Summary: The Day of the Lord is coming, but if our faith is in Christ, we will escape the wrath of God that will be poured out at that time. In the meantime, we are called to trust Him, live out our faith, encourage one another, and invite people to Jesus.
The Day of the Lord
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
-Jesus is coming again! This topic fascinates many of us, while others are filled with fear at the prospect of His return. For those who know Christ, the problem of sorrow is solved because He has promised to return for those who have called on Him in faith and have made Him Lord of their lives. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 states that the purpose for teaching about the Lord’s return is to comfort us: “Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
-As we come to 1 Thessalonians 5, it’s important to know that Paul is now addressing the “Day of the Lord,” not the Rapture. We’ll learn more about this in a minute, but keep in mind that believers are raptured in chapter 4; in chapter 5, those who are left behind face unprecedented tribulation and terror.
-Chuck Swindoll tells the story of a man, who in 1938, ordered an expensive, extremely sensitive barometer from a very respected company. When it arrived, he was disappointed to discover that the needle was stuck on the dial marked “hurricane.” After shaking his new gauge several times to no avail, he decided to write a scathing letter to the manufacturer. He mailed the letter the next day on his way to the office. That evening he returned home to find that his barometer was missing – along with his house that had been hurtled away by a hurricane!
-The Bible is our barometer. This morning we’re going to see that it’s pointing to a holy hurricane, to a terrible time of tribulation. Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (Read)
1. The Day of the Lord is Coming (1-3)
-Paul recognizes that the Thessalonians knew enough about “times and dates” that he did not need to give them any more information. They were well taught on this topic from the very beginning. There are two reasons why they didn’t need any more data.
-Jesus made it clear that no one knows the exact time when He will return in Matthew 24:36: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Believers won’t be around anyway for the “Day of the Lord” because we will be raptured before it begins.
-The “Day of the Lord” is a phrase that is used many times in the Old Testament. The prophets used the term to describe God’s judgment on the pagan nations surrounding Israel. In fact, throughout history there have been many periods that might be called “the day of the Lord.” But all of those little “days” look forward to be the big “day” at the end of history.
-Bible scholars tell us that this is not a single 24-hour day but an elastic and extended length of time that begins right after the rapture of the church, covering a period of seven years that we know as the Great Tribulation and concluding at the end of the millennium. Here are some things we know from Scripture about the Day of the Lord. I should warn you that this is some of the strongest language in the entire Bible and is not very “positive or uplifting,” but it’s the truth. The Day of the Lord is the culmination of God’s fury in a final blast that consumes those who have not put their faith in Christ:
Isaiah 13:6: “Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.”