Thursday, May 19, 2022

2022.05.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What have they asked about (1 Thessalonians 5:1a)? What does he say about their need for further instruction (verse 1b)? How does he summarize his teaching about this (1 Thessalonians 5:2)? What will people be saying at the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:3)? But what comes upon them on that day? What difference in condition makes this experience of the day different for believers (1 Thessalonians 5:4)? How should we live, if we don’t want the surprise to be of the sort in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (1 Thessalonians 5:5)? How do 1 Thessalonians 5:7-8a describe the sort of life that is not guided by light? What three things keep someone living for Christ and eternity instead of self and pleasure (verse 8b)? To what have those who are unwatchful and self-indulgent been appointed (1 Thessalonians 5:9a)? To what have those who live watchful, self-controlled lives been appointed (verse 9b)? What has Christ done for us (1 Thessalonians 5:10a)? To secure what for us (verse 10b, cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:17)? What do we do for one another, when we remind each other of life in fellowship with Christ now and forever (1 Thessalonians 5:11)?

Some information is available to us. The apostle did not want the Thessalonians to be ignorant (1 Thessalonians 4:13) about what happens to believers at death and about the order of events on the last day (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17). So sometimes, comforting one another is by reminding each other of what we know truly from the Bible.

But some information is not available to us. The timing of the last day is a secret and will arrive as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2). So, sometimes comforting one another is by reminding one another that we already have fellowship with Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:10), so that we build one another up into walking with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Those who focus on “timing” when it comes to “last things” distract from the main issue: that we are always to live as those who belong to the world of light, not to this world of night (1 Thessalonians 5:5). We are not to try to figure out the timing, but to live as those who are always ready. It’s those who live in darkness that are overtaken by the day to their harm (1 Thessalonians 5:4). 

There are people who think that they are peaceful and safe, living uncarefully and self-indulgently, as if there will never be any consequences (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Spiritual sleep-walkers and drunks, they are not watchful or sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6). Even in the church, they use the language of grace to make it sound like sin is no big deal. They are not urgent about the coming of the day and the need to be prepared for it.

The Spirit here teaches us that living without desire for the last day, and urgency about being prepared for it, does not come from the gospel. It is faith, love, and hope (1 Thessalonians 5:8) that actually makes a man live soberly—self-controlled, intentionally for the returning Savior. 

Trusting Him, knowing His love to us, living from love for Him… these are a breastplate. They guard the heart from the deadly arrows of complacency and self-indulgence. The hope of salvation—rejoicing already in the completion of our redemption that occurs in the last day—is a helmet that guards us from the mind-destroying temptation to live for the pleasures of the moment. 

Hearts and minds protected by the gospel produce not careless living, but zealous and diligent living for Christ. A gospel life is opposed to vain speculations about when the return will come, because it is too busy living constantly as one who belongs to the next world, as one who is ready at any moment for that world to break into this one. It considers fellowship with Jesus the great thing in eternity, and so it is obsessed with fellowship with Him as it lives in time (1 Thessalonians 5:10). This is what He died to secure (verse 10a)!

How should thinking about the last day make you live? What part of eternal happiness can you have now?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for reminding us, like You did for the Thessalonians, that Your return is unpredictable. Forgive us for being more concerned with figuring it out than we are with being ready for Your return and with living like those who belong to You. Give us that faith and hope and love that enable a watchful, sober life. And make us to enjoy fellowship with Jesus both now and forever, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song” or TPH389 “Great God, What Do I See and Hear”

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