HOPE FOR A TROUBLED CHURCH
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
The book of First Thessalonians is a letter written by the apostle Paul to a group of believers in Jesus who lived in the city of Thessalonica, an influential city in the Roman Province of Macedonia. In our verses for today Paul writes about the “hope” that Christians have, even in the face of death. The word for “hope” in Koine Greek (the language of the New Testament) means, “to anticipate.” This is not a blind hope or wish. Christian hope in the Bible is a confident expectation. And through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His followers can be confident of victory even over death.
1. Some of the Thessalonians did not understand what happens to Christians after they die. They did not understand that believers will rise from the grave and go to heaven. Why do you think it was so important to Paul to inform them of the truth of what happens to followers of Jesus after they die?
2. Paul writes in verse thirteen that he did not want them to grieve, “…like the rest of mankind who have no hope.” Why does knowing about life after death help Christians to grieve differently than the rest of mankind?
3. How does the fact that Jesus was resurrected help believers in Christ to have confidence in our victory over death through Jesus?
1. Inform yourself! Learn what the Bible says about salvation, life after death, the bodily resurrection of believers, and the assurance of heaven. This will give you confidence to face any trial!
2. Have confidence! Jesus rose from the grave, so now we know that those who fall asleep in Him will be brought back to life eternally by God through faith in Jesus Christ. Be emboldened by this fact!
3. Grieve with Hope! Most people have grieved the loss of a loved one. Even believers feel the void when a close relative or friend dies. But there is a qualitative difference in Christian grief. We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope. Our sorrow contains the confident expectation of a great family reunion in heaven with Jesus and our circle of family and friends!
Lord Jesus, I thank you that your death on the Cross has paid for my sins. I thank you that your resurrection has given me new life and renewed hope to confidently walk through both this life and the next. Help me to live as new creation in pursuit of the Christian ideal. Grant me the wisdom to know what we must do, the will to want to do it, the courage to undertake it, the perseverance to continue to do it, and the strength to complete it. Thank you for your hope! In Jesus’ name, AMEN.