18 May 2010
A Word of Comfort
1 Thess 4:13-18
Paul is one of the greatest comforter's ever to live! I say that, because he is so straight forward and he cares deeply about the family of God. His spiritual children.....The apostle Paul is a great example for each and every one us...especially when it come to the issue of what we are going to look at today!! What happens when a Christian dies? A topic that the apostle Paul, knew all to well! Since he faced it himself, on a daily basic....This topic in this young vibrant church, was causing many to have misunderstanding to the issue of life after death!! Do you realize that there is a 100% chance that you will die at some point in this life? There is approximately 150 000 people who die each and every day around the globe!!! Death is a very serious matter for every one of us. Why? Because we all are going to face it at some time point in our life. This was the problem with this early church.......they thought the time was coming (the Rapture was going to happen in their life). They were concerned for those who passed on before this extraordinary event took place! They were also confused by some who were teaching something contrary to what Paul told them about! (Turn over to 2 Thess 2:1-7 to see for yourself)........This also was happening even in Peter’s ministry!! “They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation." 2 Peter 3:4. Look what Paul says “I do not want you to be ignorant (uniformed about spiritual realities, your lack of information) brethren” (v13) What are we in fear of being ignorant of Paul? “Those who have fallen asleep”. The word "Asleep" (refers to) believers who had died or past on...basically.......those who are dead! Stephenrst martyr is a prime example of this kind of language.....“And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Act 7:60. IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: In the New Testament “sleep” applies ONLY to the body.....never the soul or spirit. We have still today........ many good intentional people who think that the body goes into some state of soul sleep! Soul Sleep is a false teaching! They teach that souls of the dead are in a state of unconscious existence in the afterlife!! But that’s NOT TRUE! Why? The Bible says so............. 2Cor 5:8 “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Phil1:22-23 “But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” The greatest of evidence that makes this a false teaching is found in Luke, listen to what Jesus said to the thief on the cross “And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." Luke 23:43
• Moses and Elijah souls were not sleeping when they appeared with Jesus on the Mount of transfiguration in Matthew 17:3
• David spoke of the bliss of being in God’s presence after death in Psalm 16:10-11
• Elijah was taken up into Heaven 2 Kings 2:1
• Jesus even said He went to the Father the day He died Luke 23:46
• Even the unsaved know there is no such thing as soul sleeping Luke 16:19-31 the Rich man and Lazarus
Paul says don’t be misinformed to what happen to a person after they die. He even goes on to say don’t grieve over or worry for those who have died. Look in (v13) “don’t grieve” as others who have no hope! The unsaved world.....Paul is not saying! We don’t sorrow over lost loved ones in the family of God! Paul knows death causes painful separation, loneliness, grief, brokenness, anger and confusion, sorrow. The Bible said that Jesus grieved over the death of Lazarus in John 11:33-35. Paul, himself said “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:5) What Paul is saying is don’t grieve as the unsaved world grieves!!! Without hope! What is that Hope that they are missing!! The Lord Jesus Christ....for without Him we have no hope after death! It’s that uncontrollable hopelessness that person has because they are never coming back! WATCH THE NEWS and see for yourself! The wailing and uncontrollable emotions of the unsaved world because they are without hope!!. If you don’t believe me! Go to a funeral of a saved person and then of an unsaved person! Compare the two and watch the people around you and see how they deal with death. Paul was reminding them when he said "don’t grieve" as though you never had any hope!! Remember what I told you!! Look at (verse 14-15). We have the evidence of our Lord Jesus Christ who came and died a sinner’s death and rose again on the 3rd day!!! 2Cor 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Jesus died a literal death and He defeated the grave so that we could have a living hope in a living Saviour!!! Can I tell you something.................We serve a living God......who is our living hope because “by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24. Jesus Christ rose again, So! Those who have died (fallen asleep) will not miss the Rapture. Why? Look what Paul says at the end of (verse 15) “They will by no means precede those who are asleep”. Precede means: “anticipate or prevent” Those who die before the Rapture will in no sense be inferior to those who are alive. All Christians will participate in the Rapture so don’t grieve and have doubt to the Lord’s return for those who have died before us.... Trust in the words of our Lord because He is the One who gave them to me...His words are honest and trustworthy. Trust me! When that day arrives we will know!! Look at (verse 16-17).....Jesus is the One who will call us to Himself......”the Lord Himself”
• Can you imagine for a minute what that will be like on that day!
• God’s divine appointment with His children who are in Christ
• How? The Bible says “with a “shout of an arc angel”
THERE ARE ONLY 2 OTHER OCCASIONS THAT JESUS SHOUTED WITH A LOUD VOICE!!
1. The resurrection of Lazarus “Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" John 11:443
2. The Cross “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" Matt 27:46.......Mathew’s Gospel even went on to say “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; Matt 27:50-52......The power of almighty God spoke with authority and even the dead rose on that day!! The same power we see here....which would make this the 3rd occasion Jesus spoke with a loud voice
3. Jesus calls us home with the sound of an archangel! It’s the quality of His voice, as a commander, as a chief; the voice of authority, majestic....the power of almighty God. What will it sound like? “The sounds of a trumpet”...His voice will be like a trumpet! John on the island of Patmos speaks of this...... Rev 1:10-11“I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, Who was that voice? The Lord Jesus, Himself......saying "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," ...... Jesus will speak with a loud audible voice as if the sound of a loud trumpet to call His chosen people to Himself....those who are in Christ. We call this the RAPTURE of believers
Rapture (means) "to be caught up, a gathering together". Jesus promises the dead in Christ first will be raised first (verse 16). Jesus say then the ones who are alive will be caught up with them in the air (verse 17). The point where our glorified bodies will join our glorified spirits which makes them into the image of Christ! The apostle John said “We know that when he appears, we will be like Him......” 1 John 3:2. So trust in the promises of God remember what Jesus said "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3. MY SUNDAY QUESTION IS: Are you excited for that day? Does your heart anticipate the Lord’s imminent return...... to claim what is rightfully His? If not! Get close to someone who is!!! Find comfort in a brother or sister who patiently waits with joy in their heart for the Lord to call us home. Whether it is by life or death! We will be together one day!! Paul says comfort one another with these truths of God not man!!! (Verse 18). Don’t worry or grieve of those who have died in Christ........ nothing can separate us with is in Christ Jesus our Lord......I love this quote! It brings comfort and rest "It is not darkness you are going to, for God is Light. It is not lonely, for Christ is with you. It is not unknown country, for Christ is there." Charles Kingsley. Spugeon said "When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God's love." Tattoo this verse on your forehead!!! “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:38-39. Comfort one another with these words of truth! Rest with ease knowing that God has everything taken care of for those who love him and those who anticipate His imminent return to claim what’s His........YOU!!