1 Thess. 5:1-11
This past week, at one of our local restaurants, I talked with a man who, after seeing all that is going on in our culture and society (the lawlessness, the sexual perversions, the corruption), is convinced that we are in the “last days” and the fulfillment of O.T. prophecy, and the fulfillment of the book of Revelation, is very near and soon time will be no more.
But are the things that are taking place in our society and world, are they signs of the end of the world? Or is it like the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “There is nothing new under the sun” and what we are seeing is nothing more than the conduct of sinful men?
Are we really near the end of time? Are the things that are taking place signs of the “last days?” There have been instances where people, thinking that the end has come, have gone out and sold their homes, and their property, set on the hillside waiting?
Let’s look at the passage that was read and let’s be reminded of what the apostle Paul says about the day when the Lord will come.
To begin I want to take you back to chapter 4. In chapter 4:13-18 the apostle Paul says that when the Lord does come (and He will), all those who are IN Christ, whether dead or alive, will participate in a resurrection to eternal life.
So, no doubt, the Lord will come and those who are in Christ will participate in this resurrection unto eternal life.
But, tragically, most will not participate in it. Look what Paul says starting in chapter 5:1:
Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
Every year, and for years, men have claimed to know when the Lord is coming back.
In fact, he uses two metaphors here to talk about the “coming day of the Lord” to emphasize that no one knows when the Lord will come.
The first metaphor that he uses is that of “a thief in the night.”
Thieves do not announce that they are coming!
In fact, Jesus said He didn’t even know when that day was: Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
What if we did know?
God doesn’t want that.
Just a brief word of advice.
Look at the second metaphor. He says that the day will “come on them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child.”
And do you know what happened both times she went into labor? A baby was born!
Listen, when the Lord comes…and He will come, you can count on it.
And a lot of people are going to be caught totally unprepared. Look at verse 2-3:
For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
A lot of people think there will be some kind of warning…some kind of sign.
Paul doesn’t indicate that here.
And when the Lord does come, people will be doing what they have always done.
They will be caught completely unprepared and Paul says for them it will be “sudden destruction.”
But for us who are IN Christ, things will be different. Look at what Paul says in verse 4.
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;
The faithful, obedient child of God…the one who is IN Christ…will escape the day of destruction…and instead will “always be with the Lord.” 4:17.
So, what do we do until then? Do we sit down and wait? Do we eat, drink, and be merry because tomorrow we die? Some people do that. Well, look at verse 6. So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
Paul says: “So then, let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.”
Now, verse 7: “For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
But they are not characteristics of one who is a “son of the light.”
Once again, this is a passage that says that your Christian walk does not end at the baptistery.
Brethren, if we do not stay alert…sober…ready for the day of the Lord…destruction will be ours.
In verse 8 Paul tells us to stay well armed. He says: But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.
If you die before He comes…or if you are alive when He comes…because of Christ, you as a son of light…a child of God are destined for salvation.
Now, look at verse 11: Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
We do not need to say, “Live each day like it is your last.”
The Lord is coming back! For those of you who are IN Christ…stay alert and remain sober.
For those of you who once were sons of light and have gone to “sleep”…who have been walking in darkness…it is time to wake up!
And for those of you who are not IN Christ…those who are saying, “Peace and safety” and living your life outside of the security of Christ…
Look at these words found in Romans 13:11:
11 And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
Notice, Paul says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Gal 3:26-27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
The Lord is on His way…a day of reckoning will come…no one knows when.