1 Thessalonians 4:11-14


1 Th 4:11 (KJB)
And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
Study - Aspire, to have as one’s ambition or aim
To be quiet - Rest, be still, be silent
Here the Apostle Paul is not telling them to quench their zeal for the Gospel. He is commanding or instructing them that they need to have as their aim a quiet life. What he is saying that they must discipline their zeal. Zealousness which is out of control can make one look like a religious fanatic. Paul wants these people to be fervent in their evangelism with the Gospel but he also wants them to do their own business or their own thing, which would be taking care of their affairs or their family. There are many Christians who have neglected their families or even some have divorced their spouses thinking that is what God wanted. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. As Christians, we must take care of personal business in our own life. What good would it be to evangelize while the creditors are emptying our houses of furniture for non-payment of the bills. We are also to dedicate time to our personal lives. Then we are to work with our own hands because work prevents us from becoming busybodies in the lives of others which can ruin our testimonies. There must be a balance created in our life between our ministry and personal lives. We do not neglect one for the other, instead we try to harmonize them and make them work in concert with each other.
1 Th 4:12 (KJB)
That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
Honestly - Properly or decently
Without - The unbelievers
One part of our testimony to the world which we must never neglect is our personal lives. If we refuse to work and just want to hand out tracts all day, the zeal is fine, but if God has not called you to do that ministry all day, then it is obvious that one will try to use that so they will not have to work. God calls a minimal amount of people to work in ministries but the majority go to work in secular settings. If Christians did not work, then they would not be able to support their own ministries and to reach out to other ministries. If we refuse to work, then it shows the unbelievers a wrong view of Christianity. It makes us look like we are lazy and it gives a bad impression to the point they will never want to hire or deal with Christians. We need to live our lives properly as unbelievers do in the area of taking care of our bills, not being a leech on society and expecting them to pay our bills. We work to support our families and ourselves and within that support comes funds for ministry. This way we lack nothing concerning both home and ministry, and those who are unbelievers cannot say that Christians do not take care of their commitments. In this manner, we are walking properly before the world and maintaining a good testimony.
1 Th 4:13 (KJB)
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.
Ignorant - Without understanding or knowledge
Asleep - Those who have died
Paul now turns to those Christians who have died because even though Paul is commanding these Christians that they must maintain a good testimony in front of the world, he never wants them to forget that there is another dimension to their lives and that is eternal life in Christ. It is good to have a testimony to the world but the Christian life goes beyond this world. Here Paul begins a section of comfort for those who had lost loved ones that were saved. The question probably came up as to what happens to the believer if they died before the return of the Lord. Paul wants them to have a good understanding of this subject. He opens with a contrast that the Christians have much hope beyond the grave whereas the unbelievers have no hope. Upon death, the hope of the unbelievers perish because without a savior, the next thing they know will be Judgment Day. However, for the believer it is much different. Their physical bodies go into the grave but in their soul essence, they go to be with the Lord and they are more alive than when they were in their physical bodies. Basically, Paul is saying that the Christian life is a continuum, all we do is change residences.
1 Th 4:14 (KJB)
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
One of the great hopes in the Christian life, if not the greatest, is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross and then three days later, He was raised from the dead, never to die again. A true Christian will believe that Jesus died and rose again. His resurrection foreshadowed the resurrection of all believers on the last day. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth to claim all those believers who are still alive, with Him will be all the believers who had previously died physically and at that moment, they will be reunited with their physical bodies and changed in the twinkling of an eye into their glorified spiritual body. (1 Cor 15:52 KJV) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. Jesus was raised incorruptible and we too shall be raised incorruptible, both those who died and those who are still alive at His coming will also be changed into their glorified spiritual bodies so we may be qualified to go to Heaven. We could never stand in the presence of God in our earthly bodies because we would be consumed in a heartbeat and that is why it is necessary that we be changed to glorified spiritual body.