Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #320 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Thessalonians 4 today and our focus is on In What Order Will The End Times and Second Coming Events Unfold? What is God’s Exact Will For MY Life Now? Who Was the First Avenger? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Victoria, Australia, Laguna, Philippines, parts unknown Norway and Italy, Ontario, Canada, Maharashtra, India, Andalusia, Spain, San Jose, California, Sacramento, California, Los Angeles, California, Monterey, California, Houston, Texas, Washington, D.C., Mobile, Alabama, Boston, Massachusetts, Waco, Texas, Portland, Oregon and Bowling Green, Kentucky. Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Today we are focused in on a big last days question, but let’s tackle a big question that all of us have wondered about at one time or another- What is God’s will RIGHT NOW for my life? And friends, I have good news, because I am going to tell you the answer to that question beyond any sort of shadow of a doubt, and I guarantee – 100% guarantee or your money back, that you are just about to hear God’s indisputable will for your life. Are you ready? Are you seated, maybe – this is a big moment! It’s not every day that you get such certainty that you are just about to hear the indubitable will of God for your life, but you’ve come to the right place for it. Take a deep breath…here it is:
3 For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you keep away from sexual immorality, 4 that each of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
And, again – I guarantee that is God’s will for my life and your life right now. Now, I sense that some of you might be a little disappointed, or challenged with this, but it is right there in black and white – God’s will for our lives. Very often we spend lots of time trying to discern God’s will for our lives in areas where He has given us liberty – what school to go to, what job to take, who to marry, etc., but don’t pay enough attention to God’s great and universal will for our lives – things like this passage, where He calls us to sanctification and away from sexual immorality. I find the follow up to this passage rather chilling, also – as this is one of those commands where God promises to powerfully oppose those who are outside of His will in this matter:
5 not with lustful passions, like the Gentiles, who don’t know God. 6 This means one must not transgress against and take advantage of a brother or sister in this manner, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you. 7 For God has not called us to impurity but to live in holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:5-7
So – those who are cheating with somebody else’s spouse, or those who are sexually abusing somebody, or taking advantage of somebody sexually – I encourage you to quickly and completely repent, because the Lord Himself is an AVENGER of all such things – He takes such offenses very, very seriously, and I doubt you would want to find yourself in opposition to the real First Avenger.
Second topic – how will the end times and return of Jesus unfold? Paul gives us quite an outline in 1 Thessalonians 4, to explain it for us, let’s turn to pastor Charles Simeon, who was a Godly man of wisdom who pastored in England in the 1700s-1800s and wrote a wonderful commentary on the Bible called the Horae Homileticae.
This perhaps is a matter of curiosity, rather than of any great practical importance: but Paul would not that the Thessalonian Christians should be ignorant of it; and therefore it is not undeserving of our attention.
The resurrection then will take place in this order:—
First, the dead will be raised from their graves—
[All that have ever departed out of the world will be restored to life, each clothed in his own proper body. The sea and the grave will yield up those who have long since been entombed within them, and they shall all live again upon the earth. The text indeed speaks of the righteous only, who had fallen asleep in Christ: but in other passages we are informed that the ungodly also will hear the voice of the Son of God, and, in obedience to it, come forth from their graves. Irresistible will be the summons, when “the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God,” shall sound. When Jesus came in his state of humiliation, thousands withstood his voice: but none will, “when he shall come in his own glory, and the glory of his Father, with his holy angels.” The great and mighty, as well as the mean and insignificant, shall come forth alike, each re-united to his kindred body, and each appearing in his own proper character.]
Next, those who remain alive upon the earth will be changed—
[Certainly those who are on the earth will not be changed first; and it appears, that they will remain unchanged, whilst all who have ever died are restored to life. What a surprising sight will it be, to behold such countless multitudes of the children of Adam bursting forth from their graves, and standing up, an innumerable host, in their incorruptible and glorified bodies!———But, this once effected, the people who are then living upon earth will be changed in an instant, their mortal and corruptible bodies becoming at once, and without any dissolution preparatory to it, incorruptible and immortal. This is the order which St. Paul has specified also in another epistle: first the trumpet, then the rising of the dead, and then the change of the living. Well may the Apostle call it a “mystery.” But as all will then be in that form which they will bear to all eternity, what an amazing difference will then appear in those who once perfectly resembled each other! the godly how beautiful! the ungodly, how deformed! both having either heaven or hell depicted in their very countenances! Amazing sight! how infinitely surpassing all human conception!]
Then will they all together be “caught up to meet the Lord in the air”—
[Yes, into the presence of their Judge must they go: and as the earth would not be a theatre sufficient for the occasion, they must meet the Lord in the air. Blessed, blessed summons to the godly! With what joy will they go forth to meet Him, whom unseen they loved, and out of. whose fulness they received all the grace that ever they possessed, “their spirits being now made perfect,” and “their vile body fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body!” On the other hand, with what reluctance are the ungodly dragged into his presence! How gladly would they hide themselves from him, if it were possible. Thousands, who were once the great and noble of the earth, and who thought there was none above them to whom they owed allegiance, will now curse the day that they were born, and “cry to the rocks and mountains to cover them” from the face of their offended Lord.]
Having stated this, he declares,
They “shall be ever with the Lord”—
[From him they will receive a sentence of acquittal,…To his right hand will they be called, as a prelude to the honour he is about to confer upon them. The judgment finished, he ascends with all his bright attendants to the heaven of heavens, the immediate residence of the Deity; and these his redeemed people now ascend together with him, to behold his glory in all its unclouded splendor, and to participate his throne, even as he participates his Father’s throne. O what fulness of joy do they now possess! How bright their vision of his glory! how unbounded their fruition of his love! Nothing now could add to their felicity; nor can any thing now detract from it. That too which constitutes its chief ingredient is, that it will be “for ever.” Were this happiness to be only for a fixed period, however long, it would not be complete: the idea of its ultimate termination would cob it of half its value. But it will be pure and endless as the Deity himself.]
But how different the condition of the ungodly!
[They will be bidden to “depart from him; to depart accursed; to depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Alas! alas! what weeping, what wailing, what gnashing of teeth will they experience; and that also for ever and ever! Unhappy creatures! “Good were it for them, that they had never been born.”]
Charles Simeon, Horae Homileticae: Philippians to 1 Timothy, vol. 18 (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1833), 330–332.
Bible Memory passage for the month of November: John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
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