Some years ago some believers in Thessalonica were very worried about the second coming of Christ Jesus. They were very very worried.
Paul, their spiritual father had to write to them to set their minds at ease.
Augustine ran across to the street to the house of Silas his friend. He was visibly agitated at the recent happenings in their city.
Last night Silvanus and the saints that met in his house had been stoned to death. It was a painful blow to the church of Christ, but more painful was the fact that Jesus had not yet come and they had no way of knowing where the souls of those who had died had gone to.
And what about their own selves. What if they were to die today? Where would their souls be?
Would they make heaven?
He arrived at Silas’ house just as his friend was about to go out.
“Greetings brother! Where art thou hastening away to?”
Silas raised his head from tieing his tunic and saw his very good friend Augustine standing at the door.
“Welcome brother!” He hailed.
“A letter from the Apostle Paul just arrived and I am hastening to go hear it in the church that meets at Cresus’ house.
I hear that it addresses life after death for believers too”.
Augustine thanked the Lord in his heart for hearing his questions and sending answers so soon.
He said to Silas aloud, “why, I will go with you”.
The church at Cresus’ house was packed full of believers from all over town. The news of a letter from Apostle Paul had spread far and wide.
They sat cross-legged with the others just as a man quietened the crowd.
He was the Bishop in charge of the Thessalonica church and a man of solid faith.
Augustine remembered when Brenda died, the Bishop’s unwavering faith had served to keep all the other believers faithful on the path of Christ.
“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,…”
Augustine closed his eyes at the mention of Silvanus’ name. His namesake had been stoned to death last night and the pain was still so raw in his heart but the same time he smiled at the mention of Paul’s prayers for them. They indeed needed all the grace and prayers they could get.
He kept his eyes closed and listened intently, letting the life-giving words was over his soul.
“For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness— God is witness.
Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”
Oh dear Apostle Paul. He remembered Paul spending hours just instructing them in the word of God, with all the gentleness his eagerness at God’s word could afford him
“For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;”
Oh, Paul had worked himself to the bone making the tents of even his spiritual children – those who he taught at Church.
He refused to lay the burden for his welfare on them. Oh sweet Paul.
He looked to his right and saw a woman’s small sob as she remembered Paul’s work among them. She had been one of those who had led a life of total sin. Paul’s preaching had made her know that she was accepted in the beloved – in Jesus Christ.
He strained his ears to listen again.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”
Augustine smiled. Paul had always been concerned for the way they used their bodies. He strived for them to keep themselves pure. They were so glad when the letter to the Corinthians got to them. Since then, the believers at Thessalonica had been celebrating their marriage before Christ before partaking of the blessings from the marital bed.
Then bishop went on:
“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;”
Oh Augustine himself could testify to the love among the brethren. But then he could also increase his actions in love. He gave a tenth of his income to those whose houses were destroyed by persecutors last month. This month he could give more, yes he would give 20 percent of his income to the suffering among the believers this month.
“…that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”
Ah, he was certain that the Apostle Paul must have heard that some believers left their jobs and lands to wait for the second coming of Christ. Some had been waiting, idle for so long and now had to beg for food in the streets while still refusing to get involved in a work of their hands. Many unbelievers snickered at them when they begged in the streets and it was a reproach to the church of Christ.
It was good for the Apostle to address this.
The Bishop called for everyone to pay special attention to the next part of the letter:
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”
Isn’t that what they had been doing? Sorrowing as those who have no hope?
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Oh, such comfort that flooded his soul right now… oh such comfort.
Silvanus isn’t lost; he is with the Lord and he will be with him still when Jesus comes again. And even they who are alive will be caught up to be with Jesus when He comes again.
Oh, he felt like screaming.
But when would this happen? When would Jesus come again?
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”
Oh it would be such a terrible day when that day happens. But how was he sure that whenever it happened they too won’t be caught unawares?
“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
Oh sweet Jesus! He wanted to twirl all around the Church.
His life was not appointed unto eternal damnation. He belongs to the light and so he will not perish in darkness whenever the day of the Lord arrives.
Oh thank you Jesus!
All he had to do was stay alert and awake. Yes Jesus is coming soon but he does not know exactly the time and the season. So he would not live as though the earth is his home. He would live to give glory to God, examining him self each day to ensure that he is still walking in the light and love.
What was that Paul said?
His breastplate of faith and love should be intact.. they were his weapons in this world. And his helmet of salvation – the knowledge of his salvation should always wrap him securely.
Oh such comfort to his soul!
He came here dry but the life-giving words had infused strength unto him.
He still misses Silvanus and the others but now he just prayed to be able to keep the faith even in the midst of persecution so he also can be with Jesus on that day.
He looked around. There was not a dry eye in the place. The Bishop himself was struggling to contain his emotions.
All of a sudden he arose and his voice rang our clear and true:
“HALLELUJAH! OUR LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH!
HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD!!!”
The church all stood up and echoed the praise to the almighty God and His son who shed His blood to make them His own eternally, forever and ever.
Study Questions And Insight:
Read the book of 1st Thessalonians
1: Have you ever lost a loved one who was a believer?
Are you still grieving for them?
2: What comfort does 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 give to you?
3: How are you living your life right now? Is your breastplate of faith, love and purity intact? Examine yourself and judge yourself so you would not be judged by the Lord.
4: Are you still certain of your salvation?
Have you been experiencing doubts recently?
You must understand that your helmet of salvation is one of your armour against the warfare of satan over believers.
Stand strong in the truth of your salvation.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, And take the helmet of salvation,….”
Ephesians 6:10-14, 17 NKJV
5: Sometimes the doubts about our salvation come from guilt about sins we have committed.
Search your heart and repent of every secret sin.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I John 1:9 NKJV
Know that you are forgiven when you confess your sins and stand upon the blood of Jesus when satan tries to come at you with doubts about your salvation. The blood cleanses you from all sin and justifies you. By the blood you are a redeemed son of the Most High God.
When doubts and lie come to your heart, plead the blood!
‘And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
Revelation 12:11 NKJV
6: Jesus is surely coming soon. We know not the day or the hour but He is. We are to keep living as lights in our workplaces, homes, country, nations etc before He comes.
Till He comes there are three things that must abide in our lives; faith, hope and love.
“But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”
I Corinthians 11:28, 31-32 NKJV
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