TITN Series Part 3: Encourage One Another – 1 Thess 5:9-11
I believe that WE ARE the Church at the end of the age of Grace. WE ARE the last generation of Christians living before Jesus Christ returns to establish God’s kingdom on Earth. WE ARE living in the Last Days. Through the apostle Paul, the Lord Jesus has given us instructions about how to live and what to do right up to the time he calls us up into the sky to take us back to heaven with him.
In the previous 2 sermons we have covered ….
Part 1: Get Ready 1 Thess 5:1-5
Part 2: Stay Alert and Self-Controlled 1 Thess 5:6-8
The last message in the series is …
Part 3: Encourage One Another 1 Thess 5:9-11
This morning WE will look at the last three verses in this section, verses 9-11. Here we find the last thing that we need to be doing as the Day of the Lord approaches. Let me remind you what I said in earlier messages. Since WE ARE the generation which will experience the Rapture of the Church, this passage was written specifically for us.
If you don’t remember anything else, I say this morning, I HOPE you will (REMEMBER!) this…
*We all need to be encouraging each other with the truth that God did not plan for us to suffer through the tribulation period. GOD’s righteous wrath against us for our sins was fully satisfied when JESUS suffered and died on the cross for us. We should encourage each other with the PROMISE that Jesus WILL come back to rescue us. He IS going to take us back to live in heaven with him during the Day of the Lord. (REPEAT)
(Part 3. Encourage one Another: Remind fellow believers not to worry because Jesus is coming back before the tribulation starts, to rescue us and take us to live with him.)
Please open your Bibles to 1 Thessalonians 5 and follow along as I read verses 9-11. If you didn’t bring a Bible with you, there is one on the pew in front of you that you can use. I will wait for you to find your place. Please, follow along in your Bible as I read verses 9 through 11 of 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5. It will be good for you to see these verses as well as hear me read them out loud.
- READ SCRIPTURE 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
- FOR GOD DID NOT APPOINT US TO SUFFER WRATH ***
The scripture says here that God did not appoint us to suffer wrath. The “US” Paul is talking about is the Church of Jesus Christ and specifically the Church that will be living at the end of the age of Grace and before the Day of the Lord’s wrath comes.
Jesus bore the full wrath of God against the sins of the believer when HE died on the cross for us. God does not have any more wrath for those who HAVE put their faith in Jesus and HAVE been saved by him.
Romans 5:8–9 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have NOW been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
This passage emphatically echo’s the teaching that WE, the Church, WHO have been justified by the blood of Christ, will be saved from God’s wrath through him.
Therefore, it makes NO SENSE for us to be here on earth when God’s wrath is poured out on a wicked and unbelieving world. The wrath of God will begin after the removal of the Church and the restraining work of the Holy Spirit comes to an end. The wrath of God continues with the revelation of the man of lawlessness to the world (2 Thess 2:3). It is made official when Jesus opens the first seal on the scroll kicking off the first of 21 Judgements on the earth. This first seal judgment involves a white horse, which will be released on the world. Its rider will be given a crown and a bow (but no arrows), and he will be bent on conquest (Rev 6:1,2). The rider on the horse is the first beast, a political ruler known as the antichrist. He will conquer the world, not by military might but by deception, promising peace and safety but delivering slavery to his one world government.
The Structure of the Book of Revelation indicates a Pre-Tribulational rapture. I have omitted that discussion from this sermon. However, I have explained it in a short document that you can pick up and take home on your way out, along with the sermon notes. At the end of that document, is some information about the Identity of the 24 Elders in the book of Revelation.
Pastor John told us that those who hold to a literal interpretation of prophecy also hold a Premillennial view of the second coming of Jesus. The Premillennial view teaches that Jesus Christ will return to earth after the Tribulation period, and establish God’s kingdom, which he will rule over for a LITERAL 1000 years.
Within the premillennial camp there are four different views concerning the timing of the Rapture in relation to the tribulation period. The Pre-Trib view of the Rapture, which this verse supports, holds that the Church will not be on earth to suffer any part of the tribulation period. This is because the Rapture will occur before the tribulation period starts. People who hold the other pre-millennial views think that the Church will go through at least part of the tribulation period. Thus, these other views require the church to suffer wrath.
