2016-10-09 - 1 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ The Reality of His Coming
The Believer's Response
There are two specifics Paul deals with here. The first is the way in which we are to comport ourselves, and the second, the promise of an eternity with God.
For us, the “Day of the Lord” is to be expected. This does not imply we can know when Christ will return for the church. What it does mean is we are to live in expectation of His coming. If we are waiting, then it will not arrive unexpectedly. We are not in darkness, and the thief comes only in the darkness. We are not to live overwhelmed by the pressures of life, for they will soon be over.
“… Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).
Paul says the believer is one who is of the light, of the day, and therefore not being of the night, should also not be surprised by Christ’s coming. We must live in a way that is consistent with being of the light. Because we’re believers, we are called to be alert - not lulled by the same false sense of security which affects the thousand years, why should He come now? Yet it is the reality of His coming that can help us keep a perspective about this world and its related pressures.
We are to be alert, aware of spiritual priorities. A we noted last time, we are to live in light of our appearing before the Lord.
“… For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph 5:8–14).
We are also called to be sober, that is self-controlled. This specifically relates to the concern that we are not to be involved in the bizarreness that often comes with focus on prophetic issues. Think of the group whose members sell all their goods, buy white robes, and go live on a mountain, waiting for Christ to arrive on the 15th. And then of course, He doesn't show.
We can almost say we should live as if the Lord will return at any minute, but also prepare for the eventuality He wouldn't. We want to be found serving Him in expectation of His re turn, not sitting around waiting for it.
Series to be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
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