This Tuesday, we will be discussing 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:28. This will complete our reading of 1 Thessalonians. This reading is the very heart of Paul’s exhortation and the reason for writing the Thessalonians. Paul preached the gospel message of eternal life in Jesus Christ, and yet some in the community had died either naturally or by persecution. If Paul’s message is true, why did they die? Paul responds to this anxiety at three levels. First, Paul paints a picture of the hope and realization at the end times when the dead and the living will be joined together again. As Wright points out in his commentary (pp.120-136), Paul’s purpose is to comfort the afflicted, not to give us a detailed accurate description of a future occurrence. Paul, as Wright says, is trying to describe the color blue to a blind person. Please read Wright’s commentary to get a sense of the nature of Paul’s description.
Paul is also telling his community that God is not working on our timetable. Jesus has the same message in Matthew 24-25, where he says that the Son of Man will return like a thief in the night or like a bridegroom coming from far away. We do not know when and therefore we should not be dismayed that it has not come to pass but simply should remain vigilant. Finally, and most importantly, Paul reminds the congregation, that the victory has already been won. Whether we are awake or asleep, we are all still one within Christ. This is a unity that even death itself cannot break.
· We are NOT gathering on July 5
· We are reading through 2 Thessalonians on July 12 and July 19
· We will begin John Stott’s The Beatitudes on July 26. This is a workbook study and everyone will need a copy of the book. If you need me to order one for you, please let Amy know.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is chili. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:51-57