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1 Thessalonians 5:6-The Child of God Must Not Sleep as the Non-Believer but Stay Alert and Sober-Minded

First Thessalonians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  1:07:49
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1 Thessalonians 5:6-The Child of God Must Not Sleep as the Non-Believer but Stay Alert and Sober-Minded

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1 Thessalonians 5:1 Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. 5:2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. 5:3 Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape. 5:4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. 5:5 For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. 5:6 So then we must not sleep as the rest but must stay alert and sober. (NET)
1 Thessalonians 5:6 contains three statements.
The first asserts that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy and each member of the Thessalonian Christian community must continue to not be asleep as the rest.
This prohibition is figurative language for not being alert to what is potentially dangerous situation conceived of as being asleep.
In context, the word is related to the imminency of the prophetic events connected to the day of the Lord taking place.
Therefore, this prohibition is expressing the idea that Paul, Silvanus, Timothy, and the Thessalonians must continue to not sleep in the sense that they are not alert to the imminent danger of the prophetic events connected to the day of the Lord taking place.
Notice, I say “continue”, which implies that Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Thessalonians were already obeying this prohibition.
The rest” (hoi loipoi [οἱ λοιποὶ]) appeared in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 and retains the same referent here in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 in that it refers to the rest of the human race which is not Christian.
In other words, the word is referring to the non-Christian community.
Therefore, this first assertion in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 is comparing Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Thessalonians with the members of the non-Christian community.
Specifically, it is comparing the non-Christian community with Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Thessalonians not existing in the state of being alert with the regards to the imminent threat of the prophetic events connected to the day of the Lord taking place.
This first assertion in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 is presenting the result as an inference from the previous assertions in 1 Thessalonians 5:5.
Therefore, a comparison of the three assertions in verse 6 with the four in verse 5 indicates that Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Thessalonians must continue to not sleep as the unregenerate as a result of belonging to God’s kingdom and Christ’s millennial reign.
It also indicates that they must continue to not sleep as the unregenerate because they are emphatically not members of Satan’s kingdom and present reign upon the earth.
It also indicates that it can be inferred that Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Thessalonians must continue to not sleep as the unregenerate because they belong to God’s kingdom and Christ’s millennial reign and are absolutely not members of Satan’s kingdom and reign.
This reference to sleep refers to spiritual indifference as well as apathy and to carnality.
It implies immorality and a life that seeks to live independently of God and is a life therefore devoid of a relationship with God and speaks of spiritual lethargy in the sense of being insensitive to the things of God.
The second statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 exhorts each member of the Thessalonian Christian community to continue with Paul, Silvanus and Timothy in staying alert.
It is expressing the idea that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy as well as the Thessalonians must stay in a constant of readiness in light of the imminent threat of the prophetic events connected to the day of the Lord taking place.
It is expressing the idea that they must remain alert or vigilant in prayer and continue to make it their habit of experiencing fellowship with God in contrast to the members of the non-Christian community.
It indicates that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy are exhorting each member of the Thessalonian Christian community to continue to with them to exist in the state of being alert in light of the imminent threat of the prophetic events connected to the day of the Lord taking place.
This second statement is presenting a strong emphatic contrast between the non-Christian community existing in the state of not being alert to the imminent threat and danger of the day of the Lord and Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Thessalonians being alert and sober-minded with regards to this threat upon the world.
The third and final statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 is an addition to the second and is also an exhortation, which implores each member of the Thessalonian Christian community to continue to be sober-minded.
This speaks of having a godly state of mind or a godly way of thinking as a result of obeying the Spirit’s teaching in the Word of God which He inspired according to Second Peter 1:20-21.
Therefore, it speaks of being sober-minded as a result of experiencing fellowship with God as a result of obeying the Spirit inspired commands and prohibitions of Scripture and in particular those connected to the gospel.
This third statement is therefore figurative language for being influenced by the Spirit which is commanded of every church age believer in Ephesians 5:18.
It speaks of being sober spiritually as a result of experiencing fellowship with God which is accomplished by obeying the Spirit’s voice in the Word of God.
This constitutes obeying the commands to be influenced by the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18 and letting the Word of Christ richly dwell in one’s soul in Colossians 3:16.
Therefore, this third and final statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 speaks of being sober-minded as a result of obeying sound doctrine and specifically it speaks of Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Thessalonians being influenced by the Spirit as a result of obeying the Spirit’s teaching in the Word of God which He has inspired.
Thus, it is expressing the idea is that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy as well as the Thessalonians must continue to be sober-minded in light of the imminent threat of the prophetic events connected to the day of the Lord.
It is expressing the idea that they must remain sober-minded by continuing to make it their habit of experiencing fellowship with God by obeying the Spirit inspired commands and prohibitions connected to the gospel as it is related to the child of God.
This third and final assertion presents a strong, emphatic contrast between the non-Christian community existing in the state of not being alert to the imminent threat of the day of the Lord and Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Thessalonians being alert and sober with regards to this threat upon the world.
Also, this third and final statement is advancing upon and intensifying the second because of Paul’s use of the figure of ellipsis, which indicates that nēphō, “sober” is intensifying or advancing upon the idea expressed by grēgoreō, “must stay alert.”
The latter expresses the idea of staying alert to the imminent day of the prophetic events of the day of the Lord taking place, while the former expresses the idea of being sober-minded by remaining in fellowship with God.
Now, nēphō, “sober” intensifies grēgoreō, “must stay alert” and makes it more emphatic because it is telling the Thessalonians how they were to stay alert, namely by remaining sober-minded by remaining in fellowship with God.
The idea expressed by this figure is that Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Thessalonians must each continue to stay alert, namely by continuing to be sober-minded in light of the imminent threat of the prophetic events connected to the day of the Lord taking place.
So this exhortation to be sober-minded refers to remaining in fellowship with God by being filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 And do not permit yourselves to get into the habit of being drunk with wine because that is non-sensical behavior, but rather permit yourselves on a habitual basis to be influenced by means of the Spirit. (My translation)
This obedience also constitutes obeying the command to let the Word of Christ richly dwell in your soul.
Colossians 3:16 The teaching originating from and about the one and only Christ must continue to exist in a state of dwelling abundantly among each and every one of you. Each of you must execute this command by continuing to make it your habit of providing instruction, specifically by providing instruction for one another with regards to proper conduct. Each of you must provide this instruction by means of a wisdom which is absolute, by means of psalms, hymns, spiritual songs. Each of you must execute the command by continuing to make it your habit of singing with gratitude with your entire being for the benefit of God the Father. (My translation)
Obeying the Spirit’s teaching in the Word of God which constitutes being filled with the Spirit is synonymous with the command in Colossians 3:16 to let the Word of Christ richly dwell in your soul since both produce the same results and the Spirit inspired the Scriptures.
This obedience enables the Spirit to reproduce the character of Christ in the believer and of course the love of God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (NASB95)
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