We move into Chapter 5 of Paul’s first letter to the Church of Jesus Christ at Thessalonica, where Paul says that you do not need me to write to you about the times and the seasons.
That fellowship was very different in that day from various places today.
Armageddon – do we hear that in the church today – or do we hear it more frequently from politicians, and scientists and environmentalists and ecologists – or from Hollywood?
Verse 2 – The day of the Lord will be like a thief in the night. When Jesus comes it will be similar to that of a burglar. It will come suddenly. It will surprise some. It will be unexpected. Many will not be ready.
This is a warning from Almighty God to which all should give heed.
Verse 3 – Some will persuade themselves that all is well when suddenly God’s hour of judgment and reckoning arrives.
It will happen when the wicked and careless are most at their ease.
Paul speaks about “they” and “you”. He is not afraid to do so. He is not ashamed to do so. Paul uses very similar language to Jesus.
Verse 4 – The unbeliever will be in the dark regarding the times and the seasons, but the believer need not be taken by surprise. His message is quite simply, “Keep awake!”
Verse 5 – Paul writes that you are all sons of the light and sons of the day.
If we are Christ’s we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. Here, as in every place, Paul is very clear and unconfused in his thinking and he is so concise and precise.
He has just been writing so clearly regarding the second coming of Jesus Christ and giving us his reasons as to why he was writing in such a way. There had been confusion or misunderstanding in the Church and he clarifies the issue.
We are called by Christ to be the light of the world.
There are always those who love to do things in the darkness and in the shade and where it is thought that no-one sees.
Paul has no grey areas.
With Paul, as with all the other writers, it is black and white.
Verse 6 – Do not sleep as some do. Do not nod off. Do not fall away.
Watch and be alert and be vigilant and awake. Keep your eyes open to see all that is going on.
Verse 7 – The one who sleeps is the unbeliever. It is a sleep of death. It is like drunkenness, in as much as such people are numb to any spiritual reality. Imagine having to meet Jesus Christ the worse of drink!
Romans 13 verse 10 to 14 - This is developed further. It was this passage when he heard it being read, that touched Augustine when he was leading a rather wild life.
It is the unbeliever who is asleep and dreaming – and who is probably dreaming that all is well. That is dangerous day dreaming.
The man asleep spiritually can only be quickened or awakened by the Holy Spirit.
Yes, the Holy Spirit can use the Word and preaching and our testimony and our witness – and even the situation the man might be in – but basically it is the work of the Spirit of God.
“Almighty God – our loving heavenly Father – it is because of Your mercy and grace and love that You continue to sound warnings – and for that we do thank You and praise You. Help me to be prepared – to be ready for that day when Jesus Christ returns – or for that hour when I die. It will be too late to start getting ready at such a moment. We thank You and praise you – in Jesus name. Amen”
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