Summary: In this one verse we are exposed to two desires of Paul regarding the believers in the church of Thessalonica. His first desire is that these dear folks understand what happens when we die. He wants them to have knowledge of what awaits them, approachin
What Happens and Our Hope
INTRODUCTION: In this one verse we are exposed to two desires of Paul regarding the believers in the church of Thessalonica. His first desire is that these dear folks understand what happens when we die. He wants them to have knowledge of what awaits them, approaching death not in ignorance, but in wisdom. His second desire is that there is a sense of assurance both for the living and for those who are dying.
I believe that the Scripture gives us ample evidence so that we can have an answer to what happens when we die, and an assurance as we face death ourselves.
I WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO DIE?
A “We sleep”
1 Sleepers do not cease to exist.
2 Sleepers rest while they sleep
a Sleepwalking is a disorder
b Fitful sleeping is avoided
c Lack of sleep = lack of rest
3 Sleeping is temporary
a Object of sleep is to wake up
b Purpose of sleep is to be refreshed
B We move IMMEDIATELY into the presence of Christ
Luke 23:42-43 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
Acts 7:59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Philip. 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
1 By departing this world
2 Tim. 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 By deliverance from distress
2 Tim. 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
3 With a blessedness and a rest
Rev. 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.""Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."
C We wake to a resurrected return
Isaiah 26:19 But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.
1 Thes. 4:16-18 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.
II WHAT ASSURANCE CAN WE HAVE – How can we grieve?
Paul talks about the existence of two types of grievers, those who grieve with out hope and those who grieve with hope.
A Grieving with hope – The example of Jesus
John 11:11-14 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." 12His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." 13Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead,
John 11:32-36 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34"Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. 35Jesus wept. 36Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
John 11:38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
John 11:43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"
1 Jesus knows his friend is dead – and He calls it sleep
2 Jesus says he is going to wake Him up
3 Jesus is deeply moved
a Groaned in spirit
b To be agitated by grief
c To be agitated by sorrow
4 When Jesus reaches the scene – He weeps, He shed tears