A free resource for students, scholars, and seekers of biblical truth.
To read the King James Bible version of scriptures included in these teachings in other Bible translations, please visit Blue Letter Bible

Getting Ready for The Lord’s Return

How Should We Live?


1 Thessalonians 5:1-23

1But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  7For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.  8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  11Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.  12And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.  And be at peace among yourselves.  14Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.  16Rejoice evermore.  17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  19Quench not the Spirit.  20Despise not prophesyings.  21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  22Abstain from all appearance of evil.  23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Will Christians go through the Tribulation as some say?  What is the Tribulation and how is it related to the Rapture and what does the future hold?           

All these questions are touched upon in this weeks’ lesson, which follows the 4th Chapter of Thessalonians that we studied a couple weeks ago on the Rapture and the manifestation of mature Christian character. 

In light of the imminent return of Christ, how should believers live?  The coming of the Lord will be a great divider between light and darkness.  Paul turned from discussing the Rapture to a discussion of the period of time immediately following the Rapture. 

While the Thessalonians were in the dark concerning details of the Rapture, they knew a great deal about the day of the Lord, Verse 2.  The expression, “day of the Lord” occurs many times in the Old Testament. 

After the Rapture and well into the Tribulation period, the world will be saying “Peace and safety,” Verse 3.  That tragic seven-year period will begin with the hope of peace, but it will not last. 

 “…they shall not escape,” Verse 3, refers to the events of the second half of the Tribulation period. 

Daniel 9:27

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Matthew 24:15-22 (Jesus speaking)

15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand: ) 16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  17Let him which is on the house top not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

The suddenness of the judgment is compared to the suddenness of labor pains coming upon a woman.  The Rapture, which will usher in the day of the Lord, will be the great divide between children of the light and children of darkness. 

Two things are commanded here of believers: watchfulness and self-control.  The very opposite characterize unbelievers: indifference and sleeping, but the believers’ life should show our hope. 

In other words, put your armor on; leave it on.  Paul emphasized the three marks of the Christian maturity: faith, hope and love.  The assurance we have that we will live with our Master should give us comfort and encouragement.  Through the Rapture we will escape the Tribulation. The hope of Christ’s return should reflect the Christian lifestyle that the world sees lived out in us. 

Paul had already told them about the coming of Christ for the Church, described in Chapter 4 of Thessalonians.  He had told them that there would be a time of intense suffering and tribulation on the earth following this “Rapture” of the Church.  The “Church” refers to the redeemed, saved mankind, those who put their faith in Jesus Christ, asked forgiveness for their sins and served and obeyed Him, His Word the Bible, while living here on this earth. Paul explained more about the “Day of the Lord” in 2nd Thessalonians.  We will study these details later.  His emphasis here was simply that the believers were in the know, while the unbelievers were living in ignorance of God’s plan. 

The unsaved world will be enjoying a time of false peace and security just before all these events occur.  The world will be caught by surprise because men will not hear God’s Word or heed God’s warning.  Remember in Scripture how God warned the people through Noah that the flood was coming, yet only eight people believed and were saved. 

Daniel 9:27

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Matthew 24:15-22 (Jesus speaking)

15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand: ) 16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  17Let him which is on the house top not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

The suddenness of the judgment is compared to the suddenness of labor pains coming upon a woman.  The Rapture, which will usher in the day of the Lord, will be the great divide between children of the light and children of darkness. 

Two things are commanded here of believers: watchfulness and self-control.  The very opposite characterize unbelievers: indifference and sleeping, but the believers’ life should show our hope. 

In other words, put your armor on; leave it on.  Paul emphasized the three marks of the Christian maturity: faith, hope and love.  The assurance we have that we will live with our Master should give us comfort and encouragement.  Through the Rapture we will escape the Tribulation. The hope of Christ’s return should reflect the Christian lifestyle that the world sees lived out in us. 

Paul had already told them about the coming of Christ for the Church, described in Chapter 4 of Thessalonians.  He had told them that there would be a time of intense suffering and tribulation on the earth following this “Rapture” of the Church.  The “Church” refers to the redeemed, saved mankind, those who put their faith in Jesus Christ, asked forgiveness for their sins and served and obeyed Him, His Word the Bible, while living here on this earth. Paul explained more about the “Day of the Lord” in 2nd Thessalonians.  We will study these details later.  His emphasis here was simply that the believers were in the know, while the unbelievers were living in ignorance of God’s plan. 

The unsaved world will be enjoying a time of false peace and security just before all these events occur.  The world will be caught by surprise because men will not hear God’s Word or heed God’s warning.  Remember in Scripture how God warned the people through Noah that the flood was coming, yet only eight people believed and were saved. 

1 Peter 3:20

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

Lot also warned his family that the city would be destroyed but they would not listen. 

