Be Ready for the Lord's Coming

1 Thessalonians 5.1-11

Good News Translation (GNT)

  1  There is no need to write you, friends, about
   the times and occasions when these things
   will happen.
  2  For you yourselves know very well that the
   Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes
   at night.
  3  When people say, "Everything is quiet and
   safe," then suddenly destruction will hit them!
   It will come as suddenly as the pains that
   come upon a woman in labour, and people
   will not escape.
  4  But you, friends, are not in the darkness, and
   the Day should not take you by surprise like
   a thief.
  5  All of you are people who belong to
   the light, who belong to the day. We do not
   belong to the night or to the darkness.
  6  So then, we should not be sleeping like
   the others; we should be awake and sober.
  7  It is at night when people sleep; it is at night
   when they get drunk.
  8  But we belong to the day, and we should be
   sober. We must wear faith and love as a
   breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a
  9  God did not choose us to suffer his anger,
   but to possess salvation through our Lord
   Jesus Christ,
10  who died for us in order that we might live
   together with him, whether we are alive or
   dead when he comes.
11  And so encourage one another and help one
   another, just as you are now doing.


Taken from 'word-on-the-web' supplied by the
Scripture Union

The end is nigh!

The Thessalonians were desperate to know how to prepare for the Christ's return.

They thought that knowing the date would help them. Whenever 'prophets' bandy about times and dates, we need to return to Jesus' own teaching, as Paul does here.

There is no point trying to second-guess God and pinpoint a date, because Jesus' return will be sudden and unexpected.

But those who believe in Him don't need to fear the future because his death means that God will spare us from judgement (v 9).

What we can do is to be ready for him, by living each day in a way that honours God (v 8).

Having reassured the Thessalonians about Christians who have fallen asleep in Jesus, Paul tackles a less healthy type of sleeping in the present time.

The expectation of the triumphant return of the Jesus should galvanise Christians, not in seeking to calculate when he might come, but in living holy lives now.

Our hope of living with Jesus for all eternity should not lessen our current experience of living in fellowship with him.

It is the unbeliever, who may be sleeping in no recognition of the day of judgement, but we should stay awake and be alert.

Christians may become like sleepy unbelievers if we are not positively living in the light of the coming of Christ.

We may assume our standing in him, and not daily put on self-control, faith, love and hope as an armour to protect us from the insidious attacks of the world around.

A Christian life that is not positively affirmed and developed may swiftly become one that is falsely regarded as secure and fails miserably when temptation comes.

We probably all know people who were once keen believers but now are either completely outside the Christian community or leading lives that have no cutting edge to them. Decline is much easier than the steady climb to sanctification.

Paul's focus is on the believers' continuing faithfulness, but he also reminds us of the ignorant continuation in sin, of people around us.

The collapse of security in money, justice or stable governments should make people aware of how insecure human life can be, but few recognise the insecurity of their own life.

It is commonly said that death and taxes are the only certainties in life, but we might add that standing before God in judgement is also certain (Romans 14:12).

As Paul has frequently reminded us, we should focus our lives and ask about our priorities and our relationship with him.

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