In today’s sermon text, Paul writes to the Thessalonians so that they might not grieve “as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). He details the glorious “coming of the Lord” (vs.15), in which Christ returns with the sound of the trumpet (vs. 16), and all His people, living and dead, “will always be with the Lord” (vs. 17). But the hope the Thessalonians have is not in an escape from earthly trials—as we’ve already read in chapter two of this letter, they have suffered plenty of persecution in their brief time as Christians. Instead, their hope is in a Savior who is faithful to accomplish the work that He began, so that at His return even our hardships and suffering will be vindicated. Where is your hope found? Like the Thessalonians, build your hope on “Jesus’ blood and righteousness” (My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less). Then, when He comes again in majesty, joy will fill your hearts (How Great Thou Art) and you may “rejoice in glorious hope” (Rejoice, The Lord Is King). Though we all endure disappointment, grief, fear, and sorrow, we know that if we are His, we are not destined for wrath. Instead, we will share in Christ’s final victory—and, in the words of Be Still My Soul which will close the service this morning, that is a hope and confidence that nothing can shake. —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Uninformed, Asleep, Grieve, Hope, Rise, Times, Seasons, Light, Encourage
Keystone Verse: Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
5:1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 Forthose who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.