A couple decided to vacation in Northern Italy. One of their stops was a well-maintained castle. As the gardener showed them around both castle and grounds, the couple fell in love with the charming place. They complemented the gardener on the way he groomed the lawns, maintained the lovely landscaping, and produced such beautiful vitality in the whole place. During lunch the couple asked the gardener when the owner of the estate had last been there. “About ten years ago.” The man was surprised and asked why he kept the gardens in such immaculate beauty. The reply was simple, “Because I am expecting him to return.” The wife, her curiosity peaked, asked if he was coming next week. “I don’t know when he is coming, but I am expecting him today.” That is how Christ’s people prepare for His return. They do not know when He is coming, but they know He could come at any time so they expect Him today. Study 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 to learn about the day of the Lord and how to be ready so that you can escape the judgment that is coming.
Before studying this passage, ask God to make His Word clear to you and to apply it to your life today.
Read Focus Verses
As you read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 notice what the whole passage is talking about - it's mentioned twice.
What is the central idea or theme of these four verses?
Keyword - Day of the Lord
Mark the two references to the day of the Lord so they'll stand out as the theme if this passage.
Day of the Lord
Mark day of the Lord and that day in verses 2 and 4.
The next 6 verses complete the thought begun in today's passage. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10 see how they work together.
To whom are these verses addressed according to verse 1?
What do these Christians already know so well that Paul doesn't need to write to them about it?
How is the day of the Lord coming?
Peace and Safety
What will the world be saying before the day of the Lord comes?
What will the day of the Lord bring to the world?
Is there hope of escape from this destruction for unbelievers according to verse 3?
According to verse 4, why will the day of the Lord come upon unbelievers as unexpectedly as a thief?
What does verse 4 say about Christians in relation to the day of the Lord?
Times and Seasons
The Bible talks a lot about times and seasons. Notice who directs them according to Daniel 2:20-22.
In God's Hand
Psalm 31:14-15 teaches us to trust the way the Lord directs the seasons of life.
In John we see many times that people's plans to harm the Lord Jesus were thwarted because His time to die was not yet come. See an example of this in John 7:30.
Sometimes God revealed His plan to His people like when He revealed to Elijah that his time on earth had come to a close. However, much of the time, God does not reveal His plan. Jesus tells us this will be the case about the timing of His return in Acts 1:7
How do these verses help you understand the way God plans and the way He protects His people, and how do they help you trust Him more?
Already in 1 Thessalonians 4:9, Paul has reminded these Christians about something he says they are doing very well.
He does the same thing in 2 Corinthians 9 writing to that church about something he says they already know in verse 1.
Peter explains why God reminds us in His Word of things we already know in 2 Peter 1:10-16.
What are some of the reasons God says He inspired the biblical authors to write things their readers already knew at the moment?
What can you learn from this example of reinforcing the most important things even when those you are encouraging know them?
The Day of the Lord
The day of the Lord is mentioned throughout Scripture. As today's passage highlights, it will be a day of God's wrath and anger upon His enemies. Read how Isaiah 13:6-9 describes it.
Many times God warns that wealth will not save you from the day of His wrath like in Proverbs 11:4.
Strength and Numbers
Two other things God frequently warns are powerless against His judgment are strength and numbers like in Psalm 33:16-17.
The Way of Escape
But Scripture teaches that though no other way will offer escape to even one person, God has made a way of escape. Read about it in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10.
What is the one way God has provided so that His people can escape the wrath of His judgment?
Romans 8:1 assures us that this way of escape from God's wrath through trusting the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ provides complete protection.
In Jeremiah 8:11-12 we read God's opinion on those who declare that there will be peace when He is planning to bring judgment.
Ezekiel 13:10-16 explains through a word picture what will happen to the false teachers who predict peace and safety before the day of wrath.
According to today's passage and these other verses, what will happen to those who are predicting peace instead of warning about God's judgment? What will happen to those who listen to and believe them?
Verse 3 of today's passage speaks of destruction. Revelation 6:12-17 describes part of that.
Scripture teaches that God doesn't favor people because of their wealth or position or genetics when He saves them. What do these verses from Revelation tell you about what kinds of people God will judge?
In Luke 12:35-40 Jesus speaks of His coming as a thief in the night like today's passage does.
2 Peter 3:9-14 uses the same analogy of a thief coming in the night when it explains that Christ hasn't returned yet because He is patient so that many will be saved.
Watch and Stay Ready
Jesus warns His people that He is coming like a thief in Revelation 16:15.
Verse 4 of today's passage assures us that those who watch and live according to Christ's instructions will be ready. This promise is also implied in Revelation 3:3.
In each of these passages, the warning about Christ coming as a thief is accompanied by instructions on how to prepare. How does Christ want His people to live so that they are always ready for the day of the Lord?
Verse 4 says Christians are not in darkness which is why they prepare for Christ's return. Ephesians 4:17-24 explains the source of the world's darkness and of a Christian's light.
Why are unbelievers in darkness so that they are not ready for Christ's return?
Who brings light and new understanding to Christians so that they can watch and prepare?
According to what you've seen in these passages today, how can someone be sure they will escape judgment on day of the Lord?
We saw in 2 Peter that God has delayed the day of the Lord so that He can show mercy to more people. See what Jude 1:20-25 says Christians should do in light of the coming day of the Lord.
Living and Calling
These verses in Jude call Christians to live pure and holy lives, but that isn't all. What are Christians supposed to try to do for others because they know the fearful reality of the day of God's wrath is coming?
The Right Side
There are two sides - God's side and the losing side. Who's side do you want to be on? Why?
Many times Scripture commands people to make sure they are on God's side. Have you turned away from all sin and trusted completely in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ on your behalf as your only hope of salvation and given yourself completely to Him to obey and love Him? If so, how do you know? If not, what are you going to do about it?
Watch and Prepare
What needs to change about your life today so that you are ready for Christ's return at any moment?
Making a Difference
Are you making a difference as an agent of God's salvation by warning people about the day of the Lord which is coming and telling them about the way of escape God has provided? How are you going to do that today?
We hope this study has helped you understand the day of the Lord better and showed you how to prepare.
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