Reading For Friday 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
The fear of the unknown can produce significant anxiety and Paul does not want the people of God to be anxious or without hope. He reminds them of truth about Jesus and our union with him so that feelings of despair and hopelessness can be met with the hope of a glorious future. Death cannot separate us from Christ. Death is often referred to as sleep in the scripture and Paul continues that analogy here. Paul assures the Thessalonians that both the living and the dead in Christ will rise and be joined with the Lord. The Lord will command, the voice of the archangel will join, and the trumpet will sound as Christ raises all those that the Father entrusted to him on the last day. Paul writes about our union with Christ on several occasions and calls the believer to the truth that if we live in Christ, we die in Christ and if we die in Christ, we will be raised with Christ. These are words that are to be used to encourage one another especially those that were enduring the persecution associated with the Christians in the early church.
There is a great deal of curiosity, and much speculation is made concerning the time of Christ's return. Paul tells the believers that his coming will be sudden and unexpected so they are to live with an urgent expectancy concerning his return. We are called to live unto Christ, and if we give ourselves to following Christ and obeying his commands, then we will be ready when he comes for his bride. Unbelievers will be taken completely by surprise by Christ's coming because they are in darkness and cannot see the judgment of God. The return of Christ is a glorious triumph for the believer. We must wake up and walk in the light. We must be vigilant as we watch over our hearts and look for the return of our king. Our lives should be characterized by faith and love as we enjoy the hope of salvation. We are no longer under the wrath of God; instead, we are under grace and have been saved through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, our only hope in life and in death is in Jesus Christ and his salvation. These are words that we should use to encourage one another. These words should regularly be spoken and not only at funerals. Let us proclaim the gospel to those in darkness. Let us exhort one another to love and good deeds in this life. Let us remember that Jesus' return is imminent and let us remind ourselves that we belong to Jesus, and that is all the hope we will ever need.
Things To Consider:
- How can hope and grief coexist in a believer?
- Why do we need to be daily reminded of the gospel?
- Why is it comforting to remember that Jesus is returning?
- How will his return be different from his incarnation?
- Why are some reasons that God's judgment is dismissed?
- How should we live as Christians knowing that Jesus could return today?
- How can we daily "live" with Christ?
- Who can you encourage today with this truth?