Ready For The Day of The Lord? 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
William Miller was a New York farmer and Baptist layman who studied the prophecies of Daniel extensively. Using a formula of dates and times he concluded that the return of Jesus would be October 22, 1844. Over time his followers became known as ‘Millerites’. As the day approached many of them had sold all of their possessions. On that day as many as 100,000 Christians gathered on hillsides, in meeting places, in meadows to joyously await the return of Jesus Christ.
Daylight hours turned to darkness and at midnight Christ had not returned. Stunned and dejected, this day is known as “The Great Disappointment.” One follower wrote, “Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before… we wept, and wept, till the day dawned.” There were many responses to The Great Disappointment. Some began to recalculate the date and choose another date in the future. Some claimed Christ did come that night, in an invisible manner. Many returned to the churches out of which they had come. New groups of followers emerged from the disappointed Millerites including the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists. Though William Miller was wrong in his calculations, I admire his desire to see the return of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Jesus is coming again … are we ready for that Day of the Lord? That has been a theme running throughout 1 Thessalonians. In chapter five we will see that errors about the end time are not new, but it is an ancient struggle.
1. Be Aware! Jesus is Going to Return! (5:1a About the times and the seasons: Brothers, you do not need anything to be written to you.)
In April there was a lunar eclipse also known as a ‘blood moon’. It was the first of four that will happen within a close timeframe. It happened again on October 8. The next ones will be April 4 and September 28 2015. All four of these blood moons occur on Jewish holidays – 2 on passover, 2 during the Feast of Tabernacles. Those who look for signs of the times suggest that these four ‘blood moons’ are signals that Jesus’ return is immanent. A slew of books have been published including John Hagee’s Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change.
“There’s a sense in the world that things are changing and God is trying to communicate with us in a supernatural way… I believe that in these next two years, we’re going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world.” ~John Hagee
In contrast, listen to the Apostle Paul: Like a Thief in the Night. (2 For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains come on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. )
Peace and security – unaware of impending destruction. Labor pains -sudden.
2 Peter 3:10-13 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness 12 as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God. The heavens will be on fire and be dissolved because of it, and the elements will melt with the heat. 13 But based on His promise, we wait for the new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell.
2. Be Awake! Never be comfortable with the dark! (4-7 But you, brothers, are not in the dark, for this day to overtake you like a thief. 5 For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. 6 So then, we must not sleep, like the rest, but we must stay awake and be serious. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.)
Colossians 1:13 – He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.
Have we become so comfortable with sin that we no longer recognize it?
We do not belong to the darkness (5 For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness.).
We take our commitment seriously (6 So then, we must not sleep, like the rest, but we must stay awake and be serious. ). Be Wide Awake … alert, watchful, cautious, on your guard. Be Sober … calm, collected, and circumspect (AMP). The word “alert” has the idea of standing watch, like a soldier doing guard duty. Don’t be lulled into spiritual sleep by all the events of life.
We do not join in with works of darkness (7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night). Along with alertness, Paul calls us to be self-controlled. Don’t lose control of yourself, as in drunkeness.
1 Corinthians 6:13 13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (NIV)
3. Be Alert! (8a But since we belong to the day, we must be serious …)
1 Peter 5:8 “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”
4. Be Armed – with Faith, Hope, Love, Salvation (8b …and put the armor of faith and love on our chests, and put on a helmet of the hope of salvation.)
Romans 13:12 …Let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. .
5. Be Assured (9-10 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.) Assurance is in Christ, not ourselves.
Be Encouraged (11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.) Ten times in 1 & 2 Thessalonians Paul uses the term ‘encourage’. It is a constant duty and privilege to build up one another – to give strength and hope. In light of the return of Jesus Christ, we remain strong and help one another to remain strong.
The apostolic church thought more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ than about death and heaven. The early Christians were looking, not for a cleft in the ground called a grave but for a cleavage in the sky called Glory. ~Alexander MacLaren
The Day of the Lord is Coming – are you ready? End Time errors: predicting the day / Comfortable with Darkness.
Be Aware, Awake, Alert, Armed & Assured!
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Thessalonians 5:23
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