“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 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 Thes. 4:13-18
The elder team at TCC has been talking about what we feel like the Lord would want us to share with the body in 2017. One of the things we have felt is very important is “Hope”. 1 Cor. 13:13 says that three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. We tend to focus on faith and love and rightly so. But, we should not forget hope. It is an earnest expectation that God is going to move somehow, someway in the middle of our circumstance to either deliver us out of it or bring us through it graciously.
Scripture also tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick. In other words, when we lose hope for whatever reason, we begin to suffer in our soul. You see, hope is described as an anchor for our soul and as we place our hope in the Lord, he promises to renew our strength so that we can “run and not grow weary and walk and not faint” Isaiah 40:31). The Psalmist asked himself the question, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Ps. 42:11).
In today’s passage: I Thessalonians 4, Paul is reminding his readers of the hope they have of the resurrection. The fact that Jesus died and rose again defeating death, hell and the grave should give us great hope because He did all of that so that we could have the opportunity to repent of our sins and believe on the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In doing so, the sting of death disappears because we are assured there will be a day when this same Jesus who ascended into heaven will descend again and we who are believers will either be raised from the dead or caught up to meet him in the air if we are still alive. From that day forward, we will always be with the Lord!
That my friends should give us all of the hope we need to make it through this election, deal with crisis moments in our own lives, and share this wonderful truth with an unbeliever who has no reason for hope.