1 Thessalonians 4:11-18: The Coming Return of Jesus
July 16, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
This section first completes Paul’s thought from yesterday, and then moves to the main thrust of this part of the text which is focused on the return of Christ.
First, given Paul’s previous call to holiness, he wants to make it clear that holiness involves practical daily living at work and at home. No hypocritical separation of a church-self from a work or home-self. We are to live for Christ at home and at work too. In particular, we are to make it our ambition to lead a quiet life. It is all too easy to buy into the worldly ambition of those around us. Instead, we are to work in such a way that our daily lives win the respect of those around us and so that we will not be dependent on anyone. This kind of steady, sensible, quiet, and diligent hard work is respected by other people – points them to the Christ that we serve – and also allows us to be independent of others, and live with that kind of practical freedom too. Working hard is an application of gospel holiness according to the apostle Paul!
But then, second, Paul now focuses on the coming return of Christ. He is telling the Thessalonians this to encourage them. He wants them to encourage each other with the same teaching. Christ is coming back! Those who die trusting Christ have not wasted their lives. One day we will be united with them in glory. Encourage one another with this truth. Too often in recent years has the church underemphasized teaching about heaven (let alone teaching about hell). But teaching about the return of Christ encourages us towards practical daily holiness. Now we have something to live for! Now we have someone to live for!
If, then, you know a fellow Christian who is feeling discouraged – perhaps you yourself are discouraged – then spend time thinking about Jesus’ return. The saintly Richard Baxter would spend time each day walking and thinking simply about heaven. How about setting aside five minutes each day just to think about the coming return of Jesus! What an encouragement that would be to you towards godly living, and gospel witness!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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