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 (Thessalonians, Timothy, and Titus)
Lesson 6 The Coming of the Lord (1Thess 4:13-5:11)
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Lesson 6

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Concerning Those Who Have Fallen Asleep (4:13-18)

The Coming of the Day of the Lord (5:1-5)

Living in Expectation of the Day of the Lord (5:6-11)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Those who have fallen asleep, hope, believe, by the word of the Lord, descend from heaven with a shout, dead in Christ, caught up, meet the Lord in the air, always be with the Lord, comfort, the times and the seasons, the day of the Lord, comes as a thief in the night, sudden destruction, not escape, darkness, light, sleep, watch, be sober, breastplate of faith and love, as a helmet the hope of salvation, wrath, salvation, live together with Him.

II.    General Analysis

1. Both paragraphs end with the instruction to encourage each other.

III. Segment Analysis

1. He wants to inform the believers concerning those who have fallen asleep so that they will not sorrow as others who have no hope (1).

2. Those who believe that death is the end of all existence would think that they have been forever separated from their loved ones and will mourn in despair. Those who believe that the dead enters into an unknown world may be taken by fear and pity for the deceased, not knowing what state of affairs their loved ones are in.

3. He calls the dead in Christ those who “sleep in Jesus.” (13-15). Even though believers may die physically, this death is only temporary. Unlike the unsaved, who will face the second death, believers in Christ do not experience spiritual death (Rev 20:6,14-15). Even now, believers who have died physically are with the Lord in spirit. On the last day they will rise again to everlasting life (Jn 5:28-29; Rom 6:5; 1Cor 15:22).

4. God will bring them with Jesus (14). When the Lord descends from heaven, they will rise first (16). They will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord (17).

5. They will be caught up with those who have fallen asleep in Christ to meet the Lord in the air (17). The Bible also tells us that at the last trumpet, believers who are alive shall be changed and be clothed with an imperishable body (1Cor 15:50-53).

6. We can be certain about our resurrection because we know that Jesus died and rose again (14; 1Cor 6:14; 15:12,13; 2Cor 4:14)—a historical fact confirmed by hundreds of eyewitnesses (1Cor 15:3-8) and irrefutable by Christ’s enemies. Today, the Spirit who raised Jesus Christ from the dead also lives in us (Rom 8:11), guaranteeing our future resurrection (2Cor 5:4-5).

7. What Paul writes here are the words of the Lord Himself (15). It is quite likely that the Lord had personally revealed the details about His coming to Paul or some other believers in the church.

9. Just as a thief comes unexpectedly, so will the day of the Lord (Mt 24:43-44; Lk 12:39-40; Rev 16:15).

10. Night vs. day (2,5,7,8); peace and safety vs. sudden destruction (3); darkness vs. light (4,5); destruction and wrath vs. salvation (3,9); sleep and be drunk vs. watch and be sober (6-8); died and live (10).

11. They are complacent and self-deceiving (3). They live in darkness, sleep, and get drunk (4-7). Darkness, sleep, and drunkenness are to be taken in the spiritual sense to mean godless behavior, hardening of the heart, indulgence, and superficial, stagnant faith (Rom 13:11-14; Eph 4:17-19; 5:8-14; Rev 3:1-3)

12. To be sober means to put on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation (8). To stay awake spiritually requires constantly examining our faith in the Lord Jesus, living out our faith through works of love, and eagerly looking forward to the salvation that the Lord will bring to us when He comes. With this breastplate and helmet in place, we can guard ourselves against the forces of darkness.

13a. Salvation means being able to live with the Lord whether we wake or sleep. This salvation is made possible by the death of the Lord Jesus for us (10).

13b. As believers of Jesus Christ, we have a new life with Him in God (2Cor 5:17; Col 2:11-12; 3:3-4). Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have passed from death into life (Jn 5:24). Even death cannot separate our union with Christ. In this life, we have the life of Jesus Christ in us. When we die, we will depart from this body to be with the Lord. One day, we will be caught up and be with the Lord forever.

14. As Paul exhorts the Thessalonians, we are to always comfort and edify each other concerning the coming of the Lord and in view of the day of the Lord (4:18; 5:11). Seeing that the return of the Lord is imminent, we need to all the more meet together in fellowship to encourage one another so that we would not forsake the faith (Heb 3:12-14; 10:25)

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