1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
· Family Reunion of Grand Ole Opry (Pat Plair)Little Jimmy Dickens, Jimmy Dean, Chet Atkins, Jeanne Pruett . . . Theme song. Ugh . . . . . .
· Catfish Cabin—Friday night (10/24). Family reunion of sorts. Aunts, uncles, cousins, I hadn’t seen in 10 years. Conclusion. Man, they’re getting old!! Last time I saw many of them—my mother’s funeral in June 1998. I thought—has it been that long since I’ve seen my mother? 10 years? Yep, it has. What will it be like to see her again—not unconscious, lying in a hospital bed with all kinds of tubes, etc. But rather all whole and healthy—knowing who I am again?
· I’ve never been big on family reunions—but there’s one I’m looking forward to.
· In fact, the passage Darlene read describes a family reunion we can all look forward to.
· Read text again.
1. Our grief is tempered with hope
· Grief is part and parcel to the human experience. When our loved ones die, it hurts—it hurts deeply! If we don’t hurt, then we have to wonder how deep our love is for that person. Paul is not saying that we shouldn’t grieve. Instead he’s suggesting that our grief is tempered with hope. We grieve, but not like those who have no hope. The unbeliever sees life as it is here—just this—nothing more to this life than the brief time on planet Earth. The believer, on the other hand, rests in the resurrection of Jesus. We have a sure hope of more life than just this life because Jesus didn’t just die, but died and rose again! And he’s coming again! And in his coming . . .
2. Our hope will be fulfilled with a wondrous family reunion
· When Jesus comes, he’s not coming alone. He’s bringing an entourage like the world has never known—those who’ve fallen asleep in him (That is, the saints who’ve died. Fallen asleep— a euphemism for death).
· And there’s gonna be this amazing, massive family reunion.
· In this mother of all reunions, Jesus is bringing my mother back to meet me. Jesus is bringing all our loved ones who died in him back to meet us. Wow!
· Now when Jesus returns, this won’t be some discrete event. It’s going to be very public. The most extravagant Hollywood production can’t begin to approach the spectacular arrival of God’s son back to Earth.
b. Trumpet call
c. Resurrection of the redeemed dead
d. Rising of the redeemed living
e. Meeting in the air
· BKC-The sounds mentioned in this verse—a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God—are difficult to interpret. Who will voice the loud shout? Will it be Jesus Himself (cf. John 11:43), or the archangel Michael (Dan. 10:13; Jude 9), or another angel? Is this a literal trumpet call, or was Paul speaking figuratively in describing the call of God by which He will announce the Advent of His Son? (cf. 1 Cor. 15:52) These three phenomena may all refer to the same thing, but probably they are three separate almost simultaneous announcements heralding Christ’s return. Though one’s curiosity about these aspects of the Rapture is not fully satisfied in this passage, one thing is clear: Christ’s return for His saints will be announced from heaven forcefully and dramatically.
· So he’s bringing our loved ones with him and . . . what about us?
· We’re going to be “caught up.”
· BKC-In Latin the word for “caught up” is rapturo, from which comes the term “Rapture.” This is the Rapture of the church, when Christians are caught up to meet Christ in the clouds (cf. Acts 1:9).
· Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins sold a lot of books [Left Behind] that dealt with the rapture, etc.
· Christ only comes part of the way?
· NBC-The picture is that of a group of citizens going out from a city to meet a visiting dignitary and accompany him back. This implies that the Lord returns with his people to the earth. (They certainly do not stay permanently on the clouds playing harps!) This language was probably never intended to be understood absolutely literally; it is describing things that go beyond words. The important thing is that believers, whether the dead or the living, are from then with the Lord for ever.
· We can get so caught up in the idea of rapture that we miss a most encouraging promise in this passage: family reunion.
· Point—Jesus is coming again and bringing with him the redeemed who have died before us. Faithful believers may disagree on the particulars of this passage, but they all agree on the certainty of Jesus' return.
· V. 18—Encourage each other with these words.
Hymn: #701 When We All Get to Heaven