By Bobby Blakey on November 12, 2023
1 Thessalonians 1:10
By Bobby Blakey on November 12, 2023
1 Thessalonians 1:10
I have this memory in my life of when I got engaged to my wife. We actually got engaged on an airplane. And I had a plan. The plan was when we took off and reached our cruising altitude, I was going to drop a knee and pull out the rig, right. And so, I've been waiting for this, I'd been counting down the days for this, I remember before the flight, we're in the terminal. And she's saying something to me. And I'm just thinking, you have no idea what's about to happen, you know, like, the anticipation I had inside myself for this was like the greatest joy I had ever known. And like, as we take off the excitement, it's just getting higher and higher, and we get there. And she says, yes, and I am in the clouds, literally everybody. And I just thought that would be a cool way for us to get engaged. But what it has become in my life, is now this picture, that someday I'm going to get to meet the one I love in the clouds. And I'm not just thinking about my wife, I'm thinking about the Lord Jesus, that Jesus is coming on the clouds, every eye is going to see him. And the scripture says that those of us who are alive and believe in Jesus, we will be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will always be with the Lord. And I want to talk about that with you from 1 Thessalonians. So, I invite you to open your Bible and turn with me to 1 Thessalonians 1:10. That's the verse we're going to look at, we've gone back to 1 Thessalonians because this is the first passage that we looked at together as a church. And we thought when we're going from our old auditorium to our new auditorium, we want to get back to what we're all about here at Compass HB. In fact, one of the ushers this morning, he was at our first service, and then he was at our service last week. And he's like, you should just put up a picture of the first service, and then a picture of last week service. And he should show everybody that revival. We've been praying for it. It's happening here in Huntington Beach. That's what he was saying, because we want this what we're going to read right now in 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10, what they were known for in Thessalonica, we want to be known for here together as a church family. So out of respect for God's Word, I invite everybody, please stand for the public reading of Scripture. And I encourage you to give this your full and undivided attention because this church is held up as an example to all churches, to all believers, an example that we can learn from together here in Huntington Beach. So please follow along, as I read 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 starting in verse 8.
For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
That's the reading of God's Word. Please go ahead and have your seat. And so, this is the third time we've looked at this passage. This is the third in our in the Gospel rings out series that we're doing. And back in verse 8, couple weeks ago, we saw the Word of the Lord sounding forth. It's like when, when Paul came in Acts 17, and he preached the gospel in Thessalonica it's like it echoed from these people, it resounded from them. They didn't just hear the word of the Lord. They believed it, it changed their lives, they started sharing it with other people, there were these ripple effects spreading far and wide. And then this isn't just Paul's impression of what happened in the church. what Paul's saying is now he's traveling in other places, and other people are coming and giving him a report of what happened in the church. And what they're saying to Paul is, wow, look what God did in the Thessalonians. And there's two things that they point out. Verse 9 gave us the one we looked at last week how they repented. I mean, they had an about face, they had a turnaround, they turned from the idols they were worshipping, and now they serve the living in true God. So, there was a radical turnaround in their life. And then look at verse 10. This is the second thing they were known for. This is what we want to look at together. These people were known that they were waiting for his Son from heaven, Jesus, one that he raised from the dead. They're like waiting for Jesus to come and get them and take them home, like Jesus is there right at the end of the day that they're waiting for him. That's the idea of this church.
So, this church they believed in the gospel all the way to the end. The gospel is the good news that Jesus was always God's plan. And God loved us so much, he sent his one and only Son, Jesus and Jesus, he was born as a baby. Jesus was just as much a human as you and me. And he lived a perfect life, always obeying God's commandments, and he established righteousness. And then Jesus was willing to lay down his life for you and to die for your sins. And then what did he do on the third day, he rose from the dead. But see, that's not the end. Like in the Thessalonian mind, well, Jesus rose from the dead, he was seen by 500 witnesses, and then he ascended into heaven. And they watched Jesus go up in the clouds. And the angel said, hey, he's going to come back that same way, right here on the Mount of Olives, he's coming back. But see, what the Thessalonians believed is that Jesus, when he went up into heaven, he was exalted to the name that is above every name. And that right now, Jesus, he sits at the right hand of God, the Majesty on high, and Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth. He upholds the universe. And at the appointed time, Jesus is going to come on the clouds, every eye is going to see him and we will all behold the return of King Jesus. That's what they believed. And it's like they're waiting for it. It's like they're expecting it to happen. It's like they're on a countdown. They don't even know how many days the countdown is, but I can't wait. That's what people knew about these people. These people, they didn't just like have a religion. They just didn't believe Jesus was a historical figure. They didn't just believe that they got saved at some point, and were new people. These people thought Jesus was coming, and they were waiting for him.