Here is a high-level summary of the four main premillennial views concerning WHEN the Rapture of the church will occur in relation to the 7-year tribulation period.
The Pre-Trib view – The Church will NOT go through the tribulation period. Jesus will come back and take us to heaven before it starts.
The Mid-Trib view – The Church will go through the first half of the tribulation period before Jesus comes to take us to heaven.
The Post-Trib view – The Church will go through the whole tribulation. Jesus will only come once at the end of the tribulation. He will NOT take us to heaven to live with him. We will stay on the earth with him to establish his kingdom.
The Pre-Wrath view – The Church will go through ¾ of the tribulation period. According to this view, the first 6 seal judgments in the book of Revelation will occur before the Rapture of the Church. These seal judgements will stretch over about 5 ¼ years of the 7-year tribulation period from the beginning of it through the middle of the second half of it while the Church is still on earth. These seal judgements are said to be the Wrath of Man and not the Wrath of God. There are many problems with this UNBIBLICAL view. Dr. David Reagan wrote a great article called “The Pre-Wrath Rapture – Is there any validity to this concept?”. A copy is available for you in the back to take home and read.
The Pre-Wrath view is the perfect example what is called ISOGESIS. ISOGESIS is reading into scripture your own pre-conceived ideas. If the natural and normal interpretation of scripture doesn’t fit your idea, then you twist and manipulate the meaning of scripture to make it fit. It’s like making a square peg fit into a round hole. If you hammer the peg hard enough you can force it to go in. On the other hand, EXOGESIS, means leading out, the meaning of scripture that the author intended. With this method of interpretation, you allow the scripture to speak for itself and interpret itself and then you form your ideas based on that.
All these views, other than the Pre-Trib Rapture view, have the Church falling under the wrath of God, which will be poured out on the world DURING THE ENTIRE 7 years of the Tribulation period or the Day of the Lord. Our text today DOES NOT ALLOW for this, because God has not appointed us to suffer wrath. In addition to God’s wrath, the wrath of Satan will also be poured out against Israel and tribulation saints, after he is cast out of heaven in the middle of the tribulation period (Rev 12:9). So, if the Church went through the tribulation period it would suffer Satan’s wrath as well as God’s.
If any of these other positions, on the timing of the Rapture, in relation to the tribulation period, were true, then it would be terrifying to us believers as we approach the coming of the Day of the Lord. It would NOT be encouraging or comforting at all. We should all be constructing concrete bunkers 10 feet underground and storing up enough food and water to last us for at least seven years. So, it is good, for us, that this passage, along with several others, tell us that God promises that we will NOT be called to suffer and die in THE TRIBULATION PERIOD if we belong to Jesus now.
I don’t think there is any virtue in signing up to suffer something that God says he is going to protect the believer from. Frankly, I don’t quite understand those Christians who take pride in wanting to go through some or all, of the Tribulation period. Rather, I think there will be some SHAME before the Lord at the Rapture for those Christians WHO REFUSED TO BELIEVE what God CLEARLY said he would do, namely, spare the Church from wrath.
For me, one clear statement from God in the Bible carries more weight than all the fine sounding arguments in the world against it. I urge you to listen to this sermon and study the scriptures for yourself, asking God to show you what is true. Does what I am saying today, or the teaching of others, agree with the testimony of the Old Testament Prophets and New Testament Apostles? If not, you have a right to be suspicious and the responsibility to ask questions before jumping on the bandwagon of some popular teaching. One of the signs of the last times will be false teaching and the denial of Jesus’ promise to return. You can read about it in 2 Peter 2:1-3 and 2 Peter 3:3–4.
