Come Follow Me LDS- Thessalonians Part 1

'Scapegoats, Vessels & A Thief'
- Finding 'genuine' teachers
- Our bodies are the temple the temple is built after
- Being prepared for the 'thief in the night'
- We are created to succeed
- Evil for Evil- Justice, cannot exist on its own
- We should 'prove all things'. That is the correct type of knowledge


Come Follow Me for Individuals and Families

 LDS Mormon New Testament Bible 1 Thessalonians 


this episode we talk about scapegoats

vessels and a thief here we go

in this episode of quick media come

follow me we're going to cover first

Thessalonians this is perhaps the oldest

epistle and the oldest writing period

that we have of the New Testament

remember that as we go through the New

Testament we're not reading this in the

sequence of time right especially the

epistles from Paul they're all over the

place mostly written and placed first by

size the length of the Epistle and then

going toward the end and going

eventually to Hebrews which is very

questionable as to whether it is written

by Paul but all of the writings in the

New Testament

do not follow some kind of a

chronological order of when they were

written Thessalonians here first

Thessalonians was written before any of

the Gospels were written at least as we

can tell the oldest manuscripts that we

have from the Gospels all post date

first Thessalonians so very possible

we're getting the very earliest writing

here in the entire New Testament now

Thessalonica is a major city in Greece

so most of the cities that we're looking

at here are between Asia Minor and

Greece Thessalonica was founded in the

time of Alexander the Great

it was named after his half-sister and

as time goes on here throughout the

first century second century and beyond

when the church is formed together into

the universal church or the Catholic

Church eventually through the Creed's of

the fourth century it eventually is

going to split with the split of the

Roman Empire and you end up with the

Western Church or the Catholic Church

the Roman Church and with the Eastern

Church which eventually splits off into

two you have the eastern and what they

call the Oriental sects of Christianity

and we don't hear a whole lot about

those churches that they're very

interesting and we actually have quite a

few doctrines that are very similar to

the Eastern Churches they're also split


sometimes ethnically so you have the

Greek Church the Russian Church the

Serbian Church the Church of Ukraine etc

but it's a very large group and it's

estimated there's approximately 400

million members of these Eastern


but that's where Thessalonica is going

to end up it's going to end up as one of

these Eastern Churches or a part of

these Eastern Churches these Eastern

Orthodox churches are to me very

interesting they're very into symbolism

a lot of artwork very similar in that

sense to the Catholic Church they have

some doctrine that is different from the

Catholic Church they actually believe in

theosis they believe in becoming divine

or sharing somehow some divinity with

God in just a few months ago my family

and I went to a Greek Orthodox service

which was very interesting in the Greek

Orthodox service you're standing almost

the entire time

so we're standing up singing at times

listening to the priest at times and

then you sit down every once in a while

but the majority of about an hour or

more is spent standing up so if you ever

do visit an Orthodox a Greek Orthodox

Church just realize you're probably

going to be standing for a while but we

had a great experience I'm going to take

you right down to verse 6 of chapter 1

here where again and Paul is doing this

on purpose I think he starts off with

talking about imitation he uses that

term followers in English which in the

Greek is Mehmet I to mimic he says here

and he became followers of us and the

love the Lord having received the word

in much affliction with joy of the Holy


so this is a very important concept

because Paul throughout his epistles

talks about people being imitators of

him and of the Lord and who else would

they be imitators of while outside of

the church outside of cry

you would have you'd be imitators of the

Greeks or the Gentiles or the pagans and

that's a completely different way of

life a different way of life in the

sense that it is not about forgiveness

it is not about love at its core in its

religion but it's actually eventually

about violence and so Paul as he's

preaching the gospel is saying look you

need to imitate Christ and what he did

he overcame everything which is really

at its core the violence of the world he

overcame everything by submitting and by

not retaliating but only offering love

and so he offered a perfect life as an

example number one and number two he

gave up everything including his own

life and paid the price for everybody

else through love and so he's saying

imitate that to become imitators of him

I imitate him I try to imitate him so

imitate us as leaders as well follow

what we're doing because we are

following Christ and that has a big

that's a big part of what I describe as

the fluid hierarchy right we're trying

to bind ourselves through imitating this

