August 10, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Times and Epochs Today

“Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:1

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   The church at Thessalonica knew about the times and epochs of the future.  Paul uses the word “times” (“χρόνων“) to describe the particular date or time when certain events would take place.  The term “epochs” (“καιρῶν”) refers to the quality or circumstances of a particular event, and so means what signs would be present (see Acts 3:19-20, for the same use of the same terms “times of refreshing” (“καιροὶ“)and “period of restoration” (“χρόνων“); also compare Acts 1:7)). Therefore, Paul reminds the Thessalonians that they know not only about the course of events, but also the particular events that will come in the future.

          Paul also refers to the Thessalonians as brethren.  I always like the way Paul considers himself a believer with the Thessalonians, and he does not lord it over them.  Just as the messenger Timothy had reported about the condition of the Thessalonians, so also Paul acknowledges their understanding the future, notwithstanding their ignorance about the specific events associated with the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13).  Paul now will focus upon both the sweep of the future, and certain special events in the future.  In America today, many believers rarely read their Bible, and pay little attention to understanding the future as God revealed it the Bible.  Compared to most Americans, the Thessalonians were far advanced concerning their knowledge of the future.

       Paul says that the Thessalonians had “no need” for further instruction regarding the future times and epochs.  Paul, will, however make applications in the next verses about how we ought to live as believers in light of the knowledge we have about the future.  So often, we read the Bible, but fail to grasp how it impacts our lives.  We do not see applications of how the prophetic aspects of the Bible influence our daily activities, like working, exercising, thinking, paying bills, and doing all the normal things we do.  Furthermore, we rarely think about how the future should impact our present friendships and other relationships.  But, you can count on Paul to bring out the connection about knowledge of the future and present living.  In fact, Paul has already moved past his discussion of the Rapture, and now says the Thessalonians have a very good handle on the future.  They do not need further information about “times” and “epochs,” but rather they need to know how to use their knowledge.  Revelation from God should also impact our relationships with God and our neighbors.

           So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we relate to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, and recognize the knowledge of our friends.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we allow our knowledge of the future impact how we live together today.  The “times” and “epochs” of tomorrow directly impact what we do today, especially with our friends in Christ.

    ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we fail to recognize that some of friends already have plenty of knowledge about “times” and “epochs,” but need further help in applying revelation to our lives today.  Remember, Paul discussed the Rapture from the standpoint of comforting believers today.     

Application for Today

        Today, I want to remember that some of my friends know about “times” and “epochs.”  I want to encourage them in their knowledge, and let that knowledge impact our lives today.  Will your knowledge of times and epochs influence your life today?


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