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Summary: 5th in the series "Left Behind: 1 & 2 Thessalonians." Focus is on Being Ready for the Lord’s Return.

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1 Thes. 5:1-11

Having a baby—Not surprised.

Been preparing for awhile—vitamins, books, nursery, bag packed.

Even though we didn’t know the day nor the hour, we knew the day was coming and we were living our lives looking forward to that day.

In our Scripture this morning, we are instructed that looking forward ton the Lord’s return should be a similar sort of thing. Paul tells us that we should “be” a certain way as we await the Lord’s coming.

We’re going to look at five “be’s”

1. Be Informed

4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

Brothers and sisters, I truly hope that as members or attenders of this church—or even as visitors of this church that we will never fail to teach you this simple truth.

Jesus is coming, Be ready.

As a church we have that responsibility. As parents we have the responsibility to teach our children that Jesus is coming unexpectedly and therefore we should live our lives in a manner consistent with that understanding.

As individual believers, we have a responsibility to understand this key concept of the Christian message. In the Assemblies of God we talk about the four cardinal doctrines of the church, Salvation, Holy Spirit, Healing and The Lord’s Return.

This is not just a minor issue in Chritianity but one of the major truths of the Bible, therefore we should study and understand it.

Secondly knowing the day is coming we should:

2. Be Alert

6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.

3While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

On September 11 2001, America was a nation saying “peace and safety.” But in retrospect, it has become clear that we should have understood as clearly as a pregnant woman understands that D-day will come, that a terrorist attack was looming. As has been said many times since that day, On September 11 the terrorists had been at war with us for a very long time, we simply had not been at war with them.

In fact the preoccupation with hindsight has been much in the news lately as the 911 commission has delved deeply into the simple truth that any idiot can see now—“we should’ve seen it coming.”

As we look forward to the day of the Lord’s return, let us not be caught off guard. Let us, as Jesus instructed, watch and pray. let us discern the signs that His coming is near.

Let us not be lulled into a false sense of having “plenty of time.”

Peter warned of those ‘mockers” who would say “everything continues as it always has” deliberately forgetting that the people of Noah’s time had a similar sense of security. Paul and Peter believed that the Lord’s return was near even in their time. So there is no event that must happen before the Lord can fulfill His promise.

Let us be alert and let us…

3. Be Prepared

8But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

This week Kathleen was at Camp, I was home with Aaron and Anna. Who can guess what I was doing on Friday morning as Kathleen came home? Preparing for her return. But I had the benefit of knowing the day and the hour.

Verse 2 tells us that the Lord will come like a Thief. How do you prepare for a thief? You install the locks right now and then you keep them locked.

Of course the Lord’s return is unlike a their in that for those who have prepared it is a happy occasion But we must be prepared for that to be true. For those unprepared, it will be a terrible time, because it means their opportunity for preparation has expired.

So how exactly can we be prepared? That’s the really good news. The Scripture we just read tells us that we may have the hope of salvation, that God doesn’t intend for us to suffer God’s judgment, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. And that He died for us so that we may live together with him.

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