Comfort for the Saved (1 Thessalonians #15)

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Comfort of knowing

  • But I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep… (vs 13)
  • God wants you to know what happens after the death of this body.
  • If you have a saved, mom, dad, friend, brother, sister, son, daughter who has died, you haven’t lost them.  You know exactly where they are.  And they are more alive today than they ever were here in a body of sin.
  • Some say, “No one can know what happens.”  God just said, I would not have you ignorant…

Comfortless people

  • …sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (vs 13)
  • Hopelessness of people at the grave.
  • Some people choose to remain ignorant, ignore God’s words on it.
  • Self proclaiming religions of hopelessness.
    • They say, “We don’t know what’s going to happen when you die.”  Admitting they are only a temporary religion.
    • If your belief system, religion can’t explain life after the death of the body, it is a religion of sorrow and ignorance.
  • Here is a case where ignorance means sorrow.

Condition of comfort

  • …if we believe… (vs 14)
  • I hope you all believe, but some of you don’t.
  • Same confidence of future as your trust in the past.
  • The only shot of ending up with God is trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    • Funeral and the preacher may try to put this person in heaven by talking about their generosity, never met a stranger, friendly, kind, loving.  That is all well and good, but the reason you sit listening having no idea where the dead are is because not one of those things gets him out of the grave.
    • Good works don’t raise the dead.
    • You need life; not merit, not honor, not congratulations.
    • Death had the final word until Jesus Christ.
      • Everything people did they did in relation to death.
      • Death was king.  There was no escaping death.  Whether you were good, bad, didn’t matter.
      • The Jesus Christ came and died and rose again.  Death was no longer king.  Now life would be offered in Jesus Christ.  He is the only one who can offer it.
      • Mohammed is dead.
      • Popes are dead.
      • I think Buddha had some good things to say.  Maybe so, but Buddha is dead.  He’s unable to offer life and life is what you need.
  • …which sleep in Jesus…
    • So not everyone is “in a better place”, only those who put their faith in the death and resurrection life of Jesus Christ.
    • Notice they are with God.  People say think there are many ways to God.
    • You might look at some zealous Christian and say they’re weird.  But they have a view you don’t have.

Certainty of comfort

  • …by the word of the Lord… alive and remain… (vs 15)
  • The idea is that as long there are Christians living, the dead will stay in the ground and all things continue as they are.  Not so.
  • There is certainly coming a day when the dead in Christ shall rise

Comforting call

  • the Lord himself shall descend from heaven… (vs 16)
    • Compare with Matthew 24:31 where Jesus sends his angels
    • Jesus Christ himself calls.  My sheep hear my voice.
  • It is a mystery in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
    • moment, twinkling of an eye
    • at the last trump so there is a first trump
    • trump of God
      • first trump is the dead being raised
      • last trump is we which are alive
  • A child of God is suppose to be listening for that call.  Live their life listening for that call.

Comfort of being caught away

  • …so shall we ever be with the Lord (vs 18)… forever and ever and ever and ever….
    • I’m not taking cancer with me
    • I’m not taking pain with me
    • I’m not taking a cursed body with me
    • I’m not taking a carnal mind with me
    • I’m not taking a broken heart with me
  • I’ve got some things I want to do.  Like what?!
    • Get some more land and big house?  How about a mansion, all the land you want without thorns and draughts?!
    • Graduate from school?  How about graduation to perfect knowledge?!
    • Make some more money?  How about walking on streets of gold?!
    • Make it to retirement?  How about eternal retirement and rest?!

Comforting words

  • …comfort one another with these words… (vs 18)
  • Sometimes we try to comfort each other with hope down here-
    • It will work out.  Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.  Fact is whatever “it” is doesn’t need to work out because my comfort isn’t in that.
    • Someone may say, “You’re going to beat this cancer!” Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t.  Those aren’t the words of comfort.  THESE are the words of comfort.  Cancer can have this body.  I’m not going to need it one day.
    • Someone may say, “You’ll find someone else.”  Maybe you will, maybe you won’t.  Truth is, if you’re in Christ, there is coming a day when you won’t be looking anymore anyway.