Monday, July 28, 2008

SOAP - 7/28/08 (1 Thess 4:13-18)


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

"But we do not want you to be uniformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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. Therefore encourage one another with these words."



"We don't want you to worry about those Christians who have died. The people of this world have no hope and therefore grieve when they lose someone, but we believe in Jesus who died and rose again! If Jesus died and rose again then their is hope. God will cause all those Christians who have died to come back when Jesus does. We know this to be true because God has revealed it to us and so we pass it on to you. We who are left behind (waiting for Jesus to come) will not precede those who have died. Jesus will come from heaven with a sound of the trumpet of God and he will command with the voice of an archangel and the Christians who have died will rise first. Then we who are alive will rise and together we will meet Jesus in the sky, and we will at that point be with him forever. Use what we are saying to encourage one another."

What is God saying?

First off, Christians during this time period seem to have had an expectation that Jesus was going to come in their lifetime. There must have been some question about what happened to those who died before Jesus came back. Paul needed to set the record straight. This might explain why this passage seems so out of place with what he has been talking about so far.

I think the biggest thing God is saying in this passage, at least at this point, is we who are Christians don't need to grieve as heavily as those who don't have a hope for the future. I had to ask myself though, why would people in the world grieve the loss of a loved one? I thought of a couple of answers. One, because if this is all there is to life it is a shame to end it, but more importantly I think the reason is a selfish reason. We just don't want to see people go because we want them in our lives.

For we who are Christians we know that this isn't the end. We also know that what is beyond is better, even if we don't fully comprehend. We understand that when a loved one who was suffering dies they are no longer suffering but experiencing something totally awesome.

It is strange that this is the passage that came up in loo of Louie's father having passed away. I know that he is grieving for the loss of his father, but I also know that, through personally talking with him, he is filled with joy that his father is now in the presence of God.

What is God saying to me?

At this point I am not grieving the loss of anyone. I have had two grandparents pass away in the last few years and I imagine that my other two will be passing away soon. The relieving thing is they all know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. When my grandfather and grandmother went to be with the Lord I didn't feel like it was a sad occasion but a joyous one. Please don't get me wrong. I am using the word "joy" for a purpose. We can be sad but still have joy. Joy is not synonymous with happy. Happy is a feeling. Joy is a state of mind. When my other two grandparents go I will feel a since of relief for them. No more foggy thinking. No more creaking joints. No more... You get the point.

But what about those who don't know the Lord. The fact is, we don't know when anyone is going to go. There are people in our lives who need to hear the Gospel and challenged with it. I believe that we will grieve more deeply then the world grieves when people we know pass with out knowing God. There is an urgency here. Paul and many of the Christians of his day thought Jesus was coming back soon. Now two thousand years have passed and with their passing has come a lethargy. We need the zeal that Paul exhibits. We need to have the mindset that Jesus could come back any day. We need to be sure we are doing everything possible to help all we know to come into a saving relationship with Jesus.


I am starting to view this part as one of my least favorite parts. Why? Because it convicts me. Not to mention that I try to write something I can do here for everyone to see. I will be honest, not too many people have been asking me about how good I am doing on applying these Scriptures to my life. It is a sense of relief, but on the other hand I know I need that accountability. So if you are reading this you have my permission to question me on how I am doing. It can be personally, it can be on the phone or it can be through email (

I don't have that urgency to tell others about Christ like Paul. I want it. I want my life to center around this one priority. So here is my application. I want to talk to every teen in this youth group who is not baptized by the end of next month (August) about their relationship with Christ. I want to make sure they have heard it from me. There it is. Please keep me accountable.


Father, I have not made telling others about you a priority. I confess this to you and I want to repent. I want to turn my life around, but I need your help to do this. I am constantly struggling with my selfish desires and am many times only concerned with myself. Please help me to be a selfless person like you. Thank you for listening to my prayer.

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