CONVICTION REGARDING GOD’S PROGRAM FOR THE FUTURE
KEEPS US SPIRITUALLY ALERT
As a baseball and softball coach for the Christian Athletic Association, we started the young kids off with the very basics. With respect to fielding the ball, we emphasized what people call “The Ready Position.” Comfortable crouch, up on the balls of your feet so you can move in any direction; glove down and ready to field the ball; eyes focused on the ball [This is baseball, not soccer – so we can’t talk about the secret weapon] . . . Look at major leaguers and study how each player prepares himself for the pitch – it might seem like they are nonchalant and not paying close attention … but by the time the ball is delivered they are ready to respond. That’s especially important for younger kids … some you find daydreaming out in the outfield; some you find sitting in the dirt in the infield drawing different images; some you find aimlessly wandering around. As a coach we want our players to learn to be alert and focused so that as the pitch is delivered, they can respond appropriately. You need to expect that the ball is going to be hit to you. You need to already have thought through the possibilities in your mind so that you know the situation and have in your mind where you are going to throw the ball. There is a similar Ready Position for every sport … Paul teaches us in this passage that there is a Ready Position for believers when it comes to our anticipation of the Return of Christ. He is going to develop that lesson by pointing out five different contrasts in how believers anticipate the return of Christ as opposed to unbelievers. We will look at one of those contrasts today and four others next week.
Transition from 4:13-18
Peri de – familiar introductory phrase – used by Paul to switch topics or to answer a different question that needs to be addressed
Used up in 4:9 – transitioning from the very specific topic of sanctified sex to the more general subject of love for the brethren
Here Paul switches from the very specific details of the next event on God’s prophetic calendar which is Christ’s Rapture of His church to the more general subject of the overall Day of the Lord – which is still part of the general context of the return of the Lord for which believers need to be prepared
Two different perspectives to this passage from a timing standpoint:
1. Post trib rapture position – Paul is talking about the same subject – just with a different emphasis; started out with an emphasis on believers and the blessing of Christ’s return and then moves to how the judgment aspect will impact unbelievers – otherwise why would believers be anticipating the day of the Lord if they will not even be a part of it??
2. Pre trib rapture position – Fits very nicely once you understand the two different stages of Christ’s Second Coming (the Rapture and the Revelation) with the seven year tribulation period in between – Support for this view
– makes sense from a chronological development of the text – talks first about the Rapture … them moves to a discussion of the Day of the Lord which would follow (similar to chronological development in the Book of Rev.)
– gives the fullest impact to the transitional phrase peri de as we already discussed
– holds the most excitement and anticipation for believers since they will not experience any of the severe devastation associated with the Day of the Lord – so we can really look forward to the return of Christ
– consistent with believers being delivered out from any association or contact with the wrath of God – a topic for next week
No matter which view you take, the application made by Hiebert would apply:
Hiebert: In the preceding paragraph (4:13-18) the main cause for restlessness among the Thessalonian believers in relation to the anticipated coming of Christ was allayed. They had thought that only those who were alive at the time of the parousia would witness and share in its glories. As long as they held this view they would feel impatient at any prospect of postponement in His return since it cast a shadow upon their own hope of personal survival to share in that glory. All grounds for this feeling were removed with the assuring revelation that there will be no essential difference in the lot of those who have died and those who are alive when Christ returns for His own.
But a further word needed to be directed to the readers. The solemn truth is that the returning Lord will be the Judge of all. It is their duty to so live that they will be prepared to meet the Lord whenever He comes. In view of the uncertainty as to the time of His coming, it is imperative that they give diligence to be morally and spiritually ready. The pastoral heart of the writers leads them thus to exhort their beloved brethren.
As we continue to study eschatology:
– remember not to go beyond the text of scripture and speculate or be overly dogmatic
– remember that end times are always presented with a practical application of encouraging us to live holy lives for the Lord right now; not presented as an academic topic
I. (:1-3) TWO DIFFERENT DISCERNMENTS (PERSPECTIVES, EXPECTATIONS) REGARDING GOD’S PROGRAM FOR THE FUTURE (ESPECIALLY: THE COMING OF THE DAY OF THE LORD) – BELIEVER VS UNBELIEVER
Def: Discernment = the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure
The Expectation of Believers Regarding the Coming Day of the Lord vs.
