God is carrying out a definite plan that He established from the beginning of time. Jesus was coming, Jesus came, and Jesus is coming again! Out of 260 chapters in the New Testament, the second coming is mentioned 318 times! Paul has much to say about Jesus coming again throughout his writing. We looked at some of what he said last week, and we will continue today.
The Sureness of His Coming
In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 Paul says, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” God has revealed to us what He is going to do. For everything there is a time and season. “Times and seasons” is a phrase only found three times in the Bible. It’s found in Daniel 2, here, and in Acts 1. In Acts 1, Jesus was asked, “‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’” (v. 6-7). The day of the Lord is coming. We are sure of it. The New Testament calls it a day of “wrath,” a day of “visitation,” and the “great day of God Almighty.” It refers to a future event when God’s wrath is poured out on unbelieving Israel and an unbelieving world. It will be unexpected and unannounced.
The Suddenness of His Coming
Paul continues, “…so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:2-3). Thieves do not announce their arrival or give advance notice! The world will have a false sense of peace and security. Jesus said in Matthew 24:44, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Paul gives the example of labor pains. Labor pains are not unexpected, but Braxton Hicks contractions can fool you into thinking a baby is coming when it’s not. Doctors will tell you to wait until the pains are sharp and regular. They must intensify in severity. That is where the world is today. Real labor pains are sudden and unavoidable. Remember, Jesus said no one knows the day or hour, but He also said, you will know that it is near, right at the door. For an unbelieving world, they are caught off guard, unprepared, and unexpected. But believers will not be surprised. “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness” (1 Thess. 5:4-5). Notice the pronoun change between “you” and “they.” They say peace and safety. They shall not escape. But you will not be overtaken. You are sons of light. You are not in the dark. You are not going to be surprised. Unbelievers are unprepared, but believers are getting ready! We know how the world began and we know how it will end!
The Seriousness of His Coming
“Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:6-8). As Christians in God’s army, we are like soldiers on guard. Our job is to be alert and say no to carelessness. A breastplate covers your vital organs. Guard your heart. You fall into sin, but you never fall into righteousness. Satan can’t take away imputed righteousness, so he attacks your personal righteousness. Do right. Whatever part of you that is not surrendered to God and conformed to His truth will be the point of attack. A helmet protects your head. If you are not sure about your salvation you are going to be tossed to and fro. Just like a quarterback may need to quiet down a crowd so he can hear the offensive coordinator up high, we have to quiet out the world and the lies of the enemy and listen to the truth of God’s word. Paul goes on, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:9-10). We are by nature objects of wrath. By grace we are rescued. “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11). When there is no hope for the future, there is no power for the present. We have hope in a world of hopelessness. It is called the blessed hope. The coming of the Lord changes how we live.
Paul gives many End Times instructions. I’ll close out by giving you 10 more:
- Respect Your Leaders (1 Thess. 5:12-13)
- Be at Peace (1 Thess. 5:13)
- Warn the Unruly (1 Thess. 5:14)
- Comfort the Discouraged (1 Thess. 5:14)
- Help the Weak (1 Thess. 5:14)
- Avoid Sexual Sin (1 Thess. 4:3-5)
- Love One Another (1 Thess. 4:9)
- Mind Your Business (1 Thess. 4:11, 2 Thess. 3:11)
- Do Your Job (1 Thess. 4:11, 2 Thess. 3:10)
- Pray for Others (2 Thess. 3:1-3)
Thank you, Jesus, for these End Times instructions. Help us to be found ready for your return.