He admired this church and this school and Brian and Joe, and all the good work you guys are doing. And it’s just fantastic to be here and meet you all in person and share in this week’s lectureship. And I appreciate the presence of each person this morning. As we kickstart our time together, studying the word of God that really can change and transform our lives.
If you are a parent or a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a brother, a sister, a school teacher, a Bible school teacher, or if you’ve been around kids at all in your life, then you know that children have a lot of questions. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. The amount of questions that children have, even simple things can produce this overwhelming amount of questions in a child’s mind take,
for example, a car ride, we drove seven and a half hours to get here. And as you can imagine, there were many questions during those many miles of our trip, where are we going? Why are we going there? Are we there yet? Why are we not there yet? Which way are we going? Why are we going that way?
Why are we not going this way? Are we there yet? Why are we not there yet? Where are we going over and over and over so many questions you probably said before, stop asking so many questions. My sister, she has four children and she and her husband have this rule. They joke about, they have this daily allotment of questions and they’ll sometimes say,
you’ve reached your daily allotment of questions. No more questions. You’re out of questions. And it’s just nine in the morning. They joke about that. Of course, but children do have a lot of questions, but the point is that children learn life by asking questions. And no doubt, you can think back to your childhood and you were the same way.
You had many questions and you drove your parents and your siblings crazy by asking them over and over again with gel. What we as adults have questions too. And we as Christians have questions too. And sometimes our questions revolve around the idea of the end of time. When will Jesus come again? What will it be like when Jesus comes again? What will it be like to be raised from the grave and experience that new incorruptible body that God’s going to give to us on that great glorious day?
What is heaven going to be like? What’s it going to be like to be with a saved and God’s presence forever and ever in heaven, all of these questions, plus so many more come to mind and have come to mind even this week during this lectureship, but my friends were not alone in having questions about the end of time, about the second coming of Jesus,
about the resurrection, about eternity, our brethren, Manny many years ago in the first century had many of the same questions too. One of which is in first Thessalonians, chapter four, if you have your Bible, let’s locate this morning, first Thessalonians chapter four. And as we locate first Thessalonians chapter four, let’s zero in our focus on verses 13 through 18 of this text.
First Thessalonians four, 13 to 18. Now, before we think about the contents of these verses, we must pause for a moment and put them into their context within the book of first Thessalonians. First Thessalonians was Paul’s first of two, back to back letters to the church in Thessalonica, back in acts chapter 17, verses one. And following we read about Paul’s very successful ministry in vessel Anika.
Paul entered that great city as his custom was and went into the synagogues, the open up the scriptures and began to reason and sequentially prove line by line that Jesus is the Messiah that he had to come to this earth, that he had to suffer a bleed and die for man’s sins. And yes, that he rose from the grave by the power of God for three weeks,
Paul preached those messages there in the synagogue. And he had, as we might see a favorable response, many, especially Jews, non Jews, Gentiles received his message and obeyed the gospel. But among the Jews, primarily there was opposition, but he not only rejected the gospel message. They took it one step further to the point of opposition and they began to oppose Paul and Paul’s preaching company.
They formed this brute squad squad, and they began to afflict the house of Jason. They forced Paul his company to leave town by night. Even though Paul could leave that hostile environment, those Christians were left behind in that city to live out their Christian life in a hostile, difficult, troubling, trying environment. They were infant Christians, but babes in Christ,
they needed more teaching, more encouragement, more mentoring, they needed more spiritual education. They had so many questions and yet they’d been left behind in this toxic environment to live out their Christianity. And so in a matter of months, Paul, with pen and paper, as it were by inspiration of God takes the time to write not one but two letters back to back to these Christians.
And as we will see this morning, all throughout first Thessalonians, Paul can’t help, but come back to one reoccurring theme and it’s that Jesus is coming he’s coming because he was raised up from the grave he’s coming again. And God’s people have some precious promises that we can hold on to concerning the coming of Jesus Christ here in our text. First Thessalonians four,
13 to 18. Paul addresses one of their major questions about that event. Primarily what will happen to these individuals in Christ, these beloved brothers and sisters who have passed away, they’re asleep in Jesus. What will happen to them? When Jesus comes? Will they be at some spiritual disadvantage? Will they miss out when Jesus comes again? Well, we have some benefit over them.
