Hopeful

March 4, 2006 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

 

Introduction:
-  We’re in week 7th week of our study: The Disciple Making Church – subtitled: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Churches!
[remember our 2006 Theme: Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness
-  Last week we completed a 2 week study on HOLINESS – specifically moral purity – especially the idea of AVOIDING sexual sins!
> that is, and will continue to be a very important subject for EVERYBODY!
> if you weren’t here, you need to get a set of the notes and study them – remember the admonition, “let him that thinks he stands, take heed, lest he fall!”
[Brief review]
I.  A Disciple Making Church Walks in Holiness
> in an effort to please God, to obey God, and to glorify God
II.  A Disciple Making Church Is Concerned About the Various Aspects of Holiness
A.  Learning to ABSTAIN from sexual immorality [any kind of sexual sin]
* Key Phrase:  It's not about moderation, it's about abstinence.
B.  Knowing how to POSSESS [exercise self control, maintain] our own vessel [bodies] in sanctification and honor (4:4).
C.  Not TAKING ADVANTAGE of or DEFRAUDING our brother/sister in this matter (4:6a).
III.  A Disciple Making Church Considers the Reasons for Obeying These Commands.
A.  God works out proper punishment for all sexual sins
B.  Our salvation introduced us into a life of sanctification [God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness (4:7)].
C.  We have rejected God
D.  Loving Others should be obvious – 4:9-10
E.  Minding Your Own Business – 4:10-12
-  Let’s pick up our study in 4:13-18 [READ] – Remember this as we study this passage:
1.  Our goal is not to ‘prove’ our particular position on eschatology [end times], although our position is stated in our doctrinal statement
XVIII. Of the Resurrection, Return of Christ, and Related Events,
We believe in and accept the sacred Scriptures upon these subjects at their full and face value. These beliefs include:
(d) His future appearing in the air to receive His saints. (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Acts 1:11)
 Acts 1:11 They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."
(h) Christ’s bodily return to the earth to reign from the throne of David. (Pre-Millennial) (Matthew 24:29-32; Luke 1:32; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Acts 2:29, 30; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Isaiah 32:1, 11:4, 5; Psalm 72:8; Revelation 20:1-4, 6)
Bottom Line:  We believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible – the promises made to Israel are just that, promises made to Abraham [Abrahamic covenant – land, seed, and blessing – Gen. 12, 15 – a promise ultimately fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom spoken of in Revelation, a literal 1,000 years], David [Davidic covenant - 2 Samuel 7 & summarized in 1 Chron. 17:11-14 & 2 Chron. 6:16 – where Christ will literally sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem and rule and reign for 1,000 years], and does NOT include the church [us]; there are promises made to the church which do not include the nation of Israel.
When Christ came unto His own, and His own did not receive Him, the attention turned from Israel to the ‘church’ [called out ones], this is known as ‘Dispensationalism’ – i.e. that God deals with man in different ways at different times (that doesn’t mean salvation/justification changes, but the focus of God’s plan changes – i.e. from Israel, to the church, from ‘the Law’ to the age of ‘grace’, etc. 
2.  Our goal is to communicate what Paul intended to communicate in the text – HOPE for this church – specifically the Disciples in this church whose loved ones/friends had died!
- let’s think 1st of all about . . .


  I.  Our Need for Hope


A.  God does not want us ‘living in the dark’ – so He communicates to us
- the church needed to be taught on this subject of responding to the death of others in light of the 2nd coming of Christ
- in fact Paul said, “I don’t want you to be uninformed’
>  which meant that they needed some teaching on the subject to clarify some things or LEARN some things – especially during the hard time of handling death
B.  The fact that they didn’t have a firm grip on a certain truth created at least 2 difficulties in their minds:
- From the time Paul planted the church, to the time these letters were written, at least several months had elapsed
>Christ had not yet returned // in the meantime, some of their members had died.
- Thessalonians were wondering:
1)  What happens to believers who die, and therefore are not alive at the return of Christ for the church (whenever that would be)?
2) Since the persecution was getting so heavy, the question could be raised if they had even missed the coming of Christ and were now living in the tribulation (we’ll deal with that part next week)