There are many precedents and examples, in the Old Testament, of God taking believers out of the way before his judgment begins. The best examples are Noah and Lot. I talked about this in a previous sermon. We saw that Jesus reminded his disciples of how it was on earth before the flood and before Lot left Sodom. God’s FINAL judgements in THE LAST DAYS will play out, pretty much, in the same way as it has happened before. People will be going about their business as usual, ignoring all the warnings of the coming judgement. God will remove those who belong to him and then, shortly after he does, the judgements will begin to fall.
Peter talks about this in 2 Peter 2:4-9. Remembering Jesus’ teaching he says,
“For if God … did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
God knows how to rescue the righteous, BY GETTING THEM TO SAFETY before his judgement begins, and how to hold the wicked for judgement, by allowing them to be blind to their impending doom. Just as God did for Noah and Lot, he will do for us.
Noah and his family were saved from the destruction of the flood in the safety of the Ark. The day they entered the Ark, God closed the door, and the rain began to fall, drowning all who were outside the Ark. The people Left Behind on earth by the Rapture will be like those who didn’t make it inside Noah’s ark of safety before the flood came and washed them all away.
Jesus is the ARK OF SAFETY from the Day of the Lord for those who are in Him! (AMEN!)
Two angels removed Lot and his family from Sodom. That same day fire and brimstone rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah burning up all the people in those two wicked cities. The people Left Behind by the Rapture will be like those in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah after the two angels rescued Lot and his family.
Jesus is the RESCUING ANGEL from God’s FINAL judgements for those who belong to Him! (AMEN!)
- *** BUT TO RECEIVE SALVATION THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
The BUT… in this verse tells us that INSTEAD OF suffering wrath we will be receiving salvation. While the world is SUFFERING wrath during the Day of the Lord on the earth, we, the Church, will be ENJOYING our salvation in heaven with Jesus.
This verse tells us that our salvation will come THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. When Jesus comes, he will complete our salvation. He started the process when he died on the Cross for our sins and was raised again on the third day. He will complete the process of our salvation when he returns for the Church. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning, and the end, of our salvation.
Theologians have categorized the three phases of the salvation process like this:
Phase 1: Justification – Separating us from the penalty of sin.
When we put our faith in Jesus, our sins are reckoned to be paid in full by the death of Jesus and we are credited with righteousness by the righteous life of Jesus. We are declared righteous before God. This happens the moment we believe the Gospel and call on the Lord to save us.
Phase 2: Sanctification – Separating us from the power of sin.
In this phase, we become practically less sinful and practically more righteous. The life and character of Jesus grows in us, as we cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and obey God’s word. By faith and obedience, we put off the old sinful self and put on the new, righteous self.
Phase 3: Glorification – Separating us from the presence of sin.
We are resurrected in new, glorified bodies. Our sinful natures and evil hearts are totally removed. We are infused with the righteous character and life of Jesus. We are confirmed to be righteous. From that point on, we will be perfectly righteous like the angels in heaven. We will always gladly choose to do God’s will and never sin.
Jesus will perform Phase 3 of our salvation at the Rapture. Instead of suffering God’s wrath in the Day of the Lord, we will receive our FINAL salvation from God. In contrast to this, the unbeliever will suffer God’s wrath in the Day of the Lord, suffer God’s wrath in Hell when he dies and, finally, suffer God’s wrath, forever, in the Lake of Fire, after being found guilty at the Great White Throne judgement. The names of those who didn’t receive Jesus as Savior and Lord will not be found written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Jesus provided salvation FOR US from God’s wrath in Hell, and in the Lake of Fire, through his death on the cross. He will save us from God’s wrath in the Day of the Lord by coming back to take us to heaven before it starts. When the time is right God, the Father, will send our Rescuer because he is not going to allow us to suffer wrath that we were not appointed to suffer.
I mentioned this same truth in the previous message, and it bears repeating…
… and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thess 1:10)
It is true that Jesus will ride in, like a Knight in shining armor, at the end of the tribulation period, to save the Jewish believers from total and complete annihilation by the Antichrist and the nations of the world. They will go through the tribulation and God will supernaturally protect them from the devil and the antichrist.