So, this idea of eschatology, it's often referred to in the school of Theology. Eschatology is the study of the End Times, the last things. The Thessalonians have the best eschatology I've ever come across in my life, because they understood Jesus is coming and I want to be with Jesus. Can I get an Amen from anybody here at the 11 o'clock service? Now, these people, this church, they think differently than any other church I've been a part of, and I want to make sure we understand what they knew about Jesus coming.
So, let's get this down for point number one, if you got the handout, I'd love for you to take some notes, write down some Bible passages. Point number one: “Jesus is coming with rescue and wrath.” Jesus is coming with rescue and wrath. Jesus is coming back; we can't wait because he's going to rescue us. He's going to save us. Other people. When Jesus comes back, it is going to be a great and terrible day of the Lord, a day that judgment comes. This is the clear teaching of the Bible. The story is not over. It's not just all the past, and then we're going to live it out however we want today. No, there is more in store. There is some that is not yet and that's what they were waiting for. Jesus is coming now. This is in every chapter of 1 Thessalonians. It's even a major theme of 2 Thessalonians, the coming of Jesus.
So, under point number one, we're going to go through a bunch of different verses that talk about Jesus coming. Let's go to chapter 1 Thessalonians 2:19, I just want to take you through the rest of 1 Thessalonians 2:19. Paul is writing about his thoughts for when Jesus comes, for what is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? You are our glory and joy. Paul is expecting that he's going to be before Jesus when Jesus comes. And what is Paul going to have to say about his life? When Jesus says, well done, good and faithful servant. What is Paul going to say? He's done. He's going to bring up the Thessalonians. Hey, they heard the gospel. They believe they've been saved, the disciples have been made. So, he's expecting to get a reward from the Lord Jesus.
Go over to 1 Thessalonians 3:13. He's praying for them. Now, he's gotten a report. Timothy went to Thessalonica, saw their faith, came back and encouraged Paul, good news. They're still going strong at that church. And so, he's praying for them. And here's what he's asking God to do. 1 Thessalonians 3:13: “so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” May you be blameless, that's what he's praying for that. I want you to be ready when Jesus comes back. I don't want you to be living in sin or guilt or shame. I want you to be ready for the return of the Lord, get dressed for action, keep your lamps burning. You don't have to get ready if you stay ready. So, live your life in a blameless way. That's what he's praying for them. That God's going to keep you to be blameless when the Lord comes over. 1 Thessalonians 4 says a lot about Jesus coming. Here's what they actually thought, when somebody died at their church, they thought, oh, no. So and so died, they missed Jesus coming back. Like, it's completely different today, when I talk to people, they fully expect to die there. They're not really anticipating that Jesus is coming back in their lifetime, I'm going to die. These guys were like, no, Jesus is going to come back, we're not going to die. Jesus could come back any day. Now, that's how they thought. And so, Paul has to explain to them, hey, if somebody dies, they didn't miss it. They're going to rise; they're going to be there too. And so, he says in 1 Thessalonians 4:15, “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[a] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.” That's what Paul's saying. It's a bummer for me that people today talk more about those left behind than those who are left alive when Jesus comes. That's what the Scripture says, you want to be one of the people who's alive when Jesus comes back. That was the anticipation of the Thessalonians. I don't really hear that being the anticipation of a lot of believers today. I don't hear people talking about, well, I really hope Jesus comes back in my lifetime. I'd love to hear more of that. That's what they were thinking here.
