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What Hope Do You Have?    1 Thess. 4:13-18    Jan. 11, 2009


Introduction

       The lesson writer asked the title question long before the results of the recent elections. I know some who seem to have lost all hope. If we look to the world we may not have much hope. If I am asked What Hope Do You Have? I will answer, “my hope is built on nothing less that Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”


1. We Can Have Hope Concerning The . . Sleeping Saints. 4:13-15

       A.   There Is Hope In The . . Concern About the Sleeping Saints. v 13a

              13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, . . .”

              1. Who Are These Sleeping Saints?

                     a.    Those who die before the Rapture.

                     b.    Body is in their grave but Spirit is with the Lord.

 

       B.   There Is Hope In The . . Contrition About the Sleeping Saints. v 13b
“. . . so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.”

              1. Grief with our hope.

                     a.    Normal Stages of grief regardless if you’re a Christian or a pagan. All of us should recognize we will go through these stages of grief.

              2. Never forget we are human beings and what applies to all humanity applies to the Christians.

 

       C.   There Is Hope In The . . Catalyst About the Sleeping Saints. v 14a & 15a

              14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those

              who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord:. . .”

              1.    Catalyst One:       Our Belief about Jesus’ Resurrection. v 14a

                     "Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, . . . "

                     a.    Jesus DIED. Not SLEPT, He died so we do not die.

                     b.    We pass from death into life because He took death for us.

 

              2.    Catalyst Two:      Our Belief about Jesus’ Resurrection of the Saints..

                     “. . . in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.”

 

              3. Catalyst Three:       Our Belief in the revealed Word v 15a

                     “For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: . . .”

       D.   There Is Hope In Our . . Convictions About Sleeping Saints. v 14b -15b

              14b        “. . . in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.”

              15b        “. . . We who are still alive at the Lord's coming will certainly have no advantage over those

                            who have fallen asleep.”

 

              1.    Conviction about Order

                     a.    Note who appears with Jesus. v 14b

                     b.    Note who resurrects first. v 15b

                            1)   Those who sleep in Jesus.

                            2)   The quickened body meets the living spirit. Check verse 16b

". . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first."

                     c.    Note who is a very close second. v 15b

                                    ". . . We who remain. "
              d.    We do not precede those who have died
.

 

In New Testament times this sleep meant death. Their body is in the grave but their spirit is with the Lord.

Paul did not want these concerned Christian to be grieving like those without hope in Christ. Grief is normal but the Christian’s grief is not permanent; never-the-less Christians will grieve. Jack Stanton was a popular minister in Missouri. His wife died and while trying to console him people said, “well Jack you know where she is don’t you?” Jack came back. “yes but I also know where she is not.” No Christian need be ashamed of the grief death brings. Just don’t grieve like those without hope. What is the reason for the hope Paul speaks of? It Is Jesus! He died and arose and He guarantees the dead in Christ will arise. From Him we receive strong convictions about our deceased loved ones. He will allow those in the graves to rise before we are snatched up to be with the Lord.



2. We Can Have Hope Concerning The . . Shouting Saints. 4:16-17

       A.   There Is Hope With The . . Hearing Of the Shouting Saints. v 16
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel's voice,

                     and with the trumpet of God, . . .”

              1. Hear the Voice of the Lord.

              2. Hear the Shout of the Archangel.

              3. Hear the Shout of the Trumpet.

 

       B.   There Is Hope In Knowing The . . Harkening of the Shouting Saints. v 16 b - 17 a
       “. . . and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air;. . .”

 

       C.   There Is Hope In Knowing The . . Heavenly Home of the Shouting Saints. v 17 b
". . .
and so we will always be with the Lord.”


       There will be a shout, the trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ will arise. I believe this event will find the saints shouting also. I cannot imagine someone like a dear deacon friend named Elmer Wells not shouting. The dead in Christ will hear the voice of the Lord, the shout of the archangel and the beautiful sound of the trumpet. This return of Christ will be a joyful time.


3. We Can Have Hope Concerning The . . Serene Saints. 4:18

       A.   Serene Saints Receive Comfort from . . Reassurance. v 18 a

                     "Therefore encourage one another. . .”

              1.    You know all of us can have a ministry of comfort.

 

       B.   Serene Saints Receive Comfort from . . Reality. v 18 b

                     ". . . with these words."


       The final words of the text encourage us to use these words to console one another. Truth produces peace.

Focus on the resurrection and coming again of Christ and the words of scripture concerning His return and peace will follow. I heard about a family that experienced a sad death when their son died. When the family went out to the grave-site after the funeral, their little girl wandered away and saw an open grave. She then came running, shouting, and said to her mom and dad, "Mom! Dad! One got away! One got away! " All of us in Christ are going to harken to the voice and “get away” as we go to meet the Lord in the air. What Hope Do You Have? We may answer with the words of this scripture paraphrased, “I have the God of hope filling me with all joy and peace in believing, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Ro 15:13). Amen? Amen!