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Read Introduction to 1 Thessalonians

 

“…and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come”
 
and to wait
 
The word “wait” means literally to wait up. The Thessalonians were waiting up for the Lord’s return. They waited with anticipation, to wait for, expect someone or something. We order a new car and wait with anticipation for its delivery date. The Thessalonians remained expectant concerning the future event of Christ’s coming.
 
There is a connection between those who effectively share their faith and those who wait for Jesus’ coming. Their orientation is different from those who live for the now. We do not wait up all night for someone we expect to arrive at 9:00 the next morning. They expected Jesus to return at any time.
The Thessalonians suffered persecution (2:14). Some experienced excessive sorrow because they lost loved ones in death. They did not know about the rapture, so they carried unwarranted sorrow (4:13-18).
The Thessalonians did two things: they served and they waited. It is the believer’s responsibility to do both.
Principle:
The purpose of the rapture is to keep us on our toes spiritually.
Application:
Jesus gives no signal for His coming. He might come at any moment. It might happen today.
“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Corinthians 4: 5).
”For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11: 26).
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9: 27-28).
“For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10: 37).
Jesus will not loiter. He will not tarry. When it is time for His coming, He will execute it efficiently. When the last person comes to Christ, when Jesus completes His church, then He will come back.
“You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5: 8-9).
”…and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:4).
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2: 28).
Some people will be ashamed when Christ comes. Jesus will catch them in some situation that does not honor Him.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3: 1-3).
When we anticipate the rapture, this purifies our souls. Hope of Christ’s coming purifies us. Each generation of believers has the right to expect the Lord to come in their lifetime. Generations past were disappointed but not mistaken.
We anticipate that it might be in our generation, but no one knows for sure. One thing we do know is that it is imminent. Each day we should affirm that “Perhaps Jesus will come today.” This will enable us to keep short accounts with the Lord. We will not put off till tomorrow what we ought to deal with today.
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).
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