Go to 1 Thessalonians 5:2. Look at how it says, hear about the coming of the Lord, you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like what does it say there? Everybody, a thief in the night. And those thieves they just call you and let you know exactly what time they're coming. We're going to come on this day, we're going to come at this time, you might want to have police ready because we're really coming for you. We're taking all your stuff, right? No, I would imagine you lock your doors every night, you close your windows every night. If you've got an alarm, you set it every night, because you don't know when the thieve is come in. So, you’ve got to stay ready all the time. That's how the coming of the Lord is. You don't know when it's coming, but it's coming. It's coming when you're not ready. So, stay ready. Now that's a lot about the coming of the Lord, he must have taught them about this. He's got a lot to say about it in first Thessalonians.
And then look even at the end of the book, look at 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, 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; he will surely do it.” It seems like there's a goal and our whole life is building towards a climax, towards a moment that hasn't happened yet. And God, he's going to keep you all the way to the end. God's going to be faithful to you, God will do it and you're going to be ready when Jesus comes. That's like his final word to these people. So, this church was a very forward-facing church, a church with real faith, not just a faith that Jesus came in the past, not just a faith where they believed in Jesus, and were saved, but a faith. It's like the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen, a faith that the best moments of my life, the moment where I get to meet Jesus and be with him forever. That hasn't happened yet. And I'm looking forward to it. That kind of faith, that's what the Thessalonians had. That's what Paul was teaching them.
Go down to 2 Thessalonians. And 2 Thessalonians 1:10 is a verse I haven't heard enough about, and I want to draw it to your attention. Let's start reading in 2 Thessalonians1:7. Just trying to get in your mind this epic picture of Jesus coming on the clouds, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, “that when Jesus comes. and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from[a] the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” Because our testimony to you was two things that says you're going to do on that day, when he comes, you are going to glory in Jesus like you never have before. And you are just going to marvel at Jesus. It says, you're going to be blown away, you're going to be in awe and wonder, seeing the unveiled revealed glory of Jesus will be more than anything you have ever seen before and you will marvel and glory in the Lord Jesus, you will realize this is the moment it has all been building up to.
Go to 2 Thessalonians 2, because there's a lot of confusion when you start talking about the return of Jesus. And so, he says in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” So, in the first letter, somebody dies. And they're like, oh, no, they missed it. And so, he writes to help them think about in the second letter, it's almost like they're thinking, oh, no, we missed it. Did Jesus already come? Did we miss his return? And he's like, hey, don't let anybody deceive you. He hasn't come back yet. And so, I've never had these kinds of questions. I've heard a lot of people debate eschatology. I've heard a lot of Christians argue with one another about when and how and what it's going to be like, when Jesus comes back. I haven't heard anybody who's like oh, no, so and so died if they just couldn't hold on longer. Oh, no. What if I missed these people, they were so waiting for Jesus to come. And so, he says, hey, Jesus couldn't have come back yet, because the man of lawlessness hasn't come yet, the Antichrist. Go down to 2 Thessalonians 2:9, what it says here in 2 Thessalonians2:9. This guy, he's troubled the coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, Satan is going to rise up like a false Christ, who will deceive many people into thinking that he is worthy of worship. And when you study about the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist, and then you start hearing all these different theories of who it could be and how it's all going to go down. And everybody's got their like secret Antichrist theory, they're ready to bring up at some point. And then, really, we get so caught up in that. Look at the verse right before that, in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, here's what's going to happen when Jesus comes. “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming,” of the Antichrist. He sounds pretty intense, the puppet of Satan, like this guy, he seems scary. And then it just says, oh, yeah, when Jesus comes, he will kill him with the breath of his mouth. And he will bring him to nothing at the appearing of his coming. So, this is what these people were thinking. And they like drink the Kool Aid all the way to the end on this one. You know what I mean? Like, they were all in there, what this wasn't just like some little thing that they thought they're walking around, like a king is coming on the clouds, and every knee is going to bow, every tongue is going to confess that he is the Lord of heaven and earth, and I'm waiting for him. I can't wait to meet him in the clouds. That's the Thessalonian church. They believed in the appearance of his coming.
