EHP Day 52-In His Presence Forever
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
For those who “love His appearing” (cf. 2 Timothy 4:8), the current silence is deafening. Within the family—around the expansive body of Christ—there is little anticipating conversation about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes, the topic can be found in any number of evangelical doctrinal statements. But if (as Francis Chan suggests) the 3rd person of the Trinity (i.e., the Holy Spirit) is yet today “the forgotten God,” the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ is the forgotten hope. Whom do you find looking up on a daily basis? Whom do you hear regularly praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (cf. Revelation 22:20).
The upward set of my heart was determined early. The probable, sudden, and largely unexpected return of the Lord Jesus dropped me to prayerful knees when I was nine. I needed forgiveness, and I didn’t want to be left behind. Clear, Spirit-empowered Sunday-night-service preaching couldn’t have made it clearer. A few years later, when my aging grandfather lived in the corner bedroom of our home, I slipped in one day to find him reading the 1st Thessalonians passage. He had me read it with him, finishing with tears, ‘Ah, Davy…‘dat will be a great day!”
What will make that day great? So much. Nine words capture the best part: and so we will always be with the Lord. Are you ready? Are you daily looking up?