Download April 21 • BIBLE STUDY GUIDE 8 Living with Hope PDF

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April 21 • BIBLE STUDY GUIDE 8

Living with Hope
Bible Background • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

Printed Text • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
Devotional Reading • Psalm 38:9-15

Aim for Change

By the end of the lesson, we will: UNDERSTAND the significance of the second coming of
Christ; REJOICE in our salvation; and DETERMINE to be prepared for the return of our Lord.

In Focus

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson always insisted that the house’s alarm system be turned on each night
when the family went to bed. But one night, Brandon and Bree decided to stay up to watch a
little TV after their parents had gone to bed, and Brandon forgot to turn on the alarm.

Later that night, Brandon was awakened by what he thought was a sound in the house. He
climbed out of bed, tiptoed into his parents’ room, woke his dad and whispered, “Dad, someone
is in the house!”

Mr. Johnson pushed a nearby panic button wired to the alarm system. A blaring alarm sounded
throughout the house. The intruder ran out the back door and a car was heard screeching away.
The policeman told Mr. Johnson that in his experience, thieves never showed up when people
were looking for them; they always came when they were least expected.

In today’s lesson, Paul explained to the Thessalonian Christians that because the Day of the Lord

would come as a thief in the night, they were to live as though they expected Christ to return at any

moment.

Keep in Mind

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1
Thessalonians 5:9).

Focal Verses

KJV 1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them
which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

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14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will
God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the
coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel,
and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to
meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as
travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of
darkness.

6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an
helmet, the hope of salvation.

9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

NLT 1 Thessalonians 4:13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will

happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.

14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when
Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

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In contrast to 1 Thessalonians 5:7, Paul sets up imagery of a soldier commanded to stay alert on
his post. We should do the same as Christians. Paul instructed us to put on our Christian armor
and prepare for combat. First, we put on the “breastplate of faith and love” (v. 8). The
breastplate, a metal piece worn defensively, is to guard our hearts. Believers must not allow the
world’s situations to become issues that affect our hearts. No matter what the world throws at us,
be it trouble, persecution, hardship, or even the threat of death; we are more than conquerors
through Christ who loves us (see Romans 8:35-37).

Next, we put on the “helmet, the hope of salvation” or better yet, hope in our salvation (1
Thessalonians 5:8). Our hope is in Christ and His promise to never leave nor forsake us. People,
institutions, and organizations all fail; but the salvation of Christ is guaranteed for eternity. God
has not chosen His people “to suffer wrath but to receive salvation” through Christ who died to
redeem us from God’s wrath (vv. 9-10).

Search the Scriptures

1. What is the term Paul used to describe the period culminating in the return of Christ to rule
and reign on the earth (1 Thessalonians 5:2)?

2. When this terrible period came upon them, what would people be expecting for the world (v.
2)?

Discuss the Meaning

Explain the difference between those who are asleep in 1 Thessalonians 5:4 and verse 11.

Lesson in Our Society

People are worried about the economy, wars, terrorism, and the general state of the world. How
would you comfort someone stressed over these issues?

Make It Happen

This week, ask a couple of non-believers what they consider to be the biggest worries of the
country. Then ask them how these issues affect them and their future. Use the response as a
means of offering them the assurance of Christ.

Follow the Spirit

What God wants me to do:

Remember Your Thoughts

Special insights I have learned:

More Light on the Text

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1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep,
that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and
rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say
unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the
Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

The subject of these verses is the coming of the Lord. The Greek word for “coming” is parousia
(par-oo-SEE-ah), and Christians have adopted this word to refer to the second coming of our
Lord. The Thessalonians were enthusiastically anticipating the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
They expected Jesus to come any day. Yet when some died before He returned, the
Thessalonians wondered what would happen to them. They considered the return of Jesus in all
His glory to be something that their departed brothers and sisters would not want to miss. So this
is one issue that Paul is dealing with in the epistle to the Thessalonians.

