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I THESSALONIANS (15)
The Second Coming of Christ
I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Victor M. Eskew
A. Paul had several things that he emphasized when he preached and wrote.
1. The grace of God.
2. The resurrection of Jesus Christ
3. The need for faith
B. Another subject that Paul taught about often was the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
1. This message fills the book of I Thessalonians.
a. Paul mentions it in every chapter.
b. Four (4) times he specifically mentions the word “coming” (I Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23).
c. Two (2) times he references the day of the Lord (I Thess. 5:2, 4).
d. He notes that the Thessalonians were waiting for God’s Son from heaven (I Thess. 1:10).
e. He declares that Jesus will descend from heaven (I Thess. 4:15).
f. He also writes of “the times” and “the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1).
2. The Second Coming of Christ is the subject of our lesson. The text we will be examining is I Thessalonians 5:1-11.
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For your-selves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness that they day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
C. As we dissect this text, we will be examining three points.
1. The Second Coming Understood
2. The Second Coming Undermined
3. The Second Coming’s Usefulness
I. THE SECOND COMING UNDERSTOOD (I Thess. 5:1-2)
A. Paul had just finished a discussion concerning “them which are asleep” when the Lord comes (I Thess. 4:13-18).
1. The Thessalonians wondered what would happen to the dead in Christ when Jesus came again.
2. Paul told them (I Thess. 4:16).
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
B. Much more could have been written on the subject. Paul, however, was confident that they understood these things.
1. Two times he says they knew.
a. I Thessalonians 5:1
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
1) The words “times” and “seasons” refers to a fixed, definite, special occasion, namely, the Second Coming.
2) Paul says that there was no need for him to write to them about these things? Why? They understood them.
b. In verse 2, he is even plainer about their understanding.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1) The word “perfectly” (199) is defined as “exactly, accurately, and diligently.”
2) Three things were accurately known by the Thessalonians.
a) The Lord Jesus would return.
b) He would return on a certain day.
c) He would return unexpectedly, as a thief in the night.
a. The Lord’s coming can still be understood by man.
b. There are many Biblical texts that teach about our Lord’s return.
c. One of the crucial things to know is that we are never informed when Jesus will come.
1) A thief comes when no one is expecting him to come.
2) Jesus will come when we are not expecting His return (Mark 13:35).
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning.
II. THE SECOND COMING UNDERMINED (I Thess. 5:3-5)
A. Paul opens this letter and addressed it to “the church of the Thessalonians” (I Thess. 1:1).
1. These individuals had heard the preaching of Paul and had received that teaching (I Thess. 1:6; 2:13).
2. They had left the world, the kingdom of darkness, and had become followers of Him who is “the light of the world” (Col. 1:13; John 8:12).
3. The Thessalonians were part of “the called out ones” (II Thess. 2:140, the church for which Jesus died (Acts 20:28).
B. Many, however, did not accept that truth of the gospel. They certainly did not accept the idea of the Second Coming of Jesus.
1. Their DECLARATION: “Peace and safety” (I Thess. 5:3).
a. They were like the false prophets of the Old Testament who cried: “Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14; 8:11).
b. Their contention was that Jesus is not coming back. Thus, they affirmed that no one needed to concern themselves about the destruction of the earth and of the end of the world and of final judgment.
2. Their DESTRUCTION would be manifest.
…Then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.
a. We learn here that the Second Coming involves “sudden destruction.”
1) Sudden: non-apparent, unforeseen, unexpected
2) Destruction: ruin, death, punishment
3) II Thessalonians 1:7-9
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
b. We also learn that there is no escape from it.
1) Those who cried out peace and safety will be seeking safety, but it will not be found.
2) No one will be able to flee away.
3. Fortunately, there was a clear DISTINCTION between the false prophets and those in the church at Thessalonica (I Thess. 5:4-5).
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness…Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
a. Because they were of the light, “that day” would not overtake them as a thief.
b. Such could not be said of those crying peace and safety.
1) The events of the Second Coming would seize them and overtake them with destruction.
2) EX: tsunami or a sink hole
c. There are some today who are in darkness and who doubt and deny the Lord’s return. When the heavens open, and the Lord is seen, and the trump is heard, and the voice of the archangel rings out, terror will grip their soul.
III. THE SECOND COMING’S USEFULNESS (I Thess. 5:6-11)
A. One of the things that the Second Coming ought to do is to cause God’s children to live sober lives (I Thess. 5:6-8).
Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
1. Twice in this text Paul exhorts his listeners to soberness.
1) Strong (3525): to abstain from wine
2) Thayer: to be calm and collected in spirit, to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect
b. This sober living involves two things:
1) Being awake, alert, and constantly watching
2) Putting on the armor of God. He specifically mentions two items: the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of salvation.
B. Secondly, the Second Coming causes us to be serious about Satan (I Thess. 5:9-10).
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep we should live together with him.
1. Living together with the Lord Jesus throughout eternity is what it is all about.
a. This is why Jesus died.
b. This is what God has appointed us to.
2. If our lives are lived in soberness and we are constantly watching and preparing for the Lord’s return, we can have that ultimate salvation in the last day.
3. This will be true whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead) when He returns. Salvation, eternal life, heaven, and fellowship with God will be ours forever and ever.
C. Third, the Second Coming brings the child of God solace (I Thess. 5:11).
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
1. The false teachers tried to bring comfort by saying Jesus would not come.
2. For the Christian, the real peace, comfort, and safety lies in the fact that He will come.
a. We are tempted; Jesus is coming.
b. We are persecuted; Jesus is coming.
c. We are sick and frail; Jesus is coming.
d. We are at the threshold of death; Jesus is coming.
e. We have lost loved ones; Jesus is coming.
f. Life is not full of happiness; Jesus is coming.
g. We have sacrificed, given up things, and lost much for our Lord; Jesus is coming.
A. We know Jesus is coming.
B. We don’t know when He is coming.
C. Because are the children of light, we are prepared.
D. We take comfort in His coming because we know that we shall live together with Him when He comes!