Welcome back, fellow travelers! Yesterday we dove into 1 Thessalonians 5 where, in the first two verses, Paul stated emphatically, “For you yourselves know perfectly…” But, what is it that we know? He goes on to answer the question in verses 3-5, so if you missed yesterday’s lesson, click the link above and catch up. We’ll pick it up right where we left off yesterday!
As children of light, we will not be surprised by the rapture! True…we do not know the day and the hour, but because we ready ourselves and keep watch for the Bridegroom, as the five well-prepared virgins did (Matthew 25:1-13), we will not be caught off guard when He comes! But, what are we to be doing while we watch and wait for the Bridegroom? Great question! Find Paul’s instruction to the new believers in 1 Thessalonians 5:6-11.
Immediately in verse 6, Paul gives three instructions. What are they?
Paul’s exhortation is this: behave in such a way as to back up your claim that Jesus is coming soon! We are not to sleep, but to watch and be sober. Matthew writes of 10 virgins who were told to watch and be ready, yet 5 failed the test…they were not ready for the coming of the Bridegroom. Interestingly, immediately following that, Matthew pens the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
- According to verses 14-15, what is the setting of this parable?
- Who do you believe the one is who goes away? (Hint: John 14:1-3)
- Who do you believe the servants are?
- Were the servants given equal talents? Are your talents equal to anyone else’s?
- According to verses 16-18, what did each do with the talents they were given? Was one different than the others? How?
- Verses 20-23 reveal the Lord’s response to those who invested their talents. What did He say to them?
- How is that different than what was said to the servant who buried his talent? (Verses 24-27)
- What did the Lord do with the unused talent? (Verse 28)
- How does the parable end in verses 29-30?
- Were you able to make any personal application from this parable?
Some might argue that those who watchfully wait for the return of the Bridegroom are lazy and do nothing. Yet, the parable of the talents tells us differently! Those of us waiting and watching for the return of our Lord Jesus are not sitting around eating bon-bons!
Perhaps that is what occurred with the 5 virgins whose lamps ran out of oil! Oil represents the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and if we fail to heed the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our lamps burn out, and we bury our talent rather than invest it in the Kingdom of God! Scripture tells us we are to evangelize (2 Timothy 4:1-2), disciple/teach (Matthew 28:19-20), care for orphans and widows (James 1:27), and a whole host of other Bible commands! Luke, in a similar parable to Matthew’s, says the Lord’s servants are to “Do business until I come!” (Luke 19:13) Readiness for Jesus’s return means being busy about our Master’s business!
Now, the really good part! Read 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11. The first phrase of verse 9 is the fifth time Paul references Jesus’s coming and our presence with Him, escaping the wrath that is to come! Read each of the following passages and underline them in your Bible or write them down! This fantastic promise is repeated in all 5 chapters of 1 Thessalonians!
Dear friends, Paul had grown to love these new believers who were confused about the rapture, and he wanted them to know for certain that not only is Jesus coming back, but the dead in Christ will rise first, we will meet them in the air (yes, Paul said “we,” because he expected to go in his lifetime!), and we will be saved from the wrath to come. There is no greater wrath than the wrath of God that will be poured out according to Revelation. We know that as the tribulation.
When we get into 2 Thessalonians, we will discover that those left behind will experience a strong delusion and will believe lies. (2 Thessalonians 2:11) They will completely buy into the evil schemes of the unholy trinity: Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet. As a side note…what Bridegroom would subject His bride to such evil!?! Jesus will have a pure and spotless bride, not one who has been beaten up in the tribulation!
As we close, notice verse 10. Was Jesus murdered? No! He willingly died for us. What does John 10:17-18 say about Jesus’s death?
Now, according to verse 11, how should we respond? Notice the definition of two key words in that verse:
- Comfort: parakaleo means to call near, to invite, to comfort, to invoke. There is a closeness implied. 1 Thessalonians is filled with God’s promise and comfort. Who are you inviting to come near to God?
- Edify/Build up: oikodomeo is a construction term meaning a house-builder, to restore by building, to promote growth, to embolden. Christians should be the best oikodmeo on the planet! Encouraging and building one another up ought to be the hallmark of every believer. Who can you edify and build up today? Will you do it?
Believers, we have the best news ever! Jesus is coming soon, and He will not beat up His bride by pouring out His wrath upon her! His wrath is reserved for Satan and his minions, and will be poured out mercilessly on this earth during the tribulation. Rejoice, for the Bridegroom comes soon!
Hang in there. We’ve got more good stuff to come as we close out 1 Thessalonians!