PEOPLE OF THE DAYLIGHT
1 Thessalonians 5:1-28
Since the coming of the Lord is a certain event those who are born again will not be surprised at that coming, but will be prepared and ready, by being prepared by God for that great day.
In the last chapter, the last six verses, we saw the blessing of being in Christ, whether we are alive at His coming or dead [asleep].
It is exciting thinking of our Lord’s certain return. There may be many who name the name of Jesus, but call this teaching myth, or someone’s wild imagination run wild. Jesus, our Savior said He was returning. If He lied about this how can we trust Him for salvation? We virtually cannot, because His coming is further evidence of His bodily resurrection; especially when He raises those who have died as His followers. The only way He would not return is if He did not rise bodily from the grave. He will return as He said.
In this present chapter and the final chapter of First Thessalonians we find more encouragement for the bornagain child of God, but it is also a warning to those who do not know Jesus. Verses one through eleven tell of the “Day of the Lord”. The “Day of the Lord” is also mentioned in the Old Testament books of Joel 2:1-2, ff; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Isaiah 2:12-21. It is also called “The time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7. This is a day of darkness for the reprobate and unbelieving. A day of struggle and sorrow.
In verses twelve through twenty two we are instructed in our daily lives, how we ought to live. It involves respect of our spiritual leaders, warning those who reject authority, being thankful, rejoicing, praying, our responses to the preaching [prophecy] of the Word and other such things.
Verses twenty three through twenty eight is the conclusion of the letter. There is much to this conclusion – Our sanctification, the faithfulness of God (v. 24; Also see Philippians 1:6), a request for prayer, and the way we are to greet one another. There is much in this chapter as there is in the whole letter.
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2.
Paul had evidently spoken to the church concerning times and seasons before he was ran out of town, but here is a friendly reminder.
Why should the teaching of the rapture of the Church and “The day of the Lord” be preached and taught? 1.) For the comfort and encouragment to the believers; 2.) For the purity of the believer, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” (2 Peter 3:13-14); 3.) For a zeal in the hearts of believers for those who are lost, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:9-10), “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (2 Cor. 5:11); 4.) “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).
Jesus will come like a thief when He comes in the clouds. Only those who know Him (not know about Him) will rise to meet Him in the air. When people suddenly realize a co-worker, a wife or husband, son or daughter, a friend, the driver of an automibe, the pilot of an airpland, the pastor, the deacon, or a Sunday School teacher is missing, there will be such chaos as the world has never seen. There are people who are unaware. These are people who are still in darkness.
The “Day of the Lord” will be a time of darkness. If Jesus comes “Like a thief” that means something is taken. It is He that “Hinders” who will be taken, and that will include the Church and its witness (2 Thes. 2:6-8).
I think there is a point of clarity that needs to be made at this point. I read someone’s comment the other day about the one’s missing would be the unrighteous, but that will be for the millennial period. The missing at the Rapture of the church will be true believers in Christ Jesus taken to Heaven to receive their reward. Following the departure of the Church there will be such an unprecedented time of horror on earth. It will be the time God uses the torments upon the earth to call the people of Israel back to Himself. They will look upon the One whom they pierced and believe.
“For 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. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” vv. 3-4.
The world is longing for peace, even while there is war raging in the Middle East, there is a longing for peace. We are hungry for it. We can almost taste it. When it appears there is peace; when it appears that economic recovery is here, that is when people are at ease. Nothing destructive will happen, people believe. Who would dare upset our progress? Jesus will come and the unprepared “Shall not escape”.
This day will come “As a thief” for the prepared (Matthew 25:1-13). This work “Darkness” is used in reference to those who are outside of Jesus. Therefore, if one is in the Light he is not in darkness. When you know Jesus is on His way you will always be ready, and witnessing, calling others to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.
“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But 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.” vv. 5-8.
Sleeping is a time in our life where we are unaware. When we are asleep we could almost care less for what goes on around us. It is in fact the most dangerous time for us all.
This sleep is of the spiritual sort. Unaware of the darkness. Unaware of the peril that is in the path ahead. It means satisfied with the way things are – COMPLACENCY. Indifferent, uncaring about what is ahead – you know but you are unwilling to act upon it – APATHY.
“Let us not sleep”, but let us be aware, able to control ourselves, watching, waiting for the Lord’s appearing, which is the “Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:13). Those who are watching are those “Who love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Jesus commands us to watch (Matthew 24:42-43); Luke 12:35-40). The person [believer] who is watching is an alert believer. We are to be “Watchmen” sounding an alarm to the populace (See Ezekiel 33:1-6). The “Watchmen” must remain awake.
There are all kinds of evil wickedness going on in the darkness. people doing their evil hate for the light to expose them (John 3:19). The ones who participate in the darkness are not people of light. They too, need the light.
The “Breastplate of faith” is to turn the fiery darts of satan, which is constantly hurled at the children of light. The “Helmet of salvation” is on our head where we have most of our sense – sight, smell, hearing, and tasting; and the head is also the control center for the body. We reason with our head. At least hopefully we do. Is it any wonder we must have the “Helmet of salvation”.
