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1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 (ESV)
The Coming of the Lord
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.
The Day of the Lord
5 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.
Do Paul’s words about Christ coming as a thief in the night calm you or stir up fear? Why?
Eternal Lord and Savior, thank You for dying for my sins. Thank You for the promise of eternal life with You. My heart skips a beat in excitement when I think of Your grand entry from heaven with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God’s trumpet. I can’t imagine how awesome that sight will be… at least for those who are not caught off guard. Thieves do their work when no one suspects a thing. That’s exactly how Your appearance will be. People won’t be expecting it. Society rejects You and does very evil things. They will be shocked to know that You did come again, and they will mourn because they will know their judgment is coming. Realizing that you can come back at any second drives me to make every effort to live a more holy, obedient life so I am in a good place in my heart and soul when that moment comes. Help me not to serve You with apathy, or be complacent but rather to serve You passionately. Give me a sense of urgency to share the message of the gospel to those who do not believe, because tomorrow may be too late. Help me to encourage other believers, build them up, and be encouraged by them. Motivate every believer to a life of devotion, service, and encouragement to other believers as we look forward to this day. I don’t want to be caught off guard, but I want to be ready. Thank You for Your promise. I anxiously wait for Your return. Amen.