Summary: Daily meditate on the rapture and encourage others with that glorious event to happen soon!
Let us continue to learn from God’s letter to the Thessalonians. As we had noted, the letter is meant for all Christians, for those in Thessalonica 2000 years ago, for those who followed them, for those who ended up in Europe, and the letter is also for us today who proclaim to be Christians. Are you a Believer of Jesus Christ? – then, let us take to heart the Words of God for us. Open your Bibles to 1Thessalonians 4………..
A few weeks back we noted from v13-14 of 1 Thessalonians 4 that when people physically die, they are only sleeping; and when they awake, they either face God’s glory or face eternal judgment along with all the demons.
The Bible states that things are written so that you will know you have eternal life with God! What Bible verse or verses have you memorized which assures you of this eternal life with God? Every Christian should have a verse in their heart to assure salvation. If you don’t have one, may I suggest a few: John 3:16 is a good one; another one is Romans 10:9.
Use Salvation Note Card…..
We also noted from 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” For a Christian, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord; and so, When Christians die, their souls go straight to heaven!
What happens to bodies of Christians in the future? Read along with me now 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18….
And so, what happens to Christian’s bodies?
But first of all, did you notice the beginning of the passage? This is a special passage! We know the whole Bible is God’s Word, but God notes here that v15a: these truths are directly from the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ our Creator, God, and Savior speaks directly to us!
What are the truths?
v15c: God Jesus Christ will return to earth someday! Let us never forget this!
Many of us Filipinos (and many Americans) remember what General Douglas McArthur promised…….. “I shall….!”
Jesus promised He will return to earth from heaven! What is more important, man’s promises or God’s?
And if we study this a bit more, we will note that the return of Jesus Christ to earth for Christians can now happen at any moment! Jesus’ return to earth is imminent!
And we note in the second part of v15,
v15b: there will be people alive when Jesus returns to earth
And we note at the end of v15 that something will happen first to those who are dead then to those still alive; we’ll note the details in a bit, but first let’s look at the signs of Jesus’ return for Christians; look again at v16…..
- Jesus will come again to earth from heaven
- loud command (i.e. there will be a clear instruction); But I don’t think it will be “I’m BAACK!” I believe Jesus will call out our personal names; I think He will say to me “Perry Clemente, halika na! Uwi kana sa langit!
- Angels (powerful spiritual beings) will be involved
- Trumpet call (i.e. there will be sweet proclamation music)
All of this will happen soon for you and me who are believers of Jesus Christ! It can happen this morning as we are meeting; wouldn’t that be awesome? Are you excited? We should meditate on this eternal life changing event everyday!
And after all these powerful spiritual signs in the sky, what will happen next? The last part of v16 states: one day soon while people are still on earth, the dead in Christ will rise to be with Jesus in the sky!
Now, we noted that when Christians die before Jesus returns to earth, their souls go directly to heaven and their physical bodies stay here on earth. And so, what does the dead will rise first means?
v16e: one day soon, while people are still on earth, the bodies of dead Believers of Messiah Jesus Christ will be resurrected to join their souls in heaven! This will include both Old Testament and New Testament Believers! I wonder who will take the lead, Abraham, Noah, Joshua….? Oh wait, I know, Peter would want to lead!
Now look again at v17…..
- After the resurrection of the dead, Christians still alive on earth will be resurrected and taken to heaven! Christians on earth will catch up with the rest (caught up in Latin is raptura >> rapture).
- All resurrected Believers will be with Jesus Christ forever
And what are we to do with these truths?
v18: Encourage one another that Christ will perfect us soon and take us to heaven forever!!
The applications to life today are simple, aren’t they?