1THESSALONIANS 5:1-11 (NIV – UK)
The day of the Lord
1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
LET US BE AWAKE
There will be a day when Jesus returns – and that day will come when we aren’t expecting it ‘like a their in the night’ (v. 2). It could even be today, we simply don’t know.
In the western world particularly we generally live in a peaceful and prosperous world. People, in general, don’t see any imminent danger coming their way – perhaps the closest is climate change, which we believe we have the power to stop, anyway. But when Jesus comes again, we will not have the power to stop it. And those who are currently content with their lives and following their own way instead of God’s, saying ‘peace and safety’ will face ‘destruction’ and they ‘will not escape’ (v. 3).
We are encouraged, therefore, to ‘stay awake and sober’ (v. 6). Those who follow Jesus are ‘children of the light’ (v. 5) and are therefore to live in constant anticipation of Jesus’ return – ‘putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet’ (v. 8). We should be so immersed in our relationship with Jesus that every morning when we wake up, one of our first thoughts should be, ‘is today the day you will return, Jesus?’
Jesus’ followers were not appointed to ‘suffer wrath’ – Jesus suffered that on our behalf. No, Jesus’ followers are appointed to ‘receive salvation’ (v. 9). Whether we are awake or asleep, we live with Jesus (v. 10) and in this we should encourage one another daily (v. 11).
Question: Do you live in constant anticipation of Jesus’ return? Can you think of any practical ways to help live us live in that way?