Living in View of Christ’s Return

Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2

The second coming of Christ is a recurrent theme in Paul’s letters to Thessalonica. The Holy Spirit wanted these brethren to keep this event in their minds as they went through life. These letters have been preserved for us for the same reason. Understanding the reality of the Lord’s return, what are we to do?

Spread the Gospel

  • The church in Thessalonica was a young congregation – also had a difficult beginning (1 Thessalonians 1:6; Acts 17:5-8)
  • Despite this, they were already busy spreading the gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:8) – their influence reached far beyond their geographical location; only possible if everyone is involved (cf. Acts 8:4; 1 Peter 3:15)
  • Knowing that the Lord is returning, we should follow the example of these brethren – spread the gospel as far as we can to reach as many as possible (cf. Luke 8:5, 11)

Endure Persecution

  • Though this was a new congregation, they had already become imitators of the churches in Judea (1 Thessalonians 2:14) – they suffered just as the brethren in Judea suffered
  • The goal of persecution against Christians is to diminish their influence and make them give up their faith – if there was no hope of reward/vindication, it would be very easy to give up; Paul reminded them that God would punish their oppressors and save them (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7)
  • Knowing that the Lord is returning, we must not give up in the face of persecution – the Lord will return and will make all of our efforts worthwhile (Philippians 3:7-8)

Stand Firm

  • Besides persecution, these brethren were also warned of “the apostasy” that was coming (2 Thessalonians 2:3) – the “mystery of lawlessness [was] already at work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7)
  • In light of this, Paul told the brethren to stand firm and hold to what they had been taught (2 Thessalonians 2:15) – these were not the traditions of men (cf. Matthew 15:6-9); traditions from the apostles ultimately came from the Lord (John 16:13; 14:26; 1 Corinthians 14:37)
  • Knowing that the Lord is returning, we must hold to the standard that has been revealed by God no matter what (2 Thessalonians 2:2) – His word is the standard by which we will be judged (John 12:48)

Live Holy Lives

  • Since the Lord is coming again to judge the world, we must be sure to live as He would have us to – the will of God is our sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3), which means consecration and purification
  • Paul’s prayer for them was that they would be counted worthy of their calling (2 Thessalonians 1:11) – fulfill His desire and live so that He will be glorified (2 Thessalonians 1:12; cf. John 17:4); walk worthy of the calling (cf. Colossians 1:9-12)
  • Knowing that the Lord is returning, we must live as He would have us to live – He will come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2); unexpected; be “alert and sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6)

Eagerly Wait for the Lord’s Return

  • These brethren had left past religious practices and their old lives of sin “to wait for [the] Son from heaven” (1 Thessalonians 1:10) – the Lord’s return was an event to anticipate because it meant receiving their reward (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
  • They eagerly waited – however, they were not to neglect other responsibilities (2 Thessalonians 3:10-11); they were still to serve the Lord and fulfill the physical obligations of this life
  • Knowing that the Lord is returning, we should eagerly anticipate this event (Philippians 3:20-21) – however, we must keep busy doing God’s will so we can please Him (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 11-13)

Conclusion

  • The Lord will return one day – we do not know when that will be (1 Thessalonians 5:2)
  • We must be busy doing what Paul told the Thessalonians to do so we will be prepared for that day

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