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Encouraging Words

June 20, 2017

Sometimes a day, or a week, or even a month or a year, can be discouraging. Our plans are not going as we had planned. When we look back at our lives, it’s not been as smooth and pleasant as we had hoped.

Maybe sickness or death has hit a sudden blow into our lives.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church to answer a question, and he ends the paragraph with the phrase, “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” It’s not just theology, it’s encouragement.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Let’s break this paragraph apart a bit to find the encouragement for ourselves, and to share with others.

“…that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” Grief is not wrong. Sometimes we think it is, but it’s not. And we can grieve with hope.

What’s the source of that hope? “For since we believe…” Our faith – what we believe – helps us to have hope.

Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we know that God will bring with Jesus those who have died. We believe in the resurrection of Jesus, which gives us hope for the resurrection of those who have died, believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

So we have hope of seeing those who have died believing in the work of Christ on the cross and his resurrection. If the grief, the stress, the upset schedule is because someone has died or is dying, we can have the hope of seeing them again.

And, if we’re still alive when Jesus comes back, we’ll be caught up in the air with him.

So where’s the encouragement for us? If we’re trusting in the work of Christ on the cross, paying the full penalty for sins, then if we die or if we live, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in our lives. We have to get through it. We have to deal with the issues. We have to take responsibility. We have to learn and grow.

But we can take confidence in the work of Christ, the promise of his return and the hope of the resurrection, we have hope.

That is the encouragement that we need.

Every day.

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