1 and 2 Thessalonians: End-Times Education

Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians to the church of struggling new believers in Thessalonica to clarify some questions they had about the last days. Because both letters focus heavily on the end times, they’re known as eschatological epistles. They dovetail neatly together, so it’s important to take them as a package.

The focus of 1 Thessalonians is on Jesus Christ and the church. In this book, Paul called the Thessalonians to live in light of the rapture, the event where Jesus will return for His church.

The focus of the sequel, 2 Thessalonians, is on the Antichrist and the world. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to know that the rapture would happen before the day of the Lord, also known as the tribulation period, during which the Antichrist will rise to power and God will judge the earth.

The letters of 1 and 2 Thessalonians were among the first writings in all of the New Testament. In other words, the doctrine of the return of Jesus Christ wasn’t an afterthought to the early church—it was a paramount teaching, as it should be for us today.


Think It Through

What is the rapture going to be like, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18? How is this a comforting truth?

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. What’s God’s will for you (see also 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6)?

Read 2 Thessalonians 3:13, Paul’s final exhortation to the Thessalonians. How can you live out this verse in light of Jesus’ return?


Listen and Learn

First and Second Thessalonians deal more with the end times than any of Paul’s other writings. In this short study, Skip explains how we can live in expectation of Jesus’ imminent return.
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Land and Explore

Dig deeper into the lessons of Paul’s letters to Thessalonica by downloading this free fifteen-message series from Pastor Skip titled 1 Thessalonians: Dynamic Discipleship.

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A Word of Encouragement

Ever since Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians, the church has been waiting for and anticipating the imminent return of Jesus Christ. He could come back at any moment. Are you living like it?

Prayer

Father, my hope is in You. Help me live in the light of the fact that You can return anytime. I pray that my knowledge of the last days would carry me through the hard times and remind me in the good times that even better times are coming.

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Today’s Resource

Visit Pastor Skip’s website to watch this week’s Connect with Skip Heitzig TV broadcast as well as past broadcasts.
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Colossians: All You Need Is Christ

Since the beginning of the church, there’s been a tendency to move away from what’s most important: Jesus Christ. That’s why the message of Colossians continues to be desperately needed today.

The church at Colossae was subjected to weird ideologies and false teachers who played on a desire we all have: a deeper relationship with God. But they went so deep with their so-called theology that they went off the deep end.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, he called them to keep Jesus Christ dead center, because He is everything, and nothing else matters as much as Him.

The heart of Colossians is the doctrinal section, which establishes Jesus Christ’s preeminence, or His being the most important thing in the Christian life. In Him, every ceremony is completed, every requirement is depleted, and every enemy is defeated. Paul then offered a practical section, how these doctrinal truths should play out in the Christian life.

In short, Paul said that if you have Jesus Christ, then you have it all.


Think It Through

Who is Jesus and what does He do, according to Colossians 1:15-20?

The practical section of Colossians is summed up in Colossians 3:8-10. What do you need to “put off” today? What will you “put on” instead?

Do you trust that Christ alone completes you (see Colossians 2:9-10)? What are you tempted to add to your relationship with Jesus? Why?


Listen and Learn

The book of Colossians has truths that are desperately needed today. In this message, Skip explains that the dominant theme is to keep Jesus Christ at the center of your life so you don’t swerve away from God’s truth.
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Land and Explore

The message of Colossians is clear: nothing and no one is as important as Jesus Christ. Download this free series from Pastor Skip called Colossians: Staying on Dead Center, and learn how to apply that truth to your everyday life.

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A Word of Encouragement

If Jesus is the Creator of the universe, the preexisting one, the full revelation of the Father, and God in human flesh, don’t you think He should take first place in your life? He is truly all you need, so why would you ever settle for anything other than Him?

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the central message of Colossians: it’s not about me or even about Christianity—it’s all about Jesus Christ and my relationship with Him. I pray that You would help me keep Christ as the center, the preeminent one in all areas of my life, so that I would live a compelling, different, holy life.

