29th April 2012
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (NIV)
As the end times approach, and let’s face it the end is nearer every day, we must place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Saviour. As we grow in grace and in our knowledge of God, our thoughts, our words and our actions become more and more like our Lord’s, uniting us together.
A J Gordon, an American minister and educator of the 1800’s, gave an example of this from nature:
“Two little saplings grew up side by side. Through the action of the strong winds they crossed over each other. By and by, the rubbing together caused each trunk to be wounded to such a degree that their sap intermingled, until one calm day they became attached. Then the stronger one began to absorb the weaker. It became larger and larger and the other weaker and weaker until it withered and died. It finally dropped off and disappeared. There are now two trunks at the bottom and only one further up.
Although one of the trunks of the tree died, by uniting together they became strong in each other. 1 Thessalonians 4 tells us to encourage one another and be united in Him, which is far more important than knowing when the dead will be raised. In relation to other events of the Second Coming it is not as important as knowing why Paul wrote these words to challenge believers to comfort and encourage one another by uniting together.
This same passage can be a great comfort to all believers. The same love that should unite us together in this present life will also unite us together when Christ returns and reigns for eternity.
Just as Jesus Christ came back to life so will all believers. All Christians, including those living when Christ returns, will live with Christ forever. Therefore, we need not despair when loved ones die or world events take a tragic turn. God will turn our tragedies into triumphs, our poverty to riches, our pain to glory and our defeats to victory. All believers throughout history will stand united together in God’s very presence, safe and secure.
As Paul comforted the Thessalonians with the promise of resurrection, so we should comfort and reassure one another with this great hope. As we wait for the Lord’s return, be united together, and have victory in Christ together.
Is a rope with three strands, one being Christ, stronger than one with two strands?
Written by John Gummer