Today’s Reading: Dan 1:1–2:16, 1 Thess 2:1–3:5, Job 40:3–12
Today’s Theme: Be Holy, Make Disciples
Today’s reading is rich, with so many important lessons. The two main ones are about us living holy lives and working to make true disciples as Jesus commissioned us. We labour to win hearts, minds and lives for God.
Be resolved to be holy
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. (Daniel 1:8, ESV)
We need to be resolved about walking in holiness and being separate from the world. We should not swallow or be sustained by the things of the world.
Ask God for favour
And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs,(Daniel 1:9, ESV)
Ask the Lord to give you favour in whatever mission He has called you to today.
Have faith in God
“Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. (Daniel 1:12, ESV)
This was a miraculous act of faith proving their trust in God and God’s ability rather than a reason to be vegetarian.
Don’t eat rubbish, be wise
As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. (Daniel 1:17, ESV)
I believe there is a direct correlation between their stand to not eat anything from the king which in a spiritual way speaks of bad teaching etc. This resolve made them not stuffed with rubbish and so open to God’s wisdom.
Don’t fill your mind with the garbage of the world, instead be filled with God’s word and good things.
Only God is able
The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” (Daniel 2:11, ESV)
They were talking about demons when they said gods, but even this is not true, only the true God Yahweh could help.
Respond with wisdom
Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. (Daniel 2:14, ESV)
Lord help us to respond with prudence and discretion.
1 Thessalonians 2:1–3:5
But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.
(1 Thessalonians 2:2, ESV)
The Gospel must not be shared in timidity but boldness, the boldness is in context to the resistance and conflict.
The gospel, a royal charge
but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4, ESV)
We have been entrusted with The Gospel, it should not be used lightly, changed or neglected. It is a precious treasure and should be treated with the honour it deserves as we extend it and defend it.
A minister of The Gospel must meet God’s standard of approval. We are His royal emissaries and should conduct ourselves as such.
Sharing The Gospel brings God pleasure and should never be about pleasing men.
But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
(1 Thessalonians 2:7, ESV)
Alongside the boldness must be the gentle care of the souls we seek to disciple. Ask the Lord help you to be like that nursing mother when you are discipling others.
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (1 Thessalonians 2:8, ESV)
There was a genuine affection and care in the delivery of The Gospel. This is not like the men who set up a tent, preach and move on, this was the real deal, disciple making.
For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. (1 Thessalonians 2:9, ESV)
We are to work, and work hard in the delivery of The Gospel and making disciples.
Our lives should match the message
You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:10, ESV)
Their lives matched the message they proclaimed.
A call to a holy life
we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12, ESV)
True disciple making and gospel preaching involves a call to a holy life. A life worthy of the God who makes the glorious call into the kingdom which gives rise to and is at the core of this Good News.
We must make this call as a father would to his children. Our affections must be this deeply rooted and affected that we see those we are making into disciples like our own children.
The transforming power of the Bible
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:13, ESV)
This backs up the doctrine of divine inspiration. God’s word is God’s very word and revelation to mankind.
God’s word is active and supernatural, as we receive it and meditate upon it, it gets to work inside us, transforming us from the inside out…. Hallelujah!
Paul is not Anti Semitic
who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! (1 Thessalonians 2:15–16, ESV)
Some would say this is anti semitic, but it was true and just a statement of truth. There were large sections of the Jewish community that were bitterly opposed to The Gospel, it was an offence to them.
Part of the problem was the unbiblical teaching of many of Israel’s leaders that taught it was a virtue to hate the Gentiles when God actually taught them to reach out to the Gentiles with the Old Testament gospel.
Just because God had blinded their eyes does not mean they are not responsible for being against the purposes of God. Their judgement and all of mankind’s judgement is just.
The Devil, a real enemy
because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. (1 Thessalonians 2:18, ESV)
The devil is real and powerful, he has the power to resist the purposes of God. We must not underestimate his power and influence and must be prepared, pray and realise that regardless of God’s sovereignty, we are in a fight for the kingdom of God.
Make disciples with joy
For you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:20, ESV)
Our disciples are our glory before God and our joy. We should make disciples with joy.
Labour to see growth
and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, (1 Thessalonians 3:2, ESV)
With Paul it was not a one hit show, he would labour with the churches to see them grow in the faith and sent Timothy to that end.
Destined to suffer for God’s sake
that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. (1 Thessalonians 3:3, ESV)
As Christians we are not destined to win… What rubbish, we are destined to suffer for the sake of the Gospel.
The battle for hearts and minds
For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. (1 Thessalonians 3:5, ESV)
Paul was conscious of the spiritual battle he was in, but this was not esoteric. It was a battle regarding beliefs and convictions, the battle for hearts and minds.
Man’s “rights” are not above God
Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? (Job 40:8, ESV)
We should never exalt our own rights or goodness above God. This is often the mistake of anti reformed theology like liberal theology which exalts man’s choice above all else.
God is clothed in glory
“Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. (Job 40:10, ESV)
God is clothed in His own glory and splendour.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 1 Thessalonians 2