth of all that He has said in this book and invites us to join His affirmation - Amen! Take a brief look at this little word.
Origin: of Hebrew origin (0543)
- metaph. faithful
- verily, amen
- at the beginning of a discourse - surely, truly, of a truth
- at the end - so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled. It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own.
If you are a Christian, are you trusting the Lord to finish the work He's begun in your life? Are you living a pure and holy life as He desires? How does God want you to trust and obey more today?
Are you praying for other Christians and thanking God for the answers? How does God want you to grow in this area?
Do you believe that the Lord is pleased with the way you are reading and prioritizing His Word? Are there things that need to change in your life to make room for God's Word?
We hope this study has helped you understand how God's faithfulness and peace give a Christian hope, and has challenged you to work with Him in your sanctification.
Please take a brief moment to provide us some feedback on this lesson. We're always striving to improve, and, with your help, we will.Click To Visit Website
Support our Ministry
Please join us in our quest to help the world discover the beauty of the Bible. Consider making a generous donation today.Click To Visit Website