Apr 19 8:52 AM

Like a Thief in the Night

Apr 19 8:52 AM
Apr 19 8:52 AM


Monday, April 19, 2021

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

One of the great statements, one of the great axioms of the Christian faith is this, "The Lord's coming is near." The Lord is going to come back. The Bible says he will come back. The Apostle Paul expected there was a strong possibility the Lord would come back in his lifetime, even though he didn't. And every one of us should live with a strong expectancy of the Lord's return. Do you? It's important. In the church, too few churches talk about the Lord's return. Not enough churches talk about the importance of what the Bible says about the end times. Now, there are occasional churches that are the opposite. Somebody told me on Easter, "I'm thinking about attending your church because the church I attended, all they ever do is preach from the book of Revelation." Okay, there are worse things, but certainly you can overdo it. Very, very, very, very few churches over-do it, most under-do it. But here's what I want to say to you, the Lord's coming is near and the Lord's coming can be described best by this metaphor: The Lord's coming will be like a thief in the night. A thief wasn't invited in the night, the time you least expect.
Look at 1 Thessalonians 5. We're going to look at verses one to three, but we're going to cover this chapter in the next two Life Lifters, all the way to verse 11. Look at what it says in verses one to three, it says, "Now, brothers, about times and dates, we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."

By saying "times and dates," he means all the things that are going to happen in the prophetic future. He says we don't need to write to you about those things. The reason why he says that is because he already explained this to them in person when he was there visiting them. He says, "For you know very well," referencing what he had explained to them in person about the prophetic scheme. The background of 1 Thessalonians is that they thought they missed the Rapture. It wasn't that they didn't understand the scheme, they didn't understand some of the details. They were told lies that the rapture had already occurred by false teachers. So, he says this, "For you know very well that the day of the Lord..." Let me stop there and explain. The day the Lord is not one 24-hour day. The day of the Lord is the time from the Rapture all the way until the time of Christ's 1000-year-reign ends. It technically covers at least 1007 years. The day of the Lord is not 24 hours, it's a period. Like, you say this, "My day will come." You're not saying your 24 hour period will come, you know there's a season. Paul is talking here about that. It includes the start of the rapture, and then the tribulation, the second coming of Christ, and then him ruling and reigning for 1000 years. So, the 1000 days, plus seven, plus that little bit of time between the rapture and the start of the seven year tribulation, that's the day of the Lord.
Paul says that that day will come like a thief in the night. You won't know it. You won't expect it. That's why Jesus said that no one knows day or the hour of his return. Not even the Son of Man, only the Father. Now that's a mysterious statement because Jesus is God. He's speaking from his humanity, and maybe in his humanity he self-denied knowledge of that date. But in his diety in heaven, he knows it now, or will know it. And Paul says, "While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." See that it's going to come suddenly? Are you ready? And it's interesting that it says when people say, "Peace and safety," as in, "Oh everything's going to be okay. Everything's going to be okay." No, it's not. When the Lord comes back, everything will not be okay. The first three and a half years of tribulation look like everything's okay. Even though there'll be judgment from God, the one-world-leader will say it's all going to be okay. It won't. But here's what I want to say: The Lord's coming is like a thief in the night. Are you ready?You don't know when he's going to come. The good news is this, if you are a Christian, even though the day Lord comes like a thief in the night, you will be ready. In other words, the whole point is to be ready all the time for the Lord. How are you ready all the time? By living a holy and godly life, by reading the Bible daily, by praying daily, by going to church weekly, getting in a small group, midweek, serving the less fortunate, tithing, using your gifts in the church and in the world, etc, etc. Then, you're ready. Be ready because the Lord is coming at an hour you do not think, like a thief in the night.

Father, this can scare some people. But if we know you, Lord, it assures us. Help us to live godly lives and be found worthy in the way we live when you come. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.