Now this word “appearance” is one of the coolest Greek words that I've ever come across. I want to share it with you. It's the Greek word “epiphaneia.” I will put it up here on the screen. It's where our English word epiphany comes from. And I don't know if you use a vocabulary with epiphany in it, right? Epiphany is kind of that aha moment. Epiphany is when the light bulb goes on. And you all of a sudden have been unlocked to a deeper meaning of existence. I mean, back in the day, and epiphany was like the manifestation of a divine being, some kind of like, a God moment that you would have. That's what it's saying. The appearance of Jesus is when the light bulb is going to go on in the universe. It's the aha moment for the history of human beings. It's like, oh, it was all his story. It's all been for him. Oh, this is the moment we really get into the meaning and purpose of life. It's the appearance of the coming Christ, the Lord Jesus. That's what these people were waiting for. And so, we've got to ask ourselves, are you really waiting for Jesus to come? Is that really what you're thinking? I mean, I'm preaching on it here to you this morning. When was the last time before this sermon you thought about Jesus coming back? And I'm not really talking about when you're having a bad day. And when you're not feeling as healthy and strong as you used to, and your bank account’s not looking as good as it used to. And America is not looking as good as it used to. And you just want to like fly like a bird and escape and you say something like, oh, I hope the Lord gets me out of here because I'm having a bad day. I'm talking about like, what does the fact that Jesus is coming to get you make a difference in your real life?
That's the question we’ve got to ask ourselves and, and it could be a church that's even known for that kind of expectation that we're waiting for Jesus, because that's the example of the Thessalonians, that they already believed a great epiphany was coming and they were waiting for it. They were counting down for it. Now, I want you to turn to 2 Timothy 4:8, because somebody taught me that something from this passage that I want to share with all of you and this is Paul's last words. In 2 Timothy that he writes to his disciple, he calls him his son in the faith. And so, this is like Paul knows he's going to die. Paul, remember we met him as Saul in the book of Acts, and he was a part of martyring the first Christian, Steven when he died. Well, now he's the apostle Paul, and he's going to get martyred for his faith and he knows it. He's like, I fought the good fight, I finished the race. I've kept the faith, this is it for me. And then he says this in 2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” Like, hey, I've lived for the Lord. And now I'm ready to get this crown of righteousness that I believe is the reward the Lord will give me. And then he says, this phrase, “and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearance.” See, Paul didn't think he was somebody special, even though he was the apostle, a great church planter, missionary. He thought, anybody who loves the Epiphany, who's waiting for Jesus to come, all of those who love his appearing, he's going to bring a reward for you. It's going to be so worth it. In this life, you will meet many people, many people will disappoint you, you'll have many experiences, not all of them will live up to the hype. When Jesus comes, you will not be disappointed. It will be an experience, everyone who waits for the Lord will not be put to shame. Those who have this is going to be for all who have loved his appearing. Can you say that you love the appearing of Jesus? That's what we're supposed to be known for. That's what is a way you could describe Christians or people who love Jesus coming and want to be with him, to meet him in the clouds and be with the Lord forever. When you love someone, you want to be in the same space as them, you want to be in their presence. It's not like I love you so much. Please get away from me right now. Nobody ever thinks that. If you love someone, would you prefer to do a long-distance relationship? Or would you prefer to be together? Right? You're not if you love somebody, and they're far away, you're thinking, how can I go to them? Or how can they come to me? That's what Paul says immediately after that verse. 2 Timothy 4:9, he says, “Do your best to come to me soon.” Paul and Timothy clearly have this father-son relationship, and he knows he's going to die. So, what does he say to Timothy? Timothy, I wish you could come and see me one more time before I die. Please do your best given everything. You've got to come to me. Because he loves Timothy, he wants to see Timothy. And then he says this 2 Timothy 4:10, “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me.” And ironically, look where he's gone? Thessalonica. So, there's a contrast here where Paul is speaking on behalf of all those who love the appearing of Jesus, but Dimas, he's the exact opposite. He loves right here. He loves right now. Demas, he's in this present age. Paul's waiting for Jesus to bring in the age to come. See, these are the two loves that are our options here today. Dimas is a guy at Paul's greatest moment of need and his life. Dimas bails on Paul, he leaves them in the lurch. And he falls away from the faith. He wants to live for this life. And Paul is here saying He's ready now to die and see the reward of the Lord Paul represents loving his appearing. Demas represents being a prisoner of the moment. And I want what I can get right here right now. Which one of those two people are you?
