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Summary: Theme: Everlasting Life - Everlasting Hope In this passage Paul speaks about Everlasting Life and Hope in Christ Jesus. Paul reminds us that we will have a resurrected body, King Jesus will return and All of Creation will be restored!

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (Call to worship - Psalm 70)

Title: Where is Nanna?

Theme: Everlasting Life - Everlasting Hope

In this passage Paul speaks about Everlasting Life and Hope in Christ Jesus. Paul reminds us that we will have a resurrected body, King Jesus will return and All of Creation will be restored!

INTRO:

Grace and peace from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!

"Where is Nanna" asked the little boy as he looked up at the casket in which his grandmother (Nanna) now occupied? Is Nanna asleep? Will Nanna be coming home with us later? Is Nanna with Jesus? Is Nanna in Heaven? Will I ever see Nanna again? Why did Nanna have to die?

Over the years I have heard conversations similar to those around caskets, around funeral parlors and at graveside services. They have come out of the mouths of the very young and out of the grief stricken faces of the elderly. People doing their best to deal with their grief and doing their best to get a handle on the situation.

The truth is when it comes to loss and grief none of us know the full answer. None of us know how to handle loss. We may attempt to suppress our emotions, attempt to look at everything clinically or logically but it doesn't really make sense. There is something deep inside of us that says that this is wrong. This is not how it is suppose to be in this life.

Just when a person is getting comfortable with who they are and are making some headway in becoming an authentic human being they find themselves having to lay down this mortal life. Just when a person is beginning to come into their own they are snatched out. Just when their candle of light has been ignited some have tragically had that light snuffed out.

None of us fully understand death. We don't know why the young die or why people have to die from violence or disease or even old age. There is something inside of us that says that we were not made for this and neither was our world.

And we are right. If the Story of Creation that we find in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis tell us anything and that story does tell a great deal it tells us that it was not God's idea to introduce death into our world at all. Alongside the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the Tree of Life. I strongly believe it was God's intention for His creation to enjoy everlasting life. It was only after we rebelled that death entered into the picture. Death is a result of our rebellion and self-idolatry.

Paul's friends in Thessalonica were asking questions about death and everlasting life. No doubt soon after this Church got started it had to endure the loss of some of its members. Now, they wanted to know what was going to happen to their loved ones. Perhaps they were wondering why their loved ones had not come back to life after three days like Jesus did. Would they ever see them again or had they been forever swallowed up by death? And if they were coming back where were they in the mean time?

Paul takes up their questions and to the best of his ability tries to explain the unexplainable. He gives this whole area of everlasting life a second try in his letter to the Church in Corinth ( I Corinthians 15:23-27, 51-54) and a third try in his letter to the Church in Philippi (Philippians 3:20-21). The Apostle is attempting to explain the unexplainable. What does happens to us when we die? What will the Second Coming be like? Is there a time table? Is there a pattern or signs and wonders that we should be focused on?

What truths can we glean from this part of Paul's letter to his friends at Thessalonica?

Well, let's look at some of them this morning.

I. Paul first points to death as falling asleep - verse 13

Now, some have taken Paul's words and built a whole theology around "the sleep of death". That is not what Paul is saying in these verses. At times we are so determined to find an answer we create an answer whether it is there or not.

Paul merely uses the words "fallen asleep" to describe those who died. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul describes those who have died to be like seeds sown into the ground while in Philippians 3:20-21, Paul talks about them enjoying citizenship in heaven. Paul uses a great many different metaphors in attempting to describe the indescribable.

The truth is this morning, we can only see through the glass of everlasting life darkly. Only, Jesus has come back from the dead and while we have a great deal of theories of what happened between day one and day three of his death the truth is we are left largely in the dark. But that doesn't mean that we don't know anything. In fact, Paul wants us to know by using this metaphor and others like it the following truths:

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