The Expectation of Unbelievers
Looked at from two angles:
What do you think is coming in the future? Informed vs Uninformed
How will it affect you? Realistic vs Delusional
A. (:1-2) Informed vs Uninformed (or Misinformed)
1. Christian Philosophy of History as Overall Frame of Reference
“Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren”
Paul addresses these believes as “brethren” – they were privileged to have been the recipients of God’s explanation of the overall course of history = “His Story” – things taking place down through history should make sense to those in God’s family as they understand the times and epochs and what God is doing at different stages – fits very nicely with a dispensational systematic theology as well – this is currently the time when the fullness of the Gentiles is being completed; it is Satan’s day and man’s day when God does not immediately execute His judgment on those who rebel against Him; in fact He gives them a lot of rope even to mock Him as He patiently pleads with them not to despise His goodness and forbearance but to repent while there is still time … But the Day of the Lord is coming and an awful day of judgment it will be
Mayhue: Times – quantity
Seasons – quality or character
Robert Thomas: “Times and dates” . . . well known words describing the end times from two perspectives. The former conceives more of elapsed time and hence a particular date or dates when predictions will be fulfilled. The latter word, while including some reference to extent of time, gives more attention to the character of quality of a given period, i.e., what signs will accompany the consummating events. The two words together have this same eschatological connotation in Acts 1:7; 3:19-21. The latter word very frequently refers to this future period (Dan 9:27, LXX; Mark 13:33; Luke 21:8, 24; Eph 1:10; 1 Tim 6:15; Titus 1:3; Heb 9:10; Rev 1:3; 11:18; 22:10). During his first visit Paul had effectively communicated the basic features of precise times and accompanying circumstances of future events.
Wiersbe: This phrase is found only three times in the Bible, and refers primarily to God’s plans for Israel. This is the way Daniel stated it when God gave him understanding of the king’s dream (Dan. 2:21). Our Lord’s use of the phrase in Acts 1:7 indicates that times and seasons relate primarily to Israel.
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MacArthur: There are three popular contemporary views of history. The first is the cyclical view, which sees history as an endless circle, spiraling back through the same things over and over again. . . But the cyclical view evacuates any meaning or purpose from history, as John Marsh notes:
If such a view be true, then historical existence has been deprived of its significance. What I do now I have done in a previous world cycle, and will do again in future world cycles. Responsibility and decision disappear, and with them any real significance to historical life, which in fact becomes a rather grandiose natural cycle. Just as the corn is sown, grows, and ripens each year, so will the events of history recur time after time. Moreover, if all that can happen is the constant repetition of an event-cycle, there is no possibility of meaning in the cycle itself. It achieves nothing in itself, neither can it contribute to anything outside itself. The events of history are devoid of significance.
(The Fullness of Time [London: Nisbet, 1952], 167)
A second view of history is that of atheistic naturalism. Unlike the cyclical view, this view sees history as linear and non-repetitive. But like the cyclical view, the naturalistic view assigns no meaning to history. History may be proceeding in a straight line instead of going around in circles, but it is not leading anywhere; it has no ultimate goal or purpose. . . Such a hopeless, purposeless, empty view of history reduces man to insignificance, to nothing more than a “chance configuration of atoms in the slip stream of meaningless chance history” (Francis A. Schaeffer, Death in the City [Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity, 1972], 18).
The Christian view of history stands in sharp contrast to the hopeless despair of the first two views. The Bible reveals history to be the outworking of the purposeful plan of the sovereign, creator God. . . Jesus Christ is the central figure in history; the Old Testament points to His coming, and the New Testament describes and expounds His life, death, resurrection, and second coming.
As history continues to unfold the eternally planned purposes of God, one event looms large on the horizon: the Day of the Lord. That event will mark the end of man’s day, as God acts in judgment to take back direct control of the earth from the usurpers (both human and demonic) who presently rule it. It will be an unprecedented time of cataclysmic judgment on all unrepentant sinners.
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Prov. 16:4 “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
Tragic case: what about those unbelievers who are actually informed … but choose to ignore God’s warnings and do not prepare themselves for the coming of the Lord??
2. No Need for New Revelation — Previous oral instruction
“you have no need of anything to be written to you.”
