The Holy Spirit teaches us 5 things we need to do to be prepared for the Coming of Jesus Christ.
For believers in Jesus Christ the most important event we must be prepared for is the coming of Jesus Christ. In 1 Thessalonians Paul is reminding us by the Holy Spirit how to be prepared in light of the Day we must all stand before the ONE who saved us from the wrath of God and give an account for the NEW LIFE He has given us.
First, Paul commends the believers in Thessaloniki for being faithful in the midst of persecution. Their testimony was famous throughout Macedonia and beyond because they turned away from idols and turned to the living and true God in the midst of much opposition. But their testimony did not stop there. They were also waiting patiently, while being persecuted, for the Son of God who was raised from the dead to return from heaven. That is, Jesus, the One who delivers us from the wrath to come.
The point here is that they were “patiently” waiting for Jesus to return. We do not know the day or the hour of His return. He is coming. And while we are waiting we must be patient. That means we are willing to suffer with patience as we live in this lost and dying world. I am now 60 years old. My body may die before Jesus comes or I may be a part of that generation of believers that will not taste death but be translated. Either way I must be patient with the Lord. God knows the time of Christ’s return and it will be the right time. While we wait for the Lord we must be willing to suffer as Christians in this world. The World hates Christ followers and will always us. Jesus told us not to expect anything else. It hated Him and will hate those that desire to walk with Him.
While patiently waiting for the Lord’s return we are to be making disciples. In chapter 2 Paul says that the believers are his HOPE, JOY and CROWN of rejoicing in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at His coming. The reason for this is that Paul and others were investing their lives in people and teaching them to “imitate” Jesus by imitating them. In other words, they were making them into disciples of Jesus Christ. This is our mandate as well. “Make disciples of ALL people” by telling them the Good News of salvation in Christ (everywhere, all the time, to everybody), getting them into a Bible teaching church (water baptism/church membership) and TEACHING them continually what Christ has taught us in the Word of God. This is why Paul and his team of disciple makers could be confident when Christ returns. He was confident (hope) and knew he would be joyful and receive a reward because of the labor of love given to these believers in Jesus. He was obediently making disciples.
Paul goes on to pray that the Thessalonians “love one another” (3:12). This was so that Christ could prepare them to be “blameless in holiness” before God at His Coming. Loving fellow believers is the true sign that one is a disciple of Jesus Christ. Loving one another helps a believer to “not be shaken by the afflictions” we face in this world and in fact we are “appointed to this” (3:3). We need each other. We must “exhort one another daily, while it is still called today, so that we do not become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13). We are not “holy” if we are not loving one another.
To be prepared for the Coming of Christ we must also be informed and not “ignorant” of the truth of God’s Word (4:13). Ignorance breeds anxiety. Followers of Christ are informed by KNOWING the Word of God. God’s Word is how we find comfort in this world. It is the sure Promises of God that give us the faith to stand in the midst of trials and persecution (Romans 10:17). It is the Word of God that gives us strength to “go against the flow” of the world. It is knowing and believing the Word of God that causes us to grow in the Grace of God. “Comfort one another with these words” (4:13).
Finally, Paul tells us to be awake, alert and level-headed (5:6) as we remember what the Word of God says and not all the rumors and conspiracies and lies being told about the coming of Christ. God has delivered us already from His wrath through Jesus Christ and HE will deliver us completely on that DAY when we see Jesus face to face. BUT we need to be totally prepared “body, soul and spirit” (5:23). We can be prepared for that Great and Awesome Day by being obedient and faithful to the Word of God.
God is faithful to us. Let us be faithful to Him and abide in Christ, so that we will not “shrink back in shame at HIS coming” (1 John 2:28).
Be prepared for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by being patient in the midst of life’s trials, by making disciples, by loving one another, by knowing the Word of God and by being holy, that is being obedience to the Word of God.
Then you will have confidence, joy and a crown when Jesus returns.