1 Thessalonians 4:18
“Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
We are living in uncertain times. Violence rages in our streets, the threat of fires and hurricanes increases daily, we have the coronavirus, business shutdowns, the school’s uncertainties and the elections coming this fall.
At times, the thought of these things can become overwhelming, and we are struck with fear. While violence in the streets, fires, and civil unrest, did not fill the headlines in the newspapers of ancient Thessalonica, these believers had their own set of challenges, trials, threats and fears. In an attempt to encourage them through the difficulties they were facing, Paul broaches the subject of the return of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
While the threats we are currently facing are real, and the rising tensions around the world do cause concern, the Bible teaches that things as we know them, will culminate with the glorious return of Jesus Christ. A day is coming when living believers will be called home to join those who have gone to heaven before us, through faith in Christ. Paul explained to the Corinthians, this would be in a moment, as quick as the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52). While it is important for every believer to live a life that impacts the world for the Kingdom of heaven, we must also be living with an expectancy that Jesus Christ is coming back. Jesus said,
Luke 21:28 “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
As you head out the door to tackle your responsibilities, keep in the forefront of your mind the fact that Jesus Christ will be calling His church home soon. Let that impact the way you treat temptation, others, and the way you allow the current events to impact you. In light of the return of Christ, we should be doing all things heartily as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).
- In verse 1 and 2, Paul makes a plea for purity. Sometimes we try to determine how close we can live to the world and still be a Christian. Ask yourself, “would God be pleased with my doing this”? Do I want to be doing this when Jesus comes back? If you want a great standard upon which we judge how we live, turn to John’s Gospel 8:29.
- Verse 3 gives us the will of God- “Our Sanctification.” Sanctification means to be set apart and set aside for God’s use. If you have put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ you are set aside for a Holy purpose. God wants to use you if you will let Him. Will you let Him? He is God!
- Verses 9-12 deal with Christian love and living an orderly life. God has taught us to love one another. Here Paul tells us to kick it up a few more notches. He tells us to live a quiet life, mind your own business, and work with your own hands as you are commanded. What a great example of a Christian who lives quietly, minds their own business, and works really hard. Are you using the gifts God has given you? Does your life mirror these three aspects of an orderly life?
- According to verses 16-17 Jesus is coming for His church. He’s going to catch us up. We will be taken by force out of this world. This is known as the rapture. It’s going to take us by surprise. Read Luke 12:40. God wants us to live in constant, minute by minute readiness for His return. Are you ready for this magnificent event?