Summary: The reality of Christ’s return challenges all believers to a more serious and devoted life.

Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister

First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO

What Happens When A Person Dies Series

It’s Time to Wake Up!

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Introduction: It’s time to wake up! I could be talking to Josh Stinnet and Andee Burnett, but I’m not. Most of you may not haven’t gotten to witness it last week. Josh and Andee showed up for church last week in their prom outfits last week. Take my word for it, Josh actually cleans pretty good. Andee was pretty as a picture as always. The striking thing was they had been up all night at the BGHS prom and then the post prom festivities. Neither had slept all night. The good news was: they made the effort to be at church want to commend them for that! The bad news is they sat in the back row of the balcony with heads back and arms flayed out and slept through my sermon. The really bad news is: they kept everybody else up there awake with their snoring. Just kidding!

Maybe what I’m think about is more like the two hillbilly brothers who got tired of plowing corn behind a mule on their pa’s farm. They headed to the big city to find a job and make their fortune. Neither had been off the farm much. Eventually they ended up a big trucking company who was looking to hire some new truck drivers. “Have you had any driving experience?” the manager asked. “We used to drive pa’s old pickup to town every Saturday to pick up vitals,” Joe explained. Jim chimed in, “I used to haul moonshine for Cousin Zeb before the revenuers blew up his still.” “That’s quite interesting,” the manager responded. “Let me describe a few situations so explain to me what you would do?”

He proceeded to ask Joe and Jim what they would do if they had a flat tire, if they ran out of fuel, and several other common trucking situations. Finally, he asked, “Jim, what you do if you were driving and Joe was asleep in the sleeper compartment. You are pulling a tanker of jet fuel when your rig stalls crossing a railroad track. You try and try to restart the truck. It won’t go. You look up and see a high speed train heading straight for you. What’s the first thing you would do?” Jim doesn’t bat an eye. He immediately responds, “I’d wake up Joe.” “Very good! Andwhy would you wake up Joe?” “Cause Joe ain’t never seen nothin’ like that before.”

It is time to wake up. This world were riding on is headed for something you won’t want to miss. Did you catch the theme of the text I read? The key is verse six, “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” It’s not talking about staying awake in church. In fact, the whole idea of being asleep or awake is a word picture for being unprepared or ready for the “day of the Lord”—this world scheduled appointment with its Maker. The passage contrasts those who will ready and those who won’t. Some will be. Some won’t! To drive the point home, the text uses the contrast of being asleep or awake. Which are you? The difference is important! Why does it matter that we are wide awake? The text explains why it’s time for all of us to wake up.

First, it’s time to wake up so you can watch. Those who sleep don’t have a clue about what’s happening around them. If they did, they would try harder to stay awake. Those who are awake understand what’s happening around them. They know what’s at stake.

A. Christ is coming back. This world has an appointment. The Old Testament predicted it. Jesus announced it. The rest of the Bible talks about it again. In fact, that’s the theme of the last chapters of the Bible.

B. A lot of us are skeptical about this kind of talk. We have good reason.

a. Many fanatics have turned us into doubters. date setters; 1843/1988/2000

b. Others doubt because it has been so long. Waiting for a while is easy. Waiting for anything for a long time is hard. 2 Pt 3—slowness=patience/grace

C. Note the warning of our text. Jesus words, “No one knows the day or the hour.” Some conclude that since we don’t know everything, we can’t know anything. That’s not what Jesus said nor what this passage teaches.

“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Luke 21:29-31

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.

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