TITN Series Part 1: Get Ready – 1 Thess 5:1-5 – Ken Hynes
I started off preparing a sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, which talks about the coming of the Day of the Lord, but I found that I had too information to share with you to fit in one sermon. So, I’ve decided to break the sermon into 3 different messages.
The current condition of our country and the world makes me believe that we are the last generation of Christians. We are the generation which will be living when the Rapture occurs. These are the Last Days! Since this is true, the passage we’ll be studying this morning was written specifically for us. It was written for believers who would be living at the end of the Church age just before the Rapture of the Church and the start of the Day of the Lord.
So, I encourage you to stay alert and awake and listen carefully to these three messages because you DO NOT WANT to be Left Behind on earth after the Rapture and because you DO WANT to be ready to meet Jesus when he calls you up into the clouds.
Through the apostle Paul, the Lord Jesus has given 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. The section of scripture beginning with 1 Thessalonians 4:13 through 1 Thessalonians 5:11 should be considered as one unit even though there is a chapter break in the middle. The first part of this section at the end of Chapter 4 describes the Rapture of the Church. This is when Jesus brings those who belong to him, but have died, back to life in new, eternal bodies. Then he will instantly change our bodies from our current mortal ones into new, eternal ones. If we are alive when he comes, we will never experience death. We are told that Jesus himself will come down from heaven (LOOK UP!) and give a Loud command (LISTEN!) for us to meet him in the clouds (YES!). An arch angel will make an announcement (LISTEN!) and God will cause the sound of his trumpet (LISTEN!) to be heard all the way around the earth. Every genuine Christian, who is alive today, and all Christians who have lived and died over the last 20 centuries, will stop whatever they are doing and go to meet Jesus in the clouds. (YES!) Then he will take this great multitude of believers back to heaven with him. He will show us the place he has prepared for each of us in his Father’s house (YES!) and take us to meet Our Father in Heaven, face to face, for the first time. (AMEN!)
Now we are going to watch a short video about those Left Behind because they were not ready when the Rapture happened.
Being Left Behind when Jesus comes for the Church and having to face seven years of hell on earth can be a very scary subject to think about. It’s going to be especially bad for those who wake up the day after the Rapture and realize that everything God said was TRUE but they didn’t listen to him or believe him. Even if they look up into the clouds at that point and shout “Take me with you!”, it will be too late. The doors of heaven will be closed, and Jesus won’t be coming back for those who were not ready.
Fortunately, for them, God is gracious, and it will be possible for those who were Left Behind to believe in Jesus and be saved during the tribulation period. This is only if they haven’t been deceived by the powerful deception of the Antichrist believing “The Lie” that he is the savior of the world. A great multitude will be saved during the tribulation only to be killed and go to heaven before the end of it. You can find this in Revelation 7:9,14.
It will be extremely difficult for those who believe in Jesus Christ and submit to him as Lord to survive until to the end of the tribulation period when he returns to earth for the following reasons:
- Those Left Behind who come to Jesus after the Rapture will suffer under the terrible judgements that God will pour out on the unbelieving world during the 7-year tribulation period.
- Those Left Behind who come to Jesus after the Rapture won’t be able to have a job or buy or sell or participate in any way in the global economy.
- Those Left Behind who come to Jesus after the Rapture will be hated by all the Global Community citizens and will be betrayed to the global government authorities.
- There will a Global mandate for citizen identification and registration. The Bible calls it the “Mark of the Beast”. Jesus followers will be considered “haters” for refusing to take the Mark of the beast and worship him.
- Those Left Behind who come to Jesus after the Rapture will be hunted down by New World Order police and then executed for the crime of refusing to become a registered and loyal global citizen.
Many brave souls will count the cost and still refuse to submit to the mandate. However, most of humanity will be deceived by the antichrist and the false prophet. They will welcome the new world order and its global government and willingly comply with all its new regulations. They will think that they are doing the right thing when they become a world citizen. They will proudly wear the Mark and gladly bend the knee to the Antichrist. In the book of Revelation, it says that when they do this, they will be sealing their fate. It will purchase them a guaranteed place in the lake of fire for eternity.
Today we will be looking at 1 Thessalonians 5 verses 1 through 5.
