Paul wraps up his first letter to the church at Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5. This is a little further clarification on the things to come, and then a list of directions on how we need to live as we await Jesus coming again. He begins by reminding us that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”. We will not know the date and time. We won’t have a calendar appointment in Outlook reminding us Jesus is coming. It will happen without warning (well not exactly as scripture is full of the details on God’s plan for His return), but it won’t be broadcast with lots of time to prepare. That time is now. We need to be getting ready for Christ’s return today. We don’t know when it will happen. Are you ready? Paul reminds us “you are not in darkness….for that day to surprise you…..you are all children of light”. We have the plan in our fingers if we are reading the Bible. We need to study and be prepared. As Paul puts it: “let us keep awake and be sober”. We need to wake up and pay attention to what God had given us in preparation for Jesus coming again. We have direction. “Put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation”. Sound familiar? Some of the same terminology we find in how we are to handle spiritual warfare as found in Ephesians 6. We need to be ready.
Paul goes on to remind us of God’s plan for each of us. “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”. If you were wondering what God’s plan is for your life, Paul wrote it well. God wants us to be saved from eternal wrath through Jesus. How can that happen? Paul goes on to say He “died for us…..so that…..we might live with Him”. Did you catch that? Jesus went to the Cross and sacrificed His life so we might live and have eternal life with God. It is really that simple. He died….so we might live. What a blessing. What grace. We didn’t deserve it, but He chose to die for us anyway. The only question that remains is what we do with that offer of grace.
Paul concludes this first letter to the church with a list of things we ought to do as we live in preparation for Jesus to come again. Check them out:
– “encourage one another and build one another up
– respect those who labor among you
– esteem them very highly in love
– be at peace
– admonish the idle
– encourage the fainthearted
– help the weak
– be patient with them all
– no one repays anyone evil for evil
– do good to one another
– 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
– greet all the brothers with a holy kiss”
What a list of how we should live. There is much to be done as we await God’s coming again. We should not just sit back and wait. We have work to do. This list tells us what that is! Get after it.