Summary: A sermon on the Rapture.

“MAYBE IT WILL BE TODAY!” 1 Thess. 4:13-18

FBCF – 5/31/20

Jon Daniels

INTRO – What are you looking forward to? Maybe in our present climate, you might say that you’re looking forward to this pandemic being over. Or that you’re looking forward to being back on campus for our corporate worship services next week. I am, too!

We all have different things that we look forward to at different points throughout our lives:

- Kids – Christmas, getting out of school for summer, playing in the rain, going to grandparents’ house

- Teenagers – Getting driver’s license, getting first car or truck, going to a party at a friend’s house, prom, graduation,

- Adults – Getting out of college, paying off student loans, getting a job/starting career, getting married, honeymoon, having kids, having an empty nest, vacation, hunting season, football season, shopping on Black Friday, having grandkids, retirement

It’s that sense of anticipation that we feel.

- Heinz ketchup commercial – set to Carly Simon’s song from the early 70’s. Lyrics:

o “We can never know about the days to come, But we think about them anyway. And I wonder if I’m w/ you now, Or just chasing after some finer day.”

Have to disagree w/ Ms. Simon on that first line – “We can never know about the days to come.” B/c as Christ-followers, we can & we DO know about the days to come. We don’t have to wonder. We aren’t uniformed. We do know about the days to come. And our passage of Scripture today speaks to an event that is going to happen in the days to come – an event that we are anticipating & looking forward to in a great way! And, as the title of the sermon says, “maybe it will be today!”

EXPLANATION – Open Bibles to 1 Thess. 4:13-18

1 Thess. written by Apostle Paul around AD 50. Wrote to the church at Thessalonica to help clear up some misunderstandings that they had regarding the 2nd coming of Jesus. Also wanted to help challenge & encourage them w/ some instructions in holy living.

In the 1st 3 chapters, Paul let them know that he truly wanted to come visit them, but that Satan had hindered him from coming.

- 1 Thess. 2:18 – “…we wanted to come to you – I, Paul, again & again – but Satan hindered us.”

- Satan is in the hindering business!

He also shared w/ them how much he cared for them, how encouraged he had been in hearing how they were doing, & prayed for them.

- 1 Thess. 3:11-13

He moves into some instructions on living a holy life in chapter 4, some teaching on the 2nd coming of Christ, then closes the letter w/ some final instructions on living the Christian life, words that we find very helpful for our lives today.

- 1 Thess. 5:16-18

The focus for our time today is on the exciting words he shares about the 2nd coming of Christ. THAT’S the event that we are looking forward to! THAT’S the event that we are anticipating! Maybe it will be today!

APPLICATION – We need a message of HOPE!

- Our community needs a message of hope.

- Our nation needs a message of hope

- Our world needs a message of hope.

- And THIS is THE message of hope!

PREVIOUS EVENTS – v. 13-14 – Those who’ve died – Jesus died & rose again – all previous events.

We all have events in our past that have brought grief into our lives – specifically the death of loved ones.

Dying w/out Christ is the epitome of hopelessness. And those who grieve w/out Christ are grieving in hopelessness.

But that’s not true of us who belong to Christ. The previous events of losing loved ones who died in Christ don’t cause us to lose hope. We do not grieve “as others do who have no hope” – those w/out Christ! Not at all! It is exactly b/c of Christ & the eternal life that He gives to us at the moment of our salvation that we grieve WITH hope! “Hope” means “expectation.”

- Although our loved ones are no longer w/ us, it’s our expectation that we will see them again.

- They’re “asleep” right now:

o Figurative term for death. It’s a term that Jesus used when Lazarus died (John 11). Used when Stephen was stoned to death in Acts 7:60.

o Doesn’t mean that they’ve ceased to exist b/c, at the moment of death for the believer, our souls immediately go to heaven into the presence of the Lord.

o Means that their bodies are resting from their labors – that they’re no longer active in the world - & that they are awaiting an awakening that’s coming!

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