As we read the last section of 1 Thessalonians this morning my Bible titles that section, “The Comfort of Christ’s Coming.” Now that is not inerrant writ — it’s a commentators way of splitting up the different sections of a chapter. Yet all of us who follow Christ should look at these words as great comfort:
13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For we say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still 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. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 [Christian Standard Bible])
What comforts the believer from the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica?
First, we have hope. When a believing loved one leaves us we know they are in heaven with Jesus, v. 13. Although they have died it’s like they have fallen asleep.
Second, those of us who are left will be raptured when Jesus returns, vv. 14&15. This will be done with a lot of pomp and circumstance. There’s going to be a shout from heaven and an archangel will be shouting and a trempet will be sounding. This is going to be fun!
Third, we will always be with the Lord, v. 17. We will never leave His presence and He will always be with us for all eternity.
Fourth, if we take Paul’s words to heart we are to encourage one another with his words, v. 18. Have you done that lately. Have you had a conversation about the second coming with anyone in the last month that has been encouraging? Why not start today. Find someone and spend some time encouraging one another about this great hope of the Christian believer.