Sermon – November 8, 2020 – Last Judgment

Printable PDF: 02 Last Judgment Sermon

I. So remain alert and sober
II. And encourage one another

Is this congregation like the Thessalonian congregation? Let’s check it out. Could Paul thank God for your good works produced by faith? For your labor produced by love? For patient endurance produced by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ? (1:3) Are you a model congregation to other believers around Arizona? Then you most likely wait patiently for God the Son to return from heaven to rescue us from the coming wrath. (1:10) If you believe in Jesus and believe that he is coming back to judge the living and the dead, then Judgment Day will be a good day. Today let’s consider that THE DAY OF THE LORD’S RETURN IS COMING. We are waiting patiently for Jesus to return so we will remain alert and sober, and encourage one another looking forward to a very happy ending to the history of this world.

I. So remain alert and sober
Paul explains that we remain alert and sober by holding firmly to our Christian faith. When you received God’s Word, which you heard from us, you did not receive it as the word of men but as the word of God (as it really is), which is now at work in you who believe. (2:13) Let’s do a self-check on whether you are like the Thessalonians: 1. Does your faith produce good works? 2. Does your love work hard to help others? 3. Does your hope produce a patient endurance waiting for Jesus to come back at the end of time to judge the world?
While Paul was in Athens, he sent Timothy to encourage this congregation to stand firm against the Tempter. When Timothy returned to Athens and reported the good news about their faith and love, (3:6) Paul was filled with joy. This good report encouraged Paul to pray for the Thessalonians (as I pray for you) that God the Father himself and our Lord Jesus increase your love for all people, so that God may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his saints. (3:12) We need to pray for each other to remain alert to the teachings of our God and to be sober as we apply the teachings of our God to our daily lives, guiding our thoughts, motivating our decisions, filling us with patient endurance in the face of all the problems of 2020. Judgment Day will not be like a jury trial where we hope the members of the jury side with us. Judgment Day will not be like an election where every vote must be counted and we must wait to find out if we will go to heaven. We have been elected by the Lord. We have an Advocate before the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous one. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Our Savior will win the case. The Judge has already declared us innocent. The DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING and we are not afraid.
Paul urges us to remain alert and sober and gets somewhat personal when he directs these believers to love one another just as you have been doing, to support others who are suffering for their faith in Macedonia, and to do it more and more. Paul writes, Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with hands and mind to earn a living. Do this so that you are treating outsiders decently and setting a good example. (4:11) Jesus directed his disciples to do what is holy and honorable, to live a sanctified life, to avoid all immorality that the outside world will say, “See how they love one another!”
Be alert and sober so that when others are saying “Peace and security” and the Day of Judgment comes suddenly like a thief in the night, you won’t be caught napping on the job. Arm yourselves. Put on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (5:8) With daily meditation, regular devotions, steadfast worship, heartfelt prayers, and sober behavior stay alert. Stand at the foot of the cross to remember what Jesus did for you. He took your sins to the grave. He rose to give you eternal life.

Transition: Tell yourself over and over again: “Jesus is my Savior. Jesus loves me; this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I am not afraid of Jesus coming back to judge the world.

II. And encourage one another.
THE DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING – Judgment Day… and the end of the world is coming, so let us encourage one another to press on. One of the most encouraging passages that I love, is in chapter 4: Do not be ignorant of your loved ones who have gone before. Don’t grieve like those who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and in the same way we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (4:14)
Paul gives us the whole picture: “We who are alive and left until the coming of the Lord will certainly not go on ahead of those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive will be caught up in the clouds together with them, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words. (4:15-18)
These are encouraging words.
Our text also encourages us. God did not appoint us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. (5:9-10) Do you feel that comfort? Do you take in that encouragement? Whether Bill and Lucille are dead and I am alive, we live together with Christ. Whether Lyndon and Marcy are dead and I am alive, we live together with Christ. Think that through for yourselves. Think of those who are asleep in Jesus. Think of those who have gone before. Think of those who are waiting in our heavenly home. Think of those you will stand with on Judgment Day without fear. Nobody but Christians have such encouraging words. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing. That is what we are doing in this congregation, here in church and on the internet. Remember these encouraging words.

Paul closes this first letter to the Thessalonians with some more encouraging words. Admonish those who are idle. Live at peace with one another. Encourage those who are discouraged. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks. Strive to do good to each other and to everyone else. (5:14-15) That sounds like a lot of people I know. That sounds like the believers in Thessalonica. That sounds like the members of Grace.

May the God of peace himself sanctify you through and through, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and he will do it. (5:23-24) The day of the Lord is coming. Judgment Day is coming. And we are not afraid!

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Amen!