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If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Download a free PDF of Pastor Skip’s Keep Calm and Marry On booklet, which provides you with powerful tools to strengthen your marriage and home life.
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Philippians: Prison Blues Turned Technicolored

Paul the apostle made some of his greatest contributions while he was in a Roman prison, including writing the letter of Philippians.

Ironically enough, Philippians is known as the Epistle of Joy and is one of Paul’s most winsome, loving letters. He wasn’t correcting any major doctrine or conduct in the church at Philippi, but rather writing a personal letter of love and thanksgiving.

Philippians can easily be divided into four sections: Chapter 1 is the marvel of the Christian life, which is the love we share in our spiritual family. Chapter 2 is the model of the Christian life, which is Christ; we should treat people like Jesus treated people. Then Philippians 3 is the march of the Christian life, which is not backwards into the law but forward into grace. And finally, chapter 4 gives us the marks of the Christian life, which are peace, joy, and contentment.

I have to tell you, I’m really glad Paul was put in jail. His experience shows us that any place you’re at can become a launching pad for the Lord to work through you to spread the gospel.


Think It Through

Read Philippians 1:21, Paul’s summary statement of his life. Does this verse accurately describe your life? Why or why not?

Read Philippians 2:1-8. What would your life look like if you took these verses seriously? What’s one thing you can do today to be more like Jesus?

How did Paul learn to be content no matter his situation (see Philippians 4:11-13)?


Listen and Learn

Paul wrote his uplifting letter to the Philippians while he was imprisoned for his faith. In this message, we’ll see that throughout this epistle, Paul wrote about the joy he had and that all Christians should have.
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Land and Explore

Interested in taking a personal flight through the Epistle of Joy? We’re excited to offer you a free download of Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians from Pastor Skip.

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A Word of Encouragement

Paul wrote some of his most impactful letters while he was in prison, including Philippians. Do you feel imprisoned by something? Some of God’s greatest work can be done in your most confining experiences, if you open yourself to be used by Him and let Him work.

Prayer

Father, thank You for where You’ve placed me and what You’re allowing me to go through. I pray that You would help me see even my most confining circumstances as part of Your will for my life. Help me to be an agent of change and further the gospel, no matter the situation I’m in.

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If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Check out Pastor Skip’s Daily God Book, a collection of 365 unique devotionals on the key stories and chapters of the Bible.
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Ephesians: Walking in Wealth

Ephesians has been called the Grand Canyon of Scripture. In it, the apostle Paul expounded on the depth, breadth, length, and height of God’s redemption, love, mercy, and salvation—and all while he was in a Roman prison.

The main theme of Ephesians is how God builds a new family, a new society with new values and standards, all operated by not just listening to truth, but obeying it. Paul explained how to grow as a believer, how to walk as a believer, and how to fight as a believer.

But it all starts with understanding the wealth we have in Jesus Christ. Ephesus was a financial center of the Roman Empire at the time, so it’s fitting that Paul emphasized this aspect of our relationship with Jesus. He wanted the Ephesians to know about the spiritual wealth they had in Christ so that they would then walk in it.

The same goes for us today: all believers are rich in the spiritual assets given by God, but only by taking hold of that wealth can we enjoy it and walk in it.


Think It Through

How many spiritual blessings do you have in Christ (see Ephesians 1:3)?

What does it look like to live like you’re spiritually wealthy? How does understanding your spiritual wealth affect how you live toward believers (see Ephesians 4)? Unbelievers (see Ephesians 5:1-20)? Your family (see Ephesians 5:22-6:4)?

Christianity is not a playground; it’s a battleground. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. What are the weapons you have in this spiritual war?


Listen and Learn

One of the major themes of Ephesians is who we are as Christians. The apostle Paul often said that believers are “in Christ.” Find out more about what that means when you join Skip for a quick flight over Ephesians.
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Land and Explore

To learn more about the riches you have in Jesus Christ, download this free series from Pastor Skip on the entire book of Ephesians.