II.  Our Reason for Hope: The 2nd Coming [Part 1]: The Rapture of the Church .


- I want to take this portion of our study like the old Dragnet- "give the facts mam, just the facts"
A.  Where do we get the word "rapture"?
- The word rapture is not used in this section, or in any specific passage in the Bible
- We have gotten our English word rapture = from a Greek word that is translated caught up (v. 17)
- This Greek word has various meanings, each of these meanings ADD a special truth to the doctrine of our Lord's return:
1. "To catch away speedily"
- This is translated in Acts 8:39 where the Spirit "caught away Philip" after he had led the Ethiopian to Christ.
- When the Lord returns in the air, we who are alive will be caught away quickly, in the twinkling of an eye
2. "To seize by force"
- this idea may sugest that some saints will be so attached to the world that they must literally be dragged away
3. "To claim for one's own self"
- This views the Rapture from the Lord's point of view
4. "To move to a new place"
5. "To rescue from danger"
-  The same word is used in Acts 23:10
- This is where the chief captain feared for the life of Paul and had him taken from the crowd of the angry Pharisees, and brought to the castle where he would be safe.
B.  What is the event called the rapture?
- when referring to the rapture = we're speaking of the event where Christ meets His bride, the Church (living and dead) in the air and takes them back to heaven with Him forever
- now, there are some different theological positions concerning this event
Q:  Can you name them?
1) POST-Tribulation= the church will be taken to heaven at the END of the tribulation
2) MID-Tribulation = the church will be taken to heaven during the MIDDLE of the tribulation
3) PRE-Tribulation = the church will be taken to heaven BEFORE the tribulation begins
-  we believe the position that is most consistent with all the Bible says on eschatology is the pre-tribulation position
Input: What is one of the most convincing reasons for holding the pre-tribulation position?
** The Doctrine of IMMINENCY = that Jesus Christ can return for His saints at any moment – there are no future events revealed in the Scriptures as necessary before Christ can come to "catch up" [or rapture] His Bride, the church.
cf. the promise was made in Acts 1:11 (see above) :  “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."
C.  What specifically does Paul say about this event?
1.  Those who have died in Christ will return with Him when He comes for those who are living. – v. 14
- Paul is not using this occasion as some would say to teach about "soul sleep"
> there are other passages that make it clear, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord
>and the rich man who died, lifted up his eyes in hell and was in torment
- instead, Paul is simply saying their physical body is “asleep” in Christ
- but one day, that body is going to be reunited w/that soul and made into a glorified body
- and the fact of the Lord is returning is a great comfort to us in bereavement, because we know that He will bring with Him those who have "died in the Lord"
Q:  Can you think of a few people who will be in that company coming with Christ!
2.  The believer’s hope of seeing their loved ones is based on God's promise.
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord."
- Paul made it clear-- he was not giving personal opinion- but what God says about it!
- all of us at some time or the other have been disappointed because somebody broke their word (intentionally or unintentionally)
Q;  Why do you think Paul specifically stated that what he was saying was directly from the Lord? He didn't always say specifically "THIS IS FROM THE LORD!"
A:  There was a lot of confusion and unanswered questions – he did it to answer them and give them confidence that what he was saying was truth and not personal opinion
D.  How is this event described by Paul?
1.  Personal fulfillment  v.16a "The Lord himself"
- in other situations, the Lord sent a representative to deliver His message but this time, He comes personally 
2.  Promised fulfillment v.16b "shall descend"
- Ill: The story is told of a European gardener of a particular mansion- "Today, Sir, today"
3.  Profound fulfillment  v.16c "w/ a shout, voice of archangel, trump of God"
- this "shout" is a command
- the word was used in a number of different ways:
1) the cry made by the ship's master to its rowers 
2) by a military officer to his soldiers 
3) or by a hunter to his hounds
- when used to military or naval personnel, it was a battle cry
- most places it denoted a loud/authoritative cry, often uttered in a thick of great excitement
ILL:  Purdue game, closing seconds, down by 1, crowd cheering, someone yells, SHOOT THE BALL!
- the shout will be given as the trumpet sounds and the bodies of those who have died in Christ will burst forth and be glorified and reunited with the soul and we who are alive will follow them
- I Cor.15 "twinkling" = 1/15 of sec. / no advanced warning, any time on the time table!
Q: Ever considered what will be happening on the earth at this time - traveling on the highway? airplane?


