Good morning everyone. So very nice to see you!
I tried to have a good Christmas yesterday, but I’ve got an exam tomorrow for the course I’m doing, so I ended up doing some study. I think it’s the first time I have studied on Christmas Day!
So, I think if somebody asked me whether my Christmas was good, and I couldn’t answer ‘yes’. I hope you can bear in mind.
Let’s turn to the Bible at 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 1 to 12. And let us pray before we read the Lord’s Word.
Thank you Lord for your mercy and grace. We thank you for your faithfulness through 2021. We therefore commit 2022 to your hand and again pray that you help us be faithful to your calling, that we might continue to do your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.
1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 1 to 12. Let me read out from verse 1:
The passage speaks about our lives as we expect Jesus’s return, and so the title of today’s talk is ‘How then should we live?’
I’m sure we believe that we are living in the end time and that Jesus is coming. Our bridegroom is on the way, it is amazing news to the believers in Jesus who love Him.
Imagine if your bridegroom is on the way either by taxi or limousine. Yes, you’ll be very excited, and you will look forward to meeting with your own bridegroom.
Our own bridegroom who is Jesus is on the way. We know that there will be some difficult times, there are difficult times already, but we also know that there will be good news afterwards.
So, this is the hope of all of us. This has been the hope of the church, especially the early church, even at the time of New Testament.
We know that it has already taken at least 2000 years after the period when the New Testament was written.
However, if you read New Testament, it is full of hope about this Second Coming of Jesus.
They looked forward to having this bridegroom with them and they waited for His Second Coming.
I’ve heard that one of our forefathers, when he saw or heard lightning or thunder, he wondered whether Jesus was coming back. That’s how desperate he was to have Jesus back. And it should be our attitude as well.
If you see a cloud or even hear the sound of thunder, if you see lightning, it might be time for Jesus to come back and it will be a very joyous and great time for us as well.
This end time Second Coming of Jesus is an interesting subject theologically, especially eschatologically.
Yet, I believe that our urgency and desire should come from ‘heart knowledge’, rather than ‘head knowledge’.
We can know many things about this Second Coming of Jesus but unless you have this ‘heart knowledge’, unless you have this urgency to love Him and want to meet Him, it could be of no use.
If you just have ‘head knowledge’ … I have to say, I have met many people who argue about their own knowledge, but it seems that they are lacking in ‘heart knowledge’.
Our urgency and desire should come from ‘heart knowledge’ rather than ‘head knowledge’.
Let me use a difficult word: ‘ontological’. Our desire should be an ontological hope and aspiration as we love Jesus, as we regard Him as our bridegroom.
That’s why we are waiting for His Second Coming rather than acquiring much head knowledge or knowing Him only through our heads.
We also know that this subject has been preached about a lot in our fellowship, since we believe that the time is getting nearer, and it is a very important subject.
And the Bible is written for this same reason. The Bible simply wants us to know what will happen when Jesus comes back, and we should preach about this Second Coming of Jesus.
I have to say that we are rich in the teaching, so, the question should be: ‘How then should we live as we know better?’
We must also ask ourselves: ‘How then should we live?’ Therefore, that must be our next question.
If we compare our church to the church in Philadelphia of Revelation chapter 3 verse 8, we see it says,
God gave the church in Philadelphia a cheerful word because they didn’t have much strength but had kept the Word of God and had not denied the name of God.
However, we have to say that we have much strength, we know the Word of God, and therefore have much strength.
If I read this word of Revelation chapter 3.8 and apply it to our situation, we can ask ourselves: ‘How then should we live with this much knowledge?’
That should be our question as we reflect upon Revelation chapter 3 verse 8.
I believe 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 gives us an idea of how to live in this end times.
The answer to that question is stated very clearly in verse 1. It says,
And verse 3 speaks about what things we should be abounding in more and more. It says,
It’s not a new teaching or a new discovery, it simply says that, as we come nearer to the Second Coming of Jesus, we should abound more and more in our sanctification.
God doesn’t force us to do anything. He’s gentle and kind, He always waits but He urges us, and He says, He beseeches us by the mercies of God.
What a great word this is! He doesn’t force us, He urges by His own mercy.
That’s what our God is like. He’s mighty, He’s great in power but He never forces us.
He has given us free will to choose, but He urges us to choose life
and He urges here,
I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service.
It says that, as we wait for the Second Coming of Jesus, and we believe that this end time closes in, we must abound more and more in our sanctification.