Date: October 24, 1999

Series: The 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ

Speaker: Ron R. Ritchie

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Resting ... in light of Christ's Second Coming
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

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Context: In 52 AD the apostle Paul, who was ministering in Corinth, Greece, wrote two encouraging letters to the Church of Jesus Christ located in the northern Greek seaport city of Thessalonica. Those new believers were experiencing a great deal of persecution from the Jews and Gentile communities. The Jews had rejected Paul's message that Jesus was their Risen Messiah. The Gentiles rejected Paul's message that Jesus the Son of the one and only living God was the only one who could save them from the enslavement of idols. Then the next problem the new believers faced was what would happen to their beloved family members who were buried in the local cemetery once Jesus returned for the saints? (1 Thess. 4:13-14) The next problem they struggled with was what will happen to all the Christians who are still alive when Jesus returns? (1 Thess. 4:15-18) We will need to study that problem before we go on to define "the day of the Lord" mentioned in 2 Thess. 2:2. Paul wrote two words of encouragement:

1. Rest in Our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ - 1 Thess. 4:13-15

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."

Some Questions to Consider

Do you have family members who have "fallen asleep"?

Did they believe that Jesus was the Son of God and proclaim Him as their Lord and Savior?

Did they reject the gift of salvation that was offered to them by the Lord Jesus Christ?

Where do you think they are now?

When they died did you grieve and feel hopeless?Why?

When they died did you rejoice?Why?

How does the statement "Jesus died and rose again" relate to you?

What do you think "God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep" means?

2. Rest in His eternal presence - 1 Thess. 4:15-18

"According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words."

Some Questions to Consider

What is the "order" of the resurrection of the saints whether dead or alive?

What do you think "caught up" in the clouds means to those who are still alive when Jesus comes again?

If all Christians will be together forever with Jesus what will happen to all the non-believers?

Do you really care what happens to the non-believers?

What plans are you making to share the good news of Jesus Christ with your non-believing family members, neighbors and co-workers?

How are they responding to your sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ?

How has the hope of the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ affected your daily life style?

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