Summary: Sleeping can cause a lot of problems when done at the wrong time. The Christian must be disciplined to sleep at the right times and be vigilant at all times.
Did you often fall asleep in the day? Do you have a habit of nodding off and falling into a deep sleep at the drop of the hat? Are you sometimes in a daze that goes on more than one day? Don’t be alarmed, don’t be afraid, you are a lot like me.
I Thessalonians is a book written to very special people. People like you. Paul is warning this special group of believers to stay alert, and stay awake.
Can you imagine what dire consequences would happen to a person who falls asleep at the wheel? I remember as a young boy, my father took me down to Southfield Road and showed me where his young co-worker had smashed his sports car into a tree next to the highway. My dad said: "HE FELL ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL LAST NIGHT." I remember thinking that I would never want to do that. Forty years later you can still see the scar on that big Silver Ash tree.That’s also the reason I don’t drive Corvettes.
1. Verse 1-2.The text here tells us some interesting things. First, Paul says that it isn’t necessary to write to his flock, because they already know that the Lord could come at any time. I thought as I studied this passage, why would Paul say it isn’t needful to write this, and then he goes ahead and writes it? I believe Paul is writing to a larger audience. He is writing not just to the people who know and observe these things, he’s also writing to those of the group that did not know. He’s writing to those who did not appreciate the truth that the Lord could come back at any time. This is an important distinction to make. Do we really believe the Lord will come back at any time? Folks, we should believe it, because it is true.
For a believer in trouble, for a believer who is worried or fearful, it’s good to know that the Lord is coming, and coming soon.
2.Verse 3: The second thing he says is that people will be unprepared. He says there will be some who will lull you into a sense of stupor saying: Peace and safety when destruction comes. There’s a lot of blame going around for the destructive terror of Katrina. I guess you could say there’s enough blame to go around. It’s almost biblical the way many people ignored the warnings of officials and the news media. I think almost everyone knew that New Orleans was a potentially deluge-prone place. Why are all the people buried in graves that sit five or six feet above the ground. Duh! Paul says when the Lord returns, swift destruction will come upon many. Many who will be sleeping.
3.Verse 4.Paul then encourages his readers. He says that they are not like the other crowd. He knows them better. He says they won’t be surprised. Why not? They won’t be surprised because they have been trained and taught. They have passed the test. They are alert, ready to serve and to go. 1 Peter 5:8.
He says that this group is like the sun and the day, not like the night and the darkness. Are you walking in the light?
The text continues with the analogies of the perils of sleeping at the wheel, of being in a drunken stupor and wandering in the dark. Read verses 5-8.