1 Thessalonians 5

1 Thessalonians 5 has Paul continuing to talk about the Second Coming of Christ.  “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”.  There are some who claim to know when Jesus will return, but the bottom line is they truly have no idea.  In fact, there are many who will miss being ready completely.  “While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape”.  We’re not going to know when Jesus will return, so we need to have our act together and be prepared at all times, which translates into a vibrant and personal relationship with Jesus all the time!

Paul challenges us not to put life on auto-pilot.  “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober”.  Being a Christ Follower is full time.  It isn’t an hour on Sunday morning in the pew.  It is full time 24/7 always walking with the Savior.  “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing”. God desires us to spend eternity with Him – He wants none to perish – but we have to take the step of receiving His gift of grace through Christ to make sure we are ready for that day.

And as we wait, we live in a way that encourages and builds up those around us.  What does that looks like?  Paul tells us to “admonish the idle,  encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all”.  The sad news is that most of us avoid these folks.  We want to hang out with people who are going places and doing things, who have resources and are successful, and avoid people that might require us to climb into the mud where they are living so we can make a difference.  But that is what Paul wants from us.  To be a difference in the lives of those who need it.

He wraps this first letter to the church in Thessalonica by giving a list of things that should define them as a body of Christ Followers:

  • Rejoice always
  • pray without ceasing
  • give thanks in all circumstances
  • Do not quench the Spirit
  • Do not despise prophecies
  • test everything
  • hold fast what is good
  • Abstain from every form of evil

Here’s the playbook for how we should prepare for Christ’s return.  Jesus is coming again.  We need to be sure we are ready.  First we need a personal relationship with Him to address the consequences of our sin and cover us with His blood.  Second we need to be living in obedience to God’s direction of how we can become the person He desires and bring Him honor and glory and praise.  Are you ready?

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