As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am living my entire life to someday be with Jesus! As I read my Bible, that will either happen through an event called the Rapture (referred to in this chapter) or when I die. Either way, until that happens, I am to be watchful as I am involved in Knowing Jesus and Making Him Known!
Paul begins with encouragement and continual challenges as he writes, ”Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” We need both encouragement in our walk as well as challenge to continue because life’s trials are persistent.
Paul then exhorts them to live differently, especially in the area of sexuality. In a culture that worshiped all kinds of sexual “gods” Paul wanted them to know that new belief in Christ meant their body was no longer theirs but the Lord’s and they were to honor Him with their body (1 Cor 6:19-20).
Moving on, apparently the Thessalonian believers had a problem with idleness. Paul encouraged them to work hard, to earn their pay so that they wouldn’t be dependent on anyone. This brings respect and you can’t be effective in your witness for Christ if you are not respected.
Then Paul comes to an incredible and often debated portion of scripture. These believers were excited about being with the Lord someday but had lots of questions (sounds like me). A primary one was “What happens to those who die before the Jesus comes?” A great question which Paul seeks to answer: “According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” So if I get this right, the Lord (along with Michael) is gonna’ come to earth, make some kind of loud command, along with a trumpet sound and then those who had died knowing Jesus will rise first (I picture 1st class on this flight) and then those who know Jesus and are still alive will be “caught up” (“rapturo”) in the air (that would be like riding coach) and we’ll be with Jesus forever! That is that cool stuff or what?!~! So cool that Paul concludes, “Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
*How “watchful” and excited about Jesus coming back? Does it make you nervous? Are You ready? It could happen any time - even toda……….. (he, he). If you only had 48 hours left on earth, what would you do? Reality is, some day that will be true for each of us!
*Are you keeping yourself sexually pure? Without question, we WILL be punished for our sexual sins (vs. 6). My guess is that there are many who are reading this right now who are involved in internet pornography. If this is you, get help TODAY! Set your computer up so you can’t go there, get a program like covenant eyes that reports to a friend, spouse, etc…. everything you’ve looked at. And if you need help in this area, ask me, I’d love to help you! These sins destroy relationships!
*Finally, let’s encourage one another toward love & good deeds……….and do it even more, because today (be it first class or coach) we are one day closer to being with Jesus!