1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11: The Hope of Christ's Coming
A crisis occurred in the Thessalonian church when one of their members died. Since they had expected to all be alive when Christ returned, they were now confused. Did this mean their friend would miss out on Christ's coming? Had this person died because God was angry with them? How much longer would it be before Christ finally did return? Maybe you have fears about what will happen when you die or when Christ returns. In this passage, Paul seeks to calm our fears and encourage us to look forward to the day we meet our Maker.
Warming Up to God
What fears do you have about death?
Discovering the Word
- In what ways is grief different for a Christian than it is for a non-Christian (4:13)?
- What sequence of events does Paul say will occur when Christ returns (4:16-17)?
- Why are the examples of a thief (5:2) and labor pains (5:3) good analogies of what will happen on the day of the Lord?
- What dangers are associated with living in darkness (5:5-7)?
- What instructions does Paul give for living in the light (5:8)?
Applying the Word
- How do Paul's words help you to face your own fears about death?
- Paul tells us that our defensive weapons against darkness are faith, love and hope (v. 8). What are some practical ways in which these virtues can defend you?
Responding in Prayer
Pray that you will be made ready for the day of the Lord.