Like a Thief
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 NASB
Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.
Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior and God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – came to earth, took on human flesh, and suffered and was tempted as we suffer and are tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, comforted the sorrowful, and delivered people from demons. He performed many miracles, too. And, he taught the need to repent of our sins and to believe in him in order to have eternal life in him. Thus, he confronted people with their sins, and many hated him for it, and eventually they had him put to death on a cross.
But, when he died, our sins died with him, so that, through faith in him, we might die with him to our sins. But, he did not stay dead. He rose again victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death, on our behalf, in order that we might also live with him to his righteousness. And, then he ascended back to heaven where he is seated in power and authority over all other powers and authorities, and one day he is coming back both to judge and to take his followers to be with him, to live forever with him in glory.
But, none of us knows the day or the hour at which time he will return, though we can know when it is near by the signs that he has given to us, if we are watching and if we are waiting for his return. But, not everyone is watching or is paying attention to the signs. Many, even many who profess to know Jesus Christ, are busy with their own lives, assuming that life will continue as it always has, not even giving our Lord’s return a thought, or not taking seriously what that means for those who are living to the flesh and not to the Spirit, who are still walking in darkness and not in the Light.
Sons of Light
1 Thessalonians 5:4-10 NASB
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.
If we are truly in Christ Jesus, by genuine God-given faith in him, we have turned from our sins, and we have turned to follow our Lord Jesus with our lives, then we should be watching and waiting for our Lord’s return, so that we are not surprised when he comes back.
But, even true followers of Christ can, if we are not careful, be lulled back to sleep by the cares of this world, or by getting caught up in worldly pleasures, and we can get careless about our lives, if we are not diligent in following our Lord in obedience and in daily putting to death the deeds of the flesh and in putting on the armor of God.
Therefore, we are to be serious-minded about our walks of faith in our Lord Jesus, and to not get lazy or side-tracked by the things of this world. We are to live holy lives, pleasing to God, set apart (unlike, different) from this world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. So, we put off those things which hinder our walks of faith, and we forsake our idols and the sins which entangle us, so that we can run this race, this Christian life, which God has marked out for us to run with perseverance.
Encourage One Another
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NASB
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Heb. 3:13
The point of this encouragement is to help one another to walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. It is not to encourage one another in our sins, but to help one another out of our sins and to walk in love, in Christ Jesus, in purity, righteousness, holiness and in integrity.
To encourage, in this sense, means to entreat, admonish and exhort one another. It means to urge, insist and spur one another on toward love and good deeds; towards forsaking sin and following our Lord in obedience. The building up that needs to be done here is not to puff up, but to help one another grow in maturity in Christ and in our walks of faith and purity.
Hold Fast to Good
1 Thessalonians 5:13-22 NASB
Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
In today’s church I don’t see this being done much at all. So much of what is being taught in today’s church is that we are to “stay in our own lane,” and that we are not to get in anyone’s face about anything, and we are just to make one another feel good about ourselves, even if we are steeped in sin’s deceitfulness. And, this is promoted as loving one another, but is it? Is it really love, or is it selfishness? For, who are we really thinking about?
When we love one another with God-like love, we prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, pure, honest, just, and honorable. When we love one another with this kind of love we will do what is in the best interest of others, i.e. what is for their good, as God defines good, i.e. what is God’s best for them. And, we will not do harm to another. We will not only not sin against one another, but we will not lead one another to sin, nor will we ignore sinful practices in one another, but we will encourage faithfulness.
But, we must guard against false judgments, critical spirits, hypocritical judgments and judging one another based on human opinions, philosophy, prejudices or human traditions, or judging one another by ourselves. We must judge in truth and righteousness, and in love, with the goal of restoring one another to walks of faith in the Spirit of God, according to God’s Word and for his glory and purposes and will.
And, when our brothers and sisters in Christ share with us the truths of scripture in all practicality to our world and lives today, in order to help us walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, we must not ignore their words, for we could be quenching the Spirit of God.
But, we must test their words against scripture to make certain what they are teaching is scriptural, and then we must hold on to what is truth, and what is good, and what is healthful and profitable for our Christian lives and walks and ministry. And, we must reject what is evil, humanistic and worldly, and live righteously, so that, when our Lord returns one day to take us to be with him forever, we are ready spiritually for his return.
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
Bless You Lord
And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore…
Monday, May 7, 2018, 5:33 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. May we take it to heart and apply its truths to our lives. Amen!