III. Our Response to Our Hope


*  As is the case with Christianity, we need to ask the question: What we should do/not do as a result of what we know?
A.  We should not sorrow as others who have no hope. (v. 13)
-  what we've been talking about is why our sorrow is different
- ILL: I don’t want to be disrespectful, but  I make it to my dad's grave maybe once a year (location is one reason), another reason is HE IS NOT THERE!
- I have hope that he is ‘asleep’ in Christ and will come w/Jesus when he comes!
B.  We should be confident about the future.
- we are informed people!- God has not left us in the dark, we know what is going to happen
C.  We are commanded to "comfort" one another.
- the word is parakalew (para-ka-le-o – short ‘e’ as in leg, long ‘o’) = called alongside of
- what we have to do is:
1) Encourage one another . . . and if need be…
2) Exhort one another to handle the situation from God's point of view
ILL:  My Dad’s death – someone said to me, "God is too wise to ever make a mistake, and too loving to ever do anything unkind"
- but I was also challenged that if I would handle this in a way that would please God, I could have an opportunity to help others who had lost a parent
D.  We should be prepared to meet him.
- I believe this is what John was referring to in 1 John 3:1-2
 Key Verse: 1 John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
- A special crown (reward) for all those that love His appearing; not the fact that we are delivered from all our troubles, but because of our LOVE for His appearing!
Input: What does it look like to be prepared for the 2nd coming of Christ?
• Short sin accounts – 1 John 1:9; Matthew 5
• Luke 9:23
• Growing in your marriage, parenting (family)
• Handing Temptation – THINK: Jesus could come right now while I’m doing this!
• Using your gifts (stewardship – GEARING UP. . .!)
 2 Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
E.  We must never forget the main thing: Glorifying God as we seek to proclaim His message of Redemption
- remember chp 1 – they were proclaiming the message of salvation – they needed to keep doing that, all the more reason now that they know what is going to happen next!
- in fact, greater the motivation, since Jesus also talked about the night coming when our work on earth is done – i.e. the church
- context of chp. 5 follows chp. 4 –‘the day of the Lord’ – His judgment upon His enemies
Point: Paul was talking to believers – the unsaved will NOT be taken up – they will face the ‘day of the Lord’ and the awful events of the GREAT TRIBULATION [the time where God will judge the Gentile nations; He will deal specifically with Israel in the Millennium]
* Key Verse:  Matthew 28:19-20
Q: What do you need to do to be ready? To GEAR UP for greater effectiveness if the Lord doesn’t come this year?
Conclusion:
NEXT WEEK
Mar. 5  #8: Informed – 5:1-11 – Knowledgeable of the truth
Summary: ‘for you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come. ..’


ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church #7
Hopeful – 1 Thes 4:13-18
Introduction:

1.  Our goal is not to ‘prove’ our particular position on eschatology [end times]
XVIII. Of the Resurrection, Return of Christ, and Related Events,
We believe in and accept the sacred Scriptures upon these subjects at their full and face value. These beliefs include:
(d) His future appearing in the air to receive His saints. (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Acts 1:11)
 Acts 1:11 They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."
(h) Christ’s bodily return to the earth to reign from the throne of David. (Pre-Millennial) (Matthew 24:29-32; Luke 1:32; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Acts 2:29, 30; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Isaiah 32:1, 11:4, 5; Psalm 72:8; Revelation 20:1-4, 6)
2.  Our goal is to communicate what Paul ____________ to communicate in the text – _______ for this church – specifically the Disciples in this church whose loved ones/friends had died!
  I.  Our Need for Hope
A.  God does not want us ‘living in the dark’ – so He ____________________ to us
B.  The fact that they didn’t have a firm grip on a certain truth created at least 2 difficulties in their minds:
1) What happens to believers who die, and therefore are not alive at the return of Christ for the church (whenever that would be)?
2) Since the persecution was getting so heavy, the question could be raised if they had even missed the coming of Christ.
II.  Our Reason for Hope: The 2nd Coming [Part 1]: The Rapture of the Church .
A.  Where do we get the word "rapture"?
rapture = caught up (v. 17)
1. To __________ __________ speedily
2. To _________ by force
3. To __________ for one's own self
4. To __________ to a new place
5. To ____________ from _____________
B.  What is the event called the rapture?
rapture = the event where Christ meets His bride, the Church (living and dead) in the air and
takes them back to heaven with Him forever
Input: What is one of the most convincing reasons for holding the pre-tribulation position?

