24th Sunday after Pentecost (November 19, 2017)
- First reading and Psalm
- Alternate First reading and Psalm
- Second reading
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 |New Living Translation (NLT)
Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.
But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
This is really a continuation from last week. This is one of those examples of a chapter division being the same thought as the previous chapter. Paul continues his words about the return of Jesus. Paul is warning the believers to be ready – do not sleep – do not get lackadaisical – the Lord’s return will be quick. When people think everything is safe – look out.
Paul reminds us to live as children of the light – as people of the light. He tells us to be sober. We usually think about this in terms of drinking, but it also mean serious, somber, or (I like this word) sensible. We could say sober in judgement – meaning sensible in judgement. Paul also tells us to put on the armor – not the armor mentioned in Ephesians but a breastplate of love and the hope of salvation.
God does not want us to experience his wrath, but to receive salvation. Those who have received him, must live for Him. We don’t do that by ourselves, but together as believers. As a final thought Paul tells us to encourage one another and build each other up. This should be the goal of every Christ-follower, especially as it applies to other Christ-followers. We need each other – we need each other’s encouragement. That’s part of why we meet together each week. Is there another Christ follower who needs encouragement – build them up. In these days that Paul mentions, we need to do it.