When this text, Paul answers that and what we see as six verses in our English Bible, this is the most concise and yet comprehensive text on the second coming of Jesus. It gives us a picture of what will happen when Jesus peels back the sky and comes in the clouds triumphantly. And especially when it comes to the dead being raised, the save being gathered and us being with the Lord forever and ever notice how this text ends notice verse 18 of our passage.
Paul writes, therefore, encourage one another with these words, as we’ll see in a moment, this text begins and they’re discouraged. They need some serious encouragement, but by the time Paul writes this text, their hearts have been lifted. They’ve been encouraged. Now he says this, you encourage each other about these wonderful truths and promises of God. You see God’s promises for tomorrow ought to encourage our hearts.
Today. God’s promises for tomorrow that Jesus is coming. That those asleep in Jesus will be raised, that we can be together with him in heaven forever. Those promises ought to inspire us and challenge us to live lives of faithfulness, courage, and confidence for the Lord. Today. This passage shows us the comfort of his coming as we zero in our focus on this text,
I think we can pinpoint three key words this morning to help us appreciate the comfort we can have knowing that Jesus is for a fact coming again. The first word is the word revelation. We need to be encouraged by God’s promises. The second word is the word return being encouraged that Jesus is coming again. And the number three reunion be encouraged because there’s going to be a great gathering one sweet day.
Now let’s know this number one from our passage, the idea of revelation, we need to be encouraged regarding our Lord’s coming. When it comes to God’s promises, the best alone peons needed encouragement. They needed to hear about God’s promises. They needed Paul to explain some things, divine revelation. Now, why were they so discouraged? Why did they need encouragement in such a great way?
Why God’s promises at this point in their life? Well notice verse 13, Paul says, but we do not want you to be uninformed brothers about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do, who have no hope. There’s at least two reasons why in this text, these Christians are experiencing what we might call such heartache. Now,
reason number one is because they were mourning. They were mourning since Paul has last been in the city of vessel, Annika, some of the Christians there have passed away. They’ve experienced death, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ taken in death, but we don’t find the word death or dead in verse 13. Instead, we find this phrase, those who are asleep as we read this passage over and over,
Paul references back to those who are dead. Those who are the ceased, those who are asleep in Jesus notice verse 14, he writes about those who have fallen asleep. Notice verse 15, those who are alive when Jesus comes, we’ll not precede. Those who have fallen asleep. So three times, those who are asleep, those who have fallen asleep,
those who have fallen asleep. Now watch verse 16. He explains what he means. Those who have fallen asleep or those who are dead in Christ, who will rise. First. Those who are asleep that equals those who are dead in Christ, fateful the parted beloved saints from Bessel, Annika. And it might seem strange to us to think of death as being sleep.
But in ancient times in both the old and the new Testament, death was referred to often as sleep. When someone is deceased, their physical body resembles someone who is sleeping. It resembles someone who is peacefully. Oftentimes arms folded at a funeral. Resting. Whenever someone is described as being asleep, it’s not that their soul is asleep, but the body that is asleep and Ecclesiastes chapter 12,
when a person dies, their body returns to dust, but their soul doesn’t sleep. Doesn’t become inactive. Their soul returns back to God who gave it. He is the father of spirits and our spirits returned back to God as he wills and Luke chapter 16, the rich man and Lazarus when they died. And they were in that habian realm, their souls weren’t sleeping.
They were very much alive. They were very much aware. They weren’t inactive Norris leap. Here are these Christians are asleep in Jesus. They’ve experienced death. And as it were, their body is now arresting in the heart of the earth. Have you ever stood where these Christians are standing at this point in time? Here is some fateful. Elder. Yeah.
He’s grown old and death has taken him here. His son Belove fateful. Elder’s wife. And she’s now gotten older too. And she is taken in death. Here is some beloved preacher. You love this man dearly. He’s held your babies and your grand babies. He’s helped you through hard times yet. He’s been taken from you in death. Here’s that fateful sister.
