Nov 19, 2017 – The Day of the Lord
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: 1 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (ESV)
1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 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. 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. 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. 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. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
The teaching that Jesus will return is a core Christian belief (“he will come again to judge the living and the dead”). We will consider three questions about his return.
I) What should we expect?
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “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. 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.”
II) When will it happen?
- v2 “you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (or like labor pains on a pregnant woman, v3)
- we don’t know when, yet we should not be surprised (v4)
III) Why do we need to know this?
- v5-8 as children of the day, live in the light
- v8 awareness of Christ’s return should inspire daily faith, hope and love (and encouraging and building one another up, v11)
- vv9-10 context: this teaching is given to a suffering and persecuted people
Questions for Reflection
- Where do you think history is going? Is there an end to the world? Is there a day of judgment? Do you believe Jesus will return? What are some implications of what you believe?
- The Bible tells us that Jesus will return but makes clear no one can know when. Why do you think that is? Do you think God is wise for making the end known without telling us when? Do you have other thoughts (do you question God’s wisdom? what questions do you have?)?
- How is the metaphor of a pregnant woman (who knows the baby is coming, but doesn’t know exactly when; once labor starts, there is no stopping it) instructive for considering how we live expecting Jesus to return but not knowing when it will be?
- Does the knowledge that Jesus will return at some point help you in the task of faith, hope and love (v8)? How might it?
- Why is the task of encouraging one another and building one another up (v11) important for a people who are waiting for Jesus to return?
- 1 Thessalonians 5:10 concisely makes the point that the Christian faith is grounded in: Jesus died so we might live with him. Is that the foundation of your life and faith? What questions do you have about that, what difficulties to understand, what fears? How can working and thinking through those questions be part of your preparing for Christ’s return?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father in heaven, we need forgiveness in many ways. We live each day as if you were not watching. We resent and fear your watching because we want darkness to hide our wrongs and so we don’t have to acknowledge the shame of what we do. We fear your return because of what you might catch us doing, or because of what might be exposed as we are held accountable for how we have lived. Forgive us for our negligence and wrongs, and teach us to live with faith, hope and love, through Jesus Christ who died for us so that we may live with him. Amen.