Walk In The Hope Of Christ’s Return
Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Pastor Trent Broussard
We believe that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven is imminent. I hold firmly to this confessional statement. The church has been waiting some 2,000 years for Christ’s return. It easy to dismiss the return of Christ as an event which will not happen in my lifetime. It is easy to live like it may be another 2,000 years before Christ returns.
I remember as a kid reading about and seeing the Berlin Wall. I thought it would never come down. I remember President Reagan’s speech demanding Mr. Gorbachev tear down that wall. When it fell and revolution swept across eastern Europe, I was shocked. My paradigm of the world order changed dramatically. This paradigm shift has begun again as we watched on the news last week when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stepped over the border into South Korea calling for an end to over sixty years of hostilities. I thought it could never happen.
Fans of the Chicago Cubs waited 108 years between World Series titles. While there are certainly a lot of bandwagon believers, most Cubs’ fans didn’t think they would see a World Series title in their lifetime. In Boston, Red Sox fans endured the Curse of The Bambino for 86 years after they traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Again, many fans believed they could never win until it happened in 2004. Those of you who are fans of the Detroit Lions likely live with this kind of mindset (and disappointment). You believe that winning the Super Bowl will never happen.
I believe that we often approach the return of Christ with this kind of mindset. Intellectually, we know and agree with the doctrine, but practically we don’t live like it is real and only remind ourselves of it when there is tragedy and the loss of life.
Calvary, we need a paradigm shift. Christ is returning; it could be today.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (ESV)
Paul’s intent is to comfort believers with this word.
Paul wanted the church to encourage one another because of these words. This passage is not written to give us a detailed timeline of events. This is written so that we can comfort one another. Every one of has experienced the loss of a loved one. We each know other believers who have suffered the loss of a loved one. The hope, the encouragement we have with which to comfort one another is the resurrection. Christ is returning and He will resurrect all believers who have already died, and those believers who haven’t died will be raptured together with the dead in Christ. Here is our hope, joy and comfort.
Where is our hope and comfort?
Jesus died and rose again. He is returning to claim His church. Whether we are dead or alive when He returns, we will all be caught up to meet Him in the air. We will be with Him for eternity.
Everything that is wrong with the world will be undone. The curse we have lived under since Genesis 3 will finally be undone.
One of my favorite carols we sing during the Christmas season is Joy To The World. Isaac Watts wrote a beautiful and theologically rich text and I believe he intended it as a text looking toward Christ’s Second Coming. Listen to these words and let your mind think not of the first Advent, but of the second and soon coming Advent.
Joy To The World
Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room
And heav'n and nature sing
Joy to the earth the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
Let Christ’s imminent return be a source of hope and comfort for you today. Let us respond to this wonderful truth with a life of worship and obedience.