A Thief at Midnight
1 Thes. 4:13-5:11
A. 1st Coming
1. born of a virgin
2. fulfilled prophesy - Bethlehem - Daniel said he would come
3. Died - gave up his life as he said that he would, as the prophesies said he would
4. Rose - on the 3rd day as he said that he would
B. 2nd Coming
1. The Prophesies of his 1st Advent were true, so will the prophesies of his 2nd Advent be true as well
2. when many thought that the Messiah would never come - He came
3. when other fanatics pointed to every new leader as the Messiah - He Came
4. So when it seems he will never come he will split the skies
5. when fanatics are pointing falsely here and there - He will Come
6. Just like some knew the time was ripe for Messiah to come the first time by knowing the prophesies and the times and were watching for Messiah to come, So, some will be reading their bibles and so watching the times and looking for Christ to Return
7. Acts 1:11 - "... this same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
8. An angel will not come, not Gabriel or Michael, but Christ himself, will return in the clouds to split the Eastern Sky and of this you CAN BELIEVE
He will come Down from Heaven, with a LOUD Command, a CRY, and SHOUT
With the Voice of the Arch Angel Announcing his Return and
The Trumpet Call of God
- The one who made the blind to see will cause every blind eye that knows Christ to see him for Eternity and the spiritually blind eye to see him and mourn their rejection
- The One who healed the sick, lame, and deaf, will touch those blood-washed saints for the last time and hey will hear, walk, and be whole for eternity.
- The One who said, "let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe in me" will respond to the trust we've placed in him and will wipe every tear from our eyes and there will be no more tears and no more pain because he will take them away and they will be forever banished in his presence
SOMEBODY SAY YES!
If you can Believe,
then you can also …
2. Be Encouraged
A. Death is not the End
1. our body is sleeping
2. our soul is NOT sleeping, our soul is with the Lord at death
Phil. 1:21, 23-24 "for to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain … I am torn between two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body."
2 Cor 5:6-8 "we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
3. the Thessalonians were worried about what would happen to the believers who died before Jesus returned. Since Jesus had only left a relatively few years before, they literally expected his return any day but as some were dying for various normal reasons they wondered, what about them.
4. would they miss out on the glory of Christ's return?
5. Dead in Christ will Rise First - not only would they not miss it, they would get a front row seat as if perhaps an honor by the Lord because they went first
B. "Caught Up" - "Meet the Lord"
1. caught up - greek - har-pad'-zo
a. - catch away speedily as quickly without warning
b. - seize by force - Satan wants you but Christ will lay claim
c. - claim for one's self - as a bridegroom claiming his bride
d. to rescue from danger
e. to take from the hand - the hand of the evil one will not be on these people any longer
f. to carry off or away - return with him to heaven
2. meet him in the air
the picture here in their culture is the picture of a group of citizens going outside the town to meet a dignitary and accompany him back into the city.
We will be caught up to meet him and will return with him
3. WE WILL meet him in the air THAT is a fact,
a. how that happens chronologically and what that means is up for debate.
b. My personal study leads me to believe that this event recorded is "parousia" what some call the Rapture of the Church. This is, in my belief, NOT the final 2nd Coming of Christ to this Earth. Because, when he comes and sets foot on this earth, he will bring judgment in his wings as is described in 2 Thess. Chapter one.
c. Paul seems to be obviously talking about two different events.
d. Thus we will be caught up to meet him in the air and return with him to Heaven and this earth will go through a period of judgment for 7 years followed by us returning with him to end this age.
<IF you disagree with me on this part of the interpretation, I will give you freedom to disagree as long as we agree that he IS coming, we WILL be caught up to meet him and we will be transformed to be with him forever!>
Mt 24:30-31 - "at that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."
Be Encouraged you will NOT have to carry this broken down clay vessel that our soul calls home, into Eternity
This body as it is NOW will NOT make it into Eternity, but when the Thief Comes at Midnight we will be CHANGED
1. perishable to imperishable (dead in Christ)
- When our bodies go into the ground as believers in Jesus it is just sowing / planting for a future harvest
1 Cor 15:42-44 "the body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body
2. mortal to immortal - (alive in Christ)
1 Cor 15:52 "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the Trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'death has been swallowed up in victory.'"