– not able to pin down the exact timetable – God has not revealed that
– no need for anymore revelation than what God has already given in order to realize the pastoral application of living a holy and alert life
– already had received instruction with clarity and sufficiency
Deut 29:29 (JW’s favorite verse) “The secret things belong to the Lord our God; but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
Note the moral imperative associated with knowledge
Proverbs talks about how important it is that we value God’s wisdom, diligently mine it and search it out:
25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
Just dismiss any date-setters who claim to have some new revelation from God or precise understanding of the timing of when these events will occur – God is not showing all of His cards; still it is incredible that Bible teachers come out with preposterous predictions
What God has revealed is sufficient for guiding us in how we need to live right now – don’t be craving something else
3. No Surprises for Believers — Sufficient knowledge on the subject
“For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.”
Day will not overtake believers “like a thief”
– Sufficiency of knowledge
– the precision of this knowledge – not just some vague truths – akribos – Luke 1:3 “having investigated every carefully (accurately)”; Acts 18:25 accurate teaching of Apollos
– subject matter is the day of the Lord
– analogy is to a thief in the night:
– We don’t know the timing – Unexpected nature of Christ’s Return
– The unsaved will be caught unprepared; Believers should be prepared
– There will be bad consequences for the unbelievers – the Lord will not be defeated or thwarted as His coming from accomplishing His purposes; no bad consequences for believers – they will be delivered before that great and terrible day of the Lord
B. (:3) Realistic vs Delusional (False Security) — Delivered vs Doomed
[Stronger than Prepared vs Unprepared]
1. The False Security of those Facing Destruction – Prepared vs Unprepared
“While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’
Peace – inner tranquility
Safety – freedom from attack from external forces
This has been Satan’s methodology down through history – blinding men to the reality of their lost condition; pulling a veil over their eyes; hiding the truth; making them believe the lie that they want to believe – they can live as they please; there is no consequence to breaking God’s Law; they are not accountable to a Just and Righteous and Holy Creator
– started back in the Garden – “You surely will not die” Gen. 3:4
You don’t have to listen to what God says; He doesn’t know what He’s talking about …
Just look around you at all of the death that takes place every day …
– Look at all of the OT false prophets who promised “Peace and Safety”
– Jer. 8:11 – entire context
– Look at the false teachers today who continue to promise “Peace and Safety”
Popular message — 2 Peter 2 – ignoring God’s warnings like people in day of Noah
2. The Awfulness of Coming Destruction – the harsh reality
“then destruction will come upon them”
Milligan: Destruction means utter and hopeless ruin, a loss of everything worthwhile
Mayhue: The Day of the Lord exclusively involves judgment either against Israel or upon the rebellious world population, individually and collectively. Where blessing is an attendant feature (and it is not always), it is a chronological sequel not an inherent feature. God’s judgment can be either providential (Ezek 30:3, 10) or direct (2 Pet 3:10).
– Look at the images of destruction from the Book of Revelation
– Rev. 6:8 Fourth Seal – fourth of the earth killed; 6:15-17
– Rev. 9:18 Sixth Trumpet – a third of mankind was killed
– Rev. 16:21 Seventh Bowl – “huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; because its plague was extremely severe”
– Zeph. 1:14-18
– Is. 13:9-13 – transition to birth pangs
3. The Suddenness of Coming Destruction
“suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child;”
– seven year 70th week of Daniel fits nicely into this “birth pangs” imagery
– certain aspect of fear – you know you are going to have to go through the entire painful process of labor and delivery; even though you have been anticipating this, it still comes up unexpectedly and suddenly – when it begins to happen, ramps up quickly; pain intensifies; you don’t get to pick when is a good time for labor pains to begin – whenever it happens you have to deal with it – knowing there is no escape
Showers (p. 21ff) Dead Sea Scrolls calls the severe troubles of the 7 yrs before the Messiah’s Coming the birth pangs of the Messiah; travail precedes the birth of the Kingdom Age.
Wiersbe: The early part of this day of the Lord was called “the beginning of sorrows” by the Lord Jesus (Matt. 24:8); and the Greek word translated “sorrows” actually means “birth pangs.”
. . . out of the day of the Lord will come the birth of the kingdom.
4. The Inescapability of Coming Destruction – Armageddon will arrive in full force
“and they shall not escape.” Literally: Flee out (used of prisoners) ekpheugo
Used with respect to God’s coming judgment: Rom 2:1-11 esp v.3
Heb 2:3 “how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”
Heb 12:25 “much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven”
No place to hide – you will look for caves to hide in; no relief; no second chance; hearts of the Gentiles especially will be hardened; Don’t put off the issue of salvation today and hope that you will be able to respond in that day – Today is the day of salvation ….
