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Living it in Light of the Happy Ending

By: Admin on August 17, 2013

Followers of Jesus in ancient Thessalonica, and through all places and ages have been dealing with the conflict of their previous lives, beliefs and philosophies as they contrasted so drastically with what the Bible taught and the changes they were experiencing in their lives as a result of their faith in Jesus

There has always been an uncertainty and fear based on the reality in which someone lives:
“What about those who have passed away?” - death was and is still happening
“When will this persecution and pressure end?” - suffering for Christ
“What about those who don’t follow Christ who seem to always prosper while those who obey God seem to always be losing?” - injustice in the world

The reality of the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica 1960 years ago is the reality of today in 2013. It is a harsh, cold reality and none of us like it because it is not pleasant.Nevertheless, the reality of God is equally strong and equally effective. That has never changed, either. It is the same hope for us as for the followers of Jesus in ancient Greece. God has not changed and still promises the same hope and resources to us today as he did nearly 2000 years ago.

For those who have placed their faith in Jesus, there is real hope.

Hope based on Jesus Thessalonians 4:13, 14
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

We can grieve because grief is normal and natural. But our grief is not like those who have no hope in Jesus. You see, Jesus died as a sacrifice for our sins. Then, Jesus rose again from the dead. And now, just like Jesus those who died will also come back from the dead.

The key is when Pauls says those who have “fallen asleep in him”, those who have believed in Jesus alone and have died. They will be brought back to life with Jesus. This is God’s promise (v. 14) - God WILL bring everyone who believes in Jesus with Jesus and God never reneges on a promise.

How will this happen? In Jesus’ Way 1 Thessalonians 4:15 - 17
5 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Hope based on Living in the Light 1 Thessalonians 5:1 - 8
1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 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.

4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 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.

This is the hope that we will be with Christ. We don't know the time, it'll be a surprise. So we need to be ready for Jesus to come. This is living out our faith. And then in Verse 18 we are to keep encouraging one another with this news of real hope based on Jesus.

Hope based on the Happy Ending 1 Thessalonians 5:9 - 11
9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Our faith in Jesus changes our relationship with God, which in turn, changes our destiny. Now we aren’t appointed or destined to suffer God’s wrath for being one who has rejected him (John 3:16 - 18). We are appointed or destined to receive full salvation, restoration and renovation of our lives through what Jesus has done and Who Jesus is. Not because of us and our assets, skills or holiness as we have none. Jesus died for us in order to make this new relationship effective and real. And in the end, no matter whether we are alive on this earth or have passed away - the relationship with God is a permanent reality no matter what.

And how do we keep on going? REMIND EACH OTHER OF THIS FACT! All caps intended!
Verse 11 says we need to encourage one another, give one another courage. We also need to build each other up - literally build from the foundation up. This comes about when we touch each others’ lives in a deep, meaningful way so that each one of us has strength and courage all based on Jesus working through us.

Read Revelation chapters 20 - 22 - this is the happy ending. Are we allowed to look to the end of the book with the Bible? It may ruin your crime novel, but it may very well make your day if you take a look at the end of God’s story in the Bible. Knowing the happy ending for those with faith in Christ make today so much easier to understand and then live.

Topics: faith, god, hope, jesus, message series

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