Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

2020.07.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle not want (1 Thessalonians 4:13)? How would they sorrow, if they were ignorant? What do Christians believe (1 Thessalonians 4:14a)? If Jesus rose, then what else will happen? What won’t Christians who are alive at the coming of the Lord do (1 Thessalonians 4:15)? How will the Lord descend (1 Thessalonians 4:16)? Who will rise first? Then what will happen (1 Thessalonians 4:17)? And what is the cumulative effect of all of these things (end of verse 17)? What are we to do with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18)? Of what did the Thessalonians have no need (1 Thessalonians 5:1)? Why not (1 Thessalonians 5:2)? What will people be saying at the time (1 Thessalonians 5:3a)? But what will happen to them at that time (verse 3b)? Whom will believers not be like when the day comes (end of 1 Thessalonians 5:4)? Why not (1 Thessalonians 5:5)? How, then, do believers live (1 Thessalonians 5:6)? How does the apostle describe the alternative way of living (1 Thessalonians 5:7)? What tools does God give us for lifting as light instead of darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:8)? To what has God not appointed us (1 Thessalonians 5:9a)? To what has God appointed us (verse 9b)? What has Jesus done for us (1 Thessalonians 5:10a)? What do we do with Him and when? What are we to do with one another?
Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and Confession of Sin come from Psalm 85 in order that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Great God, What Do I See and Hear!

One of the things that worship does for us is bring us to see our end, and unbelievers’ end, against the backdrop of God’s glory (cf. Psalm 73:17–24). Here, the apostle is doing the same for the Thessalonians. They’re apparently concerned about the “those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14), which is another way of saying “the dead in Christ” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

But their sleep is “in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14), which is to say that they are absent from the body but present with the Lord (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:6–8), and that God will bring them with Him (verse 14). It is our certainty that we are always with the Lord, now and forever, with which we are instructed to comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

And this certain knowledge of being always with Christ, married to the impossibility of knowing the timing of that return, is that by which we not only to comfort one another but also to build one another up.

Unbelievers don’t have Christ to live with/for now, and they have no idea that He will suddenly and unpredictably appear. So, they live blindly in the darkness and uselessness of living for pleasure (1 Thessalonians 5:6–7). But with the ability to know Christ by faith now and live out of love for Him (1 Thessalonians 5:8a), and the certainty that He will complete our salvation in the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 5:8b-9), we are enabled to live for Him (1 Thessalonians 5:10).

It is the certainty of fellowship with Christ in His resurrection that sustains us in the certainty that we have fellowship with Him in living for Him now. We’re tempted to comfort one another with lesser things. We’re tempted to build one another up with lesser things. So, let us heed the apostolic command and comfort and edify one another by Christ—by fellowship with Christ now, by fellowship with Christ in death, by fellowship with Christ in the resurrection, by fellowship in Christ forever.
What part does fellowship with Christ have in your thoughts? In your conversations?
Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the Lord” or TPH389 “Great God, What Do I See and Hear!”

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