First Thessalonians 4:14-18
Originally scheduled for October 14
Paul evidently had a problem with some amateur
theologian which caused him to pen these words:
For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so,
through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are
alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede
those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from
heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and
with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will
rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so
we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another
with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:14-18)
This passage corrects either of two mistakes
concerning those who are still alive and walking the planet when
One group says that it’s basically
“tough luck.” If you’re walking around alive on the planet when
Jesus returns, you missed the resurrection, you miss the rapture,
you don’t go to heaven.
Another group says that before Jesus
can return, the church must completely die out. (Your author has
heard this one within his own lifetime.)
Paul corrects the original misimpression: the
idea is that if you’re still alive when Christ returns somehow or
other you must be missing out, because only the dead shall rise.
Paul says that’s not true; the rest of us who are living on the
planet will rise with the dead having seen them rise first. The
issue is an important one; so much so that Paul tells the
Thessalonians that they are to comfort each other with these words.
We still use them today at funerals of good Christian people.
Communion is a sign of the resurrection of the
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim
the Lord's death until he comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:26)
Note the last three words — “until He comes.”
Communion is a sign:
It is a sign of what he promised —
victory over death.
It is a sign of what he proved — that
he has power over death, shown at his resurrection.
It should also be a sign of our
preparation — we don’t know the day and time, but we know he is
coming and we should be ready for it.
Therefore, as you partake of communion this
morning, do so in a worthy manner:
First, partake in remembrance of the
sacrifice he made at Calvary.
Next, partake and fellowship with
your Christian brothers and sisters. If there is anything between
you, resolved to settle it as quickly as possible and remain in the
unity of the church.
Finally, partake in hope — for Christ
is your hope of the defeat of death. God’s children shall live
forever in His kingdom.