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A Word of Encouragement

What good is it if you have a bank account filled with spiritual resources and wealth, but live your whole life unaware of how much you have? Once you realize who you are and what you have in Christ, you’ll live a transformed, victorious life.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I thank You that through Christ Jesus, I’m spiritually wealthy. I pray that You would help me take hold of this doctrine and then translate it into duty—that I wouldn’t just sit in this truth but walk in it. Help me fight from victory, not for it, because I am in Christ.

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Today’s Resource

Did you know many of Pastor Skip’s teaching series are available as audiobooks on Audible? Check them out today.
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In the past week, we looked at the book of Acts and some of the longer letters of Paul the apostle, learning what early church life looked like.

Use today to take a break and catch up on any lessons you missed, and if you’re still looking to do more, try:

  • Compiling a list of characteristics of the early church and recording what you learn from it
  • Posting on social media about your progress in the 30K 30-Day Challenge
  • Checking out Today’s Resource

Share It

If you’re enjoying the 30K 30-Day Challenge, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Visit connectwithskip.com/teachings to access and search over 3,000 teachings you can download for easy, on-the-go listening.
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Your Amazing Bible: Understanding the Word

Today I want to talk about the accessibility of personal Bible study: anyone can understand and enjoy the Bible. It’s a book for every Christian of every time period, not just for the scholar or seminary student.

Why? Because the ultimate author of the Bible is the Holy Spirit, and He lives inside of you. That doesn’t mean the Bible is always a breeze to understand. But the people who wrote the Bible were simple people, and for the most part, they wrote very simply about simple subjects.

So if you can understand the Word on your own and if God wants to reveal it to you by His Spirit, why do we need human teachers to teach the Bible? I think there’s a balance to be had between listening to teachers and studying on your own. You can and should learn from Bible teachers (see Ephesians 4:11-12), but the Holy Spirit can also teach you the truths of Scripture when you open the Bible on your own (see 1 John 2:27).

In short, as a child of God, you can understand the Bible. I hope the 30K 30-Day Challenge is showing you that.


Think It Through

What encouragement can you glean from David’s words in Psalm 119 verses 27 and 100? Consider reading and meditating on (thinking about) all of Psalm 119.

Read Acts 17:10-11. How did the Bereans achieve a balance between listening to teachers and studying on their own?

What are the challenges you face when it comes to understanding the Bible? How will you remove these challenges?

Land and Explore

If you’re interested in learning more about the Holy Spirit and His role in your life, we’re excited to offer you Holy Spirit, a free three-message teaching series from Pastor Skip.
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A Word of Encouragement

Don’t be content to be spoon-fed the Bible; the rewards come when you open up the Scriptures on your own and the Holy Spirit reveals something fresh to you.

Prayer

Father, thank You for the Word of God, which is not just a bunch of confusing books of people saying different things, but a seamless instrument by which You have spoken to mankind, giving us an instruction manual. Help me graciously listen to those who teach your Word and then lean on the Holy Spirit for understanding as I study it for myself.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Stay connected to the Word by subscribing to the free Calvary Church with Skip Heitzig Podcast on iTunes.
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Galatians: Glorious Freedom from the Law

The book of Galatians stands right up there with Romans as one of the most important documents Paul the apostle ever wrote.

In this Magna Carta of Christian liberty, Paul got out his boxing gloves to fight against false teachers who had come into the church and were perverting the gospel of Jesus Christ. These were the Judaizers, a group of Jewish believers who said you still had to keep the Law of Moses and certain rituals in order to be right with God.

Paul, on the other hand, declared the believer’s total liberty from the Law of Moses. In Galatians, he wrote, you’re not made right with God by doing certain things; you’re made right by believing in the one who already did it for you on the cross, Jesus Christ. That’s justification by faith.

Justification by faith through God’s grace is more powerfully written about in the six chapters of Galatians than anywhere else in the New Testament. Christianity could have been confined to a subset of Judaism were it not for this passionate little letter changing the course of church history.


Think It Through

Why do you think the Galatians (and many people today) turn away from freedom in Christ to live in bondage to religion and rituals?

Read Galatians 3:19-25. What is the purpose of the law?

