Today is Thursday, June 8. Good morning.
When British people raise a glass and say 'cheers', there is something unique being exchanged between them. Something to do with the culture they are a part of and the unsaid meaning this simple act - raising a glass and saying cheers - communicates. Paul uses the word 'peace', but the people he comes from give this a much different meaning to us today.
CONNECT (Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Yesterday we were admonished to not grow weary in doing good. Did that change anything you did that day?
_ What is one way the Lord is impacting the life of someone you are walking with (to help grow in or discover Jesus)?
_ Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
DISCOVER [ 1 Thes 3: 16-17 ] Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write.
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions to help make additional observations to clarify the main point)
_ Look at this verse about peace offerings [Exodus 20:24], What about this greeting [1 Samuel 20:42]. Finally look at what the Psalmist says [Psalm 4:8]. Who is the source of peace? Who is peace for or to?
_ Is there any indication of what particular need the readers of this letter might have for peace?
_ Has Paul said anything in this letter which could provoke these people to believe he does not desire their peace and goodwill?
_ Why might Paul make explicit reference to his greeting as a sign of authenticity?
_ Paul concludes this letter assuring his readers of two things: 1. The peace of God is with them and between them, and 2. That these words are genuinely written by Paul and not some imposter. Do these two concerns tell us anything about the views and struggles of the church?
+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and respond to what I learned today with a simple concrete step of action/obedience? (In groups discuss this in guy/girl break-outs, below are a couple of ideas to help prompt responses if needed)
+ WHO are you walking with that you might pass along or encourage what you learned, with today? (e.g., your family around the dinner table, a friend, co-worker or neighbor you are walking with to discover the message Jesus)