Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
- The Thessalonians did not need any more information about the signs of the coming day of the Lord.
- The Thessalonians knew the day of the Lord will come like unexpectedly.
- The Day of the Lord will come when people are feeling safe and secure.
- The Day of the Lord will be a day of disaster for some people.
- Disaster will come when people believe they are safe and secure.
- Disaster will come suddenly like labor pains.
- People will not be able to get away from the disaster.
- The Thessalonians were not in the dark about the coming of the Lord.
- The Thessalonians would not be surprised at the coming of the day of the Lord.
- Since the Thessalonians knew the day of the Lord is coming they were not to rest as others rested.
- The Thessalonians were to stay at the ready.
- Those who rest and get dunk do so in darkness.
- The Thessalonians belonged to the day/light
- The Thessalonians had put on the breast plate of faith and love
- The Thessalonians had hope of salvation as a helmet.
- God had not destined the Thessalonians for wrath.
- God destined the Thessalonians for salvation through Jesus Christ
- Christ died for the Thessalonians.
- Christ died so it did not matter if the Thessalonians were awake or asleep. They lived in Christ.
- The Thessalonians were to encourage and build up each other.
- The Thessalonians were already encouraging and build each other up.
Christ said only the Father knows the day and the hour of the Son’s return. So, we are to always be ready. (Mark 13:32) Paul echoes that same message here to the Thessalonians. You have no need to know any more than you know. In other words, it is none of your business. The angels do not know. The Son does not know. No man knows. It is none of our business. A sentry is always at ready because he knows the thief can come at any time. The thief may not come during the sentry’s watch but he is to be at the ready. That is how we are to be, ready at all times. The desire to know, what God has said we are not to know, is evidence of extreme incredulity. The refusal to believe God and take Him at His word is a sin.
The day when the Lord comes will take unbelievers by surprise. Just as a thief waits until the household is asleep to break in. When no one suspects only then does he take the inhabitants by surprise. Christ’s coming will be like that, unsuspected.
Even though God threatens destruction and punishment of sin, the world continues to sin. The world does not hesitate to say, “Everything is fine. God, if He exists, only loves and will never destroy.” I have even heard a minister say, “If God destroyed people (for their sins) that would make Him a monster.” So we do not hesitate to declare peace when there is no peace. We rest secure in our false belief.
The day of the Lord’s coming is a day of judgment. But for the redeemed it is a day of hope.
Paul uses the metaphor of light and darkness because no darkness is as dense as the ignorance of God. But we, the redeemed, Christ has shared His grace and shone on us a great light. Paul then admonishes those of us not to sleep but watch for the Lord’s coming.
Paul now changes metaphors. He talks about putting on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope. When a sentry stands duty, he armed. He remains awake and ready for the fight. We too must remain alert and ready.
The Lord comes in judgment. But God has not destined us for the wrath to come. Just as soldiers today wear body armor as projection, our projection is faith, love and hope. For our protection, we put on the body armor or breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope.
Paul reminds us that Christ died for us. So, whether they are awake or asleep (i.e. alive or dead) it does not matter. Christ died for us. This is the assurance of salvation. Christ’s grace is perpetual that is, it has no end. So we now live with Christ. We have entered through faith into the kingdom of Christ, we have passed from death into life. (John 5:24)