1 Thessalonians, 4
1: Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2: For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3: For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5: Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7: For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8: He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. 9: But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 10: And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11: And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12: That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. 13: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14: For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15: For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18: Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Paul reminds the believers that as they know how to live so they should increase in godly living pleasing God. Then Paul reminds them of the commandments that they brought to them from the Lord Jesus Christ. The will of God for them he says is to become increasingly separated unto the Lord, which means that they must abstain from all sexual immorality, that every believer should know how to use their own body in holiness and honour for God. Not overcome by lust in sinfulness like the Gentiles do who do not know God. And that no believer should take anything by deception from his brother, because the Lord is the avenger of all such sin. Paul says we warned you about these things. God has not called us to live unclean lives but to be dedicated unto the Lord. The man who despises this teaching despises the Lord who has given to us the Spirit - who is holy. I don’t need to remind you about brotherly love because you are all taught of God to love one another. And we know that you do love all the brethren that are in Macedonia but we would encourage you to express your love more and more. And says Paul we would encourage you concentrate on quiet christian living and that you pay attention to your own business – working with your own hands to support yourselves. So that you are living honestly toward those who are outside the church and that you have no financial needs. Lastly Paul comes to the question they had raised regarding those of their company who had died. He says I do not want you to be lacking in knowledge regarding those who have died as believers, because I do not want you to have total despair like those who have no hope of resurrection to eternal life. (Their physical death is just like a temporary sleep.) If we believe that Jesus died and rose again then those of your company who have died God will bring them with him when Christ returns. What I am saying is a revelation from the Lord - we who are alive when Christ comes will not prevent believers who have died from rising again. Because the Lord Jesus will come down from heaven accompanied by a shout and with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God and the bodies of those christians who have died will rise first and after that those christians who are alive will be snatched up as a whole company - with those who are resurrected, to meet the Lord Jesus in the atmosphere. And after that we will be forever with the Lord. I want you to comfort one another with this truth.