If you don’t remember anything else, I say this morning you I HOPE you will remember this…
*If you don’t want to be Left Behind after the Rapture then you need to Get Ready Now. Don’t take the risk of putting off becoming a born-again Christian. Come to Jesus today and ask him to save you.
- Get Ready: Don’t put off becoming a born-again Christian
READ SCRIPTURE 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5
Please open your Bibles to 1 Thessalonians and follow along as I read the first five verses. 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 in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5. Please, follow along in your Bible as I read the first 5 verses of 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5. I think it will be good for you to see these verses as well as hear me read them out loud.
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
- ABOUT DATES AND TIMES, WE DO NOT NEED TO WRITE YOU
Paul doesn’t need to write about the DATES AND TIMES the DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME because he had already instructed the Thessalonian believers on this point. They KNOW VERY WELL that it will come like a THEIF IN THE NIGHT because he had previously taught them that no one will know the exact day or the exact hour when the Day of the Lord will begin.
In the Gospels, Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour of his coming, not even the angels nor himself but only his Father in heaven. He also says in Revelation chapter 3 that he will come like a Thief in the Night. These statements must refer to his coming back in the clouds to take his church back to heaven. He promised to do this in John chapter 14, stating that he was going to heaven to prepare a place for us in his Father’s house and that he would come back to take us there. However, here Paul is talking about the Coming of the Day of the Lord, not the coming of Jesus for his Church. Is there a connection between these two events or is there some dependency between them? Notice that Paul had just talked about the Rapture at the End of Chapter 4 and now he is talking about the Day of the Lord at the beginning of Chapter 5.
Both the Coming of Jesus for the Church in the Rapture, and the Coming of the Day of the Lord, are described as occurring “like a Thief in the Night”. This means that they will both happen the same way, “Suddenly and unexpectedly”. But will they happen at the same time? And if not, then what is the relative timing between them?
Fortunately, we are not left to guess. These questions are answered in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. In that passage Paul says that the Day of the Lord will start after the Rapture (Coming of the Lord and our being gathered to him) and after the Antichrist is revealed.
Listen as I read these verses…
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the Day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until THE DEPARTURE occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
Here in 2 Thessalonians, the believers were upset because they thought they had missed the Rapture and were in the Day of the Lord. They were afraid that they had been Left Behind because they received some fake letter, which pretended to be from Paul, saying that the Day of the Lord had already started. Since Paul had taught on a previous visit that they would not go through day of the Lord because Jesus would come back and take them to heaven before it started, they were confused.
So, Paul straightened out their thinking. He said two things need to occur before the Day of the Lord begins. First, “the apostasia” and second, the revealing of the man of lawlessness. The Greek word “apostasia” has the root meaning of “Stand”. The prefix “a” changes it’s meaning to “Not Stand” or “Not Stay”. It can be translated as an apostacy, falling away, departure or a rebellion. If it is interpreted to mean a spiritual departure or falling away, then this would mean spiritual apostacy. However, in this context, I believe Paul is talking about a physical departure, the Rapture, which is also mentioned in verse 1, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him”. This would be the second reference in the paragraph to the physical departure from earth of all those who belong to Jesus.
A better translation of the Greek word, apostasia, in verse 3, is the word Departure. Translating it this way allows the reader to determine which kind of departure Paul is talking about instead of the translator making this interpretational decision for him. Since the English word Apostacy means a spiritual departure, translating the word this way does not allow the reader to make the correct interpretational decision based on the context. For more information concerning the translation of the Greek word “apostasia” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, you can find a copy of “The Departure” on the back table.
The definite article, “the”, used before apostasia makes it “The Departure” or a unique event. This also fits better with the Rapture because it is a specific, one-time event. The whole world will know that something has happened when millions of people from all over the earth just disappear in an instant. Spiritual apostacy has plagued the church and the world from the days of the apostles until today. Other New Testament scriptures do predict an increase in spiritual apostacy in the last days. This is happening now, but I don’t think that is what Paul is talking about here.
So basically, Paul’s argument goes like this: The Thessalonians have not missed the Rapture and entered into the Day of the Lord because the “The Departure” and the “The Revelation of the man of Lawlessness”, WHICH MUST OCCUR FIRST, have not happened yet. In other words, he is saying that SINCE the Thessalonian believers are still on the earth and the Antichrist has not been revealed to the world, the Day of the Lord could not have started.
