1 Thessalonians 5:2
“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”
Years ago, when our twin sons were infants, my wife woke me in the middle of the night. Having been up with the babies, she saw someone in our yard. Concerned that we might be dealing with a home invasion, my instinct was to grab something to protect myself and head into the yard. As I peered through the front window, I realized that it was actually a group of teenagers who were toilet-papering our house. I immediately thought of grabbing the garden hose, getting on the roof and spaying them down. The problem was, the garden hose was in the front yard where I had left it after its last use. Frustrated that I was unprepared for the surprise visit, all I could do was run outside, make myself known and watch them run off. Thinking they might return to finish the job, I laid on the roof with the hose in hand for the next few hours, only to be disappointed by the fact that I had missed my opportunity. Paul reminds us that the return of Christ will be like an intruder in the night. The time to prepare for His return is not after His arrival, but in anticipation to His coming.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 “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.”
One of the most interesting signs the Bible warns us to be looking for is the fact that people will be suggesting He is not coming. Peter wrote, in the last days people would mock the very idea of Jesus’ return. They would be saying things like “you Christians have been talking about that forever.” Paul also reminds us, while many of the signs of Christ’s return are things that have been happening throughout history, they are things that will increase in severity and frequency. Like a woman having contractions, the pain increases the closer she gets to her delivery, so will the signs of Christ’s return increase as the day approaches.
1 Thessalonians 5:4 “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”
While we cannot know the day or hour of the return of Christ, we can be living in expectancy, so we are not caught unaware. The way to be prepared for His return, is not by twisting every current event into a fulfilled prophecy. Instead, we must be sure, that first, we have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, and second, we have surrendered to Him as Lord. You might be able to rattle off all of the signs that point to His coming, yet you are not living for Him. If that is your story, you will be overtaken as by a thief in the night.
There is little doubt, we are living in the last days. The State of Israel, the climate in the Middle East, the rise of immorality being accepted as good, all point to the imminent return of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The one question that remains is, are you ready should He come back today?
- According to verses 1-3 Paul tells us that you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. People will be saying all is well and that everything is peaceful and secure. Then suddenly as a woman’s birth pangs begin, disaster will fall upon the world. We should be ready at all times. Suppose the Lord were to return today? How would He find you living? Are you ready to meet Him? Be prepared!
- Verse 6 tells us not to sleep as others do, but to watch and be sober. Jesus said in Revelation 3:3, “If you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief.” We must be watching for the return of Christ. Over and over Jesus spoke to His disciples about His coming. He said, “Watch.” We are to be watching for signs. Are you aware of what is happening around you? Turn to Luke 21:25-28. We need to be looking, watching, and to be sober. The Lord Jesus Messiah is coming for His church.
- Verse 9 is a glorious verse. We will not be here for the great tribulation. This is when the Lord’s wrath is upon the earth. Praise the Lord He has not appointed us to wrath. For reference and further study read Genesis 18.
- In verses 12-13 Paul tells us to recognize our church leaders. Express your appreciation and tell them how you have been helped by their leadership and teaching. If you say nothing, how will they know where you stand? Remember that Paul is urging you to reach out in support and love for the Pastor and the other church leaders.
- According to verses 16-18 we are to be a joyful church, a praying church, and a thankful church. This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. We should be joyful because our sins have been forgiven and we are going to heaven. We should be praying without ceasing. This does not mean on our knees twenty-four hours a day, but to be in constant awareness and communion with God. We should in everything, give thanks! Do you know for sure your life is in God’s hands? If God allows something to happen in our lives then He has a purpose for it. Be thankful for the good He will accomplish through the trial.
- In this fifth chapter, beginning at verse 11-27, Paul gives Christians a total of twenty-two commandments. The first commandment in verse 11 is, comfort each other and edify one another. The last commandment in verse 27, I charge you by the Lord that this epistle is read to all the holy brethren. Go through these verses and find the remaining 20 commandments. Jesus said if you love Me, keep my commandments. We are to always look for the coming of the Lord. It is also very important to be walking the straight and narrow while we are looking. Grace and peace to you.