1 Thessalonians 4

A life that makes God happy

1 Christian friends, there are a few more things that we need to say. We have already taught you how to live in a way that pleases God. And we know that you are living in that way. Now we ask you to continue to live like that even more. On behalf of the Lord Jesus, we seriously ask you to do this. 2 You surely remember what we taught you with the authority of the Lord Jesus.

3 This is how God wants you to live: As his own people, he wants you to be completely good. So you must not have sex in a way that is wrong. 4 Each of you men must learn to rule his own body properly. Then you will do only what is pure and right. 5 People who do not know God strongly want to have sex in a wrong way. They cannot control themselves. You must not be like those people. 6 No man among you should ever have sex with the wife of a Christian friend. That would be the same as if you robbed him. It would be a bad thing to do against him. Remember that the Lord will punish everyone who does things like that. We have already told you that. We warned you very seriously about it.

7 God has chosen us to belong to him. He does not want us to do disgusting things. As his people, he wants us to be holy. 8 So do not refuse to accept what I am saying. If you do, it is not just a person that you refuse to obey. You are refusing to obey God. And God is the one who has given his Holy Spirit to you.

9 But I do not need to write to you about how you should love other believers. God himself has taught you how to love each other. 10 Certainly, you love all the believers in all the region of Macedonia. And now we ask you, as our Christian friends, ‘Please love each other more and more.’ 11 Try very much to live at peace with other people. Work hard at your own job. We have already told you that you must do these things. 12 If you live in this way, other people who are not believers will respect you. Also, you will not have to ask anyone else to give you the things that you need.

Jesus' return

13 Our Christian friends, we want you to understand properly about your friends who have died. Then you will not continue to be sad about them. People who do not hope for any life after death are sad when their friends die. But you should not be upset like those other people. 14 We believe that Jesus died and he rose again after death. So we also believe that people who have died as Christians will rise again. When God brings Jesus back, he will take the Christians to go with Jesus.

4:13Timothy may have brought news that the Christians at Thessalonica were confused about Christ's return. They were sad about their Christian friends who had died already. They did not know what would happen to these people. Paul tells them here that they would all live with Christ for ever. It did not matter that some believers had died before Christ returned.

15 We are telling you the message that the Lord has given to us. This is what will happen when the Lord returns. Those of us who are still alive will not go to meet the Lord first. We will not go before those people who have already died. 16 On that day, the Lord himself will come down from heaven. He will shout with authority. People will hear the voice of the leader of God's angels. They will hear the sound of God's trumpet. Then those people who have died as Christians will become alive again. They will be the first people to rise up. 17 After that, those of us who are still alive will join together with them. God will suddenly take us up into the clouds. In that way, we will all meet the Lord in the sky. So we will all be with the Lord for ever. 18 Because this message is true, tell it to each other. Help one another to be strong, not sad.