Apr 23 8:43 AM
Apr 23 8:43 AM
Apr 23 8:43 AM
Friday, April 23, 2021
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
Over the past two Life Lifters, we've been talking about 1 Thessalonians 5. Basically, what we've said about that is that it's a very classic chapter on the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is that period of time from the Rapture until the Lord rules and reigns for 1000 years, establishing his kingdom on earth. You have probably prayed the part of the Lord's Prayer that says, "Like kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." That prayer will be answered literally when he sets up His 1000-year-reign, per Revelation chapter 20. Since we don't think enough about the future and prophecy, I've given you a couple of reminders so far, as I talked about how the Lord's going to come back like a thief in the night. In other words, nobody knows when he will return. That was from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3. Then, in 1 Thessalonians, 5:4-8, we said the purpose of that is to stay morally ready and strong. Stay close with the Lord, don't backslide. Don't fall away from the Lord. Don't pretend you're a Christian on Sunday and act like the devil on Thursday. Stay close to the Lord.
And here's the reward, the prize: that when God judges the world, you will not be judged. That's part of why God is going to rapture the church, because he's going to judge people who are not Christians for their sin. Their sin hasn't been forgiven by Christ because they rejected him. I want you to know this: If you are truly a Christian, God has not appointed you to wrath. Look what Paul says at the end of this Day of the Lord section of 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 . Let's start at verse nine and go to the end. He says that the reason why it's all good is "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you in fact are doing."
What's he saying? When God brings judgment in the world, why would God judge a Christian? We're not appointed to wrath, his anger. Somebody asked me after Easter, a little child said, "What does wrath mean?" I said, "Wrath means anger." God is angry at our sin. If we don't turn to Him, there comes a point when God says that enough is enough, and he brings his wrath and judgment. God has not set up an appointment for us. If you're a Christian, you're appointed to salvation. Why would God judge a Christian when Jesus took our judgement of the cross? We put our faith in him and he accomplished that. He has not appointed us unto wrath. And that's the great promise, that you will not go through the tribulation, the seven-year hell on earth. People ask, "Will people become Christians during it?" They absolutely will. Some will die for their faith, some will live and be the citizens of that 1000-year-kingdom of God, but at the end of the day, who wants to go through it? And if you're a Christian now, you're safe. Then he goes on, saying that we're appointed to salvation. Paul says, "He died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him." Whether you are awake or asleep? Now here's an interesting question: Does he mean that physically or spiritually? Certainly, physically it's true. You could be asleep when he comes. But is he saying a backslidden Christian is still going to be raptured? Well, they will be as long as they truly are Christian. Maybe that's in mind, but I don't know.
But then he says this, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you in fact are doing." In other words, use these words to encourage each other. Hey, life is hard. You're not appointed to God's wrath. You're appointed to salvation, as long as you're a Christian. It's a great feeling. You say, "But Vince, all these people are going to be judged." God is just, and God can only take so much of sin. History has shown us that when God reaches a threshold and says enough is enough, he brings judgment. But the judgment in the end will be unlike any other judgment. Make sure you're ready. I'm not trying to scare you, but I'm trying to tell you the truth. God will come back, and if you're a Christian he hasn't pointed you to wrath. If you're not, all bets are off. Be ready.
Let's pray. Father, thank you, Lord, that you have not appointed us to suffer your wrath. Instead, you've appointed us to enjoy your salvation. I pray that anyone listening to me now would make sure that they're appointed to salvation. Just say, "Jesus Christ, you are God. You are Holy. I sin stem to stern. I put my faith in you, Jesus, alone. I don not trust in rules, rites, routines, rituals, religions, regulations, but only in faith, so I might have a relationship with you. Come into my life and forgive me." If you say that with authentic, genuine faith, and God knows if it is, you become a Christian. Let us know about it. But most importantly, you are appointed now not for wrath, but for salvation. For the rest of us, help us to be encouraged and encourage each other with these words. We ask it in Jesus' name, amen.