Good morning family!

I know things are not looking great and we still don’t have any clue about when everything will return to normal. These are tough days and we do understand the struggles you are going through. But in these rough times our hope is that you are taking good care of yourselves especially spiritually.

This morning, I believe, our passage from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 gives us some really wise and practical life lessons for times like these.

After listening to Paul’s encouraging words to the church in Thessalonica, we know for sure that these bunch of people were genuine followers of Christ. This church was acclaimed for their undying Faith by Paul, Timothy and the reports they received from churches.

That is why, we picked out this letter and named our series “Abiding Faith”, because we want to learn and imitate these Christians whose Faith was strong as a rock.

But what we see in these recent passages is even though their lives were deeply rooted in Christ, they also had their moments of anxieties and fears about the future, about their present difficult circumstances, more so as there were many Christians tortured and put to death. In verse 1 Paul writes

1. Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers

In this verse and the verses prior to these, we read how Paul is aware of what’s happening and his response to the church’s apprehension and that is why He opens up a dialogue where he is exhorting and teaching them how to live under these difficult circumstances.

I believe these words of Paul are equally relevant to us today as we encounter various challenges and anxiousness due to this pandemic.  I hope these verse shifts our focus to Christ and realigns our thoughts to Him.

There are 4 lessons we can learn from Paul dialogue with the Thessalian church

1. To Live in eager anticipation of the Lord’s coming.

The first lesson we learn is to “live in eager anticipation of the Lord’s coming’. Look at verse 2 with me

2. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

In saying this, Paul is also referring to what he already mentioned in 4:16 “For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout”. You see, brothers & sisters, it’s the promise Christ gave them before he ascended to heaven in Matthew 24:44 when He said: “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.”

These verses and many others clearly tell us that there will be a sudden, personally visible, bodily return of Christ.

Now, there is a lot of speculation among people with respect to the day of Christ’s coming. Some say Jesus will come anytime now. I remember when I was a kid we went to this church where the Pastor was a Muslim convert.

As far as I remember he was a radical preacher. He would always keep saying “Jesus is coming, are you ready?”, in every message he preached, His house was filled with verses and pictures of Jesus’s coming. I remember one particular picture of Jesus descending from heaven and people being lifted up to him.

And then there are others who believe that there is still time for the return of Christ since they claim that there are events mentioned in the scriptures that are yet to happen which are –

  1. Preaching of the Gospel to all nations (Mark 13:10)
  2. The Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-22)
  3. False Prophets working signs & wonders (Mark 13:22)
  4. Signs in heaven (Mark 13:24-25)
  5. Appearance of a Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10)

I giving you references so you can read and study them.

Now, when we look back at history there are certain junctures that would seem like these events have already happened. Now, we won’t go into those details, but in some ways, it seems appropriate to conclude that the predictions of these events may have already been fulfilled. We are free to have our opinions and not quarrel over it. It’s secondary.

But what I want to lead our hearts into is, regardless of our conviction related to either of these views, scriptures clearly suggest that we should stay vigilant and live in eager anticipation of the Lord’s coming.

In Matthew 24:42-44 Jesus said “42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 3, Paul gives us a picture of how the world is living. He says “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.”

Brothers & sisters, as children of God, let us not be oblivious and unprepared. Whether you are a full-time worker, or running a business, or studying, volunteering for any kind of job, working from home or taking care of various needs of your family at home, whatever it may be, day in and day out we ought to be alert, ready and waiting expectantly for our Savior’s return because this will keep us hopeful.

My Dad coming home

In a similar way, regardless of the outcomes of the present crisis, we have hope that we will be with Jesus in heaven. It keeps our hearts and minds focused on the heavenly things, to desire and dream for the things that truly matter. And helps us to stay watchful from the deceptions (Fasav) of this world.

2. To live daily with an assurance that we are truly saved and redeemed.

The second important lesson we learn from this passage us “ To live daily with an assurance that we are truly saved and redeemed”.

We see that in Verse 4-5

4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.

