Nov 12, 2017 – Encouragement While Death Continues
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: 1 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (ESV)
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Death is so troubling few of us can consider it straightforwardly – the Bible presents Jesus as the central piece to move us towards a more hopeful understanding of life and death.
I) Us and Death
- v13 “we do not want you to be uninformed… about those who are asleep”
- death seems more sure than anything else – it is hard to imagine any greater power
- Christianity – death is not ceasing to exist, nor the passing of an immortal soul to another reality, but precedes resurrection
II) Jesus and Death
- v14 “for since we believe Jesus died and rose again”
- the church was founded on the historical claim that one man, Jesus, died and was raised
III) Jesus and Us
- v15 “for this we declare to you by a word from the Lord”
- v16-17 “the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive… so we will always be with the Lord”
- v18 “encourage one another with these words” (v13 “that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope”)
Questions for Reflection
- Are you able to think about your own mortality? Does death seem like something far off and distant? Is it something you worry about? What is it about death that most troubles you?
- How do you naturally think about death (if your views of death aren’t or weren’t informed by the Bible)? Is death ceasing to exist? Is there a soul that is eternal in contrast to a body that is temporary? How is the Christian view of resurrection distinct?
- Of the various arguments for Jesus’ resurrection, which do you find most sound or convincing, and which are most tenuous?
- Instead of death, the passage uses the word “asleep” to describe those who have died. Is that just a euphemism? Is the view of death and resurrection presented here in any way analogous to sleep?
- What is the difference between grieving with hope and grieving without hope? What do each of these look like?
- v18 “therefore encourage one another with these words”. How do we do this? How do you encourage a grieving person without making them think you are trivializing their suffering? How do we support one another in life so that we face our difficulties and fears with hope? Where do you need further encouragement and how can you move towards a foundation of hope?
- The death and resurrection of Jesus are like a hinge that moves us from a hopeless existence where death is undefeatable, to a place of hope where we are made alive. How does the story of your life connect with the story of Jesus’?