When you enter Jesus’ classroom, his important lessons are evident and often repeated.
Dallas Willard has written about the lack of ethical teaching in major universities. A person can graduate with an advanced degree and never have a course in correct behavior.
When you sit under the teaching of Jesus, you may not learn higher mathematics or economic theory. However, you will be confronted with the kind of behavior that is necessary for a good life.
The number one course of study will emphasize love. Paul noted this fact when he wrote to the church.
1 Thessalonians 4.9-10 – Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,
And indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia.
Paul’s word for love in this verse was used by William Penn to describe Philadelphia, “the city of brotherly love.”
God’s people reveal his character when they express love for one another. Friendship-love was God’s plan from the beginning of his relationship with Israel.
— Leviticus 19:18 – You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
My YouTube partner, Rudy Ross, frequently talks about his prayer to be more kind and playful. Rudy sits in Jesus’ classroom every day. He has learned the love lesson and makes sure to put it into practice.
Practical Expressions of Love
Love is a feeling, but it is also an action.
1 Thessalonians 4.10b-11 – But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you.
With three bullet points, Paul outlined behavior that is a practical expression of love.
— Live quietly – Don’t disrupt others by not working.
— Mind your own affairs – Don’t be a busybody, but busy yourselves with your own work.
— Work with your own hands – Provide for your own needs.
When we sit in Jesus’ classroom, we learn the kind of behavior that is loving toward others. Three simple expressions of love will help others appreciate the good news of God’s love.
1 Thessalonians 4.12 – So that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one.
About Believers Who Have Died
Paul used what he learned from Jesus to educate the church about what happens when believers die.
1 Thessalonians 4.13 – But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
When a loved one or friend dies, believers grieve. However, they don’t grieve like people who have no hope.
There is quite a difference between the funeral for a believer and a non-Christian.
Non-Christians don’t have a language to speak about life after death. They may espouse a cultural belief about the afterlife, but it is lacking the reality of God’s word.
While Christians do grieve, they know that their believing loved one is secure in the arms of God.
Resurrection and Hope
Jesus described life after death when spoke to Martha at the death of her brother.
— John 11.25-26 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
Jesus made it clear to Martha that persons move from life on earth to eternal life at the moment of death.
Paul wrote about what N.T. Wright calls “life after life-after-death.” This involves a bodily resurrection.
1 Thessalonians 4.14 – For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.
What is most important in these verses (what we will study tomorrow) is not speculation about the end-time.
What is most important is the fact that believers are “with him.” Whatever may happen, to be with Jesus is the best place of all.
This is our hope. God has given us life after death. He will bring about life after life-after-death with bodily resurrection.
Rudy Ross and tackle this passage on YouTube today. You can find it on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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