The day we are taken up in the Rapture, events will be put into motion which will trigger the beginning of the Day of the Lord. We also learn from later in this passage that the Man of Lawlessness cannot be revealed to the world until the restrainer is removed. We believe that the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit. He is currently restraining the full expression of evil in the world for our benefit while the Church is on earth. But when Jesus takes us up to heaven, the Holy Spirit will stop restraining evil on the Earth. This will allow the Antichrist to be revealed to the world.
At that point, the two pre-conditions for the start of the Day of the Lord will have been met and the Day of Lord will begin. And heaven help those who have been Left Behind because it will be Hell on Earth for seven years and there will be very few survivors.
- THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT
Paul says here that the Day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night because it will happen suddenly and without warning when people least expect it.
Jesus also told his disciples to stay ready and alert for his return, because he would come like a Thief in the Night at an hour when he is not expected. Listen to the words of Jesus from Luke chapter 12.
“But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Luke 12:39-40)
I think this verse has dual application. The command to be alert and ready applies to those who are waiting for Jesus to come in the Rapture before the tribulation period and it also applies to the believing Jews and tribulation saints who will be waiting for his return to earth at the end of the tribulation period. The Bible teaches that Jesus will first return in the clouds to collect his church and take them back with him to heaven. This happens before the tribulation period starts. In this coming, which we call the Rapture of the Church, Jesus will appear only to the church. Whereas at his second coming to earth, at the end of the Tribulation, the whole world will see him.
Paul teaches us here that the day of the Lord will come suddenly and unexpectedly on unbelievers and catch them by surprise.
- ….AS LABOR PAINS ON A PREGNANT WOMAN
The pregnant woman doesn’t know when her birth pains will start. But she does know that when they do start, they will get harder and closer together and they will not stop until after her baby is born. In the same way, no one knows exactly when the birth pains of the Day of the Lord will start but we do know that when they start, they will get stronger and closer together, and they will not stop until Jesus rides into town on his white horse.
- …. DESTRUCTION WILL COME ON THEM … AND THEY WILL NOT ESCAPE
Notice our text says DESTRUCTION WILL COME ON THEM, it does not say DESTRUCTION WILL COME ON US. It also says, THEY WILL NOT ESCAPE. It does not say WE WILL NOT ESCAPE. This is because we who believe in, and follow the Lord Jesus, WILL escape. The text teaches us that the Day of the Lord will come unexpectedly and suddenly on all unbelievers in the world and bring destruction.
Jesus says in Luke 17:26-27 that in the days of the Son of Man (that is the time just before his coming) the world will be like it was in the Days of Noah. People were eating and drinking, getting married and going about life as normal. But the day that Noah entered the ark, the flood came and destroyed them all. People were not expecting the flood and they were not prepared for it. It came as a total surprise, and they could not escape.
Jesus also says in this same passage that the world, in last days, will be like it was in the days of Lot. The day Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained down from heaven and burned up the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah killing everyone in them. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were not expecting judgement, but the day Lot left the city, they were burned up.
Jesus must be talking about the condition of the world before the Rapture because when he returns to earth at the end the tribulation period, no one will be living normal lives. After 7 years of God’s judgements being poured out on earth, causing tremendous suffering and death, most of the people will be dead. The ones still living will be in survival mode. The satanic, one world government and economy under the Antichrist and his false prophet, will have been totally shattered into pieces.
Make note of the pattern here. God removes the righteous remnant from harm’s way and gets them to safety and then immediately his judgement falls on the wicked, unsuspecting people who are Left Behind. That is exactly what our passage is saying this morning. DESTRUCTION WILL COME ON THEM … AND THEY WILL NOT ESCAPE.
- YOU ARE NOT IN DARKNESS SO THAT THIS DAY SHOULD SURPRISE YOU
The FIRST reason we believers should not be surprised by the coming of the Day of the Lord is that we will not be on the earth when the Day of the Lord comes. Since the Rapture occurs before the Day of the Lord comes, we will already be in heaven with Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says that Jesus rescues us believers who are waiting for him from the coming wrath. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 tell us that Jesus, himself, will return in the clouds to save us from God’s wrath that will be poured out in the Day of the Lord.
