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On That Great Gettin-Up Morning

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Text:  1 Thess. 4:13-18


        In our life-time we have seen some fanatics who have prevented others from becoming Christians.  the are those who have been labeled “end time fanatics,” or “prophecy freaks.”  They are well-intentioned and have a high level of intensity, but they have gone overboard about the subject of the future.  Many people have reacted to their message and have turned away from the Bible’s prophetic message.  The reaction is that many have discounted or scoffed at biblical truths about the future.  Christians need to take a sensible look at God’s plan for the events yet to come.

        The return of Christ is the most mentioned event in all Scripture.  In the New Testament alone, it is referred to over 300 times.  The Lord’s final recorded words in the Bible concern His future return.  Rev. 22:20  Unfortun­ately, the truth of Christ’s return has been met with two extreme reactions that we need to avoid.

1.      Fanatical Intensity.
They are those who go off the deep end concerning prophecy.  They try to set a date when Christ will return, even though Jesus said predictions were doomed to fail (Matt. 24:36; Acts 1:6-7).  They try to see prophetic significance in every news headline and event.

2.      Theological Ignorance.
The other extreme is to be completely unaware or interested in the Savior’s imminent (about to occur, impending) return.  People who react this way do not realize or care that history is occurring in accordance with God’s will.  This lack of looking for Christ’s return hinders their evangelistic zeal, personal purity, and exercise of hope.

        We need to seek balance in this area of prophecy.  We find the balance as we look to the Scriptures.  Our text reveals a correction Paul made to a church that had gone out of balance in an area of Christ’s return.  Read Text!

1.      Evidently the Thessalonicans were misinformed about something, according to verse 13.  What do  you think it was?     How would this compound their grief?     How would it give them little hope?

2.      What does “asleep” in verse 14 mean?     What does “asleep in Jesus” refer to?

3.      When a Christian dies, does he go to be with the Lord or remain in the grave?  2 Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:23     If he is with the Lord, how can he be resurrected from the grave when Christ comes?

4.      How is the grief in death of a non-Christian different than the grief of a death of a Christian?

5.      What is the basis of the Christian’s hope in the midst of their sorrow and hurt?     What must we do in order to be assured of this hope?  Rom. 6:3-5

6.      How do you think our resurrected body will be different than the one that we now have on earth?  1 Cor. 15:50-55; 1 John 3:2

7.      Verse 16 states the events surrounding Christ’s return.  What do you think the shout is?     Who is the archangel?     Why a trumpet?

8.      Where is Jesus Christ presently?  Rom. 8:34     Does Jesus know when He will return?     Who does?

9.      1 Thess 4:16 says that the dead in Christ shall rise from their graves.  How will God do this among those who have been dead so long...those who died at sea...those who have bodies destroyed by fire, war, disasters, etc.?     If God spoke the universe into being, do  you think He can handle a bodily resurrection?

10.  How long will it take God to make this body change?

11.  What does 4:17 tell you about the power God has over the natural laws we now know?
Comment:  Peter walked on water, someday we will all walk on the clouds!

12.  Once we are resurrected and raptured, will we ever be able to lose our new life with the Lord?

13.  Notice the benediction Paul puts on this section.  4:18  With this new information about the coming of the Lord, does Paul say that we are to set dates, sell our possessions, and watch for Christ’s return?     Does it suggest that we should go our merry way without paying any further regard to these future events?     What does God want us to do with this knowledge?


        How can we prepare for the Lord’s imminent return?  Titus 2:11-13

1.      Make certain you have personally received the salvation God has provided for you.  2:11

2.      Continue to resist a corrupt lifestyle that surrounds you.  2:12a

3.      Live in a sensible, godly manner.  2:12b-13

        Don’t let Christ’s sudden return catch you off guard!

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