specific path that is tied together like

a link a chain of links that continually

moves forward but there's a prescription

for that progress and that is the

principles of the gospel that are

exemplified in Christ and especially in

his sacrifice but it says here in verse

6 that the people of Thessalonica

received the word in affliction and so

what is happening there to them is that

the Jews not the Jewish members but the

Jews that are there see the Christians

here as competition they are rivals and

so they are persecuting them and in fact

the persecution gets so bad that when

Paul is here on his second journey his


journey he and Silas have to leave

there's always such a battle to get the

truth out there especially when

something is starting think of the early

days of the church left and right there

are problems and struggles it just

doesn't end and you have to have someone

like Paul that is willing to go through

all of this great personal cost

and great love and duty a sense of duty

to be able to try and keep all these

things together just like Joseph Smith

there might have been people that in

some ways could have done a better job

of leading the church but there may have

been nobody better that was willing to

go through everything that Joseph Smith

had to go through that it was willing to

pay the price that he did and still have

the energy and focus and the love of the

people to keep things going then down in

verse nine just a little nuance I'm

something we've covered many times

before and how he turned to God from

idols it says to serve the living and

true God think about some of the things

that people are turning away from when

we talk about the idols right it is a

way of life it is a way of thinking

you're talking about a vain idle a dumb

idle and something where there is no

example of love there's an example of

authority but of true give everything

you have love that Christ gave for

everyone doesn't exist and so when you

accept that as the one true God in your

life what you're saying is I accept that

love from him and I want to try and be

like him that is a big big change in

thought and the pagan societies around

this time don't recognize that right

they're not familiar with that this is

an entirely new concept to them

sacrifice to them

meant giving up something like an animal

or killing a person even for the sake of

the group for the community for the sake

of their family but to sacrifice

yourself be the same way that you're

going to give up everything and to think

that God Himself gave up everything was

not a rival to you in some way playing a

game that is a very very different

thought to what the pagans here had been

taught to believe previously and then in

chapter 2 he goes through a very

interesting point that is something we

can recognize when we are dealing with

people especially with something as

important as the gospel or what we

worship and that is here starting in

verse 3 he says for our exhortation

talking about him and Silas and Timothy

the leaders of the church was not of

deceit nor of uncleanness nor in guile

so he's pointing out that this is a very

important point that you might receive

information you might receive principles

you might receive persuasion from a lot

of different areas but is it done

sincerely and it's probably a good idea

to develop that skill and try and figure

out when you're he listening to somebody

could be a salesperson is their

sincerity their or is their guile in

verse 4 he follows up and says but as we

were allowed of God to be put in trust

with the gospel even so we speak not as

pleasing men but God which try a

thoughts so that's interesting right in

other words he's going to speak some

hard things they're going to say some

difficult things you could go out and

just say things that sound good to

everybody think of things that happen

today now we're wow the Brethren could

definitely a General Conference make

some people feel a lot better

sometimes by simply capitulating

- a message that is more politically

correct but that's not their job and

they're not there for guile that would

that would be deceitful for them to do

that so they're putting a message out at

least effort efforting to continually

put a message out that is without guile

and that is sometimes going to be harsh

it's like it's like Nephi says - about

his brother brothers Laman and Lemuel

you know sometimes the truth cuts deep

and sometimes we need that sometimes we

need to hear that but we want truth

where are we going to go for truth he

says here that God tries our hearts so

he's not always going to give us

messages that sound pleasing to us and

right here in 14 he talks about how the

people of Thessalonica have become

followers Mehmet I imitators of other

churches in the areas down in Judea for

example and that they also just like

those that are down in Jerusalem and

then in the surrounding areas in Judea

have suffered because of what Paul came

out of as a Pharisee we came out of with

the climate of the Jews and the

Christians here and the chasm between

them just as they have suffered there in

Thessalonica they're also suffering

because of the same thing and he says

here in 15 talking about the Jews he