But Jesus is going to spare his bride, the Church, from the whole messy affair. HE is not the kind of bridegroom that would allow his bride to be starved, burned, and beaten down by the plagues of the tribulation. Jesus is not the kind of husband to allow his wife to be tortured and killed by the antichrist during his short reign on earth.
IS JESUS going to take a battered and bleeding bride back to heaven with him for their wedding day? (NO!) He feeds and cares for her. He will protect her because she is so precious to him. If you doubt this then read Ephesians 5:25-32. Jesus Christ’s loving treatment of his bride, the Church, is the model of how men should CARE FOR and TREAT their wives. Men, would you let your wife go through the tribulation period if you were able to keep her from of it? (NO!) Jesus Christ, your example, would NOT let his wife go through it either. (AMEN!)
Although the church has had, and will have, trials and persecution in this world, Jesus will spare her from the worst of it by scooping her up and taking her away with him to safety in his Father’s house.
Jesus said, “I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18). However, in the tribulation period the Antichrist will have the power to make war against the saints and conquer them (Rev 13:7-8). So, for the prophecy of Jesus about the gates of hell not prevailing against the Church to be true, and also the prophecy from Revelation about the antichrist conquering the saints to be true, the believers who are conquered during the tribulation must NOT be the Church, but tribulation saints.
- HE DIED FOR US *** SO THAT WE MAY LIVE TOGETHER WITH HIM
The death of Jesus FOR US makes it possible for us to LIVE WITH HIM. He took on himself God’s wrath against us, and when we believed in Jesus, we became God’s child. We are no longer God’s enemy. We are part of the family.
This verse tells us that Jesus died for us so that we could live with him. He suffered THE punishment that WE deserved for our sins on the cross. This paved the way for us to be forgiven and live with him. We were found guilty. But, stamped on our sentence are the words, “PAID IN FULL BY JESUS”.
Let’s never forget how much Jesus did for us when he suffered on the cross to purchase our salvation. Without his sacrifice, we would be forever lost in hell, under God’s eternal judgement. (AMEN!)
- …. WHETHER AWAKE OR ASLEEP …
I think this phrase refers to the broader context beginning in chapter 4, verse 13 which talks about those being asleep as meaning physical death. It is not referring to the spiritual sleep spoken about in previous verses. Here, he is saying the same thing that he was saying at the end of chapter 4. Those who belong to Jesus and have died, will not be Left Behind at the Rapture. They will be resurrected first and, together with us, go to live with Jesus.
The pre-tribulation view of the RAPTURE, which is based on a literal interpretation of Bible Prophecy, is the only view which is consistent with what is taught in these two verses. The Church of Jesus Christ is not appointed to SUFFER WRATH. Instead, we are going to EXPERIENCE the completion of our SALVATION when he comes. Jesus died for us so that instead of SUFFERING GOD’S wrath in the tribulation we are going to heaven to live with him. (AMEN!)
- THEREFORE…. ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER AND BUILD EACH OTHER UP
You have probably heard that when a writer uses the word therefore, we should ask the question, “What is the “Therefore”, “There” “For”?”. It is there to refer to something in the previous context. In this case, we are to encourage each other because God has not appointed us to suffer wrath. Instead, he has appointed us to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We should encourage one another and build each other up with these three facts:
- We ARE NOT going to suffer God’s wrath in the day of the Lord.
- Jesus IS coming to complete our salvation.
- We, along with every other New Testament Believer, ARE going to live with Jesus in heaven.
In John Chapter 14 Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you IN MY FATHERS HOUSE, and I WILL COME BACK to TAKE YOU TO BE WHERE I AM”. You and I better believe his promises. Jesus promised to PREPARE A PLACE FOR US IN HEAVEN, he promised to COME BACK, and he promised to TAKE US THERE. We better believe it because he never breaks his promises. Never has. Never will. (AMEN!)
We should not allow those who say that Jesus is not coming back or those who say that he is coming in the middle or at the end of tribulation TO STEAL THE COMFORT that God intended for us to have as we approach the time of his coming and Day of the Lord. We can remind each other of verses like these so that we don’t lose HOPE if things start to get a little dicey for Christians before he comes.