Are you still trusting in your own works to save you or to earn approval from God? Memorize Galatians 5:1.

Read Galatians 5:19-23. What are the works of the flesh? The fruit of the Spirit? What’s the key to producing the fruit of the Spirit (see vv. 16, 24-25)?


Listen and Learn

Galatians is one of Paul’s most important letters. He wrote it to warn the church against legalists, false teachers who said believers had to follow the Law of Moses in order to be saved. Join Skip for a quick flight over Galatians.
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Land and Explore

If you want to learn more about the freedom you have in Christ, Pastor Skip’s thirteen-message teaching series through the book of Galatians is available to download for free.
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A Word of Encouragement

There are only two types of religions in the world: the religion of human achievement and the religion of divine accomplishment. Only Christianity fits into that second category. Galatians makes it clear that salvation doesn’t come by works but by our belief in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I worship You because I owed a debt I could never pay, and You paid a debt You didn’t owe. I receive that gift of freedom in Christ. I pray that I would stop trusting in my own works to earn favor before You, and that the message of the gospel would so transform me that I wouldn’t want to add anything to it, but live by it.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Access Pastor Skip’s Bible teachings today from the comfort of your living room through his Roku channel.
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2 Corinthians: An Apostle’s Emotional Appeal

I don’t know how you picture Paul the apostle, but if you think he was a detached, aloof leader who didn’t let the cracks show, 2 Corinthians will shatter that illusion.

Second Corinthians is the most personal and emotional of all Paul’s letters. A group of self-styled authoritarian leaders had come into the church at Corinth and were talking bad about Paul, trying to undermine his authority and divide the church. So Paul wrote this letter in part to establish and defend his own authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ.

But Paul also opened his heart and shared with deep emotion and love how he wrestled for the souls of the people there at Corinth. The keyword of 2 Corinthians is comfort, also translated encouragewalk alongside, or exhort. Paul encouraged the Corinthian church in their walk with the Lord, urging them to open their hearts to him and his apostleship.

What a blessed church Corinth was to receive such affection from such a leader.


Think It Through

What are some of the reasons the Lord allows us to suffer, according to 2 Corinthians 1:3-7?

Second Corinthians 5:21 is the clearest declaration of substitutionary atonement in Scripture. What is substitutionary atonement (see Isaiah 53:5)? How does it relate to you?

Read 2 Corinthians 11:30 and 12:1-10. Why did Paul boast in his infirmities? What weaknesses can you boast in? Why?


Listen and Learn

Second Corinthians is the most personal of Paul’s epistles. He explained his ministry and defended his authority. Skip shows us how Paul also spoke frequently about comfort and encouragement.
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Land and Explore

If you want to learn more about Paul’s most personal letter, we’d like to offer you a free series from Pastor Skip on 2 Corinthians.
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A Word of Encouragement

Paul suffered externally from the world who persecuted him, and he suffered internally from Christians who misjudged his motivation. Yet he could still bless the Lord and continue in the work God had for him. That’s because Paul was a mature Christian: he knew he was in God’s will on earth and would one day be with the Lord in heaven.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for such an openly honest letter from Paul the apostle. I pray that You would protect the spiritual leaders in my life—my pastors, small group leaders, and mentors—and give them the boldness to speak Your truth in love, without fear. Help me also to grow in maturity and learn to suffer well.

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If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Keep in touch with Pastor Skip by following him on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

   

1 Corinthians: A Realistic Picture of God’s People

The apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians mainly as a practical book on how to solve problems within the Corinthian church. Influenced by the immoral culture around them, these believers faced division, stunted spiritual growth, sexual impurity, rampant divorce, problems with personal liberty, and the misuse of spiritual gifts, to name just a few of their issues.

Though God had done a great work in the city of Corinth, He wasn’t finished with the church there yet. It wasn’t perfect—and neither were any of the other early churches. I hope that encourages you, even if it does shatter the illusion that the New Testament church was somehow a flawless group of individuals.