CONCLUSION TO PART ONE:
As believers, are we in the Ready Position? We will look more closely at our mental state and our attitude of readiness next week – there are four more contrasts in vv.4-11 that drive home the application
We should be informed about what God has planned for the future – it is a privilege to be in the know
Make sure you are not falling prey to the schemes of Satan and believing his lie that you can escape accountability – It would be Delusional to live your life saying “Peace and Safety” when the blade of the guillotine of God’s terrible wrath hangs over your head and destruction looms in your future
You don’t want the day of the Lord to overtake you as a thief in the night
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INTRODUCTION TO PART 2:
Overall theme of the book as we get near the conclusion:
CHURCH PLANTERS ENCOURAGE GROWING DISCIPLES TO ENDURE PERSECUTION AND WALK WORTHY OF THEIR CALLING IN ANTICIPATION OF THE LORD’S RETURN
Time to start pulling together the threads of this book so that we can see the big picture.
– Church Planters – Acts 17 – this book is like a manual for how to plant a church
Pure Motives and Godly character – setting themselves up as examples;
Looked at various Leadership Profiles of how to serve with unselfish love
– Growing Disciples – commended for their changed lives; the gospel had impacted them so that they had a good reputation throughout the region; But still encouraged to keep making progress in their faith and love and hope; 4 messages about Pressing on to Maturity – importance of family fellowship, sacrificing security, feeding on faithfulness, persevering in progress
– Enduring Persecution – times had gotten so bad that some are going to imagine that somehow they already were in the day of the Lord (corrected in 2 Thess); Godliness always stirs up persecution; we need boldness in proclaiming the gospel
– Walk Worthy of their Calling – Sanctified Sex; Brotherly love
– Anticipating the Lord’s Return —
Are you anticipating the Lord’s Return?? Believers vs Unbelievers respond differently
CONVICTION REGARDING GOD’S PROGRAM FOR THE FUTURE
KEEPS US SPIRITUALLY ALERT
What is your approach to God’s revelation about the imminent return of His Son Jesus Christ – the one who came the first time to seek and to save the lost but is returning to deliver His elect and execute judgment on those that refuse to bow the knee to His sovereignty …
Last week: Contrast #1 = 2 Different Discernments (Perspectives, Expectations) – Believer vs Unbeliever
– Informed vs Uninformed
– Realistic vs Delusional
4 remaining contrasts to study this week Paul wanted his readers to be encouraged, to be built up in their faith … to be growing in their love and to be steadfast in their hope
II. (:4-5) TWO DIFFERENT DOMAINS (IDENTITIES OR CAMPS OR SPHERES OF EXISTENCE) – BELIEVER VS UNBELIEVER
Def: Domain = a sphere of influence or activity
Looked at through the lens of two different images from nature
What family are we in? What characterizes our nature? Who are we at our inner core?
Do you struggle with trying to find out who you are? Are you inconsistent – one way around certain groups of people and another way around others?
A. (:4) Sons of Light vs Darkness
“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief.”
“for you are all sons of light”
Continuing that theme of being in the know or being in the dark
Hiebert: Jesus described a person as “the son of” anything which completely dominated and controlled him.
APPLICATION: Darkness associated with 3 things:
1) Darkness associated with lack of knowledge – intellectual deficiency
2) Darkness is associated with deeds of shame – moral deficiency –
check your conscience – Is there anything you are trying to hide in the darkness of your heart? Is there any area where you are shutting Christ out and not wanting His light to penetrate and expose? Is there some sinful practice or habit that you are ashamed of and have not repented of – make sure that you are living in the light
3) Darkness associated with Death – spiritual deficiency
Satan tries to counterfeit the identity of believers – 2 Cor. 11:14-15 “for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds”
B. (:5) Sons of Day vs Night
“and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness.”
Just look at the news and you see what types of evil take place in the darkness; when night falls, the police activity picks up dramatically; look at the looting that takes place when the power goes out in a major city and there is a virtual blackout —
What can we get away with when we think no one is watching or can see our actions?
