THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
(New Yearís Eve, December 31, 2003)
The events of the New Year always make me think about the second coming of Christ. I suppose this is for two reasons. First, because of all the false pretence of religion this time of year, I canít help but wonder if Christ just might not come again unawares at this time to make a mockery of mankindís drunken revelry, which attends and follows their alleged celebration of His birth.
Secondly, the New Year makes me consider the passing of the old year, and of this old sinful age in which we now toil and labor, and the bringing in of the New Year and the New Age of our Lordís millennial kingdom.
Yes, beloved, the second coming of Christ will mark the beginning of a new year, as it were, and the beginning of a new and glorious age in the history of the world. Jesus will bring in a new world government in which He will rule and reign in righteousness as King Supernal upon the promised throne of David.
When Jesus comes again He will make all things New, and restore the earth back to its original beauty that it possessed prior to Adam and Eveís sin, and the curse because of their sin.
The second coming of Christ also will mark the end of this old age, and all of its wicked sins, and all of its rebellion against its God and Creator. How we should long for and look for that New Yearís day, which is known in the Scriptures as the Day of the Lord!
This evening we want to consider three thoughts from our text in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, about the blessed second coming of Christ.
1. The Coming of the Day of the Lord.
We want to consider six questions about the day of the Lord.
1) What is the Day of the Lord? It is a series of events beginning with the rapture, and includes the Great Tribulation period, the spiritual rebirth of national Israel, the literal and actual return of Christ to the earth, the battle of Armageddon, the judgment of the nations, and the millennial reign of Christ upon the throne of David in Jerusalem.
2) Is there really going to be a Day of the Lord? People have been talking about it a long time, but it still hasnít happened yet! (Read vv. 1-2). Yes beloved, Jesus is coming again. Regardless of what people might believe about the second coming of Christ, and all of the particular events that are involved with His second coming, one thing is for certain, Jesus is coming again! He is coming back in the air for His people, and seven years later He is coming back bodily to this earth where He will rule and reign a thousand years. Make no mistake about it. Just as surely as Jesus came the first time, He is coming again the second time.
3) When will the Day of the Lord come? The Day of the Lord is imminent, which means it could happen any moment! The Apostle Paul and other New Testament writers looked for it in their day. We donít know the hour, the day, or even the year in which the Lord will come, but we know that it could be any time. It could be tonight! One of these days a Baptist preacher is going to say that from behind His pulpit, and the Lord is going to come that instant! Wouldnít that be something?
4) Will the world be expecting it? (Read vv. 2-3). No! It will come upon this world like a thief in the night. The thief comes when the owner of the house is sleeping, and when he is least expecting. When the world says ďpeace and safetyĒ, the Lord will come. When they think all is well, and all is prosperous, and all is at peace; then will He come. When the United Nations thinks they have all the worldís problems solved, and the economy is booming, and when the world least wants Him to come back; then will the Lord come!
5) How will people know that the day of the Lord has begun? (Read v. 3). All Christians will be taken out in the rapture. All at once the person sitting next to you will be left alone. All at once the person in the car next to you will be left alone. All at once millions of people are just going to disappear into thin air, as it were. People are going to wonder what happened to half of their family members, or employees that just seemed to disappear. And immediately after the rapture of the saints, the sudden destruction of the Great tribulation period will ensue.†
The horse judgments will begin first, bringing with them great wars and bloodshed, famine, disease, depression, and the rise of the Beast to world power. These will be followed by the trumpet judgments, and then by the great vial or bowl judgments that God will pour out upon the earth. As a result of all of these judgments, and the martyrdom of multitudes of saints that will be saved during this time, and the great battle of Armageddon, in which hundreds of thousands of wicked men will be killed by the sword of the Lord when He returns, it is estimated that as many as 2/3 of the worldís population will be killed during this 7 year period. Possibly 4 or 5 billion people will die during this short period of time. This day, beloved, will mark unprecedented devastation upon the whole world, such as it has never known before.
But all this will begin when Jesus comes to take His people out in the rapture.
6) Who should be ready for the Day of the Lord? (Read vv. 4-5). All believers should be ready. We have the light of Godís Word with chapters of Scripture such as this one, and many other such chapters, which clearly teach about our Lordís soon return. We who are members of the Lordís church, who hear about the blessed second coming of our Lord practically every week of the year, we should be ready and expecting His return. We of all people are without excuse! We are not in darkness like the children of this world, but we are children of the light, who have been given an understanding of these things.
2. Preparation for the Day of the Lord.
1) How can lost sinners prepare for the Day of the Lord? There is only one way for you to prepare for it: Repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus for salvation! This is the only preparation that will do lost sinners any good in that day!
Repent and believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again from the dead the third day according to the Scriptures, and you will be saved this very instant!
2). What can believers do to prepare for the Day of the Lord? (Read v. 6). Donít sleep as others do! The whole world is fast asleep spiritually (Read v. 7). The whole world out there tonight is fast asleep in their drunken stupors. They are fast asleep in their wicked, sinful, drunken celebrations. They are spiritually asleep to the fact of Christís second coming, and the judgment of God that will soon come upon them. But beloved, as believers tonight, donít fall asleep to the things of God. Donít fall asleep to the Word of God and the leadership of the Holy Sprit of God in our lives. Donít fall asleep to the service of God in His church.
Let us watch and be sober. Be alert. Be on your spiritual guard. Be aware of the cold, spiritual indifference that is prevailing upon the world today. Be sober. The world is drowning in amusement and drunken in sinful pleasures, but let Godís people stay sober. Let us not indulge ourselves in the sins and pleasures that are leading this world down to the pit of hell. Let us live like children of the light and of the day. Let us live, and walk, and watch, as we walk in the light of Godís Word in this present evil world.
Let us put on the breastplate of faith and love. These two things will be all but lacking when the Day of the Lord comes. Jesus said in Luke 18:8 ďWhen the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?Ē Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 concerning the last times ďbecause iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold.Ē
The evil world in these times in which we live is staging an all-out attack against our faith. The teachings of humanism, and evolution, and long geologic ages in our public schools and universities, and all the nature programs on TV that teach evolution, and a thousand other sources of humanistic teachings, are bombarding our faith, and undermining the very foundation of the Christian faith.
The wicked, vile sins that are running rampant in our society are attacking our love for Jesus by distracting our hearts away from Him with carnal lusts and pleasures, and alluring our attention and focus away from Jesus and our hope of salvation at His second coming.
Beloved, let us put that breastplate of faith and love back on our hearts where it belongs, and let us lay aside every weight of sin that is besetting our love, and every humanistic teaching that is attacking our faith, and let us fall in love with Jesus again, in get back on fire for Him!
Let us put on the helmet of salvation. The helmet of salvation is the hope of salvation, or the assurance of salvation. Donít be a doubting Thomas, but believe in Jesus with all your heart, mind, and soul. John said in 1 John 5:13† ďThese things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.Ē Hebrews 10:22 tells us ďLet us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faithĒ
All of these things will help believers to be prepared for His coming, so that we wonít be ashamed at His coming. Iím afraid there are going to be many who are going to be ashamed at His coming!
3. The Christianís Confidence and Hope (Read vv. 9-10).
1) Will believers go through the Great Tribulation period? No beloved, we are not appointed unto wrath. Consider Noah and the great flood judgment, and consider Lot and the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. In both cases God delivered His people from His wrath that He poured out upon the world.
We were appointed to obtain salvation. We were appointed to be delivered from the wrath to come. This includes both the tribulation period, and the eternal lake of fire. How are we delivered? Through Jesus our Saviour who died for us. It is only by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus that we shall be delivered from the wrath to come.
Now, beloved, I believe that there shall be a multitude of sinners saved during the tribulation period. I donít say this to hold out hope for those who reject the Gospel of Jesus today. I wouldnít count on coming to faith in Christ during the tribulation period, if you reject Him in this day of grace. Nevertheless, the book of Revelation teaches that there will be many saved during that awful time. However, with the exception of the 144 thousand sealed Jews, most of those who will be saved during the tribulation period will suffer horrifying martyr deaths at the hand of the Beast and His Christ hating world empire.
Beloved, believers can have great confidence and hope against the coming of our Lord. We have nothing to fear in that day, but we look for salvation complete when Jesus comes to take His people home.
In conclusion, in verse 11 Paul says that we can take comfort and encouragement in these teachings about our Lordís second coming (Read v. 11). The very fact of His soon return aught to make us excited, and cause us to be encouraged and on fire for the Lord, as we anticipate His coming in the air for us. This teaching of the second coming of Christ will help edify, and build us up in our most holy faith, and stir up our hearts with love for Jesus, and give us a desire to serve Him, and to watch for His second coming.
Finally, are you ready for the second coming of the Lord this evening? Are you trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for your eternal salvation? As a believer, are you preparing yourself against that day? Are you watching? Are you sober? Do you have on the breastplate of faith and love? And are you wearing the helmet of salvation, which is your hope and assurance that you are a child of God, and that you are ready to meet Jesus when He comes again for you?