Summary: Here we look at the Day of the Lord; it is a frightening time but it is related to the Rapture, and this brings us good news for us who are in Christ; and subtly it is a sermon for Evangelism. Read on and be encouraged!
This sermon was delivered to St Oswald’s in Maybole,
Ayrshire, Scotland on the 16th November 2014
(a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Today we continue our study into Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, where the theme of today’s service is "the Day of the Lord", which is the period of time where the Lord outpours his wrath upon the world. Yes it is a scary subject from a very difficult reading however when putting this service together, I kept getting these revelations of hope and encouragement ... and although I do not mention them, I sincerely pray that you too will be encouraged.
We meet in Christ's name. Let us share his peace.
The New Testament Reading.
Our New Testament reading sermon today comes from the 1st book of 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5 Verses 1 to 11
Concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
For the word of the Lord: Thanks be to God.
“Please join me in my prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord. Amen. (Ps. 19:14)
So far in our study of the Thessalonian church we have looked at “Commendation as opposed to Condemnation”, we looked at Evangelism and “how we could be an effective witness for Christ”, but today we move to the surprising topic of “the Day of the Lord” … surprising ... because his feels so out place here … surely the book of Daniel in the Old Testament and Revelations in the New deals with this topic more fittingly.
Well they do, but many in the Thessalonian church were fascinated by end times … and it is obvious that Paul had done much teaching on this topic, as he mentions this without really elaborating on it.
Verse 1 for instance ... “Concerning the times and the seasons’ brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”.
So we start by asking, what exactly is “the Day of the Lord”? … Well, “the Day of the Lord” is the one of the most frequently mentioned prophetical doctrines in both the Old and New Testaments and it refers to “the Day of Judgment”, or the day of where God’s wrath is poured out on all mankind.
And yes this is very scary and depressing ... but Paul tells them that it will be a joyous time for those who are or were in Christ ... as those now dead will have their bodies resurrected first … and glorified … and those still alive would later join them … to meet the Lord … and live with Him forever.
This is the essence of today’s sermon ... and as you can see it is rather complex and heavy going ... but Paul tells the Thessalonians not to worry about the times or dates that these things will occur, as they don’t really apply to them ... although it will apply to those who are left behind.
So we will now as we look at this phrase … and we find according to the prophets of the Old Testament that “the day of the Lord” is mentioned in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Zephaniah, and Malachi.
Oh dear, we shall keep this short, Isaiah 13:9-11 “See, the day of the Lord is coming … a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger … I (says the Lord), will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins”. So the “Day of the Lord” is a Day of Judgment upon the world for its evil and sin … and where justice will be served on those who have not been cleansed and forgiven through our Lord Jesus Christ.