D. FOREVER -
1. living forever is a great proposition
2. but all mankind will live forever, the question is where?
3. we who have trusted him and given our lives to him will be with the Lord Forever!
4. Is that encouraging? It is to me and Paul tells us to ENCOURAGE one another with these words
5. if you've lost someone recently, and you know that they knew Christ, be encouraged, we will be separated for a time, but we will be with them, with the Lord, forever
6. this struggle a little tough? We will be with the Lord forever
7. whatever you face, be encouraged, we will be with the Lord forever
But as we close,
Believe, there will be a thief at midnight
And finally since he comes as a Thief at midnight …
3. Be Alert
when is he coming???
Paul basically said, you know the answer to that question
He is coming LIKE a THIEF in the Night
A. Like a Thief - How does a thief come?
2. when you least expect it
3. when people are saying "peace and safety, destruction will come"
4. like labor pains - at the end of a pregnancy, even though you know it's coming, it always catches you off guard - You think it will NEVER come, yet it comes and we are surprised
B. Be Alert - Don't be Caught off guard
1. live in light NOT darkness
a. you have light - if you know the thief is coming you are going to leave the light on
b. believers are not residents of the darkness we live in the light -
Eph 5:8 "you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light"
2. knowledge is light -
Isaiah 8:20 - "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn."
a. you don't have to go by what you think you see in this world
b. we do not operate by sight but by faith, and we know faith comes from the Word of God
2 Peter 3:4, 8-10 -"where is this 'coming' promised? But do not forget … with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day. The Lord is NOT slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief …"
Luke 12:37-38 "blessed are those whom the Master … will find watching … in the 2nd watch, or 3rd watch … blessed are those servants whom the Lord finds watching."
Luke 12:35 - says "let your waist be girded" i.e. "roll up your sleeves and be at work"
The best way to be alert is to be at work
If you are serving your Master then you are Alert
3. Faith, Love, and Hope keep you alert v 8
a. faith and hope guard your heart (breastplate) - that is when your faith and love are solid they will guard your heart, your emotions, your lusts, your passions
b. Hope in Christ Jesus, the Helmet of Salvation - controls your mind so we don't believe false truth, and give in to lies
C. He's coming like he left
Acts 1:11 - This same Jesus will return as he left
1. he left suddenly
2. he left unexpectedly
3. he left in the clouds
Knowing that our hope is sure and our future is secure because of the hope that we have.
We don't sit in the dark but live in the light so when the thief comes at midnight, shining the light of truth
We will NOT scatter to hide like roaches in the Kitchen, but we will turn our faces up in that twinkling of an eye and say "HERE HE IS"
I think the Midnight Cry Announcing the One coming like a thief at midnight is just around the corner.
A Thief is coming at Midnight
It will be Midnight somewhere, but I'm not afraid of the darkness, I live in the Light
No Midnight has ever passed that is NOT followed by the dawn
You may think Midnight is the Dark Middle of the Night
but it is Just the Dark First Hour of the New Day
The command in Acts 1 when he left was GET BUSY
Be Alert and Busy until he returns but
The Thief is Coming
>He came Once emptied of Heaven's Glory
- He comes Again Full of Glory with all the Rights and Authority of Heaven
>He came Once Broken and Spilled Out
- He comes again Whole and ready to Pour out his Wrath on Sin and his Grace on his people
>He came Once as a Sin Bearer
- He comes Again apart from sin and the Sinner's Savior
>He came Once to Redeem us and steal the penalty of sin
- He comes Again to steal back what Satan stole and Claim the Redeemed as his Inheritance
>He came Once and wore a crown of thorns
- He comes Again and will wear the Diadema of Victory, Dominion and the Bridegroom
>He came Once as the subject of scorn and shame
- He comes Again High and Lifted Up
>He came Once he brought Salvation and called the world to Himself
- He comes Again calling his people to himself and for the world the opportunity is gone
>He came Once despised and rejected as have been those who followed him
- He comes Again and He will be seen as he is Glorified and we will be glorified with him and then Return with him
He is Coming
A Thief at Midnight
> Be Encouraged or Be Afraid
> Be Alert or Be Left
> Believe now or Believe Then