Most of us can say we enjoy living. Though Christians have a longing to see Jesus face to face, and that would mean leaving this life; the life we live in the here and now; we too have a joy for living in this world and life. That is as it should be. My reading this morning was Colossians 1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1-5, and 2 Thessalonians 1-3.
There are many who are believing that the freedoms we have in Jesus Christ means there are no laws or rules we must obey. What it really means to be free in Christ is that we have even greater responsibility to live right, just and holy in this world for the glory of Christ our Lord and Saviour. We have living within us the presence of the Holy Spirit; which is Christ in us. He lives in us to make us more like Jesus. We are no longer free to sin; we are, however, free from sin.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power…” Colossians 2:8-10 (KJV)
The world we presently live in is out to pervert the gospel of Christ through the teachings of men [philosophy]. Christianity is not a philosophy; it is a life to live; a life to give; a fellowship with the One who gave His life for us. Our lives are not our own. Christ Jesus is the “Fulness of the Godhead bodily”. Remember what Jesus said to Philip, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians was one about living in this world too. In the Thessalonian letters he does address the second coming of Christ, even the rapture of the church; which I know some Christians do not believe in, or believe that Jesus has already returned; but so did some of the Thessalonians.
There are five chapters in the first letter addressed to the Church of Thessolonica. Each chapter ends with a mention of the return of Jesus Christ,
“And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (KJV)
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” 2:19-20
“Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 3:11-13
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 4:14-18
“And 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. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” 5:23-24
In each of these letters Paul admonishes believers to live faithfully in this world. He even addresses the issue of not working. It would appear that some Thessalonian Christians had quit their jobs, because “Jesus was on His way” and they did not need to work anymore – so they thought. The apostle has written,
“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 (KJV)
How should we live until Christ comes? As though His coming might be today; yet living in this world, working, faithful toward God, as though it might be a thousand years away. Jesus’s words, were “Occupy til I come” (Luke 19:13).
-Tim A. Blankenship