10. Living in Light of the Lord’s Return
The certainty of Christ’s glorious coming sheds light on how Christians live in the present.
” 1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”– I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Review from Last Week
- On what basis should response to a believer’s death be different from how the world would react?
- How does the resurrection of Christ provide believers with hope for the future?
- How did last week’s text affect your thinking, habits, and behavior as a follower of Jesus Christ?
I. Live Expectant for Jesus’ Return (1-3)
II. Live Prepared for Jesus’ Return (4-11)
III. Live Encouraged for Jesus’ Return (10-11)
Quick Thought: Living in Light of Christ’s Death & Resurrection
An African American spiritual asks the question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Our answer to that has to be yes. And not only that, but we were there being crucified with him; when he was being crucified, so were we. When he was rising from the dead, we were rising with him. Each Christian must assert that his death was our death; his resurrection was our resurrection. We should read accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection in a new light. We allow the devil to distract us from that truth, to persuade us that we are still ‘in Adam’ and therefore, he still has authority over us. But nothing could be further from the truth.
When the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 6:11, “consider ourselves dead to sin.” This command is not a case of mind over matter or of positive thinking. A common understanding of positive thinking is that if we think the right thoughts often enough, they will begin to shape our behaviour. A middle-aged man of average fitness can visualise winning a race against Usain Bolt as much as he wants, but that visualisation or positivity will not lead him to victory. However, if Bolt visualises winning it might actually make a difference to his race – because the base reality is that he can run astonishingly fast. Visualisation might help, but only because it is based in reality. In the words “consider yourselves”, Paul is calling us to positive thinking which is based in reality. Because of who Christ is, what he has achieved, and what he experienced as our representative head, we are dead to sin.
Post-Service Online Coffee Fellowship
Please join us on a zoom call for our Virtual Coffee Fellowship (bring your own coffee!). We’d love for you to say hi, whether you’re a first-time visitor to United Community Church or a longtime member. All are welcome!
The call will be open for more or less an hour after the service finishes – you can join by clicking here! If you can’t join with the link, the Meeting ID is 998 7707 5071, and the passcode is 221309
Life Group Questions
Quick Review of the Text
- What images does Paul use to describe the return of the Jesus and what effect should they have on us? (vv 1-3)
- What does Paul mean when he says that Christians are no ,longer in darkness? (vv 4-5)
- What are the implications for the believer in no longer belonging to darkness? (vv 6-7)
- What clothing is appropriate for the day according to Paul and what might putting these articles of clothing on involve in practical terms? (v 8)
- On what basis does Paul give believers assurance that the hope of salvation will be fulfilled? (vv 9-10)
- What is the climax of our hope according to 5:10?
- In what sort of situations do we find it easy to think of our actions and behaviour being shaped by the future event? Why do we find it hard to to do this with regard to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Apply the Text
- Since Jesus taught that His coming will happen after many different signs, why does He tell us to be alert, since we don’t know the day or hour? Shouldn’t we know the general time?
- Why do we find it hard to sometimes be distinctive as Christians within the world?
- to what extent do we think of salvation as a future event rather than as a past experience?
- How do we think future communion with Christ should shape my current experience of Him?
- How should the prospect of meeting Jesus in the future shape my behaviour and the way I live today?
- How can this passage be used to encourage people in your church family?
- To what extent should we emphasize God’s impending judgment when we tell others about Jesus?