5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

In verse 8-9 Paul goes on to remind them the Gospel saying …

8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

Brothers & sisters, what Christ has done for us is so precious. You see, while we were sinners and rebels, doing whatever our sinful hearts desired, the Bible says “Christ died fo us”.

As we process this truth, we need to have a deeper understanding of the gift of this Gospel that offered us freedom from slavery to Sin, a new identity in Christ, a relationship that was sealed by the Holy Spirit that confirms our unity with Christ.

Remember that moment when the scales fell off from our eyes when Jesus came into your heart and transformed our life. When we repented of our sins and turned our hearts to Christ, He showered His unconditional love upon us and welcomed us into his family.

Therefore brothers & sisters, do not let the deceiver deceive you and tell you otherwise. Don’t let any doubt linger in your heart but be confident and assured of your salvation in Christ.

We need to say with the same confidence like Paul said in Romans 8:31-35

If God is for us, who can be against us?

32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? – Nothing can separate us from the love of God

A strong conviction and assurance in our Salvation give us courage, boldness and strength when we are weak. So, remind the gospel to your heart daily.

3. To live a Morally and Spiritually engaged lives.

The third lesson we learn from this passage is to live morally and spiritually engaged lives.

Here Paul writes in verse 6 & 7.

6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.

7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.

To sleep and to get drunk is to lose all consciousness. The context of the word ‘sleep’ in this passage means to be unengaged & unprepared. Paul says this is how the people of the night, people who live in darkness live their lives.

The world has no moral compass and therefore they live selfish and broken lives, but that is not who we are. We are children of the light, the salt of this world, and therefore our conduct and our behaviour matters to God. And through the same grace that enabled us to put our faith in Christ at the time of our salvation, and the same grace that will one day take us to heaven is also the very grace given to us now so that we can live a victorious life in Christ.

God’s expectation from us is to be Holy as He is Holy, not to live as a lazy and sluggard person and therefore He’s has provided his grace to overcome all kinds of temptations, what is required of us is to put our faith in Him, the same child-like faith that we displayed during our conversion, the same child-like faith that believes we will be taken up in heaven. We don’t need an increased faith to overcome sinful temptations, when Jesus’s disciples went to Jesus and asked Him to increase their faith He said “If you have a faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains”. What is this small little temptation we are talking about?

God is accomplishing a great thing in this world and he is accomplishing it through you and me, what God has done to us and what is doing in us is not a small thing, therefore, my brothers, my sisters, will you stay awake & engaged? I mean to desire to live morally and spiritually engaged lives for the Glory of God, with the strength and grace He provides. So that He can use us and save many more like us.

4. To live purposefully by encouraging and building one another

And finally the last lesson we learn from this passage is to live purposefully by encouraging and building one another.

11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

We are a family, and we need encouragement, we need support. We need our brothers and sisters to stand with us in hard times, to mourn with us in our sorrows, to rejoice in our victories. We find joy, encouragement and hope when brothers or sisters reminds us God’s love if my heart becomes weary, and warns us from falling into sins when our hearts draw us astray. We need leaders and elders to enlighten us from God’s word and give us the right perspective towards life and the challenges we go through. We need Godly friends to lighten our burdens when we feel lonely and depressed.

Church, let us be sensitive towards one another, what we need is what even others need. The  joy of giving is better than the joy of receiving. In hard times like these, people need encouragement and comfort just as we need it.

There is so much room & opportunity God has provided for us to be involved in serving others and find happiness in doing so.

I suggest that we make it a goal every day to reach out to atleast one person and encourage them in the Lord, remind the Gospel to each other, pray for each other, and give them the confidence that there is someone they can reach out to when in need.

This will definitely uplift our spirit and keep us alive and active.

Community is a beautiful gift from God and therefore let’s make every effort to benefit from it.

Finally, let me conclude by reminding the four lessons we learned today.

1. To Live in eager anticipation of the Lord’s coming.

2. To live daily with an assurance that we are truly saved and redeemed.

3. To live a Morally and Spiritually engaged lives.

4. To live purposefully by encouraging and building one another

Let me pray for us.

Hope you have have a great week ahead. Love you.

Leave a comment