1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
We finally got here. We are at the last sermon in the series on “Christian Stamina.” We have realized four things already. First, once we start to believe God, we are in Christ. Next, we learned that just as Jesus and Paul shared themselves, we share ourselves with those around us so they may know the gospel of God. The third thing we learned is we are to live holy, righteous, and blameless lives. Last week we discovered our goal is to be with the Lord forever. Each week was guiding us to the realization we find today.
For us to endure persecution in this life is not a waste of time or energy. God has a destiny for us. God wants us to be able to have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing what God desires for us can help us to live.
So many times I have seen this passage used as a defense of constantly looking at the sky for Jesus’ return. We need to be aware of the signs pointing to Jesus’ return. Yet if all we find from the last two chapters of this letter is sky-watching, we miss what is essential to life with Christ Jesus. We know Jesus is coming back. We know he will come when we least expect him to come back. The judgment of the people who reject God is going to take place. This is called the “day of the Lord.” We know this information because Jesus told us this information. What then is to be our concern?
A. We are children of the light (5:1-7)
1. The timing of when Jesus’ returns is in God’s hands (5:1-2
2. God’s wrath will come to those who are not in Christ (5:3)
3. We who are in Christ are not in darkness (5:4)
4. Beloved, We are children of the light (5:5-7)
a. We are children of the day
b. We stay awake and sober (maintain our focus & live in Christ)
c. We are not children of the night
d. We avoid getting drunk on controversies and being drunk on our own desires
5. Our concern is to live as children of the light! So much time in Christian circles has been spent speculating on who is the Antichrist, which nation invades Israel, and other such controversies. We Christians have been focused on the wrong stuff! When Jesus returns so much of what we expected may not turn out as we thought it would. There is a greater concern for us. This living as children of the light is that greater concern. For this means we are not sitting around talking about what is to come, but that we are living as Christ’s beloved! What then are we to do?
B. We are to encourage one another (5:8-11)
1. Let us be sober – remember, we are in Christ!
2. Let us be properly clothed
a. Breastplate of faith and love – our hearts are protected by knowing we belong to God through the faith of Jesus
b. Helmet – the hope of salvation – our minds are set on receiving what God has for us
c. These are part of the attire of God! (Isaiah 59:16-20) – It is God who delivers those who turn to him, even giving us an abundant life
3. We can do this living with Jesus now! (This sounds encouraging to me!)
4. God wants us to have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ! God wants us to know peace through being in Christ. As we live, we may live with Jesus, even today. As we go to sleep, literally die, then may we live with Jesus. We don’t know how it will all work out when we die. We do know that unless we live with Jesus now, it won’t matter once we are asleep. We want to have the stamina to continue in faith until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Life is hard. No matter how soon we place our faith in God through Jesus Christ, we must all wait for Jesus’ return. There will be many temptations to fall away from faith in God. We can get distracted and miss the point of the time between now and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is in this time before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ that we live as children of the light and children of the day.
All those who have faith in God through Jesus Christ are the beloved of God. Paul is encouraging us to live like we know we are the beloved. Maria will remind me on occasion that I call myself a Christian. I also remind her every once in a while that she is also one who calls herself a Christian. I think that is what Paul is telling the church of the Thessalonians. Since we belong to the day, then let us live the salvation God is giving us through Jesus Christ.
I think this benediction from 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 can inspire us: