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Be Ready – The Lord Will Return!


Be Ready 

Text: 1 Thess 5:1-11

Paul has advised the Thessalonian church that they should not be worried about the Lord’s return. In fact it should be a comfort to them, something to await with expectation, and joy, a reuniting of those who have died in Christ, as the  great shout is heard and the trumpet sounds and the dead are raised and we rise to go to be with the Lord… It is a continuation of the astounding power of God, that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God, and that gives us new life and prepares us for that very day, (the power of Christ’s resurrection), and which will at the last day bring together all the scattered DNA of those through the centuries that are His, and give them new resurrection bodies and an eternal home in a world where there is no longer any death. …and thus we shall also be with the Lord, 8 Therefore comfort one another with these words!

Our catechism question and answer recognises this great comfort too. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 19, Q52, “What comfort is it to you that Christ will come to judge the living and the dead?” 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Paul goes on to describe how that ‘comfort’ – how that hope of the Lord’s return will practically outwork itself in the life of the believer…

1. It Will Make Us Vigilant! 5:2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.

There are many people who are searching for signs. Signs and omens. Not just Christians, it’s essentially a pagan thing.Matthew 16:4  Lots of Christians are looking for a sign of the imminent return of the Lord. You won’t get one. We must live in a constant state of readiness! READ 1 Thess. 5:4-7  For the one who does not know Him, who is still living in the darkness of this world, Jesus will come as a thief in the night and His return shall be an unexpected, unwelcome event, leading to judgement and eternal death. For those who are His, who have the glorious light of the Gospel shining in their lives, Jesus will come by day – spiritually speaking, and how welcome will be that coming! So the Christian will always be aware that Jesus is coming back, and will order his life in relation to that event.  In the light of Christ’s sudden return, let us live as children of the day, living for Jesus and redeeming the time! Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. Be ALERT.

2 It Will Encourage Us To Prepare for Life’s Battles! 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

Paul is talking about our Christian Armour here. If you plan to do battle  for the Lord – which we are called to do – you certainly need to be sober. A drunken soldier will be useless in the army of God – drunken with pride, or selfishness or worldly affections… And we must be properly equipped. Paul echoes Ephesians 6 when he tells us that we will need protection for the heart and the mind, the emotions and the intellect. Now this equipping of the heart and the mind will bring us comfort, for as we put on our Christian armour, we have the advantage of knowing exactly how this battle will end. We have read the end of the book, and we know that we are already victorious, that we are more than conquerors though him who loved us.  And …

3. It Will Give us Confidence. v9-10 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

Now do you see the optimism in this verse? In this world of hopelessness the Christian should have the utmost confidence, knowing that despite the encroachments of liberal ideas, and immoral practices and wickedness, the battle is the Lord’s. When Paul speaks of the coming of the Lord it is always with great confidence and great optimism. Jesus died for us, and now, whether we are alive when he comes, or whether we have died before He comes, we will most certainly live together with Him! There are several reasons for this confidence, for we are his chosen people, his redeemed people and his protected people. In Romans Paul traces this great assurance for us in chapter eight.  Romans 8:29-31. These assurances will give us great confidence for the future.

4. It Will Draw Us Closer Together. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing

Paul speaks once again about comforting each other with this doctrine, the truth of Christ’s return. Because Jesus is coming back, let us be well acquainted with the people of the Lord, and let us each comfort and edify the other. I need your encouragement and you need mine. I need you to build me up in my faith, and you need me to build you up. We need each other, and God did not put us into His kingdom to be solitary Christians, or to plough a lonely furrow. We are certainly not here to be a discouragement. How do you encourage other believers? 

So, Christians are to be different from those who have never known the Saviour, and just one of the reasons that they will be different is that Jesus is going to suddenly return! That knowledge will change our attitude to the future, and we will begin to encourage one another and to comfort each other with this great truth.

© Bob McEvoy

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