- The return of Jesus and the end of the world is a topic as controversial and misunderstood today as it was in the First Century.
- Non-believers then and now mostly reject the whole idea of a “doom’s day” – especially one brought about by a Jewish preacher who lived 2,000 years ago.
- But even in the Christian community there is a wide diversity of beliefs about His coming… from disbelief (liberal views) to fanatical fascination about end-time signs and predictions.
- Paul is addressing this subject and trying to clear up misconceptions and ignorance in his two letters to the Thessalonians.
A MAJOR NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING:
- Jesus Himself addressed the subject of His return and the final judgment
- Matthew 16:27; 24:36; 25:1-13; 25:31-46
- Luke 12:37-38, 40
- John 14:1-3
- But He also spoke of the coming judgment on Jerusalem and Israel using similar terms, which often confuses our ability to separate the two different events (judgment on Israel, and the Final Judgment)
- Essentially every New Testament document has this teaching about His coming and judgment. Examples include:
- Paul: Romans 2:5-11; 8:18-39; I Corinthians 1:7; 15:1-58; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4; I Timothy 6:14; II Timothy 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13
- Peter: I Peter 1:7,13; 4:13; 5:4; II Peter 3:3-16
- John: I John 2:28; 3:2
- Hebrews 9:28; 10:36-37
- Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-22:20
PAUL TEACHING THE THESSALONIANS:
- Our lessons last week and this week cover his teaching the church about Christ’s coming again – I Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11
- He is answering three questions they needed clarified:
- 4:13-18 – What about believers who die before His coming?
- 4:15-17 – What will happen when He does come?
- 5:1-11 – When will He come? (Or has He come already?)
- He will answer more questions in II Thessalonians:
- 1:5-10 – When will the final judgment of the wicked happen?
- 2:1-11 – How do we know He has not already come, as some were saying?
I THESSALONIANS 5:1-11 – WHEN WILL THE LORD COME?
- Paul is addressing these dearly loved “children” of his with a combination of clear instruction and encouragement.
- FIRST (5:1-3) – His coming will be both sudden and unexpected!
- This briefly answers both the “WHEN” and “HOW” of His coming
- But a lost world will be completely unprepared for Him!
- SECOND (5:4-8) – Though they may not know the timing of His coming, they will not be caught by surprise when it happens!
- They are not in darkness, but in the light
- They will not be “asleep,” but alert and sober
- They have “the armor of light” – Romans 13:12; Ephesians 6:11-18
- A breastplate of faith and love
- And the hope of salvation as a helmet
- THIRD (5:9-11) – They are destined (appointed) for salvation at His coming!
- Not to suffer the judgment of His wrath
- He died for them, so that whether living or dead at His coming, they will live together with Him
- So, they need to continue to encourage and strengthen each other (so that they may all enjoy the blessings of His coming).
- The heart of Paul’s letter is to have the Christians both expecting the Lord’s coming, and to be encouraged to live appropriately as they wait for Him.
- The coming of the Lord needs to be a topic we need to be reminded of often, and for which we fervently long.
- We must not let the long delay between the promise of His coming and our present time cause us to be discouraged or filled with doubt.
- HE IS COMING! Let’s use the time to bring as many as possible to repentance! II Peter 3:9
- And let us pray, “Maranatha! Come, O Lord!”
This material was produced for my Sunday morning class at Sunset Church of Christ, August 25, 2019. Our image was produced by the Lumo Project and made available through www.freebibleimages.com.