Faithlife Sermons

Good Morning, America

Fall '20 (COVID-19)  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  39:33
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1 Thessalonians 5:1–11 NIV
1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Are you a morning person?

I have to confess it doesn’t come naturally for me. Sometimes my best ideas come to me at night. So it’s hard to turn off my brain. Night guy wants to keep things going. But morning guy says NOPE. Now I’m a grownup so I can adjust as needed but it’s not easy.
Now my wife is absolutely a morning person. By 8pm she can start dozing off mid sentence. She can get up at 4am or even earlier without a problem. She’s wired for that.
It’s interesting though: between the two of us we can conquer the world! She gets amazing amounts done before 6am and I can finish important work in the late evening. We use a lot of electricity is the only draw back, lol.
But at times I’m jealous of my wife’s time clock. Sunrises are beautiful. And at night sometimes everything seems worse than it is. Or if you’re sick why do the symptoms always creep up again at night? So I see the value of being up early and fast asleep before it’s late.
And Paul decides to use this contrast to help us think about how to live. Whether you are physically a morning person or not: you can live life in the reality of the light of day. And just on a practical note, even if you are up late, you turn on a light. We need light in our lives. But let us not forget the light of the world who shines into the darkness of our lives with hope and salvation. Christian people should seek to live good lives, lives lived in the light of Jesus and his holy love. Christians are called to live their lives the same no matter what time it is...

What Time is It?

We are living in the last days. We have been since Jesus arrived on earth the first time. It went up a notch when he rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father. He will come to judge the living and the dead. These are the things we must remember. They always determine the significance of any moment. They always put our feelings, hopes and fears into perspective.
When we look at the circumstances of our lives we should not allow darkness to overcome the light. Our nation is facing many dark challenges right now. We are being put to the test along with the whole world. But Paul would say to us:
Good Morning, America! How are you? Anything that’s wrong can be made right in Jesus. Nothing that is wrong can be fixed by political campaigns. We are facing a bumpy ride but we can choose to do it with morning in mind.
We just have to accept that sometimes life is uncertain for periods of time. Life is precious and we need to make the most of it for good. These are the last days and we should number our days but be able to count them as precious...

Unpredictable Moment

Jesus didn’t leave us wondering. Paul knows this, too. He lets the Thessalonians know and therefore lets us know that we can put some things to rest. We don’t need to find ourselves in confusion about these things every time the news gets a little crazy. Here’s what he wrote:
1 Thessalonians 5:1–2 NIV
1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
It will come like a thief in the night. That means at a moment when you least expect it. Which also means you can’t know ahead of time when it will be. So just write this down: don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you exactly when Jesus is coming back. Even Jesus doesn’t know:
Matthew 24:36 NIV
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
And Jesus used the same imagery that Paul does here, another indicator that Paul did encounter the risen Jesus:
Matthew 24:42–43 NIV
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
So it’s clear: nobody knows when. Period.
But it’s also clear we can do our part to be ready whenever it may happen.

Predictable Outcome

We don’t have to be caught off guard, even if we comes when we least expect it...
1 Thessalonians 5:4–8 NIV
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

God’s Clear Goal

God isn’t out to give a sneak attack on well meaning people. God wants all of us to make it.
1 Thessalonians 5:9–10 NIV
9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
So it says clearly here that God desires for us to receive salvation. He made incredible sacrifices and wants to save us.
But there’s another key point here: He died for US. That whether WE are awake or asleep. WE may live TOGETHER with Him.

It’s about US, WE, TOGETHER...

Salvation is not an individual pursuit. We all are responsible and have to make our own choices. But we aren’t meant to make those choices alone. We certainly aren’t meant to live the life of following Jesus alone. Hey we are facing lonely days in this world. More than ever we may physically be separated from one another. But we must fight the feeling of letting our love for one another grow cold.
If you completely ignore those around you, that’s not coming from God. If that impulse isn’t coming from God then you have to ask yourself who is influencing you? Do you call and check on people or do you passively wait for someone to call you? If you don’t care to reach out, then I have to ask what is wrong with you? I know I’m a Christian and I care and I call and I check on people. God prompts me if I have forgotten in a while. This isn’t rocket science it’s pretty simple. We either listen to those prompts and act on them or we don’t.
So if your journey has been very disconnected from your church family that can only be the result of your own actions. God has prompted you to do something about it. I can’t sugar coat it for you. You’ve failed to respond to that prompting.
If that’s you, these words present a significant challenge to you. In fact, the entire New Testament, except for the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon were written using the plural. So when it says YOU in the new testament it means: y’all. So remember that. I think it’s one reason the english speaking world has struggled with maintaining close bonds the simple mistake of having the same word YOU for singular and plural. So we start to think it’s written to us individually instead of collectively.
We are in this thing together. We receive salvation as part of God’s larger family and our local church family. And we stand or we fall together. Amen?
Romans 12:15 NIV
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Some how, some way but always together we get through this by the grace of God!
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