1 Thessalonians 5: Living in the future tense.(please click here for todays notes)

Today and tomorrow we will look at some down to earth, practical implications of believing in the second coming of Christ. Many get carried away with speculation. By and large I believe they are missing the point. Belief in the Second Advent should affect our ordinary everyday lives right now. Here are some points to consider:

Be alert (4-9; Luke 9:32): We are to stay spiritually awake. William James said, ‘’Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake.’’ (Think about Jesus’ teaching in the gospels about faithfully carrying on with the work we’ve been given to do. For example see Matthew 24:32-44).

Be people of faith, love and hope (see 1:3): As we saw previously, these are the ‘credentials’ of genuine Christian experience. Keep trusting in Jesus; keep on loving God and others and holding on to the revealed truth about your glorious future prepared by the Lord.

Be good congregational members (12, 13a): As far as it depends on you, make it as easy as you can for your leaders to do their often difficult work. Be a fellowship of encouragement, warning, caring, patience, forgiveness and goodness. There is such a lot encapsulated in a few short lines (14, 15). Each statement in this ‘rapid fire’ series of final exhortations is (and I know I am mixing my metaphors) like a sweet to be sucked and savoured. Every word matters.

Live in harmony with one another (13b): You probably have little idea just how much this will bless your leaders. It’s one way you can help them. I once read an article in ‘Time’ magazine about President Ronald Reagan. It said that he was such an affable guy, he hated it when there was in-fighting and squabbling among his staff. At the time that very much resonated with me because I was aware of the pain of having one or two people in my congregation who struggled to get on with each other – at least some of the time. Church leaders hurt when those they serve hurt each other. Remember this, and aim to live in peace. But do it not primarily for the sake of your leaders, but because God Himself calls you to such a life, and makes it possible.

Prayer: Lord God may my everyday life exhibit the truth that I belong to another Kingdom and that I am awaiting the coming of that Kingdom in all its fullness.