1 Thessalonians 4

A life that makes God happy

1 Now, friends, we want to say this to you. We taught you how to live so that you make God happy. And certainly, you are living like that. Now we ask you very strongly to continue to live like that more and more. On behalf of the Lord Jesus, we ask you to do this. 2 You know what we told you. We told you what you must do. The Lord Jesus gave us authority to tell you those things.

3 What God wants is this: He wants you to be completely good, and separate from everything that is bad. So you must not have wrong sex. You must not have sex with anyone who is not your own wife or husband. 4 Each of you must learn how to rule his own body. So then you will always do what is right and proper. 5 You should not be like the people who do not know God. They are always wanting very much to have sex. They cannot stop themselves, because they want it so much. But you should not be like those people. 6 No man among you should ever have sex with a woman who is not his own wife. He would be taking something that is another man's. So, he would be doing a wrong thing to that man, who is like his brother. The Lord will punish everyone who does things like that. We have told you this very seriously before. 7 God did not choose us to do bad and dirty things. He chose us to be completely separate from everything that is bad. 8 So anyone who does not obey this rule is not refusing to obey a human person. Instead, he is refusing to do what God says. And God gives you his Spirit, who is completely good.

9 But I do not need to write to you about how you should love other believers. God himself has taught you to love each other. 10 Certainly, you do love all the believers in all Macedonia. But we ask you strongly, friends, to love each other more and more. 11 Try very much not to cause trouble for anyone. Be busy only with your own things, not with other people's things. And work with your hands. We told you before that you must do these things. 12 Then, if you do these things, other people will think good things about you. People who do not believe Christ will think good things about you. They will know that you are honest and good. Also, if you do these things, you will not need anyone else to supply anything for you.

Jesus' return and the believers who have died

13 Friends, we want you to understand properly about the people who have died. So you will not be sad about them, as other people are sad about their dead friends. Those other people are sad because they have nothing to hope for, after death. 14 But we believe that Jesus died. We believe that he became alive again after death. So, we also believe this about the people who have died united to Christ. We believe that God will bring those people back with Jesus.

15 We are now telling you something that the Lord has said. We tell you this about the day when the Lord will come. Those of us who are still alive on that day will not go to meet the Lord first. We will certainly not go before those people who have already died. 16 On that day, God will shout with authority. Also, people will hear the voice of an important angel. They will hear the sound of God's trumpet. And the Lord himself will come down from heaven. Then those people who have died united to Christ will become alive again. And they will rise first. 17 After that, those of us who are still alive at that time will go up. God will take us up to be together with them in the clouds. He will take us to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord always. 18 So tell these things to each other. So you will not need to continue being sad.

4:18Timothy may have told Paul that the Christians at Thessalonica were confused. They may have been sad about their Christian friends who had died already. They did not know what to believe about those people. So, Paul wanted them to know that they would all live with Christ always.