The SECOND reason that we should not be surprised by the Day of the Lord is because, if we are awake and alert, we will be able to recognize that IT IS COMING before we are taken away in the Rapture.
When a thunderstorm is on its way, you can see dark clouds in the distance. Then you see them moving closer and closer before the rain starts to fall. When a train is coming, if you put your ear to the tracks, you can hear a sound even when it is a long way off. Then, as it gets closer and closer, you can hear the noise getting louder and louder. Finally, you can feel the ground start to vibrate before it arrives. In the same way, if we know the signs which indicate that the judgement of God is coming and are alert to what is happening in the world, then we will be able to recognize that the start of the Day of the Lord is getting close.
In Hebrews 10:25 we are told to encourage one another AS WE SEE the day approaching. We will not know the day or the hour, but we will know that we are in the season of the Rapture and the coming of the Day of the Lord.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for asking for a sign from heaven while not recognizing the signs of the times that were going on before their very eyes. The Messiah was standing right in front of them and performing many signs and miracles proving his identity, but they didn’t get it.
In Matthew 16:2-3 Jesus says to the Pharisees…
“When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
For unbelievers, however, the Day of the Lord will come suddenly and unexpectedly like labor pains begin for a pregnant woman. But for us who know Jesus and are awake and alert, we will be able to see the signs that his coming is drawing near.
Because we are already seeing signs of the approaching tribulation period and Jesus’ second coming to set up his kingdom, we know that the Rapture is also near because it happens at least 7 years before his second coming to earth.
I like the statement Jan Markel makes, “When it seems like everything is falling apart, remember that God is still in control, and really everything is falling into place”.
If you are interested in learning more, I have put some copies of Dr. David Reagan’s “50 reasons why we are living in the End Times” on the back table. I would encourage you to pick up a copy to take home on the way out. When you read it compare these 50 signs to what is going on in the world today.
- SONS OF THE LIGHT AND SONS OF THE DAY
In verse 5 Paul says the Sons of Light and Sons of Day won’t be surprised by the day of the Lord. He uses those terms to refer to born-again Christians, those who have had a conversion experience and become a child of God. Sons of the Light and Sons of the Day are NOT CINOs (Christians In Name Only). They have a personal relationship with God through Jesus. They have received God’s gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. This business of becoming a “born-again” Christian may sound too simplistic, or even legalistic. However, Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.” New Birth is foundational and must happen in your life for you to go to heaven. Do you want to be taken up by Jesus in the Rapture and escape the tribulation period, also known as the Day of the Lord? Then you MUST Get Ready by being Born Again!
If you are not already a born-again Christian, do not wait any longer to become one. Get Ready for the Rapture and the coming of the Day of the Lord by receiving Jesus as your Savior and Lord today.
How do you become a Born-Again Christian?
Just follow the ABCs of Salvation.
A – Admit that you are a sinner and deserve to die.
Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
You are not alone in being a sinner. Every living, breathing human being (except Jesus) that ever walked this earth has sinned.
B – Believe that Jesus died for your sins, shedding His precious blood at Calvary to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. He was then raised up from His human death, conquering sin and death for all.
John 3:18 “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Acts 16:31 “They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.””
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
C – Call on the name of the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.
Romans 10:13 “…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
Have YOU followed the ABCs of salvation? Have YOU asked Jesus to forgive your sins and save you? If not, I urge you come to Jesus today and call on his name. When you do, you will become a born-again Christian and you will be READY to go meet JESUS in the clouds when He calls your name. So then at the Rapture, you won’t be Left Behind.
“Is He Worthy?” Video
We are going to play another video. This one is meant to be encouraging. The song talks about what is going to happen in heaven shortly after the Rapture.
As you listen to the song and watch the video, I want you to imagine that you have just heard an angel shout, “Attention Church!”. You have just heard a trumpet blast. Then you hear Jesus call your name and say, “Come up here!”. You are gathered up with multitudes of people in the clouds. You see Jesus smiling. And then suddenly the whole crowd is rejoicing and worshiping before the throne of God in heaven. Jesus is standing next to the throne. God the Father makes a hand motion to quiet the happy crowd, who become dead silent. An angel steps forward and asks a question. You know the answer. You sense that something important is about to happen.
Benediction and Blessing – Rev 22:10-17
Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.” “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
And all God’s people said (AMEN).