says who both killed the Lord Jesus and

their own prophets and have persecuted

us and they please not God and are

contrary to all men so what are they

doing so they have been killing the

prophets go back to Isaiah and others

that have been killed Lehi Wright was

was going to be sacrificed they were

going to kill him why it's not just

because we would look at this as black

and white where Lehi is good and the

people in Jerusalem are bad why are they

doing it yes they're evil

but what has made them evil what has

what has changed they're doing it in

what they believe is a moral cause right

they need to sacrifice Lehi

and stone him essentially for blasphemy

so that they can show that they are

right and that their moral code that

they have absorbed at that time is

correct it's the same thing in the time

of Jesus right they are saying that

Jesus is not innocent he's not some

innocent guy that we're going to

sacrifice he's guilty to them he's

guilty of blasphemy and guilty of many

other things that's why they couldn't

stand when he was when you could see the

fruits of his labor all the healing that

he did they couldn't stand it because

that's not their words and that went

against everything that they said about

him he was set up as a sacrifice because

he was guilty according to the Jews and

that's how society worked but of course

he wasn't guilty

but that's how it was with the prophets

of old as well Lehigh included they had

to be sacrificed based on a moral code

that was understood and accepted and

adopted and probably lied about by

everybody that these victims were guilty

and so blasphemy it was a great way to

bring about that guilt and that's not

just among the Jews that's among all

societies I don't want to skip over here

to chapter 4 and we get this idea from

Paul over and over again about our

bodies he uses the metaphor of a body

for the church constantly and then he

talks about personally each one of our

bodies as a temple as the tool that our

spirit is using as an adversary to us

because the body is kernel and as a

vessel to hold our spirit for us to

purify so he says here in verses 3 and 4

for this is the will of God even your


that ye should abstain from fornication

that every one of you should know how to

possess his vessel or your body in

sanctification and honor so I like how

he comes out with that that look it puts

us into a situation where we understand

we're in a different place than we were

in the premortal life here we are in

mortality we've each been given a body

and the body isn't us in a sense right

really it's our spirit and then we're

housed our spirit is housed in this body

but the body is our vessel and it's what

gives us our emotion it what gives what

gives us context in many ways in this

world pain and pleasure etc it's what

helps us make sense of the world as our

senses and our understanding of the

world but it is a temple and really it

is the temple and I've said this before

but I think that the way Paul talks

about the body seems to me that what

he's saying is look the temples for

example the temple in Jerusalem at this

time with Paul is our bodies aren't like

that temple right that temple is like

our bodies our bodies are eternal

our bodies are what hold our spirit the

Temple in Jerusalem is going to be

brought down here within about 20 years

of this time of when Paul writes this

but our spirits in our bodies are

eternal they are the true temples and so

here he brings up fornication but think

about a temple and how its treated how

we are so meticulous about how the

grounds are or so meticulous about how

clean the temple is at all times the

carpets are redone and replaced

consistently the angles of the doorways

and everything are set just perfect and

nothing but the best is put inside of

them things that bring the spirit and so

when we think about that

think we should think more about not

just what do we consume not just about

the word of wisdom but looking at

everything that our body senses around

us and what world it is that we're

creating how are we keeping this body

clean what is our diet like what do we

really eat right what are we really

putting in there are we putting in the

cheapest worst stuff and what do we do

that with a your closest temple buy

you would that bring the spirit to the

temple and then of course we can talk

about what we see and what we hear all

of these things are being absorbed into

our body which is an intelligent vessel

and it does change based on the

experiences that we have and what we

allow in what we're putting into our

bodies so as Paul says here we should

sanctify and honor our bodies our

temples and then over in chapter 5 verse

2 for yourselves know perfectly that the

day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in

the night we've heard that what does

that mean so again I think what we have

here they may be thinking that this that

the Lord is going to come a second time

very soon and I think a lot of what Paul

talks about here as well as what John

talks about in the book of Revelation

has much as much to do with what's about

to happen in Jerusalem in 70 AD about

again about twenty years from the time

