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Lesson XIV- To Know Is To Hope

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Bible Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Subject: Know

Title: To Know Is To Hope


Biblical Orientation:

In this chapter, you will recall, Paul has moved into the area of practical advice. He has, in the first three chapters, adequately defended the authenticity of the Thessalonian church and of his (their) ministry among the Thessalonians. Then he begins giving practical instruction

ü Verses 1-8 Paul calls believers to personal purity; sexual sanctification. God has called us to holiness, not uncleanness or sexual impurity

ü Verses 9-12 He calls on believers to be ethical in our conduct one toward another and to exercise brotherly love. We are taught of God to love one another

As was indicated in the last sermon, the Thessalonians experienced some confusion with regard to the return of Jesus Christ. Paul had obviously taught them on the subject while he was with them, which is not to say they got it all straight in their minds. Eschatology is a difficult subject. They must not have understood because both of the letters to the Thessalonians deal with Paul correcting their false notions

We saw that some had stopped their occupation in anticipation of Jesus’ coming. This led to problems because they began to live off those who continued to work

Sermon Orientation:

In our text (verses 13-17), there is another great concern in the minds of the Thessalonians: What about those loved ones who die while expecting Jesus to come? You see, it is as though they were so expectant of Jesus’ return and their being caught away (parousia/rapture) to heaven, that when Jesus delayed and they lost loved ones to death, they thought, “What about them? Will they miss out on all the great promises the Thessalonians claimed? Will they be lost?”

They were grieving as though the death of their saved loved ones was final. Therefore, Paul is going to help their understanding and ours. In addition, they (we) are going to get more out of this than just knowledge. They are going to get hope. To know is to hope!

Verse 13 presents two negatives that will form our outline:

ü Don’t be ignorant

ü Don’t grieve without any hope




(Note: The concern was for those who “sleep in Jesus”)

A. Paul Speaks To Them By The Word Of The Lord V 15a

1. There are two possibilities:

a. He could mean he is giving what has been passed down from the words of Jesus to His apostles when He taught them of His return

b. Or, he could mean what he has received from Christ himself, when taught in Arabia

2. It may have been both

a. The main point is that Paul is not giving his opinion

b. Paul is not leaving it open to opinion

c. This is the Word of the Lord!

d. The Word of the Lord gives us the absolute truth

B. “If” We Believe Jesus Died And Rose Again V 14a

1. Do we know that Jesus died and rose again? Of course! We would not be Christians without that conviction

ü Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…

2. It must be settled in our hearts

a. We do not think maybe He might have possibly raised from the dead

b. We know Jesus died and rose again

3. This reality forms the basis of our belief system

C. Even So, Then, We Know This V 14b

1. Jesus’ death and resurrection assures a resurrection for all who sleep in Jesus

2. Let me be specific

a. “Sleep” = a common description of the deceased

ü It was Jesus’ own description of death, when referring to Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter

b. “In Jesus” = This is one of Paul’s favorite descriptions of a believer; in Christ

c. When you get saved, you are “in Christ”

i. When you die, “in Christ” is not affected at all
ii. When you are raised, you will be raised “in Christ”

3. We are not ignorant, we know Jesus died and the future resurrection of all who die in Christ is as sure as His

D. We Even Know, By The Word Of The Lord, The Order Of Events When Jesus Comes V 15b-17

1. We who are alive when Jesus comes will not “go up” before the ones who sleep in Jesus

ü 1 Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed

2. The Lord Himself shall descend with noise, and the dead in Christ shall rise first

a. Hold it! You mean like a literal, actual, out of the grave resurrection?

b. The same thing that happened to Jesus is what we mean

c. It will be no different for us

3. So Jesus will come and the dead in Christ shall rise to meet Him first, and then (verse 7) we who are alive at His coming will rise to meet Him/them

a. Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ

b. The Thessalonians were all upset and worried. Paul said, “Don’t be without knowing”

4. Where the rapture fits in the resurrections that will occur

a. The rapture as we call it will actually be the third resurrection

b. The first was Jesus our first fruit, 1 Corinthians 15:20

c. The second was the saints that came out of the graves when Jesus rose from the grave, Matthew 27:51-53

d. The rapture will actually be the third wave of resurrections to occur

i. This will occur in two waves
ii. First, those who are already in the grave, then we who remain

E. Why We Believe In A Pre-Tribulational Rapture

1. I know of one man that lists 50 reasons for a pre-Tribulational rapture, I do not need that many

2. Our salvation promises us that we will be delivered from the wrath to come

ü 1 Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come

3. It is not the church and the saved that are destined for God’s wrath

ü 1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ

4. Jesus promised the church at Philadelphia and us that we would not be in that hour

ü Revelation 3:10 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

5. In Matthew 24, when Jesus describes the Great Tribulation and its wrath, the church and the saints are absent from the earth


(Note: See 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5. Our morals are to be different than pagans; so should our sorrowing over those who sleep in Jesus)

A. The Pagans Then And Now Have Two Responses To Death

1. No hope

a. This thought was expressed on one tombstone: “I was not, I became; I am not, I care not”

b. No hope often translates to despair

c. The funerals of those without hope are the most horrible of the horrible

2. False hope

a. It is sometimes easier to help someone who has no hope than those who live with false hope

ü At funerals preachers are asked about those with false hope: “did you preach ‘em into heaven?”

b. The religious lost; those who depend on good works

B. Knowing The Truth About The Future Resurrection Is Hope. To Know Is To Hope!

1. Yes, sorrow is normal and healthy

2. One commentator said, “To be sure, it is appropriate at Christian funerals to celebrate Christ’s decisive victory over death, but we do so only through tears of personal sorrow”

3. 1 Peter1:3-6 Ours is a lively (real, actual) hope, not false hope

4. Hope = a joyful and confident expectation.

5. Titus 2:11-13 “…Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”


The Child Of God Has Great Hope Because Of The Return Of Christ

We live confidently and expectantly of this very hour

You can be sure of its arrival

All of God’s promises to date have come true

Those that have not come true yet are just sometimes a moment away


Verse 18 Wherefore, comfort that sorrow with these words of hope

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