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” vv. 9-11.
Of course, the Thessalonian people knew they had, by faith in Jesus Christ, been saved from the punishment of sin and death. Paul must be talking of an event coming up in the future. It must be an “Appointed” day of wrath which will be experienced by any and all who do not trust Jesus Christ, as God, Lord, Savior, Creator, Redeemer, Master, etc..
It is evident by verse nine that God has not intended for the Church to go through the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), which we call the “Great tribulation period”. It does not stand on the one verse alone, though, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Rev.3:10-11); “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (2 Thes. 2:7). It stands on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The comfort of these words are not empty. Where would the comfort be if we had to endure “Great tribulation”? We endure tribulation already, but nothing the like of which awaits the “Day of the Lord”, when all living unbelievers will be tried, “And they shall not escape”.
“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’ sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.” vv. 12-22.
Here is listed some things which seem to indicate those who are awake, aware, and ready for the Lord’s return.
vv. 12 – 13 — Having resspect for your pastor(s), deacon(s), teachers, the ones who are responsible for your spiritual well being. Hold them up in prayer for boldness, love, and encouragement.
This is certainly not an excuse for overlooking a false preacher or teacher, but one who teaches and believes the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, Holy Spirit inspired Word of God.
PEACE = Not constantly squabbling, quarelling, but working in unity for the same cause and purpose. If the church cannot be at peace with one another there is little hope for the world to be at peace.
v. 14 — The word “unruly” means insubordinate (in religious matters) which is an unwillingness to submit to authority. We are told to warn of such. We are not to be in such a case.
Encouragement is always needed. When others encourage us we are motivated to serve the Lord in a greater capacity. We can minister to others with encouragement. Patience is a necessity for Christian living in an impatient world. We ought to be pictures of patience, especially with the unbelieving, and our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need patience for understanding why a new brother in Christ might still use a swear word, now and then, and we certainly can understand why the unbelieving would do so. Unholy things come from unholy people.
v. 15 — Always pursue the good. Do good to others even when they treat you evilly. When someone, lost or saved, does you wrong, do them a kindness. It pays great rewards. Peace of heart and mind, and you make friends that way.
v. 16 — Rejoicing is a sign of no fear, a sign of peace and contentment. When we rejoice in our Lord ther is also a witness to those around us.
v. 17 — Pray with perseverance. Keep on bringing your request to the Lord until He answers – He will either give what you ask, or He will say “No!”, or you may learn patience, and to “Wait on the Lord…”
v. 18 — When others around are complaining, whether about their work, home, family, sickness, or church, we are to be thankful “In everything” knowing that God is in control of the circumstances and He is using them to make us stronger and better Christians.
v. 19 — The Holy Spirit is likened unto fire. To quench a fire we often dump water on it – we put the fire out. To “Quench the Spirit” is to hear Him speak to us, but determine we will not heed His leading, and do our own thing. This is sin, and one that is very often committed by us all. We do not have time, or not right now, or somebody else can do it are words often expressed that quenches the fire of the Spirit.
v. 20 — Prophecy is the “Foretelling” of the future or the “Forthtelling” of the Word of God. All the prophets of the Bible “Foretold” the future – but even more importantly, they were “Forth-Tellers” of God’s Word. Many, many times when God’s prophet told of some future event it was confirmed as the Word of the Lord by a present sign. Today the prophet of God only foretells by the written Word of God, and it is confirmed, and authenticated by that same Word. He also forth-tells by that same Word.
The word ‘despise’ means contemptible, least esteemed – to have no delight in. It means you may like music in the worship, but you cannot stand the preaching of God’s Word. It makes you uncomfortable, you want to get out of the building, just as quickly as you can. Ask yourself “Why?” You are uncomfortable in the presence of God and His holy Word. That is why.
Proverbs 13:13 says, “He who despises the Word will be destroyed.”
v. 21 — This verse goes along with verse twenty. When a man stands to deliver God’s message there is to be a test. Does it come from God, or does it contradict His Word? It it goes against the Bible it is not a message of God.
v. 22 — Staying away from every form of evil is the Christian’s calling, if we are prepared for His coming. If it shows up, and you are tempted by it, flee from it; run with all the streength you have away, away; far, far away from that temptation.
“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. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” vv. 23-24.
God Himself is the One who sets us apart from all others, and He preserves us blameless for the coming of Jesus His Son.
God is faithful. He started the work, and He has never left anything undone which He started to do, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6).
“Brethren, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. 27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” vv. 25-28.
A request for prayer, greeting and a charge or challenge to read this epistle to all Christians is given by Paul in closing.
His request for prayer was not just empty words. Paul knew the importance of prayer, and how powerful it is when Christians pray for one another.
Never short on grace he always left it with others. So ought we.
1. Despised = contemptible, least esteemed (v. 20).
2. Unruly = insubordinate, unwilling to submit to authority (v. 14).
3. Complacency – satisfied with present situation, even though in need of work.
4. Apathy = knowing the way things are, able to do something about it, but unwilling to act.