of this epistle and about forty years

after the time of Christ as it does with

us in the latter days and I think we can

see that in Matthew or we what the

sections that we have in Matthew in the

pearl of great price we can see two

different time periods but I think if

you look between the time period now

when Paul is talking in a future date

from now when the Christ is coming for a

second time what we have in between

there is a principle and that is is that

we should all be looking forward

- when Christ comes because he will come

as a thief in the night so how do we

need to live our lives no matter where

we find ourselves in that timetable are

we prepared and again he goes into this

principle a little bit more in verse 3

for when they shall say peace and safety

then sudden destruction cometh upon them

so all's well in Zion right all's well

in Zion you know it's interesting I work

a lot with the market with the stock

market and sure enough every time that

everybody is really high on the market

right at some point they're at some

point there may not be now may not be

maybe obviously didn't happen six months

ago might not be next year but at some

point when everybody's saying hey peace

and security and safety and everything's

great then BOOM right then you then you

don't have that then you have chaos and

destruction so there's a principle to

follow there that says where do I place

my risks how much risk do I put out

there and in a spiritual sense how am i

invested in my own life and in the life

of my family to absorb those times and

to prepare myself for the second coming

and he says then sudden destruction

cometh upon them and travail upon a

woman with child and they shall not

escape when that time comes for a woman

that time comes and you better be ready

right especially back then because

you're not going to change the timing on

this the Lord has his own time and

society and its patterns and its cycles

and the economies they all have their

own laws that they're following and

we're not going to change that and then

down in verse 9 a very good principle

for all of us to always remember

hopefully for God hath not appointed us

to wrath but to obtain salvation by our

Lord Jesus Christ so we are created with

the idea that we are going to be saved

and that we're going to return

successful victorious that's the whole

idea for you for me for

one that's an important thing to

understand especially for them back then

that's not necessarily what they

understood these Gentiles Greeks pagans

in the world that they lived in they

were complete puppets to the gods but we

know based on the love that God has for

us that we can count on that we can

trust that we have faith in that the

Lord wants us to succeed and that means

a lot then down in 14 and 15 he's

talking about giving service and being a

servant to those around you again

servant is a big theme and a title I

think a role that the Savior played and

that we're all supposed to play but at

15 he says something important he says

see that nun render evil for evil unto

any man so on I for an eye and a tooth

for a tooth

well that is justice but it's justice in

a vacuum it's sitting on its own and it

doesn't work in fact justice only

creates more wrath and more problems

because we're going to create enemies

we're going to create rivals and things

start spinning out of control and wars

start contention starts death starts

murder robbery all of this chaos ensues

as we render evil for evil if we live in

a place where we're going to always

offer revenge and that's the exact

opposite of what Christ taught which was

love your enemies it's a difficult

teaching very difficult teaching but it

takes that cycle that's running out of

control and spiraling downward and it

saves it and it tries to bring it back

through love and mercy one to another

and so when we talk about how justice is

going to take each of us down on its own

and we need the mercy of God to lift us

up and to save us we need the same thing

as a society you think about political

parties right now and how difficult

things are becoming right now in a very

contentious society one side against the


and this person said this and we need to

retaliate here and it just doesn't stop

and the stones keep being hurled back

and forth well what does that end up

being think about the end of the book of

ether now that is not so great the point

of that book and the end of that book is

to say look when you only focus on

justice and you create rivals and

enemies and you retaliate in kind

over and over again back and forth back

and forth

you're gonna start spiraling out

of control and in many ways in many

times it's going to get to a point like

it did in the book of ether where

everybody is wiped out and there's death

and carnage and evil everywhere but

that's not the way that the Lord taught

the way that the Lord taught is exactly

the opposite and then he gives a list of

behaviors again he loves giving us these

lists of how we should act and it's

great to look at because we can read it

over and over again try to absorb it

maybe put it into our subconscious so

that we behave better and we behave more

Christ-like but here at 17 he says pray

