“…and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:10
Perhaps the greatest source of MOMENTUM for the church is that we are a people who are waiting. In the shadow of the second coming of Christ, we press on. The struggles we face, the sins that threaten to topple our commitment, the pain we experience – all seek to distract us from the central truth of our lives. While we mostly live as if we all have a guarantee of 80+ years and some time in the grave before Jesus returns, that is a foolish perspective.
Jesus, raised from the dead, is going to return. I know there are a thousand end-time maps and theories about how it’s all going to happen. I have my own thoughts (which of course are biblical, reasonable, and likely correct!) but however God chooses to bring this system to it’s end and bring about a new one is fine with me. And beyond all the theories, the questions do plague us. After all, it’s been 2,000 years. That’s quite a waiting period. One can hardly be blamed for just putting the RETURN out of his mind and carrying on with daily duties. But one of the truths that creates energy, momentum, endurance, and passion is that the Risen One is coming back – and it’ll be like a thief in the night. I’ll leave the interpreting of the times to others, the Word assures us several times that we won’t know when that moment is coming. So it could be very soon.
Jesus, raised from the dead, is coming to rescue. Rescue? Why? Don’t we all live relatively good lives enjoying multitudes of creature comforts? American-fried Christianity has us enjoying life so richly that we forget that we long for a better place. What place could be better? Listen, no matter how good we’ve got it, we are in need of rescue. Not from our lives, but from the coming wrath of God. I know that God has been painted as kind, tolerant, loving all people and their ways. It is said that a good God couldn’t possibly save some and not all. So many are Universalists at heart (everyone’s saved…oh….except for mean people.) God’s wrath is coming against all who have not obeyed the gospel.
2 Thessaloinans 1:7-10 says, “This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.”
So much for the namby pamby cotton candy god who just wants you to be rich and happy.
Jesus, raised from the dead and returning to rescue is a part of the good news. In fact Apostle Paul tells this church on the move to use those thoughts as encouragements.
1 Thessalonians 5:13-18 “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
MOMENTUM… perseverance… endurance … exemplified by this church in momentum found in a little book often neglected.
I’d like to end this series of posts with a verse from the second letter to this church.
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:5
Amen. Tomorrow, a guest post from Josh Linton. A song, actually, and I hope you’ll come back to read that.
Thanks for reading,