Very similar to the message of 1 John – are you walking in the light or in the darkness – are we confessing our sins; are we loving the brethren; are we characterized by works of righteousness
1 John 1:5 “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all”
God knows who He is; no identity conflict with God; no inconsistency
Not just light some of the time or in certain circumstances
Does not take on the attribute of light from another but God is light intrinsically
Gen. 1:3 – “Then God said, Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.”
These distinctions originated from God and got their significance from God
Light fundamentally associated with Goodness vs Evil
John 8:12 “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life”
The world is a dark place apart from the light of Jesus Christ
John 3:19-21 “men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their deeds were evil”
God is not to blame for men rejecting the light and preferring darkness
– intellectually, light refers to biblical truth while darkness refers to error or falsehood
(cf. Ps 119:105; Pr 6:23; Jn 1:4; 8:12)
– morally, light refers to holiness or purity while darkness refers to sin or wrongdoing
(Ro 13:11-14; 1 Th 5:4-7)
Constable: Christians have illumination, and they also live in a realm characterized by light, warmth, and growth
Result: the day of the Lord should not overtake us like a thief (John 12:35-36) katalambano
“overtake” – come upon them by surprise and lay hostile hands on them
“For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
III. (:6-7) TWO DIFFERENT DISPOSITIONS (MINDSETS OR MENTAL STATES) – BELIEVER VS UNBELIEVER
Def: Disposition = prevailing tendency, mood or inclination; the tendency of something to act in a certain manner under given circumstances; Attitude; Response; Stage of Readiness, Dynamics
Like the Amber Alert color coding – be on the lookout for a missing and abducted child
Like the alert system for air quality index – different color codes – how dangerous is the air to breathe
Alert levels with respect to terrorist attacks —
Are we on the alert in terms of looking for Christ’s return?
A. (:6,8a) Mindset of Believers
“so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.”
“But since we are of the day, let us be sober,”
Rev 16:15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.”)
2. Sober (consistent with the day) – free from the influence of intoxicants; similar to the discipline and poise of athletes; free from excess, passion, rashness, confusion, etc.; used in conjunction with watchfulness (Vines)
Free from the type of fanaticism of those who had quit their jobs and set aside common sense and everyday responsibility to sit on a mountain and wait for the return of Christ
Look at all the NT injunctions to be Watchful and Sober:
Matt 24:42ff; 25:13; 2 Tim. 4:5; 1 Pet. 1:13; 4:7; 5:8 – live in light of eternity
Illustration: Air traffic controllers – charged with monitoring the traffic of airplanes in the sky so that we don’t have any disastrous collisions – must be anticipating what is coming next; cannot have any surprises – drunk and asleep on the job would not get it done
B. (:7) Mindset of Unbelievers
“For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.”
Paul had used the imagery of sleep in chap. 4 to speak of the death of believers – here a different Gk word is used katheudo in a negative sense of the spiritual laziness and indifference and blindness of unbelievers
Look at the disappointment of Christ over the inability of the disciples to remain alert and watching in prayer – instead they fell asleep – at a critical point in history – Christ about to face His toughest challenge – His betrayal by Judas and crucifixion
Matt 26:40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?”
If we sleep away the daylight hours we miss our opportunity to serve the Lord … much less be ready for His return
2. Drunk (consistent with the night)
Need to be controlled by the Holy Spirit
Brings to mind again the days of Noah and the failure to heed the warnings of coming judgment
Rom. 13:12-14 “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
What is our Disposition or Mindset when it comes to anticipating and watching for the return of our Lord?
Hendriksen: The apostle’s exhortation, then, amounts to this: Let us not be lax and unprepared, but let us be prepared, being spiritually alert, firm in the faith, courageous, strong, calmly but with glad anticipation looking forward to the future day. Let us, moreover, do all this because we belong to the day and not to the night.
Transition: Image of a soldier on duty is what comes to mind (MacArthur)
IV. (:8b) TWO DIFFERENT DRESS CODES (TYPES OF BATTLE DRESS) – BELIEVER VS UNBELIEVER
Def: Dress Code = the required clothing for the particular activity or setting
No question that we are engaged in spiritual warfare; what types of battle fatigues are we wearing?
Football season starting up – who would be willing to go out and play without any protection?
