How do you respond to a warning?
During the recent riot in Charlottesville, angry protesters pushed into police officers and were asked to step by back five feet, lower their voice (and tone), and cool down. The officer gave the same response twice more, but the front row agitator ignored the request and yelled, “Who do you think you are, to tell me what to do!” Needless to say, the next few minutes did not go well.
When Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on Texas over the past weekend, residents had plenty of warnings. Weather forecasters began predicting the storm days ahead of when it was supposed to arrive on land.
On the days beforehand, while it was warm and sunny, people swarmed into grocery stores to buy supplies. Hardware stores were also heavily in demand as people worked to get their homes and businesses ready for days of terrible weather. Everyone who was paying attention was talking about the coming storm. Even before the hurricane arrived, schools and businesses announced they would be closed. Evacuation plans were already being followed. When the storm hit with wind and rain, most people were out of harm’s way and many were safe at home or with others. No one was supposed to be out and about during the storm, except for first responders and emergency personal equipped and ready to offer aid and support.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.
When we believe a warning, it affects our behavior. It is true in every area of life, including our walk of faith. The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica in the first century, reminding them that the day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night. In other words, it would come unexpectedly (verse 2). Paul’s call to action urged them to avoid spiritual lethargy while remaining alert and self-controlled (verse 6). He added that believers should comfort one another as they share this warning (verse 11), and heed the words of the apostle.
Paul was echoing the words of Jesus who earlier had said to his followers to be watchful and ready, “for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44). Paul had written in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, “Therefore, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” This added to his writing in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 about not being ignorant of the second coming of he Lord Jesus. Paul’s point was if we wish to escape the wrath of the Lord, we need to remain spiritually awake and morally alert, and continue in faith, love, and the hope of salvation (verses 8-9 of chapter five).
What effect did Paul believe this teaching about the Lord’s return would have on his listeners? In 1 Thessalonians 4:18, he said, “Therefore, let us encourage one another with these words.”
If we believe Jesus’ words about His soon return, how will it affect our thoughts and actions? First, Paul argued in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 why and how there is a contrast between believers and unbelievers in their words and deeds. Second, verses 9-10 supply the reason Paul wrote that followers of Jesus are assured of their salvation. Third, like Paul, let’s be witnesses of hope.
Walk wisely. Every Christian should be an expectant uplooker as an ambassador of Christ.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz