Month: November 2017
1 Thessalonians 5
1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.
2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
How do you prepare for a thief? Well, you lock your doors and windows and maybe you install an alarm system. You might get a watchdog and you might keep a weapon near you. But the reality is, you never know when a thief may come and a really good thief isn’t deterred by your protection devices. So, when a thief comes in the night no one is really prepared for their coming. Paul uses this illustration to describe the coming of the Lord.
Then he talks about the labor pains of a woman about to give birth. The day that Steven was born Bobbi was a full month ahead of her due date when she went into labor. We didn’t think it was labor until she went into transition. We rushed to the hospital and 28 minutes later Steven was born. We were not prepared but it didn’t matter, she had a baby.
When Jesus comes it will be much like these two illustrations. Most people won’t be ready for Christ’s return. He will take them by surprise and they will wish they were more prepared. Then Paul says that we are not of the darkness so this day will not take us by surprise. We are children of the light and of the day. We have seen the truth of God’s word, we have accepted the Son, and we live in the Light of His Holy Spirit within us. We are ready for the return of Christ whether it be today, tonight, or tomorrow. Are you ready for the Lord’s return? He is coming back for His church. Today would be a good day for His return.
We had a good night with the youth last night. I finished a study on the Word of God with them. The end of the lesson was a question on a piece of paper; it simply asked if they believed the Bible was the Word of God and if so, what did that do for their lives? This is a good question for us all to consider. Pray for our teens. They face all kinds of pressure every day and they need the Word of God as their guide and their source of truth.
I will be speaking Sunday on the second Sola of the Reformation which is this: We are Justified by Grace Alone. This is an amazing topic! We really don’t understand this as much as we should nor as much as we could. We may never really understand the mind of God offering us grace when we deserve justice. Grace alone brings us to the very foundation of our salvation. Either our faith is in God’s grace or it is in something else. Pray for Sunday’s message to sink into our understanding.
Have a great day in the Lord,
The Reformation began 500 years ago. From that time there developed 5 solas, or 5 aspects of justification that are alone. In this message, Pastor Steve looks at how we can be justified by faith alone. All religions add something to do besides believe, yet Romans 3 speaks of the necessity of faith.
1 Thessalonians 4
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
You have to love the first words of this section, “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord.” We know that Paul’s writing were inspired by the Holy Spirit, but he just wanted to make sure we knew this in a few places and this was one of them. How important it is for us to know that this life is not all that there is and that God has not forgotten nor forsaken us but is coming again, as the angels said at Christ’s ascension. My friends, be assured that Jesus is coming back to receive us unto Himself.
In the difficult hours of this life we have a sure promise of a better life to come. In the worst moments of life we have an anticipation that our Lord could come at that difficult moment and take us out of it. He is coming again!
Paul wants us to be aware that Jesus will come with a shout and with a trumpet. I believe that only those who know Him will hear that shout and will rise to that trumpet. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice…” Those who have rejected Christ in life will not hear His upward call. But those of us who have spent out lives listening to the voice of God through His word and know what submission to the Holy Spirit is, the upward call, the shout of the Lord Jesus, will be as welcome as the dinner call to a hungry teenager.
Then, once we have been taken into our Lord’s presence, with all of the dead who have died in the Lord, we will be with our Lord and with each other forever. Doesn’t this promise help us put up with drama of this life? And then, Paul tells us that we are to comfort one another with these words. Be comforted my friends. Jesus is coming again and He is going to take us with Him to be with Him forever and ever. Be comforted.
Susan Brown’s surgery went well. I saw her and Gary yesterday. She will be in a neck brace for 10-12 weeks. She feels good but looks forward to a full night’s sleep. Thanks for your prayer for her.
Tonight is our Wednesday night opportunities for Bible study and for prayer. One of the items our church wanted to improve on was our prayer together. Remember that if you cannot come at 7:00 come at 7:45 for prayer. We changed this around for those of you who work late but would like to pray with the church.
This Sunday we will have the Korean couple singing with us. They were with us a two years ago and blessed our hearts with their song.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 Thessalonians 4:13–14
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
What wonderful words God has given us in regards to death and eternal life. As I have taught before, in the New Testament writings, whenever someone died in Christ they are referred to as “falling asleep.” Even when Lazarus died, Jesus told his disciples that Lazarus was just asleep. When we think of death we think of something permanent. But when we think about someone going to sleep we think only of temporary rest.
Have you ever looked at someone sleeping and wondered if they were alive or dead? I remember often looking for the rise and fall of my children’s chests while they were napping just confirming that they were only napping. When I saw their little chest rise and fall I was comforted and let them sleep. Though talking about death and resurrection, Paul, under the inspiration of God, wrote that we should not be ignorant, that is, without knowledge, concerning those who have fallen asleep in Christ.
The difference between going to sleep and dying is important. Since we possess eternal life from the moment of our salvation, we are never going to die. Our bodies might stop functioning for awhile but even that is temporary. Everyone who goes to sleep in Jesus will be brought back with Him when He returns. So Paul tells us that our sorrow is a sorrow with hope. The one we are sorrowing over is going to wake up when Jesus puts their spirit back into their glorified body. At that point, the bodies that died in weakness, dishonor, and decay will be raised with glory, honor and power. Hallelujah! Death is a temporary sleep in Christ.
Pray for Mary Green, her mother did go to be with the Lord last week. We had a sweet funeral for her Friday night and rejoiced that God had taken her to be with Him. Do keep Mary, her sister and brother in prayer as they deal with this (temporary) loss of their mother.
On Sunday afternoon, December 3rd the Naperville Men’s Glee Club will be having our annual Christmas concert at Knox Presbyterian. Steven has done all of the directing preparation for this concert. We will begin with an Advent set and then go into traditional Christmas music of different types. It is always a fun concert for both children and adults. If you would like to attend this year, let me know how many tickets you will need. They are $15 for general admission, $12 for seniors and $10 for students.
Dave had his surgery last week and was with us Sunday night for our first foundations of counseling class. It was great to see him up and about.
Susan Brown, of Pray Naperville, had surgery on her spine yesterday. Pray for her recovery.
Have a great day in the Lord,
In this first message in a series on the five solas of the Reformation, Pastor Steve explains what justification is and why we need to be justified by God.
On Friday Brent Finished the last two verses of Titus 2 as we moved our service out to the First Baptist Church of Big Rock, Illinois where my son Steve is the pastor. It was a great way to wrap up our Fall Revival. We thank God for open ears and hearts to every message from His word through His servant.