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Second Sunday of End Times

“The Word of Encouragement”
“Therefore encourage one another with these words”
In the Name of the One who Is, and who Was, and who Is to come. Amen

Dear people of God, I thank God for each of you, praying for you on a
regular basis. I am frequently reminded of your faith, the love you have for
other people, and the hope you put in Jesus Christ your Lord. God has
chosen you to encourage the fainthearted, help the poor and the weak, pray
constantly and rejoice always.
Aren’t those good words to hear? Isn’t it wonderful to be encouraged
like that? Isn’t that a great way to start a sermon? Yes it is. But not only is
this the way I’ve chosen to begin this sermon today, it is the way St. Paul
started his inspired epistle to God’s people living in Thessalonika.
Of primary importance for St. Paul in writing this epistle is to remind
God’s people to encourage one another. We find him doing so here in verse
18 of our text as well as in 5:11. In fact this message of encouragement is a
common refrain repeated throughout this epistle. That should come as no
surprise, for both Paul and the people at Thessalonica had faced great
suffering and afflictions for Christ and were in need of His Word of
encouragement. And so are we. For though we may not face persecution
like Paul or suffering for the sake of Christ like the first Christians, we
nonetheless struggle, face hardships, and need comforted in our trials and
afflictions. Think of a time when you have struggled, suffered, or been sad
and in need of consoling. What was it that provided comfort and
consolation? What words were spoken to you that soothed your soul? Who
was it that called you, sent you a card, or came in person to pray with you

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” Like the people living the days of Noah. 15-16) What is the word of encouragement being offered? It is the Word of Christ’s Second Coming! At this point we should perhaps pause. how many of you are terrified by it? I remember my mother telling me that when she was a little girl her Sunday School teacher taught her that on the 2 . and the flood came and destroyed them all. On the other hand. How many of you believe that Jesus will one day come again in glory to bring about the destruction of this world as we know it? Perhaps some. so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. We might be influenced by other people rather than by the Scriptures. (read vs. He would’ve done so by now! He wouldn’t have waited this long. many people today—maybe even many Christian people. if you do believe in the Second Coming of Christ. People were eating and drinking and marrying and being in marriage. maybe not many. even dating back to the days of Noah. unfortunately choose not believe in the Second Coming. But what might surprise us is the word that He gives His church that provides such encouragement. The Lord has called us.and for you? I pray it was a brother or sister in Christ from here at Peace With Christ. to be a caring community that encourages one another in His Name—just as He called the Thessalonians and as He has called His church throughout the ages. He has called us not only to hear His Word and Know His Word—but to share His Word with those in need of encouragement. until the day when Noah entered the ark. Listen again to part of our text. Listen to what Jesus says in Luke 18 —“Just as it was n the days of Noah. dear friends. That kind of thinking has been common throughout the ages. Our thinking might go something like this—If Jesus were really going to come again.

Quite Scarey. but the end is not yet. When Jesus rose from the dead on the first Easter Sunday we are told that many of those who had died rose from the dead as well. and not light. for this must take place.last day the blood would run as high as a horse’s bridle. More scary. We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed. or went into the house and leaned his hand against a wall and a serpent bit him.” VERY scary! If this isn’t bad enough. Amos isn’t the only one who describes the Day of the Lord. In a moment in the twinkling of an eye. as if a man fled from a lion and a bear met him. This is the first resurrection—and it serves as an illustration for the final resurrection on the last day—described in 1 Cor. and kingdom against kingdom. and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. speaking inerrant words inspired by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps that teacher based part of his teaching on the words we heard today from the prophet Amos: Why do you desire the day of the Lord? It is darkness. tell us to encourage one another with words about the Second Coming? Perhaps we should take a closer look— First—at His Second Coming the final resurrection of the dead will take place. All these are just the beginning of the birth pangs. Paul. we have all these books teaching about the Great Tribulation and the rapture and quite frankly the whole thing is enough to give a person—even a pastor—nightmares! So how in the world can St. A little scary. at 3 . the Second Coming of Christ. For nation will rise against nation. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed. and they will lead many astray. Even Jesus describes it in pretty sobering terms —listen to what He says in Matthew: “Many will come in My name saying “I Am the Christ”. 15—I tell you a mystery.

5:2. Very Good.” This should frighten unbelievers—for theirs will be a bodily resurrection to spend eternity in hell. and this mortal body most put on immortality. In the Gospel lesson for today we are told that the bridegroom comes at midnight—at a time when everyone should be sleeping. In 1979 a high school classmate said that because Israel had become a nation in 1948 the end would certainly come before the year 2000. for we will be with Christ. Jesus will come again at a time when we least expect it. Like Alan Funt on candid camera. confound and quite frankly scare the hell out of people by predicting dates and times when this will happen. What exactly that body will be like we don’t know—Scripture doesn’t tell us—but it will be like Christ’s resurrected body. For the trumpet will sound. I can tell you confidently that it isn’t going to happen—why? Too predictable. In the year 2000 people said that Y2K would signal the meltdown. There are many false prophets today who are trying to confuse. At a time that is completely unexpected! The Second Coming of Jesus will also be unexpected. and the dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed. And that will be good.the last trumpet. It will be so sudden that we won’t have time to be frightened. GREAT! Like a child afraid of the dark who is 4 . For this perishable body must put on the imperishable. But this is comforting for Christians—for we get to spend eternity in heaven—with a new body. Second—His Second Coming will come quickly. The latest hype is that of the Mayan calendar which ends in 2012—at which time some cataclysmic cosmic event is to occur. The Gospel tells us that we won’t have time to gather our things or make preparations— but as Christians we won’t need to. You and I have heard this all our lives—people saying that this is it—this is the end.

but for salvation. who died for us. For God has not destined us for wrath. 1 Thess. these words are comforting for they assure that our salvation is secure. St. but to end it as well: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. Paul does not say “IF” but “Since”—let us be sober.comforted by the calming voice of her mother or the reassuring presence of her father. and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful. We don’t fear the darkness of the last day. and for a helmet the hope of salvation. Encouraged with the Word of Christ—like that which the Holy Spirit used not only to start this sermon. When Christians die they are still alive— alive in Christ—and therefore only sleeping. 5 . But rather to be encouraged. Did you hear that? God has NOT destined us for wrath. and His angels. Therefore we are called not to fear. He will surely do it. 5:8: “Since we belong to the day—notice. waiting for that day when the Morning Star—Jesus Christ—will wake us up and raise our bodies and take us to our eternal home. For Life! This is why St. When you go to sleep at night you may be dead tired—but you don’t die while you’re sleeping. for we live even now in the eternal light of Christ. Paul refers to death as ‘sleep’ for Christians. but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. having put on the breastplate of faith and love. so too we will be comforted by our Lord. so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. or be confused about the Coming of the Lord. Furthermore. not to question.” Amen.