Summary: This sermon discusses the hope we have because of the resurrection of Jesus. We know that there is something better for us after we die and we can be encouraged by that.
A. The story is told of a young preacher who was preaching his first sermon.
1. He was a little nervous, and about ten minutes into his sermon his mind went blank.
2. All he could remember was what he was taught in his preaching classes to do when this kind of thing took place – He was taught to repeat his last point.
3. So he thought he would give it a try, so he said, “Behold, I come quickly!”
4. Still his mind was blank, so he tried again, “Behold, I come quickly!”
5. Still nothing. He tried it one more time, “Behold, I come quickly!”
6. But he said it with such force that he fell forward, knocking the pulpit to one side, and tripping over a flower pot he landed on top of an elderly lady in the front row.
7. The young preacher apologized and tried to explain what happened.
8. “That’s alright, young man,” said the little old lady, “It was my fault. I should have gotten out of the way, because you warned me three times you were coming quickly!”
B. Jesus Christ is coming again and quickly – that’s what He told us and what scripture tells us.
1. The responsibility for being ready rests with us.
2. Unfortunately, over the years, there has been a lot of confusion and false teachings about when and how Jesus will come.
3. It appears that the Thessalonians had asked Paul some questions about this subject, and in this section Paul has answered their questions and concerns.
C. You know how much I like the Peanuts cartoons.
1. In one cartoon there is a conversation between Lucy and Linus.
2. It is raining very hard, and Lucy is wonders out loud as she looks out the window, “Boy, look at it rain…what if it floods the whole world?”
3. Linus said, “It will never do that. In the ninth chapter of Genesis, God promised Noah that would never happen again, and the sign of the promise is the rainbow.”
4. “You’ve taken a great load off my mind,” replied Lucy, to which Linus adds, “Sound theology has a way of doing that!”
D. How true that is – Sound theology gives us great confidence, assurance and comfort – it can take a load off our minds.
1. That’s what I hope will happen today as we receive from the apostle Paul some sound theology about the Second Coming of Jesus.
2. So let’s spend a few minutes exploring and applying the text.
I. Exploring the Text
A. The section begins: 13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
1. The phrase “we do not want you to be ignorant” sounds a bit rude to us, but it was a common formula often used to introduce information.
a. So it was not meant to be insulting, rather was just a way of saying, “we don’t want you to be uninformed,” or “we want you to know.”
2. The topic that Paul wanted them to be informed about had to do with “those who fall asleep.”
a. “Those who have fallen asleep” are Christian brothers and sisters who have died before the Second Coming of Jesus.
3. We need to realize that “sleep” was widely and frequently used by pagans, Jews and Christians as a euphemism for death.
a. There was and is, however, a big difference between what believers and unbelievers think about this “sleep” of death.
4. That’s why Paul wrote that he did not want the Thessalonians “to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.”
a. Paul was not saying that the Thessalonians should not grieve, but that they should not grieve in the same way or to the same extent as those without faith and hope grieve.
5. In the face of death, the pagan world stood in despair.
a. The pagan saw death as a sleep from which there would be no awaking.
b. Theocritus wrote, “There is hope for those who are alive, but those who have died are without hope.”
c. On their tombstones, grim epitaphs were carved, like: “I was not; I became, I am not; I care not.”
6. If you thought that way about life and death, you can see how you would really grieve without hope.
a. Praise God, we, Christians, don’t have to grieve like that.
7. We grieve with hope because we know that death is not the end, but rather it is a sleep from which we will awake!
a. Why can we believe that? Let’s look at the next verse.
B. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.