Summary: While we wait on the return of the Lord, we can be comforted, consistent, courageous.
There is an overwhelming sense of discouragement that is pervading in people’s lives today. Just this week, I met a check-out lady at CVS and asked her how things were going. “Awful,” was her reply. “My husband and I have one child, I’m pregnant with child # two, however, my husband just left me for another woman in Michigan. I don’t know what I’m going to do, $$$ is gone, I’m stressed out to the max.” How many of you know someone or feel that way today?
The Word of God gives great hope to those who are discouraged, disillusioned, downcast, etc. The Good News is that God is in control – Jesus is alive, risen, coming again and if you have Jesus as personal Lord and Savior, you can live in His peace today.
Reassurance (13) – One thing about these Thessalonian believers is that had put their faith in the Word of God. Now, because of the intense persecution that Paul faced as he brought them the Word of God, he was only able to stay with them a few short weeks. Paul taught them about worshipping and serving the One True and Living God, encouraging one another, spiritual warfare, witnessing, doing God’s will, etc. Paul also taught them to expect the Lord Jesus Christ could return at any moment. These new believers got so excited about the Lord’s return and began to prepare their lives to meet Him. However, while they waited for the Lord to return, some of their friends, families, loved ones died. This discouraged them b/c they felt their loved ones would miss out on the wonderful coming of our Lord. Paul encouraged them with the truth that when Jesus came back, their loved ones in Christ would be there, too! The world believes that death is the end of it all (sad). The follower of Christ knows the death is just the beginning to everlasting life in the Presence of the Lord!
Resurrection (14-15) – Why do believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have such hope? Our hope (confidence) is anchored in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Because Jesus died and rose again, we will also. 2 Cor. 4:14 we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. Rom 8:11 …if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Where do you anchor your hope this morning? Is your hope in the AJC? Is your hope built on what is going on in the White House? Is your hope in your checkbook? If so, that is no hope. Real hope comes from building your life on the Word of God, what the Lord Jesus did for you on the innocent blood shed on the cross of Calvary, the empty tomb! Death, for the believer in Jesus, is not the end, but the beginning. According to Luke 16:22, an angel of the Lord will usher you into the very presence of the Lord. Think of the thief who was dying on the cross next to the Lord Jesus. Jesus did not say, “I hope you might someday be with me in paradise.” No, He said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Because Jesus died, our sin debt is paid in full. Because Jesus is risen we will spend eternity with Him (John 11:25).
Return (16) – The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with and come for His own. The trumpet of God will sound. Trumpets in the Bible were used to sound war, gather people, in this case the trumpet of God is going to assemble all in Christ.
Reunion (17-18) – We’ll see our loved ones in the Lord Jesus Christ again. Some of you have had husbands, wives, children, grandchildren who have died…you’ll see them again! There is no separation for loved ones in Christ. I’ll see my grandfather again. I will hear him say, “Ol’ Davy boy!” again! That’s why Christians face funerals with a different perspective than unbelievers. WE know that not even death can eternally remove us from our loved ones or of the glory of the return of our Savior. Psalm 4:8: I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
Regret (5:1-3) – While we do not know when the Lord will return for His own at the rapture of the church, the world does not know that the day of the Lord’s judgment is coming upon them. A day of incredible, fearful judgment is coming upon those who reject the saving grace of the Lord Jesus. A man may reject God, curse God, live a life for self, sin, and it seems like God does nothing about it. However, there is coming a day in the future when God will deal with a Christ-rejecting world. This day will come like a thief in the night. No thief I’ve ever known calls up the family he’s about to rob and says, “Now, make sure you are up and alert at 1 AM, I’m going to rob you blind!” Luke 12:39-40, “But know this, that if the mater of the house would have known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” The world leaders may even be promising peace, safety…no worries. Jesus said when He returned the days would be like the days of Noah, people eating, marrying, drinking, selling, buying…all of a sudden, judgment comes upon them.