Summary: Saints Triumphant (A) - Believers will live with the Lord forever either at our death or on Judgment Day.
“WE WILL BE WITH THE LORD FOREVER” (Outline)
November 14, 2010 -
Saints Triumphant -
INTRO: When is the end not the end? The end is not the end when it is a beginning. Earthly life comes to an end. The believers’ perfect eternal life begins. While living on this earth we might forget that the best is yet to come. We can easily become overly involved with too many earthly activities. Our text reminds us that life really begins when everything earthly ends. "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" (PHILIPPIANS 1:21-23). Here we proclaim God’s gospel. In eternity we perfectly praise God forever.
“WE WILL BE WITH THE LORD FOREVER”.
I. Either at our death. II. Or on Judgment Day.
I. “WE WILL BE WITH THE LORD FOREVER” AT OUR DEATH.
A. Verse 13a. Paul calls these believers “brothers”. They belong to the same spiritual family.
1. The words of encouragement given to these believers are eternal words of comfort.
2. The believers in Thessalonica are to “encourage each other with these words”, verse 18.
B. Verse 13. This is the first generation of believers in Christ. By grace through faith they believed.
1. At death the unbelievers around them grieved greatly. They had no eternity, no hope.
2. These believers in Christ knew of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. This is eternal hope.
3. Verse 14a. We believe the message of the gospel: “Jesus died and rose again”.
C. Verse 14b. Believers fall asleep in the Lord. Death is not to be scary. Asleep in Jesus = beginning.
D. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead has been under attack from that very first Easter Sunday. The guards went to the chief priests and told them about the empty tomb. This was not the news they wanted to hear. They devised a plan to spread the rumor that Jesus’ disciples stole his body. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians that rumor (of body stealing) still persisted. Not much has changed over all these generations. Many still attack that fact of Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the tomb. Many still deny Jesus’ resurrection, which is the very foundation of the Christian faith. "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men" (1 CORIN. 15:17-19).
E. Losing the truth of Jesus’ resurrection shows the fatal flaw of the mind of mankind. All too often our focus is rather narrow. We tend to value all the things that brings us pleasure right now. We put a bit too much emphasis on the things of this life rather than the things of God. On this earth are only perishable possessions. A rich, young man questioned Jesus about gaining eternity. Jesus said he should give his wealth to the poor. The young man went away saddened because he had much. The rich man would be not giving to those in need. Jesus told the parable about the man who needed to build bigger barns for the abundance of the harvest. Yet, that night his life would end. Who would get all his stuff? This man would not enjoy his earthly treasures. "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God" (LUKE 12:21). Enjoy God’s free grace. Believers – be rich toward God.
F. God’s gospel message is direct, “Jesus lived and died and rose again.” This message brings to all who believe eternal life. This truth reminds us that our earthly death is definitely not the end. The end of our earthly life is the beginning our eternal life with Jesus. Believers fall asleep in Jesus. We are comfortably carried by the arms of Jesus to heaven itself. Jesus went to the house of Mary and Martha to raise Lazarus from the dead. "Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’" (JOHN 11:25, 26). Martha and Mary believed Jesus. We believe Jesus’ resurrection provides ours.
“WE WILL BE WITH THE LORD FOREVER” when our earthly life ends. Then eternity begins.
II. “WE WILL BE WITH THE LORD FOREVER” ON JUDGMENT DAY.
A. These verses teach the believers about the timeframe of Judgment Day.