|5:1||But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.|
|5:2||For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.|
|5:3||For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.|
|5:4||But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.|
|5:5||Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.|
|5:6||Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.|
|5:7||For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.|
|5:8||But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.|
|5:9||For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,|
|5:10||Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.|
|5:11||Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.|
[Introduction] Today is the last Sunday of the year. Holding onto the very verse “as I have purposed, so shall it stand,” we have been working hard ever since the New Year’s Day. The author Walter Green suggests in his book This Is The Moment!: “At the end of our lives the moments we could’ve given thanks but didn’t will haunt us—give thanks before you lose the chance.” I hope you all to look back and meditate on the plans God established upon your lives and also on the people who have been there to help you in thankful hearts. For weeks we have been looking up at the book of Thessalonians. Apostle Paul wrote this letter in order to correct the rumors about the Second Coming of Christ. As believers who wait for and understand the Second Coming of the Christ properly, I bless all Yewon believers to discover the direction to righteous lives in the last times with awakened souls today.
1. Hope of the Resurrection and the Second Coming
Verse 13 reads, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” Thessalonians expected to witness the Second Coming during their times. In Acts 1:1 it says, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into Heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” With this particular verse people were certain that Jesus will come again, but the question was “when.” There was no hint about when he will come again. For their troubled minds Apostle Paul is providing them a perfect answer in today’s passage—he is comforting them by saying dying before Christ’s Second Coming is nothing to be afraid of or worried of. In today’s passage Apostle Paul is referring to the dead believers as “asleep.” In verse 14 to 15, Apostle Paul reveals that the expression, “sleep” is used because Christians have the hope of the resurrection. It means the dead will resurrect, just like Jesus resurrected. Verse 16 to 17 states, “For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” In short, this is called the rapture. The word “Rapture” came from the Latin word “rápiō” which means “grab”. It means being caught up. As we can see in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, there were rumors among Thessalonian believers that Jesus had already come. We must see the Bible according to the flow of overall context. After Jesus has come to the earth and during his public life, Jesus has prophesied four core things. First one was the Resurrection. Second was that he would send the Helper, the Holy Spirit. Third was that he would build his church. And Forth was the Second Coming. Among those four core prophecies, the first three have been fulfilled. Now, the remained one is the prophecy of the Second Coming. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be fulfilled definitely because the Bible tells us so. I bless you in the name of the Lord to receive a compliment as good and faithful servant before Jesus Christ who will come again.
2. Things to Focus On
The thing that people concern when they hear ‘the Second Coming’ is the time. In Acts 1:7 to the disciples who have doubt about the times, Jesus says, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” And in Mat. 24:36, he also says, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, or the Son, but the Father only.” What do those words mean? They mean we don’t have to think about the times and the seasons. Things that we have to focus on are not the times and the seasons. The important thing is that the day of the Second Coming will come like a thief in the night as Paul said. There are two important meanings in this word. One is that as the word ‘night’ signifies, the day of the Second Coming is approached, the age will be much worse and darker so many people will degenerate spiritually and physically. The other is that because the meaning of ‘the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night’ is that we don’t know when he will come, we should be alert and prepared for that day. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 says the children of God who believe in Jesus Christ should be fully ready for the day of Christ. Apostle Paul says that we should be spiritually awaken and be sober. How do you live a life like this? The answer is in verse eight. With the whole armor of God written in Ephesians chapter six, you can arm yourselves spiritually. And the most important point of spiritual arming is the Word of God. I hope that you expect the new covenant that God will give us. I bless you in the name of our Lord that you bring it to a successful conclusion in your fields.
[Conclusion] Apostle Paul gives us an important tip to be awake spiritually for the day of Christ in verse 9 to 11. It is encouraging the children who are saved by God and living a life of mutual help. The salvation is already given to us because of the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And it does not change. But, Satan always tempts you tactfully to miss the reward of God. The way that you can prevent the attacks effectively from Satan is to walk by faith in the church community. Ecclesiastes chapter 4 verse 12 says, “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” There is an ironclad rule when you go to the wilderness from Israel; you should go with somebody. It is because the daily temperature range in the wilderness is very huge. So, when you sleep in the camp, you should stick to each other to bear the cold. I hope all Yewon believers to be awake spiritually towards each other for the day of Christ and to help each other. I bless you in the name of the Lord that may all Yewon believers be with the evidence that makes you experience the more abundant purpose of God in the coming New Year.