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The Day of the Lord

Updated: Dec 3, 2023







The Day of the Lord Resource Downloads



Have you ever had those evenings when you could not rest your mind? You lay down, looking forward to a good night's sleep. However, your mind has other plans. As soon as your head hits the pillow, you start making lists, planning the next day, or writing that novel you have always planned to write. I would imagine most of us can relate. You are laying there watching the hours ticking until our alarms go off.


Moving forward in our studies of 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul talks about being awake in chapter 5. Although Paul talks about staying awake, it's not a restless night's sleep but one of self-control and expectation.


Connected


As we explore this text together, I want us first to notice how this is connected to Paul's earlier thoughts. In (5:10), Paul talks about how Christ died for us. He continues, "Whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him." Paul uses the metaphors of "awake" and "asleep," as he did earlier, to talk about those of us who are alive and those who have died in the Lord (4:15). He also repeats his thought of being with the Lord forever (4:17; 5:10). Paul continues his thoughts of encouraging the church and challenging them to grow in their faith, a phrase he also repeats (4:18; 5:11).


As we study and consider Paul's words, it's easy to lose sight of the picture. Breaking the letter up into smaller sections, as we are doing, can cause us to miss the flow of the letter. As we move forward, keep in mind Paul's thoughts are connected. He continues to talk about the hope, peace, and comfort we have in Christ. He seeks to reassure Christians in Thessalonica of their commitment to following Christ. Through the difficulties, hardships, and trials they are experiencing, the result of faithfulness is salvation in Christ (see 5:9).


Peace & Safety


Paul draws from the language and teaching of Jesus concerning his return; it will be like a "thief in the night." Many will not be expecting the Lord's judgment. Jesus taught and warned of the same unexpected judgment (Matt 24:43; Rev 3:3; 16:15).


It's easy for us to get accustomed to the routine. Surrounding ourselves with the familiar can give us a sense of security and comfort. Our homes, the same road to work, and the familiarity of our possessions make it easy for us to develop a sense of security and peace when much of our lives become routine.


Paul warns about a false sense of security:


1 Thessalonians 5:1–3

"Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."


The Roman Empire used the phrase "peace and safety" (notice how it's quoted in our text). This phrase promoted the idea that peace was fulfilled through the Roman Empire (Pax Romana). Citizens trusted the Roman Empire to keep them safe from invading enemies and to promote prosperity and stability. They placed their confidence in their circumstances as Roman citizens. Paul warns this is a misplaced confidence. Hope in Christ alone leads to salvation. As Christians, those of the light, our hope, security, and peace are in the Lord and not our circumstances.


Children of Light


Continuing, Paul talks about how we who are of Christ are "children of the day" (5:5). The world moves along around us. However, the light of salvation and God's new creation has broken the darkness. This is resurrection! In the middle of time and through the midst of darkness, the light of Jesus broke through in glorious resurrection. A new day is realized in Christ. It is the light of a renewed creation and God's kingdom.


1 Thessalonians 5:5–6

"You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober."


Christians belong to God's new creation as those in Christ, those who are of the day. The new world has broken into the old, and as Christians, we are to live in the light of new creation. The world stumbles and sleeps in darkness. Those of the night participate in the deceptions of darkness. However, as Paul records:


1 Thessalonians 5:8–11

"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. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."


Faith, Hope, & Love


As Paul begins to close his letter, he circles back to the themes of faith, hope, and love, themes he started with (1:3). Here, Paul is calling Christians to guard themselves against the deceptions of darkness. In Christ and of the day, Christians are not appointed to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:9).


Paul encourages Christians to remain "awake" and "sober" (5:6; 8). He is calling Christians to be alert and self-controlled. It can be easy for us to collapse under the comfort of the routine. The deceptions of the darkness can look normal and appealing. However, in Christ and of the day, Christians are appointed to salvation. This is a profound shift in our identity. As Christians, we need to remain diligent as we look forward in hope to Christ's return.


Crossing the Context


As we consider Paul's words to the church in Thessalonica, they remind us to stay grounded in faith and supportive of one another as we journey together with the hopeful expectation of His return. Navigating life's routines and temptations, we are to remain awake and live as children of the light.

Key Thought


As Christians, we are of the light and should live our lives in hopeful expectation of his return.


notes:


Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011).


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