Summary: Discusses what to expect when Jesus returns for the church according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
What to Expect when Jesus Returns?
For those who have died in Christ,
Jesus’ return brings a Bodily Resurrection and Glorification (v.14-16)
For those who are alive in Christ,
Jesus’ return brings a bodily Rapture and Glorification (v. 17)
For Everyone in Christ, Jesus’ return brings us into Reunion with other believers (v. 17)
For Everyone in Christ, Jesus’ return brings us into the Eternal Presence of Jesus Christ (v. 17)
Intro – Resort invite
Imagine for a moment that you and your family were given an invitation to move to a brand new resort that was being built. You would move to the resort and there would be the work you love, and none of the concerns that you currently face. Everything would be taken care of. You were invited to come, but the resort was still under construction, so you couldn’t come until it was ready. In the meantime, you lived in your current circumstances.
When it was going to open, there was planned a grand opening celebration like the world has never seen. It was going to be amazing and you and your whole family were really looking forward to that.
While you lived in your circumstances, this is all that you talked about. You talked about
when the resort owner would come in his private jet to get you and
how the grand opening was going to be an event like nothing you ever experienced or would experience.
the things you would do and
the freedom from many of the concerns of life you would experience.
Well, while you are waiting in your circumstances, one of your family who was invited dies.
They were going to miss the most unbelievable celebration that would ever be experienced. It caused you great pain that they would never get to see or experience it. You began to wonder if this place would be ready before you died or would you too miss out on the grand opening experience and the fullness of the resort.
Jesus’ return – What can we expect
Those are the feelings being experienced by the Thessalonians in regards to the return of Jesus. Now the facts of that story are not necessarily true, but some of the things talked about were assumptions that were made by the Thessaolnians.
They were fully expecting Jesus’ return at any time, but then they experienced some deaths among some of their believing loved ones and they had some confusion over what to expect when Jesus returned.
As Paul taught the Thessalonians in the short time that he was there, it is certain that he taught them about Jesus coming back. Christ’s return is alluded to and talked about in each chapter in a way that the recipients would have known what he was talking about.
But as with any teaching, we can sometimes make assumptions that are wrong and not able to be corrected until a circumstance arises that exposes the wrongness of it.
Paul had no doubt taught them, as he told Titus, that Jesus’ return for the church was
that “blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)
Now as the Thessalonian believers began to see some of their own die while they waited for the return of Jesus, which they believed could be at any moment, they began to wonder if those who died were going to miss out on this most amazing of events, the glorious appearing of Jesus.