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Sermon Notes

of the Manhattan Church of Christ


The End

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Resurrection Context

Passover/Pentecost. Jesus appears to prove His life and prepare followers for Spirit (Jn 16) 40 days.  Leaves (Acts 1:1-11) to enable Spirit’s outpouring, empowering them to be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth”.  Return will resemble departure into clouds. Clouds and God go way back – Sinai (Ex 19:16; 24:15f); tabernacle (40:34); temple (1K8:10), transfiguration (Mk 9:7). Transcendence!

Natural v. Supernatural

Coincidental nature = miracles (i.e., resurrection, sea crossing, manna).   Attempts to explain His return the same way turn God into anthropomorphic caricature.  Zeus/Buckaroo/Prankster/Manager. (BTW, Gen 9:8-17 rules out H2O ending!)

Will of Man v. Will of God – Who’s In Control?

Revelation tribulations in many ways amount to humanity experiencing the consequences of its own sin – war, famine, injustice – things in which we play a part.  However, these things are distinct/separate from final bowl/seal/trumpet that convey the ELE that is Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord

Amos 5:18, Isaiah 13:6, etc., 1 Cor 5:5, 2 Cor 1:14, etc.   Day of release and judgment.  Justice for innocent, fulfillment of all promises. Part of Paul’s teaching to Thessalonians. (Paul first expects to be alive and changed [1 Cor 15:52], but later shifts to needing to be raised [2 Cor 4:14]).  DOTL is a good thing, but needs clarification.   Do those who’ve died miss out on anything at the Lord’s coming?

Thessalonian Play by Play (What It IS) – Chapter 4

Christ’s resurrection only the first (v. 14).  At the end (1) He himself – no representative/proxy;  (2) will come down from heaven – as He left in Acts 1; (3) with a loud command [John 5:25, 11:43, Mark 5:41] “Arise!” or declamatory [Rev. 16:15] “Look! Behold!” (4) with the voice of the archangel “People of the nations,…!”[Phil 2:10]; (5) and with the trumpet call of God [1 Cor 15:51ff] (6) The dead in Christ rise [Rev 14:13]; (7) the living are “caught up” [Acts 8:39]; (8) meet the Lord [Mat 25:6]; (9) to be with the Him forever [Phil 1:23].

What It Is NOT – Chapter 5

Predictable – thief in the night (5:2; Mat 24:42; Luke 12:39f; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3).
Anticipated/Predicted (5:3) – Peace and Safety  v. Y2K, 2012, 5/21/2011
Gradual or Avoidable – labor pains both sudden and inescapable, not a secret!
Anything less that the Creator physically re-entering Creation 3d and final time.

What It Means: Perspective

Our identity – Children of light/day v. night/darkness – awake/sober v. asleep/drunk – active/understanding what’s at stake/making the most of time v. selfish, lazy pleasure.  Faith, love, fearless hope (5:8,9).  He died for us: count on being with Him!  Encourage/build each other up!

Persevere, don’t mistake His patience for absence (2 Pet 3), it’s SALVATION!  1,000 years = day.

Soon means soon!

Revelation message true in every generation.  Life is short (James 4:13ff).  Paul, Peter ask, “What can you do for OTHERS?”  Christians who need encouragement in their faith; the ends of the earth who live right next door who need the Lord.  Our lives anchored in the Resurrection on one end and in His Return on the other! Are we living like it?  Mat 24:45 – be found to be in action!

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