It’s been said that if you ever find a perfect church, don’t join it—otherwise you’ll spoil it. The body of Christ is simply made up of saved sinners. That’s the toolbox God works from: “God has chosen the foolish things of this world to put to shame the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:27). Why? “That no flesh should glory in His presence” (v. 29).

First Corinthians reminds us that God uses common men and women armed with the uncommon message of the gospel to do His work and bring Him glory.


Think It Through

Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Who did Paul list as people who won’t go to heaven? What’s the one hope the people who’ve committed these sins have, according to verse 11?

List the characteristics of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Circle the one that challenges you the most, then look up several verses about that characteristic. Choose one to memorize.

Read 1 Corinthians 15, one of the greatest chapters in all of the Bible. Why is resurrection essential to Christianity?


Listen and Learn

The city of Corinth was a very permissive society, so Paul the apostle wrote 1 Corinthians to deal with problems in the church, including lack of unity and immature believers. Join Skip as he shows us how Paul addressed these issues.
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Land and Explore

If you’re interested in digging deeper into what Paul had to say about church life in Corinth, download this free teaching series from Pastor Skip on 1 Corinthians.
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A Word of Encouragement

First Corinthians is a reminder that God uses imperfect human beings—foolish things—to do His work. Why? Because when you see God mightily use a flawed instrument, His glory is more obvious. So be encouraged that God has chosen you.

Prayer

Father, it can be so hard not to give in to the permissive, Corinthian-like culture around me. I pray that the sins of my past would be left in the past, and that You would continue to change me and strengthen me to serve Your local church. Please use me, as weak and foolish as I am, for Your glory.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Need a quick boost of solid truth? Check out Pastor Skip’s booklets on a whole variety of topics, including spiritual warfare, forgiveness, and homosexuality.
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Romans: The Righteousness of God in Christ

The book of Romans is essentially the Christian Manifesto. In it, the apostle Paul presented just about every major Christian doctrine, including:

  • The wrath of God
  • The grace of God
  • The plan of God for Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews)
  • The will of God for our everyday lives

Here’s the picture Romans paints: we’re all born under the wrath of God and slavery of sin. But the good news is that Jesus came to set us free from sin and death, bringing salvation by God’s grace through our faith in Him. That’s the theme of the book of Romans: the righteousness of God has come through the gospel of Christ.

Think for a moment of the criminal on the cross, a person the Roman government deemed unfit to live on the earth. But because of his faith, Jesus declared him fit to live forever in paradise (see Luke 23:32-43).

That’s the message of Romans. You don’t earn heaven by working really hard and being religious. It’s people who realize they’re sinners and place their faith in Jesus Christ who are saved.

If you can get a hold of these basic gospel truths in Romans, they will change your life.


Think It Through

When did Jesus die for you (see Romans 5:6-8)? Take a moment to soak in this truth and respond to Him in worship.

Read Romans 6:11-14. What does it mean to be dead to sin?

List all the things that cannot separate you from the love of God in Christ (see Romans 8:35-39).

Romans 12 kick-starts the practical section of the book. Read the whole chapter, then consider how you can apply one of these commands to your life today.


Listen and Learn

Every major doctrine of the Christian faith is presented in the book of Romans. Tune in as we see how this book focused on the gospel message along with God’s plan of salvation and righteousness.
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Land and Explore

This book is pregnant with truths you as a Christian should be familiar with. Check out this free series from Pastor Skip on Romans.
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A Word of Encouragement

Mankind is incurably addicted to working for his own salvation. But Romans explains the gospel of grace—the righteousness of God that comes not through works or religion but faith alone. It tells the whole story of God’s plan for you, from beginning to end: as a child of God, you are justified, atoned for, redeemed, and will eventually be glorified.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth that all have sinned, that there’s none righteous in Your sight, and that we’re all abiding under the wrath of God, because it’s in understanding the bad news that I can appreciate the good news: Jesus died on the cross to redeem me to Himself. Help me rest in that good news today.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Stay up-to-date on Pastor Skip’s most recent teachings by downloading the Connect with Skip Heitzig app for iPhone or Android.
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