Friday, April 23, 2021
Friday, April 23, 2021
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
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.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
The reason why God is going to come back like a thief in the night and doesn't tell us the exact time he will come back is so that we will stay ready.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
1 Thessalonians 5:4-8
This week, we are working through 1 Thessalonians 5 and talking about the Lord's return. Last time, we looked at the first three verses and how the Lord is coming like a thief in the night. He's coming very stealthily, and he's going to come at a time when we don't expect. The whole point is that we need to understand that the Lord will come back and he will come back like a thief in the night. The reason why God is going to come back like a thief in the night and doesn't tell us the exact time he will come back is so that we will stay ready. If we knew the Lord was going to come back today at five o'clock, we would do whatever we want until four o-clock, then at four we would say, "Oh God, help. I love you." A lot of people would do that and manipulate God. So God says, "I do that for this purpose, so that you'll stay ready."
I get that from 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8. Look at what Paul says, "But you brothers are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others who are asleep, but let us be alert and self controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as our helmet." What is he saying? First, he's contrasting this passage with first three verses of the chapter, where he says that people who are not yet Christians are going to cry, "Peace and safety," but then in reality, there is sudden destruction. They'll proclaim everything's okay, but it really isn't because God's judgment will take effect. And he's saying that if you're a Christian, you're different. And I certainly hope you are a Christian.
He says, "But you, brothers, are not in darkness," meaning it will not surprised you like a thief. Now, he's not saying that we will know the date. It will surprise us in the timing, but the event itself will not surprise us because we know what's coming. That's what Paul means when he says you'll know the timing. Jesus said it. Paul said it. You don't know the timing. He's saying the event itself will not be a surprise. We know it's inevitable, and it will happen. And he goes on, "You are all sons of light and sons of the day." We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So that's an attribute of every Christian. Darkness is when sin goes on. It's a picture of sin. Light is a picture of righteousness, when you can see everything. The contrast is a foil against each other. "So then, let us not be like others," meaning those who are not in the family, or those who are weak Christians or carnal Christians. "Let's not be like others who are asleep." He's not talking about being asleep if Jesus comes in the middle of night. He's talking about being spiritually dead, knocked out asleep. "But let us be alert and self controlled, for those who sleep, sleep at night." He uses the metaphor of sleep to go along with the metaphor of night, to go along with the metaphor of darkness, to go along with a better metaphor of not being a Christian being in sin. "Those who sleep, sleep at night and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as our helmet." In other words, what he's saying is, if you're a Christian, you live in the light. Start living like who you are.
What's he saying? Stay ready. Stay spiritually ready. Stay morally ready. Stay pure. Stop looking at stuff you shouldn't be looking at. Stop saying the things you shouldn't be saying. Stop hanging out in situations you shouldn't be in. Stay ready. Live as if the Lord could come back at any moment. Do you want the Lord seeing you do some sin, or be involved in some evil? No. Live as if the Lord will come back soon. Stay ready. Are you ready? Make sure you know Jesus Christ. Say, "Jesus Christ, you are God. I'm a sinner. I believe when you died on the cross and rose again, you paid my way. And I want to believe and receive it by faith." And then, once you receive Christ by faith, you're a Christian. Then, you can stay ready.
Let's pray. Father, forgive us for those times when we sin and we do things that are displeasing to you. Help us instead to stay ready, because your coming is near, like a thief in the night. Help us to morally be ready, to stop doing the things that displease you, and start doing the things that please you. Not just not doing bad things but engaging in good things. And we ask this through your power, your spirit, your grace, and your mercy, that you'll accomplish them through us. In your name we pray. Amen.
Monday, April 19, 2021
Every one of us should live with a strong expectancy of the Lord's return. Do you?
Monday, April 19, 2021
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
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.
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.