Summary: Death is just a sleep, one will wake up to something great or something grievous!
Please open your Bibles to 1 Thessalonians…..
Look at v7-8 of Chapter 1 with me….
The Thessalonians 2000 years ago were good loving Christians! The Thessalonian Christians were an example for others to follow! But did that mean that the Thessalonians have reached their full maturity in Christ? We have noted that in spite of their goodness and great love for others, the Thessalonian Christians still needed to learn more about God and learn to love even more!
From our simple passage this morning we will note that the Thessalonians had to learn how to deal with people dying. How about us, are we clear on what will happen when one dies?
Before reading our text this morning, let us pray our commitment to God’s Word………….
Read along with me now 1 Thessalonians 4 v13-18………
Let us focus focus on v13-14 today.
First of all what does the salutation of Brothers and sisters indicate? The information and instructions were addressed to those in the family of God. And who belongs to the family of God? Since the Thessalonians already knew the basics of the Gospel, they likely have heard this truth from the Gospel of John 1:12, But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
After His death, burial, and resurrection, only those who believe in those truths about Jesus Christ are children of God!
v13a: the truths shared were for Believers of Christ (brothers and sisters in the family of God).
And what does the 2nd part of v13 indicate?
v13b: Believers of Christ should not be ignorant about death! And what about death?
- everyone will have to face physical death
- physical death is only a “sleep” (i.e. people who die will wake up)
And the last part of v13b tells us that there are 2 ways of responding to death:
- either with much grieving or with hope
How can the Thessalonians have hope even through death?
The answer is in v14 isn’t it? God affirms the truth about Jesus Christ through the writer of the Letter to the Thessalonians.
So we first note in v14: Jesus died and rose again.
But before we look at the rest of v14, let us note the other truths about Jesus in this Letter:
From Chapter 1:9-10 – we note, Jesus is from heaven and will save people from God’s wrath.
2:15 – Jesus was killed in Jerusalem.
And we just read in 4:16 - Jesus will return to earth someday soon.
And what is the great hope for people who die?
v14b: Like He did for Jesus, God will resurrect Believers in Christ when Jesus returns to earth!
As we read, the end of 1 Thessalonians 4 tells us how Christians will be resurrected; we will talk more about this in a couple of weeks.
For today, let us just make sure we all understand what happens when one dies.
First of all, what happens when we die depends on whether we are truly a child of God or not.
1. We need to really ask ourselves, “Am I really a child of God right now?”
Because the Son of God already died and rose from the dead for people’s sins, only those who believe in Jesus Christ are truly children of God today!
2. Every person will face physical death. Physical death should not surprise us! We must not deceive ourselves that we can live forever.
And we must understand what will happen when we die; for physically death is just a sleep.
3. We will “awake” after we physically die and either grieve or have hope.
All of us will face death and it can happen unexpectedly. Do you really know for sure what will happen to you when you die? God tells us what will happen!
Only those who are truly children of God will awake from death to be with God along with everything good! Those who are not children of God will awake from death completely separated from God along with every evil. Know for sure you are a child of God by believing in Jesus Christ.
Note the truth from Hebrews 9:27, Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment!
For Christians, here’s the truth 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.
When Christians physically die, their spirits go straight to be with God! When non-believers of Christ physically die, their spirits are held for eternal judgment along with all the demons.
And let us keep this in mind, when we die, our loved ones will either be grieving or have hope! What will determine how our loved ones will respond to our death? Let us help our loved ones to deal with our own death, so that they will not grieve….