Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.
This week we start a new series from the Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian believers, titled Great urgencies from the Apostle Paul.
Today we are talking about The Ministry of a Comforter.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 AMP
Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words [concerning our reunion with believers who have died].
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 AMP
Those Who Died in Christ
13 Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death], so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life].
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again [as in fact He did], even so God [in this same way—by raising them from the dead] will bring with Him those [believers] who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
15 For we say this to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are still alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede [into His presence] those [believers] who have fallen asleep [in death].
16 For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (raptured) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord!
18 Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words [concerning our reunion with believers who have died].
In Jesus name we pray.
The words of our text are directed to believers in Jesus Christ.
Each of us is commanded to participate in a ministry of bringing comfort to others.
We are to render this ministry with the precious promises and provisions of God described by the apostle in our verses today.
- The need for comfort.
Sooner than we can imagine, we will either be in need of comfort or be associated with someone who needs comfort.
Very seldom does a month pass in which death does not touch the life of someone we know.
We are not to remain unconcerned in the presence of grief.
- Verse 13 says, Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death],
While there is plenty of speculation concerning death and the afterlife, there is a great ignorance concerning what the New Testament teaches regarding God’s provisions for those who die with faith in Jesus Christ.
Each believer should study the New Testament to fully appreciate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We need to delve into great passages of Scripture like 1 Corinthians 15.
B. Verse 13 also says, so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life].
Believers grieve over the death of someone near and dear just as unbelievers grieve.
When a person dies, all of those who knew them feel loss, and this brings pain.
While believers experience grief, Paul tells us that we must not grieve as unbelievers do, for their sorrow is the sorrow of those who have no hope.
A non believing husband was once heard to say in connection with the death of his Christian wife, “If I were only a Christian, it would not be so bad.”
He knew that apart from Jesus, he had no hope of ever experiencing his wife’s presence again.
A perceptive observer on the mission field once noticed the radical difference between the grief of believers in contrast to that of unbelievers in the presence of death.
He expressed the judgement that if this were the only benefit of being a Christian, it would be worth all the effort and expense put forward by the missionaries.
As followers of Christ, we are encouraged to refrain from grieving as though we have no hope.
2. The basis for the Christian’s comfort.
The apostle Paul said we are to “comfort one another with these words” in verse 18.
What are the words he was taking about?
- “We believe that Jesus died and rose again.”
Our only hope of victory over death and the grave is based on the fact that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died for our sins.
He conquered the power of death and the grave on our behalf.
The resurrection of Christ provides us with a revelation of what God has planned for those who trust Christ as Lord.
The occasion for these words of instruction and comfort grew out of the pain that these early believers were experiencing when friends and loved ones entered into death prior to the expected return of Jesus.
Paul affirmed that when Christ returns to claim His own, believers who have experienced death prior to that event will be with Him.
B. Those who are alive at the second coming of Christ will not have precedent over those who have died prior.
Some people interpret these verses of Scripture in terms of a detailed explanation of the Lord’s return.
We will get closer to the truth if we interpret them in terms of instruction and comfort to distressed believers a short two or three decades after the ascension of our Lord.
Paul was affirming that both the living and dead believers will share equally in the wonderful victory of the triumphant return of Jesus Christ.
He was affirming verse 17, Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (raptured) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord!
He was dealing here with the pain that is experienced when death separates the living from the dead.
He was affirming that the day will come when we will be together in and through Jesus Christ.
3. Being a comforter.
Each of us will need the comfort that comes from the God of all comfort and the Father of mercy.
Each of us is encouraged, even commanded, to be a source of comfort to one another.
To comfort means to encourage, to impart assurance of victory, to help others know that death will have no victory over us or our loved ones who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
- We need to study the Scriptures.
If we would be obedient to this urgency, and if we would be a source of help to others, we need to know what the Scriptures teach us about the Lord’s provisions for those who trust Him.
B. We need to claim the promises of God.
The New Testament contains many promises to those who trust Jesus.
Only as we claim these promises an a personal basis can we experience God’s great comfort.
C. We can be the channel through which God’s help comes to others.
Our presence and our words of assurance and sympathy will bless others in their times of grief.
Determine that with God’s assistance you will be a source of help to others in their times of grief and sorrow.
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.
Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
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