Pastor's Sunday School Blog
Sunday School Lesson
“The Church That Forgot Its Hope”
July 15, 2018
1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
Pastor’s Notes (Some additional thoughts for your Sunday school lesson):
Standing at a graveside, or kneeling beside a death bed, nothing brings more comfort to the child of God than the promise of the resurrection for those who die in Christ, and the future reunion of all the saints.
This portion of 1 Thessalonians is a rebuttal to the doctrine of annihilationism (nothing beyond death), and a correction to the false message that those who die before the coming of the Lord will not experience His kingdom.
These verses present the hope and peace of the resurrection from the dead, and the rapture of the church.
Discuss: How will confidence in the resurrection and rapture produce peace for those experiencing death.
Christian hope looks forward to the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).
Don’t be uniformed, unlearned so as to be deceived, robbing you of assurance, victory of death.
How is grieving different between the saved and those who have no relationship with Jesus?
Absent the hope of the resurrection, death is the END.
As believers, we need to see death not as the executioner of the wrath of God, but the executor of the will of God; not feared but embraced, not the termination of life, but the transition of life: from life to life through the corridor of death (See 2 Corinthians 5:1-8).
The hope of the resurrection helps the believer to face the death of a loved-one and overcome the fear of our own passing.
Our hope is tied to Christ’s victory over death. Christ’s resurrection foreshadows our resurrection (See 1 Corinthians 15).
Discuss the hymn, “Because He lives”
Christian hope looks forward to Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).
Those alive in Christ, at His return, will not go ahead of those who have died in Christ (See 2 Corinthians 5:8).
Two events in this passage – (1) the resurrection of the “dead in Christ” and (2) the rapture of the church, “we who are still alive.”
The events are sequential and simultaneous (See 1 Corinthians 15:52).
The Time of the Rapture: some believe the rapture occurs at the end of the Tribulation Period (Post Tribulation); some at the 3 ½ year mark of the Tribulation Period (Mid-Tribulation), and others, before any part of the Tribulation Period (Pre-Tribulation).
Pastor Ferrel – “I believe Scriptural evidence points to a pre-tribulation event; however, it is not the time of the event that is important, but the event itself: we shall be raised.”
The order of 1 Thessalonians 4:16: The return of the Lord, the resurrection of the “dead in Christ,” the rapture of the church, the reunion of the saints with the Lord, and the believer’s residence (“always be with the Lord).
Who are the “dead in Christ?” While some believe this is a general resurrection to include all believers, New and Old Testament, the description “dead in Christ” is only used to describe the New Testament saint/ the church. The resurrection of the Old Testament saints seems to best occur at the end of the tribulation, prior to the Millennial Reign of Christ.
Christian hope looks forward to final judgment (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).
Don’t get caught up in forecasting the day of the event; no one knows the date (and anyone who claims to know the “when,” is a false prophet).
Paul does say that the coming of the Lord will be preceded by world calamity. (See Matthew 24:3-26).
Don’t be caught by surprise … you may not know the exact date, but you know it will happen, so live each day as if it is the day Jesus comes again and calls us into His presence. Live prepared lives that are characterized faith, love and hope.
For those who do not know Christ, the coming of the Lord is an appointment with wrath, but no so for the believer; the coming of the Lord is salvation. Remember, as believers, we will not be judged for our sin, but for our service. Jesus has already paid in full the penalty for sin (See 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
Continue to share the hope you have with one another, encouraging each other in the faith of the future.
Theological Theme: Christ’s return will result in the resurrection from the dead.
Christological/Christ Connection: Christ’s coming is the fulfillment of the promise of God to raise the righteous and judge the wicked.
Missional Application: God has called the believer to encourage one another with words of a future hope.