Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SOAP - 7/30/08 (1 Thess 5:1-11)


1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

"Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."



"I really don't need to write to you about when Jesus is going to come back. You know full well that his coming will be like that of when a thief comes to rob you. A thief seems to come when people feel safe and secure. There is no expectation of his coming, but you are not like these people. You know that Jesus is coming, even though you don't know when. Your eyes have been opened unlike the rest of the worlds giving you the opportunity to be ready for when he comes. Those whose eyes are closed are not prepared for Jesus's return. Because you are, live your lives in full expectation of Jesus' return. Live full of faith, love and confident expectation that we will be saved when Jesus comes. God's plan for us is not destruction but salvation through our Master Jesus who died so that we might have real life through him. So continue to be an encouragement to one another and help each other continue to grow as you have been."

What is God saying?

It's true, Jesus is coming, but the we don't know when. It's like when you hear that a relative is on their way but you don't know exactly when they will arrive. So you get the house in order and keep it in order even though day after day passes. You know they are coming and you want to be ready for their arrival.

I am sure there was huge temptation to just sit and do nothing with the thought that Jesus was coming, and in their minds, coming in their lifetime. Paul wants to correct this thinking. Even though they are aware of Jesus' immanent return it doesn't give them the right to do nothing. In fact, this is false thinking. To do nothing is the same thing as doing nothing to prepare for your relatives arrival.

Paul says "You want to get ready for Jesus's coming? You need to continue to live faithfully, live lovingly and live hopefully." These three things, faith, love and hope, should influence every aspect of life. Every action should be motivated by our faith, our love for God and others, and our confident expectation of being in heaven with Jesus after he comes to take us with him.

What is God saying to me?

We have been waiting for over 2,000 years for Jesus to come back. I really think this has led many of us Christians to act like the early Christians in this passage. We think "He hasn't come back yet and he probably won't come back in my lifetime. I get things ready later on." I know you are saying "But I hear people saying all the time 'I believe that Jesus is coming back in my life time.'" Honestly though, if people believed that wouldn't there be an obvious difference between your life and theirs? I'm not saying every person who says such a thing is being a hypocrite, but I am saying MOST everyone who says this or who has said it are: INCLUDING ME!!! And so we come full circle.

God is saying "Listen. I know it has been a long time since Jesus said he was coming back, but the passing of time doesn't make it any less true. You need to be ready because you don't know when it is going to happen. Don't be like those who think everything is okay only to have their homes robbed by some thief. Be prepared like those who expect a thief to try and break into their home!"

I am struggling with having this kind of an attitude, but it is the attitude I am supposed to have. I know this is what God is saying to me.


So how do I apply this to my life? I need to be sure that my life is being lived in faith. love and hope. My purpose is to glorify Jesus by becoming more and more like him. I need to have faith that when I share the Gospel of Jesus God will use whatever happens to me to his advantage. I need to share the Gospel with love. There are too many Christians who claim to share the Gospel in love but instead they are condemning and judgmental and this is the way it comes across. I need to live my life in confident expectation that no matter what happens to me as I tell the world about the Gospel I will eventually be with Jesus in the end.


God, I have to confess to you that I have a lackadaisical attitude when it comes to your returning. I am sorry when I have said I believe you are coming in my lifetime when my life has not reflected my "belief." I really want this belief to influence my life. I want to be like you. I want to share the good news with those around me. I want to live a life of faith, love and hope. Thank you for listening to me.

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