Introduction: Have you noticed that some people make decisions based
on logic, and some based on emotion? I think I’m firmly in the
“logic” camp, but history says otherwise. When my wife and I
purchased our current home, we were considering three houses. I
listed about ten important factors to consider (like how much it
cost, how close it was to work), and then we ranked each home on each
of these factors. When we got done with this very logical approach,
we looked at the result, and decided we didn’t like it. We purchased
the house that ranked lowest on the logic list! Emotion prevailed
for a decision we have lived with (and in) for thirty years! Last
week, Paul explained to the Thessalonians the logical reasons why
they should believe and trust him. This week he shares with them his
emotions. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. God’s Word Under Fire

    1. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Is this an appeal to emotion?
      (I love it when people say, “I’m thankful for you!” It is
      an appeal to my emotions.)

      1. Many so-called Bible “scholars” claim that they can
        pick and choose which Bible texts are right and which
        are wrong. Others are not so blatant about it, but
        they reject certain texts because they conflict with
        their personal opinion. Others pick a certain text to
        follow and ignore everything else in the Bible on
        that subject. What does Paul say about the authority
        of the Bible? (It is the “word of God.”)

    2. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:14. Who made up the “churches in
      Judea?” (Jewish believers.)

    3. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 Who does Paul say killed
      Jesus? (The Jews.)

      1. When I went to law school, I learned that Jews were
        not just characters in the Bible, but were real, live
        people today. When I acquired several close Jewish
        friends, they would tell about being taunting as a
        child about being a “Christ-killer.” One friend said
        he was called this before he even knew about Christ.
        When I’m asked, I generally answer that the Romans
        killed Jesus. But, Paul clearly says that the Jews
        did it. What attitude is Paul suggesting towards
        Jews? (Paul just got through saying that the
        Thessalonians were doing a good thing by imitating
        their fellow Jewish believers. Paul is Jewish. Jesus
        is Jewish. Paul cannot be suggesting a bad attitude
        towards the Jewish people.)

      2. Who, then, are the “bad guys?” (Those who are the
        enemies of the gospel: those who opposed Christianity
        by killing Jesus, killing the prophets, driving out
        Christians, and trying to stop the spread of the

      3. What emotional appeal is Paul making when he talks
        about all the Christians suffering at the hands of
        the bad guys? (We are in this together!)

  2. The Wrath of God

    1. Notice that 1 Thessalonians 2:16 suggests that we can
      identify the bad guys because they are the ones trying to
      keep others from speaking. What is God’s reaction to
      this? (The “wrath of God” has come upon those who believe
      in physically stopping Christianity.)

    2. What does 1 Thessalonians 2:16 say about the timing of the
      wrath of God? (It came “at last.”)

      1. Paul sounds like God’s wrath is overdue! Why is wrath
        appropriate? How is it consistent with love?

      2. Recently, an agent of Satan killed a number of people
        at a movie theater. If you heard of this, what was
        your reaction? What would be your reaction if you
        knew someone who was killed? What would be your
        reaction if one of those killed was your child? (Do
        you see how the level of emotion increases as the
        level of your love increases? God’s wrath is terrible
        because He love for us is infinite.)

    3. What does Paul mean when he says that God’s wrath has
      actually begun? (The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown
      Commentary points out that in 48 AD a riot took place in
      Jerusalem during Passover in which about 30,000 were
      killed. Josephus claims that over a million Jews were
      killed later when Jerusalem was destroyed.)

    4. Read Luke 19:42-44. What does Jesus say is the reason for
      the destruction of Jerusalem? (They did not recognize that
      Jesus was God.)

      1. Is this an argument based on emotion? (This is the
        pivotal event in the history of the world. God died
        for His creation. His creation killed Him. God has an
        incredible emotional involvement with us. To reject
        God’s love, to tread on what God has done, is trigger
        the most terrible emotion – wrath!)

  3. The Struggle

    1. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17-19. What prevented Paul and his
      friends from visiting the Thessalonians again? (Satan.)

      1. Consider this just a minute. God is on the move
        punishing those who trample on His love, while Satan
        is on the move to restrict the good news of His love.
        How should this knowledge affect our everyday life?
        (We need to be keenly aware of the role the
        supernatural plays in every day events.)

    2. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:20. What gives Paul joy? What gives
      Paul glory?(Notice the emotions. Those who listen to
      Paul’s presentation of the gospel and act on it give him
      joy. On the other hand, Paul is upset when Satan tries to
      undo his work.)

    3. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5. What is it that Paul could no
      longer stand? (The emotional strain of separation. He
      could not stand the Thessalonians suffering persecution
      without help. He was worried that they would not stand

      1. What did Paul do about it? (Sent Timothy to be with
        them to encourage, strengthen them and undo any
        damage done by Satan’s agents.)

      2. How do you feel when someone says, “I miss you, I
        want to come and help you?” (It warms my heart. It
        lets me know that person cares.)

    4. We see a lot of emotion in Paul’s writings. We discussed
      in the introduction the logical and emotional approach to
      life. What if Paul had used only logic in his appeal to
      the Thessalonians? (His appeal would have been seriously
      crippled. People not only need to know the truth, they
      need to know you care.)

  4. The Report

    1. 1 Thessalonians 3:6. What has changed? (We just went from
      Paul saying that he sent Timothy on his behalf to visit
      the Thessalonians, to Timothy returning with a report.)

      1. What report does Timothy make? (The Thessalonians
        have pleasant memories of Paul.)

      2. Read Acts 17:5-8. We discussed this in a previous
        lesson. Paul’s visit stirred up opposition, with the
        result that Jason and some other new believers got
        dragged before the authorities and had to post a
        bond. Is this a pleasant memory?

      3. How can this “pleasant memories” be an honest report?
        (Under emotional strain, people form strong bonds. It
        is not as if Paul mislead them. He not only shared
        with them the good news of the gospel, but he also
        told them ( 1 Thessalonians 3:4) that persecution
        would follow.)

    2. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:7-9. How does the steadfastness of
      the Thessalonian believers affect Paul? (He is encouraged.
      He feels alive (“we really live”). He feels joy.)

      1. When Satan or his agents attack you, have you
        considered the impact that your faithfulness might
        have on others?

      2. Doesn’t Paul’s reaction seem a little excessive? (Do
        you remember the last time you won something? Earned
        a great grade. Won an athletic contest. Won a job
        promotion. You feel great. You feel “alive.” Paul
        has just won a battle (through the Thessalonians)
        against Satan – and he feels great about it.)

    3. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:10. Wait a minute! Paul is
      rejoicing over their victory against Satan. How can he
      write about them “lacking” in faith? (We are all on the
      road towards a better and deeper relationship with our
      Lord. We all have room for improvement.)

    4. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13. Paul asks that God will
      allow them to come, that the Thessalonians would show love
      to each other, and that God would strengthen their hearts.
      What does it mean for God to “strengthen your heart?”
      (This is a mental and emotional change that the Holy
      Spirit makes to help you become more loving and more

    5. Friend, how are you on the emotional side of dealing with
      fellow church members? If you think this is a weak spot,
      why not ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen your heart?

  5. Next week: Living Holy Lives.