What happens to any Christian when he or she dies? We have to look at a variety of scriptural
sources to get the whole picture. When we die, our physical bodies remain in the earth, slowly
decaying away. But our spirits go immediately to be with the Lord. Second Corinthians 5:1-9
assures us that when we are absent from our bodies, we are present with the Lord. We do not
have to sleep in the ground until the Lord returns. We go to be with Him as soon as we breathe
our last breaths.

But that was not the question of the people in the church at Thessalonica. They wanted to know
if those who died before the Lord returns to establish His kingdom would miss out on that
glorious event. The answer here is no. If we have already died, God will raise up our bodies into
glorified bodies and take us along with Jesus as He returns for all the Christians on the earth.

Although “sleep” in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 gives us the peaceful idea of sleeping in death,
actually when we go to be with Jesus, it will be the most exciting time we have ever had. In 1
Corinthians 13:12, we discover that we will be face to face with Jesus, and we will see Him more
fully than ever before.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the
archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we
which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the
Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with
these words.

Jesus also spoke about this time as we read in Matthew 24:30-31, “And then shall appear the sign
of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see
the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his
angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four
winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, the Greek word for “meet”
is apantesis (ap-AN-tay-sis) and it also includes the meaning of encounter. When Christ comes,

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are, it is but too plain, appointed to wrath (God’s punishment); but as for those who are of the
day, if they watch and be sober, it is evident that they are appointed to obtain salvation”
(Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, Acts to Revelation, 788). Thus, God’s amazing
mercy is the subject of 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Paul mentioned “wrath” because, among other
things (for example death, sin, and hell), this is exactly the thing from which the Thessalonians
have been saved. But they are saved not just through God’s intention (“destined”) but also
through God’s action (“through our Lord Jesus Christ”). His atoning work on the Cross is what
actually delivers salvation to those who are His, and gives them the hope to press on in their high
and holy calling.

10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

Paul now reinforced Christians’ hope in their ultimate destiny by explaining the loving purpose
and happy result of Jesus’ death in the place of His people. The words “wake or sleep” might
bring some confusion. After all, has not Paul said that those who are “asleep” when Jesus comes
back will find themselves in darkness and not in the light of His merciful presence? Indeed, if the
word “sleep” here referred to such people, then the apostle would have contradicted himself. But
Paul was actually looking back to an earlier use of the word “sleep” (found in 4:13-18) meaning
“dead.” We know this because he was building on the comforting words of 5:9 and because Paul
does not link Jesus’ death with anyone’s destruction. Jesus’ death was only for redemption. Paul
is again encouraging the Thessalonian believers with the knowledge that both they (who were
alive at the time) and their loved ones, who had died, will be with the Lord. When will they
“come to life”? It will be at the promised resurrection of all people, at the coming of Christ “like
a thief,” as both 4:13-18 and our passage show.

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Just as he did in 4:18, Paul reminded the Thessalonians that the uplifting truths of the Gospel are
never just for their own encouragement. A major part of “watching” for the Lord’s second
coming to come is sharing with one another the hope and glory brought about by His first
coming— His incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension on our behalf.

Sources:
Best, Ernest. The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians. Black’s New Testament Commentaries. London, England:

Adam and Charles Black, 1986. 205.
Biblical Words Pronunciation Guide. http://netministries.org/Bbasics/bwords.htm (accessed November 3, 2011).
Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Vol. VI—Acts to Revelation. McLean, VA: MacDonald

Publishing, nd. 788.
Keener, Craig. IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993. 594.

electronic edition (accessed September 2, 2008).
New Testament Greek Lexicon. http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek (accessed October 31, 2011).

Say It Correctly

Thessalonians. theh-suh-LO-nih-uhnz.

Daily Bible Readings

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MONDAY

The Hopeless Human Situation

(Isaiah 59:9-15a)

TUESDAY

The Source of Hope

(Isaiah 59:15b-21)

WEDNESDAY

Waiting in Hope

(Psalm 38:9-15)

THURSDAY

Hoping against Hope

(Romans 4:16-25)

FRIDAY

Seizing the Hope Set before Us

(Hebrews 6:13-20)

FRIDAY

The God of Hope

(Romans 15:7-13)

SUNDAY

Encourage One Another with Hope

(1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11)

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