Genesis 19:12-14 (Angel speaking to Lot)

12And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? Son in law and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of the place.  13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.  14And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

In the Book of Luke Jesus warned His generation that Jerusalem would be destroyed, and this warning enabled believers to escape, but many others perished.  Some people have tried to set dates for our Lord’s return only to be embarrassed by their failures. No one but our Heavenly Father, GOD, knows when Jesus will return for His Bride, the Church. 

2 Peter 3:3, 4

3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Nearly 20 centuries have come and gone since our Lord gave the promise of His return but this does not mean that God does not keep His promises.  It means that God does not follow our calendar. 

2 Peter 3:8

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Eternity is forever.  Let’s pray that many, many people will come to know the Lord Jesus as Savior before Jesus comes in the clouds for His saints.  We, as Christians, need to be about our Father’s business, God’s business, living in the light of His Son, Jesus Christ’s return and realizing that our works will be judged and that our opportunities for service on earth will end.  It means we are to live with eternity values in view. 

Since we know that Jesus is coming, we need to wake up, clean up and dress up, putting on the whole armor of God.  We can’t leave one piece off and be prepared for the battle. 

The sober- minded believer has a calm, sane outlook on life.  He is not complacent, but neither is he frustrated and afraid.  He experiences the difficulties of life, but he does not give up.  He knows his future is secure in God’s hands. 

Faith and love are like a breastplate that covers the heart.  Hope is a sturdy helmet that protects the mind.  Believers do not have to fear future judgment because it is not part of God’s appointed plan for us. 

I believe that nothing yet has to occur for Christ to return, except the calling out oof the last person who will be saved and complete the Body of Christ.  Many believers have such a comfortable situation here on earth that they rarely think about going to Heaven and meeting the Lord.  Regardless, He is coming again. 

Paul’s favorite name for believers was brethren.  He used it at least 60 times in his letters and in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians he used it 27 times. 

No family is perfect, but the Church “family” is important to believers.  A child would suffer and die without a family.  Likewise, the child of God needs the Church “family” if he is to grow, develop his gifts and serve the Lord.  We are a big family in the family of God and family members must learn to minister to each other. 

Titus 2:3-5

3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of Gd be not blasphemed.

His word teaches us to be joyful.  Joy takes the burden out of service. 

Nehemiah 8:10

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

God loves a cheerful servant as well as a cheerful giver.  Worship is the most important activity of a local church family.  Ministry must flow out of worship, otherwise it becomes busy activity without fervor and without heart. 

Pray without ceasing does not mean that we must always be on our knees, but we must keep a prayerful attitude, in petitions, praise and thankfulness realizing the goodness of God. 

Also, we must study God’s Word.  Worship that ignores the Bible is not spiritual.  The purpose of worship is that we might love Him more and become more like Christ in character and conduct. 

Since Jesus Christ could return at any moment, our lives must be in order.  That involves sobriety, moral stability and balance.  It means putting on the breastplate of faith and love and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.  This armor provides no protection for the back.  Once in the spiritual battle, soldiers of the Lord are never to turn in flight. 

Nothing more needs to be revealed about the second coming of Christ, beyond what God has chosen to give us in His Word.   There have been those who have foolishly predicted the time of Christ’s coming, only to have that day come and go without the blessed event taking place.  The uncertainty of the time of Christ’s coming should be a continual stimulant to the Lord’s people to watch and pray.

There will be no two-minute warning to encourage people to get ready.  God has given sufficient warning.  There is nothing more certain than that the Lord will come.  At the same time there is nothing more uncertain than when it will take place. 

The child of God is privileged to experience the love of Christ and to long for His return.  Because Christians are not in darkness, but rather are children of light, there is no reason for them to be unprepared to meet the Lord. 

1 Thessalonians 5:6

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

God has provided the proper armor.  We must fight the enemy as well as be on constant guard against him.  It is important to be properly outfitted for the battle before us.  The breastplate and helmet protect the two most vital parts of the body, the heart and the head. 

In our battle with satanic forces we must have a heart and mind free from thoughts that are displeasing to God and that make us vulnerable to Satan’s attack. 

God’s people everywhere can live victorious lives for Him as they claim and appropriate His provisions. 

1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24

23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  24Faithful is He that  calleth you, who also will do it.

The God who saves us is the one who sends us forth.  With every responsibility He places on us He also provides the means for carrying it out.  Every promise He makes is backed by His omnipotence and never forget that there is nothing greater in the universe than the power of God.

Author: Nannie Mae Jordan
(Transcribed by Joyce Carter   Transcribed and Formatted by Jerry Knight)

Facebook
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Twitter
Email

Leave a Reply

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news, tutorials and special offers!