without ceasing we hear that in the Book

of Mormon also and I think one way to

look at that is not only are you

supplicating to the Lord constantly not

only are you humbling yourself and

submitting yourself to a greater power

consistently but it's understanding what

your place is in mortality again all of

these things going on you don't have

control over there are you know so many

rules and laws here where you have no

control over it prayer comes from the

same root as precarious right we live in

a very precarious world where we just

don't have control on many things now we

want to gain as much control in the

right places as we can through our

agency but understanding that we don't


control and leaning on the Lord and

putting faith in him I think is a pretty

good principle and I think that's what

that means if you're in a state of

prayer non-ceasingly then you're

always in a state where you're like okay

I'm binding myself to someone who does

have control in 21 we get this

suggestion from Paul prove all things

hold fast that which is good and again I

think that my personal experience is

I've seen a number of times in the

church and here I am judging but where

we don't prove all things where it

almost seems like it's blasphemy to

question something or to think about

something critically on your own and I

think that's exactly what Paul is saying

here is no you need to prove things

to yourself or try things

that's what Alma tells us right just

take that seed no matter what the new

thing is the new doctor and the new

thing that you've learned the new thing

you've heard from the Brethren take that

seed and nurture it and help it to grow

and try it prove it and then as you do

that that seed will grow and grow and

grow and bear fruit if you don't try it

then that tree is going to snap in half

when the first wind comes so we should

prove things not contentiously and not

negatively right you don't have to be

contentious and negative to question

something especially with yourself just

to yourself you can question something

and then go and learn and go and try it

and go and prove it that is the best way

to learn I don't think that the Lord

wants us to just listen and go right he

doesn't want that you think about the

great teaching about obedience which is

in the book of Moses where Adam is

sacrificing and an angel comes to him

and says well why are you sacrificing

and he says I don't know I was told to

do this

I'm doing it it's like okay that's great

obey you obey you go ahead and you obey

but he still wants to know why and the

angel tells him at that point he doesn't

go on living not ever wanting to know

what is going on I think that's

important especially in today's Internet


we need to inoculate ourselves against

false doctrines and flattery words and

ideologies that can take over our lives

and we do that through knowledge and

practice and then in 22 we get something

that we usually read incorrectly and

here we in 22 it says abstain from all

appearance of evil

so we oftentimes take this without

really learning it and use it as a

teaching idea of don't look like you're

doing something evil right you don't you

take on the appearance of doing

something that is evil which is a good

principle but that's not what Paul's

talking about right and we can extend

that and we kind of put that out even

further into getting a little bit more

pharisaical on our behavior or a little

more judgmental of those that are around

us but it's not even what Paul is saying

what is he saying here abstain from all

appearance of evil well the better

translation of this is abstain from

every form of evil right the appearance

of how that evil is not how you look

doing something that has nothing to do

with it it's abstain from every form of

evil pornography thievery blasphemy etc

looking at it the other way is a way for

us just to get more judgmental with each

other so Paul and his companions

teaching the people of Thessalonica do

so in a way where they have no guile and

they have complete sincerity it's

important for them to deliver a pure


and the message that we hear in the

gospel is not always one that is going

to be pleasing to us that's not the goal

sometimes it's going to cut a little bit

and that's okay what we want to do is

try and imitate the leaders of the

church who are trying to imitate Christ

and follow that path that is built by

charity and love staying away from other

idols that would detract us from a world

where we love our enemies and we don't

spiral out of control by creating

rivalries and these experiences that we

have in trying to be righteous are all

done within this body that we have been

given my temple that we are trying to

create throughout our mortality try to

make it the right vessel the type of

vessel that it's supposed to be in

reading Paul you can kind of hear him

speaking directly to each one of us on

these attributes these Christ-like

attributes that we should follow that

would all prepare us for an eventual

second coming of the Lord which if we're

not around when that happens we will

eventually meet him again I'll talk to

you next time


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