And she used to sit way over here. She used to sing out and service is so loud, but she’s been taken from us in death. You see, leave all stood where they’re standing. We’ve all lost someone near and dear to us in the Lord. And these Christians have heartache because they are mourning. But there is a second factor in verse 13,
that leads to their heartache. Yes, their morning. But folks, they also have some serious misunderstandings. Notice what Paul writes. We don’t want you to be uninformed. Paul says, regarding those who are asleep in Jesus, the king James version says ignorant, but this alone is probably thought our Lord’s coming was imminent. He’s on the verge of coming right now in our lifetime.
As they’re thinking this way, perhaps they’re thinking when Jesus comes very soon, what’s going to happen to these Christians that we love, who are asleep in Jesus. Will they miss out? They’re not living like us. Will they be at some spiritual disadvantage? Will they lose out on some reward or benefit of his coming? And they had these misunderstandings and while they are grieving,
their grief has been made even worse by their misunderstandings folks. These people needed God’s promises. They needed to be encouraged by God’s divine revelation. Paul says, I don’t want you to grieve. Like other people grieve. You see when God’s people grieve, which we do grieve. We can grieve differently than those who are outside of Christ. Those who are outside of Christ,
don’t have the promises of God. They don’t have the comfort that we have associated with our Lord’s coming. These Christians needed to hear these promises. So their grief could be different. They’re going to see these beloved saints. Again, they’ll be erased up. You’ll be transformed. You’ll be together with the Lord. Again. They needed to hear God’s promises drop down to verse 15 for a moment.
And notice what Paul does. Paul says for this, we declare to you, here’s the solution to a trouble discourage, misunderstood heart. We declare you the word from the Lord. Whenever individuals are discouraged, when they are misunderstood, when they are misinformed, they need to hear the word of God. And that’s what Paul does in this text. He explains divine revelation.
What’s going to happen when Jesus comes and especially concerning those who are asleep in Jesus. They’re so worried about. So number one be encouraged by God’s promise is our first key word is revelation. Number two, our second key word in this text to appreciate the comfort of his coming is the word return. Be encouraged that Jesus is coming again. As Paul begins to explain this word from the Lord in verse 14,
the first thing he explains is the coming of Jesus. Watch beginning of verse 14 for, since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so through Jesus, God will bring with him. Those who have fallen asleep for this. We declare to you by a word from the Lord that we who are alive, who are left at the coming of our Lord will not proceed.
Those who have fallen asleep for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an arch angel, with a sound of the trumpet and the dead in Christ will rise. First. Now a lot is being said about the second coming of Jesus here in verses 14 to 16. But as we think about verses 14 to 16 together regarding our Lord’s coming,
which not as to take away observations, take away. Number one is this that the coming of Jesus is guaranteed by his resurrection. You can rest assure that Jesus is coming, that these things will happen because Jesus was raised from the grave and all throughout this book, Paul can’t help, but get back to the fact that Jesus is coming again. In fact,
every chapter in first Thessalonians, it ends with a reference to the second coming of Jesus. Now this, for example, chapter one, back in first Thessalonians chapter one, verse 10, this exemplary church with all these wonderful characteristics, they were waiting chapter one, verse 10 for God’s son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead who delivers us from the wrath to come.
The chapter ends with a reference to the coming of Jesus. Notice in chapter two, just one page over chapter two verse 19 says that these Thessalonians were Paul’s crown of rejoicing and glory. It was the coming of our Lord. Jesus Christ. The chapter ends a reference to the coming of Jesus. Look at chapter three, verse 13. Paul has a prayer for these Christians that God might establish your hearts,
blameless and holiness before our God and father, I guess what the coming of our Lord, Jesus, of course, here in our text, chapter four, the entire chapter, Angela, a section on the coming of Jesus and chapter five verses one to 11. We have the day of the Lord. Again, the coming of Jesus. Watch out chapter five ends verse 23,
the God of peace sanctify. You completely may. Your whole spirit, soul body be kept blameless until what the coming of our Lord Jesus, all throughout this letter, Paul says Jesus is coming, but here in chapter four, Paul points to one incredible event to guarantee that Jesus is coming in verse 14. Paul says for, since we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so the point is he’s coming again. And depending upon which translation you’re reading from the rendering might be a little different. The king James, the new king James, the American standard version, the new American standard Bible. They all have the phrase. If we believe for, if we believe that Jesus dies, died and rose again, even. So he’s coming again.