Jesus told the faithful Church at Philadelphia that he would keep them “from the hour of trial that is coming on the earth”. Revelation 3:10 he says …
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
I LIKE the old saying that goes like this, “God said it, I believe it and that settles it for me.”
Is Jesus coming back for his Church? (YES!)
Did God appoint us to suffer wrath? (NO!)
Is Jesus going to keep us from the hour of trial? (YES!)
Is Jesus going to save us from the Day of the Lord? (YES!)
God said it, I believe it and that settles it for me, and I hope it does for you too.
We need the encouragement of fellow believers as we wait patiently for Jesus to return. In the previous chapter, Paul gives a similar exhortation for believers to encourage each other about Jesus coming back one day TO TAKE US TO HEAVEN to live with him. That will be a Glorious Day!
The writer to the Hebrews urges us, as believers, to hold on to our hope because the one who made the promise is faithful. God always does what he says he will to do. The writer of Hebrews also says we should ENCOURAGE each other as we see the day approaching. What day? The day of Jesus’s return for the Church.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us NOT give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us ENCOURAGE one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The promise of God to protect the believer from the Day of the Lord and the Tribulation period gives us HOPE in this world. Even if things in the world go from bad to worse, don’t get discouraged. God has given us a beautiful exit plan and his timing is perfect. (AMEN!)
- Application and Summary
The scripture tells us that the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Gal 6:17). So, when Satan comes and says to you “Did God really say…?” follow the example that Jesus gave us. Pick up your sword (hold up the Bible) and say, “IT IS WRITTEN!”.
Do you remember the Children’s song “The B-I-B-L-E”? The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me! I stand alone on the word of God the B-I-B-L-E, BIBLE! We can stand against every attack of the enemy with our FAITH firmly planted on the Word of God, the Bible.
When Satan says to you, “God doesn’t REALLY love you.”, Pick up your sword and say …
(IT IS WRITTEN!) …“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16.
When Satan says to you, “Jesus is not REALLY coming back.”, Pick up your sword and say …
(IT IS WRITTEN!) …“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3.
When Satan says to you, “Jesus is not going to rescue you. Surely, you will go through the Day of the Lord with the rest of the world.”, Pick up your sword and say …
(IT IS WRITTEN!) …“… and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” 1 Thess 1:10
When Satan says to you, “Surely, you will bend your knee to me along with the rest of the world.”, Pick up your sword and say …
(IT IS WRITTEN!) …“Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:9-11
When Satan says to you, “Jesus is NOT going to save you! Surely, you will suffer the wrath of God as well as MY wrath through men in the tribulation period along with the rest of the world.”, Pick up your sword and say …
(IT IS WRITTEN!) … “God has NOT appointed us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.” 1 Thess 5:9-10
So, at the conclusion of this message, I want to encourage you with a few thoughts.
As the Day of the Lord approaches, we should be getting excited, not depressed, BECAUSE we know that we are NOT going to have to endure it. We are citizens of heaven, and we will be rejoicing up there while the people down here are being abused by Satan and pummeled by God’s judgements because they refused to believe the truth and be saved. They refused to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and the Lord of their lives.
We need to realize that it is the darkest before the DAY dawns. IF the world continues to darken, it just means that THE COMING of Jesus is getting closer. He is just around the corner! He is standing at the door!
Let us remember (REMEMBER!) these things and keep encouraging each other to stay strong and endure UNTIL HE APPEARS to take us home. (AMEN!)
Maybe you have heard that it says in the book of Revelation that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. This is true. He will do this. And there won’t be any more death or mourning or crying or pain when God makes all things new. But I think one kind of tear will ALWAYS be welcomed in heaven. I am talking about TEARS OF JOY. I’m not sure we will always be able to contain our happy feelings. Sometimes WHEN our hearts are so full of love and joy that we think they might burst, we might just LET OUT A SHOUT … “PRAISE THE NAME OF JESUS!”. And then we might just shed a happy tear. (AMEN!)
Worship Video – Glorious Day
Benediction and Blessing – 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.