For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
Last week I spoke with a younger man about the recent segment on 60 minutes about what is now called “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” instead of UFOs. Like many, he was skeptical of the report and he is probably just as likely to view the words in the verses above with a great deal of skepticism.
How do you respond to the idea of Christ’s return? Is there excitement, anticipation, skepticism? a little fear, a lot of fear? What did Paul think?
It’s not a trick question. In the final verse in the passage above, he states that we should “encourage one another with these words.”
Why do you think these words should be encouraging?
For as long as I can remember, I have heard teaching about the imminent return of Christ to redeem His people and to ultimately fulfill His plan for mankind. If you believe that Christ has actually risen, you will be encouraged because you expect His return. If you don’t, questions remain, and for those consider this quote –
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”C.S. Lewis