When you think back to acts chapter 17, when Paul spent three weeks in that city preaching sequentially, proving that Jesus is the son of God. What was one of the major points of emphasis in his preaching? The resurrection of Jesus. He emphasized for three weeks over and over again that Jesus died. Yes, he had to die, but that’s not the end of his story.
He was raised from the grave or the power of God. Yes. They knew this Paul’s point is this. If you believe it. And of course you believe it since you believe it. No, this Jesus is coming again. My friends just as surely as Jesus came in the first place he’s coming again, just as surely as Jesus lived as God in the flesh,
he is coming again, just as surely as Jesus did those miracles during his ministry. He’s coming again, just as surely as he died on the cross, he’s coming again, just as serious. He was buried. He’s coming again. And yes, Paul says just as sure as the fact that he was raised from the dead he’s coming again, he is coming is guaranteed by his resurrection,
but watch this incredible train of thought. A second takeaway observation is this, that Christ, resurrection and Christ coming is a guarantee of our resurrection. Paul says, you know, that Jesus was raised from the dead. And because you know that, no, this he’s coming again. And guess what? When he comes again, he’s going to raise up all those who are asleep in Jesus all throughout this text.
Paul implies that. Watch what he says in verse 14, those who have fallen asleep, verse 15, those who have fallen asleep, they won’t be at any disadvantage. Why? Because they’re going to be raced up. They won’t miss a thing. When Jesus comes, they’ll be raised up. Watch verse 16, the dead in Christ. He says so clearly will rise first,
be encouraged by God’s revelation. And God’s revelation shows us the return of Jesus that is guaranteed by his resurrection, which is a guarantee of our own resurrection. The graveyard is not the end. That funeral sermon is not the end that that’s alone is needed to hear this. The grave is not the end and those beloved Saint you’re so worried about they’re going to rise again because Jesus rose from the grave and he is coming again.
There’s so much more that could be noted, but number two, return be encouraged by the return of Jesus in one more key word, number three and it’s reunion. Whenever Jesus does come again, he shouldn’t raise up those who are dead in Jesus. Those who are asleep in him, and there’s going to be this incredible reunion. Watch verse 17 in verse 18.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them. That is those who are asleep in Jesus, who are raised by Jesus, in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord, therefore, encourage each other. With these words, when Jesus comes, we can look forward to being together with the Lord.
Doesn’t that make you excited? Doesn’t that make you want to sit up in your seat and sing a little louder and live for the Lord today? The thought that we can, and we will be with him one day in heaven. Paul says it right there. We will always be with the Lord. We’ll meet him in the air and forever more will be with him.
Some folks want that crown, that robe that mansion. They want a tour of those streets of gold and see that pearly white city. Paul says this. I want to be with the Lord. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain Philippians one 20 and 21 because to die is to be with Christ, which is far, far better.
Paul says we can look forward to being in this grand reunion with the lore, but also this we can be with God’s saints, not just God’s son. We can be with God’s saints. The family of God, notice this beautiful concept in verse 17, those who are alive first Corinthians 15 says will be transformed. They’ll receive that incorruptible body in a moment.
Those who are dead in the Lord, Paul says they’ll be raised in that incorruptible body. And guess what? Verse 17, those who are dead and changed. Those who are raised in changed, they’ll be caught up. Don’t miss it together together to be with the Lord forever. More. We’ll be together, but Thessalonians they’re so worried. What about this beloved sister and brother?
What about them? When Jesus comes, Paul says we’ll be together. They won’t miss a thing. There’ll be raised. Those who are living there’ll be changed. Oh, it will take us home to having to be with him. And we get to be together. Who do you look forward to seeing and having, who do you look forward to being with again,
in that grand reunion of all the redeem? What a remarkable thought that ought to encourage our hearts today? Reunion? No wonder Paul said encourage each other with these words. You may have your questions. I’m sure you do. They had a question too, but when we have our questions, our concerns, our misunderstandings, let’s go to God’s word God’s revelation and be encouraged by God’s promises because Jesus is coming.
And when it comes, what a grand reunion that will be, of course, all of that is because Jesus rose from the grave. I appreciate so much.