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"Living in Daylight"
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Wednesday AM Bible Study
March 24, 2004
Paul is writing about our relationship to end-times events in this section
of his letter. In 4:13-17, he spoke of a "mystery" (1 Corinthians 15:15).
But now, in 5:1-11, he speaks of something that is already revealed and
well known - the Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord is a broad term that includes all that is going
to happen in the end times - beginning with the Tribulation, and the "rapture"
of the saints (4:17), and culminating in the millennial reign of Christ
upon the earth. Many of the Christians in Thessalonica were asking questions
about "when" such things will take place. Some then - as many today -
had developed an improper obsession with "times and seasons". Paul wrote
this section to tell them how they should live in the light of the Day
of the Lord.
I. KEEP AHOLD OF THE BASICS (vv. 1-3).
A. They didn't need to be written to concerning "times and
seasons" (v. 1). There has always been a curiosity about such things
(Matthew 24:3); but it's not proper to be focused on specific dates.
Even Jesus Himself confessed that only the Father knew the "day or the
hour" (Matthew 24:36).
B. They didn't need to be informed of such things because of what
they already knew "perfectly" (or "accurately"); that is, that the
Day will come as a thief in the night (vv. 2-3).
1. A thief doesn't give an announcement to those who are
wide awake. He comes unexpectedly, while they sleep; otherwise, those
whose house he invades will be ready for him. This stresses the unexpectedness
of the day of the Lord's coming upon the wicked who live in unpreparedness
(2 Peter 3:3-4).
2. This emphasizes that the Day of the Lord will have certain
aspects with respect to the wicked. They'll be crying out "Peace
and Safety" (2 Thess. 2:9-12) - thinking that all is well; but then,
sudden destruction will come upon them as the labor pains come upon
a pregnant woman. There will be no turning back then - no escape.
C. Since this is true, it's pointless to seek after "times and seasons".
God has deliberately kept "the day and the hour" to Himself, so that
the Day will come unexpectedly.
II. KEEP TRUE TO WHAT YOU ARE (vv. 4-8).
A. We however are not of the darkness, as are the wicked
- so that the day should not catch us unprepared (v. 4). Instead, we
are are described as being sons of "light" - that is, walking in openness
before God, and of the "day" - that is, in clarity of what's going on
B. Therefore, we do not sleep as those who sleep in the night, or
get drunk as those who get drunk in the night (Matthew 25:1-11). We
are, with watchfulness and sober-mindedness, to behave, instead, as
what we are - children of light and day (vv. 6-8).
1. As such, we are to put on the breastplate of "faith"
(our confident trust in God) and "love" (our full acceptance in Him).
The breastplate protects us from the deadly blows of the enemy; and
being secure in faith and love protects us (see also Eph. 6:10-20).
2. We are also to wear the helmet of the hope of salvation (that
is, our expectation of full deliverance and glory in Christ). The
helmet protects our head; and keeping the hope of our salvation
before us keeps us right in how we evaluate all that's going on
around us (1 Peter 4:7-11).
III. KEEP FOCUSED ON THE PRIZE (vv. 9-11).
A. We are not appointed to wrath (v. 9). Wrath is reserved
for those who reject Christ and refuse to accept God's pardon for sin
in Him (John 3:36). That is not a part of our destiny in any respect;
because Jesus has fully taken the wrath of God for our sins upon Himself
and paid the debt fully. Instead, our prospect is "salvation".
1. This salvation is through Christ who died for us.
2. We are united in life to Him whether we "wake" - that is live,
or "sleep" - that is await the resurrection (see 4:13-17).
B. Therefore, we are to comfort each other and edify one another
in the light of the future outlook. We are to encourage one another
to keep on looking to the prize (Hebrews 12:1-2).