** The Doctrine of ___________________ = that Jesus Christ can return for His saints at any moment

C.  What specifically does Paul say about this event?
1.  Those who have died ______________ will return ________________ when He comes for those who are living. – v. 14
2.  The believer’s hope of seeing their loved ones is based on _________ _____________.
D.  How is this event described by Paul?
1.  _____________ fulfillment  v.16a "The Lord himself"
2.  ______________ fulfillment v.16b "will descend"
3.  _______________ fulfillment  v.16c "w/ a shout, voice of archangel, trump of God"
III. Our Response to Our Hope
*  As is the case with Christianity, we need to ask the question: What we should do/not do as a result of what we know?
A.  We should not __________ as others who have no hope. (v. 13)
B.  We should be ______________ about the future.
C.  We are commanded to "_______________" one another.
parakalew  = called alongside of
D.  We should be ______________ to meet him.
* Key Verse:  __________________.
Input: What does it look like to be prepared for the 2nd coming of Christ?


 2 Timothy 4:8 In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
E.  We must never forget the main thing: Glorifying God as we seek to _____________ His message of _________________
* Key Verse:  _________________

Q: What do you need to do to be ready? To GEAR UP for greater effectiveness if the Lord doesn’t come this year?


Conclusion:

NEXT WEEK:
Mar. 12  #8: Informed – 5:1-11 – Knowledgeable of the truth
Summary: ‘for you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come. ..’


ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church #7
Hopeful – 1 Thes 4:13—18
Introduction:

Our goal is not to ‘prove’ our particular position on eschatology [end times]
Our goal is to communicate what Paul intended to communicate in the text – HOPE for this church – specifically the Disciples in this church whose loved ones/friends had died!
  I.  Our Need for Hope
A.  God does not want us ‘living in the dark’ – so He communicates to us
B.  The fact that they didn’t have a firm grip on a certain truth created at least 2 difficulties in their minds:
1) What happens to believers who die, and therefore are not alive at the return of Christ for the church (whenever that would be)?
2) Since the persecution was getting so heavy, the question could be raised if they had even missed the coming of Christ
II.  Our Reason for Hope: The 2nd Coming
[Part 1]: The Rapture of the Church .
A.  Where do we get the word "rapture"?
rapture = caught up (v. 17)
1. To catch away speedily
2. To seize by force
3. To claim for one's own self
4. To move to a new place
5. To rescue from danger
B.  What is the event called the rapture?
rapture = the event where Christ meets His bride, the Church (living and dead) in the air and takes them back to heaven with Him forever
Input: What is one of the most convincing reasons for holding the pre-tribulation position?
** The Doctrine of IMMINENCY = that Jesus Christ can return for His saints at any moment

 

C.  What specifically does Paul say about this event?
1.  Those who have died in Christ will return with Him when He comes for those who are living. – v. 14
2.  The believer’s hope of seeing their loved ones is based on God's promise.
D.  How is this event described by Paul?
1.  Personal fulfillment  v.16a "The Lord himself"
2.  Promised fulfillment v.16b "shall descend"
3.  Profound fulfillment  v.16c "w/ a shout, voice of archangel, trump of God"
III. Our Response to Our Hope
*  As is the case with Christianity, we need to ask the question: What we should do/not do as a result of what we know?
A.  We should not sorrow as others who have no hope. (v. 13)
B.  We should be confident about the future.
C.  We are commanded to "comfort" one another.
parakalew  = called alongside of
D.  We should be prepared to meet him.
* Key Verse:  1 John 3:1-2
Input: What does it look like to be prepared for the 2nd coming of Christ?
• Short sin accounts – 1 John 1:9; Matt. 5
• Luke 9:23
• Growing in your marriage, parenting (family)
• Handing Temptation – THINK: Jesus could come right now while I’m doing this!
• Using your gifts (stewardship – GEARING UP. . .!)
 2 Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
E.  We must never forget the main thing: Glorifying God as we seek to proclaim His message of Redemption
* Key Verse:  Matthew 28:19-20
Q: What do you need to do to be ready? To GEAR UP for greater effectiveness if the Lord doesn’t come this year?