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Grace Baptist Church | Cape Coral

Christians Grieve with Hope

Pastor Jared Longshore continues his series on 1 Thessalonians with a message on Chapter 4, Verses 13-18 entitled “Christians Grieve with Hope.” The Christian’s hope for eternity changes everything when loss and grieving enter one’s life. This is so since belief and expectation, the elements of hope, can offer joy and apparently have the physical power to release endorphins which lessens pain. These reasons for hope were especially pertinent to the Thessalonians who were confused over the eternity of their lost loved ones.

This passage teaches Christian grieve with hope because they will rise forever to be with the Lord. There is no arrogance but rather a confidence in both the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and trust in His promises. Three aspects to the Christian hope are shown: the nature, the guarantee, and the fulfillment. First, the nature of the Christian hope is that Christians will be resurrected and rise (v. 16). For the Christian physical death is only a prelude to eternal life. Risen Christians will be with the Lord (v.17). This verse continues indicating that Christians will be “caught up together,” that is Christians will be with one another. Finally, the verse indicates our rising will be forever. The separation caused by death among believers is but a temporary aberration to an eternity together with Jesus Christ the Savior. It is a blessed hope but it is a hope reserved for Christians. Sadly, the Bible warns all other hopes are false hopes. They have no foundation and lead to a lost eternity. Do not let the devil come and steal away true hope. The Savior calls out to the lost to come to Him and have real hope.

Second, after expounding on the nature of the hope Paul seeks to prove its guarantee. Verse 15 shows the hope is based on “a word from the Lord.” Paul, the apostle, writes but the word comes from God Himself. Surely the word of the Lord has more weight than the words or thoughts of mere mortal man. God tells humankind His way; humankind turns away from God’s ways to their own way at their peril. Yet another proof, as if God’s word was lacking, is Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (v. 14). Jesus’ resurrection was and is a fact. Yet the Bible teaches His resurrection was a first fruit, the resurrection of Christians being the rest of the harvest. 

Third, Paul addresses the fulfillment of the hope with three truths (vv. 16-17). The Lord Himself will descend and claim His church. The Lord will descend with authority as shown by the trump and the archangel. Finally the Lord will descend with immediacy. In an instant the Lord will come as the urgency of the words “caught up”indicate. 

Therefore, for the believer, the one trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is both great hope and consolation when a beloved believer dies. For an unbeliever there should be great fear and loss. Yet the Lord calls. Take His free gift and come to Him.

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