Vigilance is Vital
1 Thess. 5:1-11
Intro: When we come to this passage in ch. 5, Paul had just completed the most powerful passage concerning the Rapture in the entire Bible. At the end of 1 Thess 4 we read about the Lord descending from heaven into the clouds; there will be a great shout, the voice of the arch angel, and the blast of God’s trumpet; those who have died while Saved through faith in Jesus Christ will be raised from the dead; those who are living on the earth who are Saved through Faith in Jesus Christ will be “caught up” with those resurrected and together we will all meet the Lord in the Air.
What a tremendous passage! What powerful truth! What a glorious end for every true Christian; to be resurrected from the dead with a glorified body and taken to heaven to be forever with the Lord; or to be Raptured with a glorified body and taken to heaven to be forever with the Lord.
Then here in the first part of ch. 5 Paul continues his theme about the coming of the Lord and the coming of the Day of the Lord which is a day of judgment on the world.
Paul says in verse 6 that in light of the Truth we know about the Rapture, the Resurrection and the coming Day of the Lord, We Must be Vigilant!
Paul said that we must Not Sleep as do others. This is not a metaphor of death; this is a state of spiritual slumber and unconsciousness; speaking of people who should be Ready and Watching for the Lord to come but instead of being Alert and Aware they are dozing off; unaware of how dangerous our times are and how near the coming of the Lord is.
So Paul said to Us who are Christians, Don’t Sleep like others do.
Instead- Let us WATCH and be SOBER.
Watch here in the Greek is gregoreo- meaning be Awake; be Alert; be Vigilant. That same Greek word is used by Peter in his famous verse about the devil being a roaring lion walking about seeking whom he may devour. Remember what Peter said? He said be Sober, Be VIGILANT!
To Watch is be Vigilant; not drowsy, not dozing off spiritually; not having your senses dulled by sleep; being Awake, and Alert, being Vigilant.
Paul also told us to be Sober. The word Sober in the Greek is nepho and means to be Alert and Sharp; not to have your senses dulled with any intoxicant; again be Vigilant.
That’s the call of God and his Word to all of us- We must be Vigilant!
There are three things Paul writes about in this chapter in regard to our Christian Vigilance.
I. We must be Aware of the Season.
No one knows the “day or the hour” when Jesus will step out in the clouds and call his people to heaven, but we should all be aware of the Season of his coming.
Paul says here that these believers are expected to be aware of the times and the seasons in which they live and to understand that when the day of the Lord comes, it will come like a thief in the night. All those who are unaware and unprepared will be claiming that Peace and Safety are eminent when in reality sudden destruction is near!
That’s why Jesus gave all those “signs” we read about in Mat. 24. Those factors have been used by God throughout man’s history as signs of his displeasure and in order to get men’s attention and prompt them to Turn back to God in true repentance and obedience.
Numerous times in the OT God used wars, famines, pestilence, and earthquakes to punish sin and to warn his people of their waywardness.
Through history since the OT days there are numerous instances again of wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes.
In our days these factors are not only evident but Increasing both in numbers of Occurrence and Intensity.
When the Great Tribulation begins these same terrors will be evident in the opening of those first 6 seals:
4- Pestilence/ death
6- Great earthquakes
Listen friends, we are in the SEASON of the coming of the Lord and we must be Vigilant; Aware of the Season that we are living in.
II. We must Walk in the Light.
Paul spoke of those who cry out, “Peace and Safety,” but find sudden destruction and he makes the point that all those who are overcome and destroyed are walking in Darkness.
But, Paul says, you children of God should NOT be walking in darkness for you are Children of the Light and you should be Walking in that Light.
What does it mean to be Walking in the Light?
It means to be walking or living in the Truth; knowing the truth and living accordingly.
When we say that someone is “in the dark” about something we are saying they are ignorant or not in the know; they don’t know about it and are totally unaware. So it is that the majority of the world is “in the dark” when it comes to their future. They don’t really know about the Rapture and Resurrection; about Christians being caught up into heaven; about the judgment and wrath that are coming upon this world. They are walking in the dark! We are walking in the Light!
We KNOW- We are aware- we are not stumbling in the darkness of ignorance and rushing headlong into judgment and destruction.
We must Walk in the Light!
We must be Aware of our times and Walk in the Light.
Vigilance is Vital!
III. We must Wear the Armor of God.
Ephesians ch. 6 details the entire outfit of the armor of God but here Paul gives a brief sketch of it mentioning a breastplate of Faith and Love and the Helmet of Salvation.
In Eph. 6 we are told that God has provided a complete Christian armor that we are Put On!
- Helmet of salvation
- Breastplate of righteousness
- Belt of Truth
- Shoes of the Gospel
- Shield of Faith/ Sword of the Spirit
- Power of Prayer
We must be equipped for the times that we are living in AND we must be prepared for the times that are Coming!
Paul reminds us that God has Not appointed His Children; his sons and daughters; to suffer His Wrath. God has appointed us to Obtain Salvation- total and complete salvation- salvation in its final form where we are changed from mortal to immortality to live forever in God’s presence.
These verses point out to us that even though there is some leeway for opinion in regard to the doctrine of the Rapture, there is no Biblical support for a view that puts the Church, the Bride of Christ through the wrath of God. We certainly may suffer the wrath of man before the Lord returns in the clouds (many Christians have already suffered like that and many are suffering like that even today) But we will never suffer the wrath of God- only the unbelieving world and the wicked nations of the world will suffer God’s wrath.
So Paul said in vs. 10 that whether we Live in the Faith or die in the faith we will All Live together with the Lord.
And we are told to Comfort ourselves and Edify or encourage one another with this Truth-
Jesus is Coming!
He will take all of his children home to heaven with him whether they are dead or alive.
We will all be changed from mortal to immortality to live forever in the presence of the Lord.
We must Watch and be Sober- ready for His Coming.
Vigilance is Vital!
Bro. Dwain Galiher
Pastor of JHPC