All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

15 February 2021 – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (ESV)

Rick Phillips writes:

The Bible’s teaching on the day of the Lord tells us that history is moving toward a great reckoning for all the evil on the earth to salvation for the people of God. This contrasts with the prevailing unbelief of our day, based on the theory of evolution, which holds that history has neither a goal nor any meaning. … The Bible teaches the opposite. Just as history had its beginning in God’s sovereign act of creation, it will conclude in the sovereign return of the LORD, the day when man’s apparent sway is brought to an end and God’s sovereign purposes are unveiled as being fully achieved. John Lillie writes: “Now it is man’s day – the day of man’s ambition – man’s pleasures – man’s judging – man’s glory; and ‘God is not in all his thoughts’ (ps. 10:4). How great the change from this to ‘the day of the LORD’! Then the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down; and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”

Since the day of the Lord will culminate God’s purpose for history, Christians must not shrink from declaring this important Bible truth. To be sure, there are better and worse ways to declare the day of the Lord. When I ministered in Philadelphia, a woman came almost every day to the train station with a large placard depicting the human race in flames and called sinners to escape God’s judgment. In all the days I walked past the woman and her sign, I never saw anyone stop to discuss the topic, despite the accuracy of her message. Yet we must avoid the opposite extreme of neglecting to tell the world about the day of the Lord. it is evident that Paul had given priority to this doctrine while in Thessalonica. Like Paul, we need to combine our witness to God’s coming judgment with a declaration of God’s grace and mercy through Jesus, who came to die for sin and whose returns is the believer’s “blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 61
Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.