Tuesday, 19 February 2013

E100 Bible Reading Challenge: Letters to the Early Church: The Coming Of The Lord (90)

1 Thessalonians 4:13—5:11

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. 

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I Want To Be Ready

We should be ready for Christ’s return—whenever it happens.

Paul didn’t hesitate to talk about what Christ’s return would be like (4.16, 17). But he was hesitant to talk about when it would happen (5.1-3). The main thing we need to know is that it will be a surprise, like a “thief in the night.” Instead of trying to determine exactly when it will happen, we should focus on being alert and self-controlled (4.6) so that no matter when it does happen, we’ll be ready. The hope of Christ’s return should be one of the most encouraging realities of the Christian life (4.18).


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