May 22, 2022
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, A Thief in the Night.
We live between the blood-drenched slopes of Mount Calvary, and the sunlit peaks of Mount Zion—between the crucifixion and the coronation of Christ. Four truths in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 will help you to be ready for the return of Christ.
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). A thief comes when you are not expecting it, and so it is with the coming of Christ.
When our Lord Jesus Christ was ready to ascend to Heaven, the disciples were with him. “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me’” (Acts 1:6-8a).
Anybody who sets a date is disobeying the Lord. Christians, get your head out of the clouds of prophecy and get your feet on the pavement of soul winning.
“With the Lord, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:8b-10a).
“For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:3-4).
Paul is talking about the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord, when God will pour out His wrath upon this world. If you know the Lord, you will escape it.
“Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7).
“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).
Jesus said, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 6:15-16).
Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:36-39).
The world is already in darkness—moral, spiritual, social, and political darkness. The world has been chloroformed by Satan, asleep in a drunken stupor.
What should you do, as a Christian?
“You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). We are the only ones in this world who can make sense of what is going on.
“Everything looks fine,” you might say.
“For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes…” (1 Thessalonians 5:3a).
“Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night” (1 Thessalonians 5:6-7). You are not supposed to put on a white robe and go sit on a mountain top. Jesus said, “Do business till I come.” (See Luke 19:13.) Get busy.
“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
You need to love Jesus Christ and one another. If you don’t wear the breastplate of faith and love, you are not ready to live in these dark days of the end times.
Also, put on the helmet of the hope of salvation. Does this mean “I hope I’m saved”? No! The Bible uses the word hope to mean absolute certainty based on the Word of God. Christ’s return is called “the blessed hope.” (See Titus 2:13.) You are to have the helmet of absolute certainty that you are saved.
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11).
Remember, the Great Tribulation is the day of God’s wrath. God’s wrath is for the unsaved. God chastises His children but never pours His wrath upon His children.
There are two classic examples of this. One is the days of Noah, and Jesus said, “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).
Paul said, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). He included himself. We are always on the edge of eternity. Paul was expecting the return of Jesus, and you should be.
The fact that Jesus is coming at any moment is a great comfort and edification. Just as God said, “Noah, come into the ark,” and, “Lot, get out of that city,” He is going to say, “Child, come up, and the trumpet will sound.”