If bullets are going to be flying, I want the bullet-proof vest and the best helmet money can buy
There are certain vital parts of the body that require special protection
A. Protected with the Armor Provided by God – Source = Holy Spirit
“having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”
Look at emphasis in this epistle on faith, love and hope (1:3, 8, 10; 3:6, 12, 13; 4:9)
Context of persecution and suffering and hardship – easy to become discouraged
How can we encourage one another and build one another up?
FAITH – Grab on to God’s promises and hold them tightly; exercise our faith; don’t be conformed to the world’s thinking with what it has to say about priorities and security and material possessions and living for self
(1Thess 2:7-12) PAUL’S PICTURE OF THREE ROLE MODELS THAT ILLUSTRATE PROPER CONDUCT IN THE MINISTRY – 3 LEADERSHIP PROFILES OF UNSELFISH SERVANT LOVE
a. (:7-8) Loving Mother — Gentleness and Tender Care
b. (:9) Hard Worker – Church planters labor long and hard to both provide for physical needs (when necessary) and proclaim the gospel
c. (:10-12) Faithful Father – Godly example and discipleship training of a
Father with vision
Paul demonstrated that he was an excellent role model in this important area of loving the brethren; How are we doing in expending ourselves to serve our brothers and sisters?
HOPE – this epistle is all about Hope – looking for the return of Christ and the deliverance that will accomplish
Hiebert: The breastplate is pictured as being double or having two sides. Faith denotes the proper inner attitude of the believer toward Christ as his Redeemer and Lord, while love is the proper outward expression.
Ephes 6:10-17 passage about the armor of God
B. Naked and Exposed – Source = Satan
Look at Christ’s condemnation of religious hypocrites in His letter to the lukewarm church at Laodicea – Rev 3:15-18
“you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked”
Transition: Look at the parable about those clothed in the wedding garments – just for the elect
Matt. 22:11-14 look at the destiny of those not protected by the righteousness of Christ
V. (:9-10) TWO DIFFERENT DESTINIES – BELIEVER VS UNBELIEVER
Def: Destiny = Final end point
A. (:9a) Unbelievers – Wrath and Destruction
“For God has not destined us for wrath”
“Destined” – clear support for God’s initiative and sovereignty in our salvation; chose us for Himself before the foundation of the world; destined us to be with Him forever – spared His wrath and judgment
Does this wrath just refer to eternal judgment in hell or also to the wrath of God poured out during the day of the Lord?
Look at the context we have been studying here
Wiersbe: The nature of the tribulation: This is the time when God will judge the Gentile nations and also purge Israel and prepare her for the coming of her Messiah. The “earth-dwellers” will taste of God’s wrath (Rev. 3:10) and not those whose citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). God will judge the earth-dwellers for their iniquity (Isa. 26:20-21).
B. Believers — Obtaining Deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ
“but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”
What type of deliverance is in view here? Different aspects of salvation
1. How was this salvation accomplished? Back to the fundamentals of the Gospel
Death and Resurrection of Christ and its implications for us in our daily life
“who died for us”
On our behalf – took our punishment for sin
For our benefit – so that we can live with Him
As our substitute, in our place where we deserved to die
2. What is the intended result?
“that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.”
Same 2 groups talked about in chapter 4 – pointing us back to the hope of the Rapture
(:11) CONCLUSION TO 4:13 – 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
Use your conviction regarding God’s program for the future to
1) encourage one another — giving hope to the bereaved
2) build each other up — keep each other spiritually alert
How can we do this in practical terms? Responsibility of every believer … not just the one preaching the Word …We want to have a balanced ministry – encourage body life; exercise of spiritual gifts; even if you don’t have the gift of exhortation, you still have the responsibility of encouraging …
But sometimes we discourage one another …
Sometimes we tear others down …
Contrast between believers and unbelievers n how they view the return of Christ –
– DISCERNMENTS – Be informed and realistic; not blinded and delusional
– DOMAINS – Live as sons of the day and sons of the light
– DISPOSITIONS – Be alert and sober and watching; not sleeping and drunk
– DRESS CODES – Be protected with the armor of God – with faith and love and hope
– DESTINIES – Be headed for deliverance rather than the wrath of God
As believers, we face the future with confidence and certainty – a blessed hope that makes us long for the soon coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let’s be encouraged and let’s encourage one another.
Bruce: The eschatological hope, then, is not an excuse for idling but an incentive for action, and especially for mutual aid. Every church member has a duty to help in “building up” the community, so that it may attain spiritual maturity.