Point number two, let's get it down like this: “Love his appearing.” Love his appearing, that we want to be one of the people he's talking about, not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing. And your two choices as you sit here today in this service. You've got two choices of what you love you either love, I'm waiting for Jesus. I love his appearing. I want the epiphany of Jesus being revealed, or I love this present world. The Scripture is very clear in 1 John 2:15. You cannot love the Father and love the world. You have to take your pick. It is one or the other. And I just think we are people who want a grade on a curve. We are people who want to rate it on a scale. Can I just have a needle that goes a little bit more to Jesus than the world? No, these are polar opposites and your heart is either attached to things here and now or your heart loves Jesus and you can't wait to be with Jesus. Where are you? You can't fake this till you make this; it’s the only way that some of you will be able to love his appearing. I've come to the conclusion in this service here today, I do not love his appearance. And that will become the starting place of you loving his appearance. Because these are your two options. You either love this present world, or you love his appearing. I thought that passage is so helpful to see it just like that, you’ve got two options. Which one are you? Don't try to claim the middle. No, you either love this or you love that you either love Jesus or you love this life right now. Now this this conversation about, are you ready for Jesus to come back? I grew up going to churches in Southern California. I've been going to church my whole life. I've heard this conversation my whole life. And people always have like, why am I loved for Jesus to come back? That sounds great. I just want to get married first. I remember that was something I thought I've heard a lot of people say that. A lot of young people are like, I got so much life to live. So maybe I could just travel the world. Maybe I could go to college or whatever it is that young person wants to do. I want to get married. I want to see what that's all about. And then Jesus can come well. Let me just tell you, my friend. That's not how it works. Because as soon as you get married, what does everybody asking you about right away? It even your own parents turn on you when you get married. It's like they were happy with you and your life. But now there are expectations. It's like, hey, you guys are married? Oh, that's so great. Yeah, well, when is, you know, where are the kids? Where are the kids? Where's the baby? Where are the grandchildren? Right? There's an expectation. Even your own brother, your friend at church, they'll just be like, bro, where's your next child? Where's your next kid? And see, once you have kids, then you're totally ready for the rapture. Am I right about that? Mom, you just this precious little creature that God has given you this beautiful little boy or girl that God's blessed you with? Yeah, I'll just fly into the sky. And who knows what's going to happen to that baby? That's what all moms are just totally down with the rapture. Am I speaking to any moms here? Right? No, parents, what are we thinking about all the time, I want to keep this child alive. I want to help raise this child; I want this child to be healthy. I want to give my best to this child. I want to teach this child the way of the Lord. And after you go through a time of trying to keep your kids physically alive, then you're like, well, what is this kid going to become like, and you want to invest in their soul. And maybe you want to help them go to college. And you want to make sure that they find their own life and their own way and their own family. And then after you got your kids all the way through your house, you're like, I need to take a break. It's time to retire about here. So, there's no good time in life. If you just want this life, if you want to go through I want to live my whole life. And Jesus, I hear people talk like Jesus coming back would be kind of an interruption until they're their regularly scheduled human existence. I’ve got plans. I ain't got time for Jesus showing up. Would Jesus coming back be an interruption for you? Or would it be the culmination of all you believe in?
See, it's one or the other. You either love his appearing or you're caught up in the moment. And let me just say this, and I don't mean to offend anyone when I say this, but Jesus is better than your spouse. Does anybody want to say amen. Sitting next to your spouse right now? Okay? I don’t mean disrespect to your spouse. They could be awesome. But they are not Jesus. Awesome. Okay. I mean, let's just get real. Jesus, he is the Lord of heaven and earth. No one has ever loved you like Jesus loved you. When he paid for all your sin on the cross. No one's ever promised you what Jesus has promised you, not just till death do you part. He's promised you life after death with Jesus right now. He upholds the universe by the Word of his power. The reason you're breathing, the reason you're alive, the reason you are who you are. It's all by the grace of Jesus. Jesus is better than your spouse. He's better than your kids. Seeing Jesus and being with Jesus will be better than anyone else you've ever spent time with in your life. Can I get an Amen from anybody? No disrespect to your spouse. They're just not Jesus. We like to give away these like little trophies or coffee mugs or T shirts that are like best dad ever. Have you seen this kind of stuff? I'm always like, by whose standard? You know what I mean? In what competition? Who voted on this? His own family. That seems rigged to me; that seems very biased, right? Best dad ever, best mom ever, best spouse ever all these different? Can you imagine like best Savior ever Jesus? Like what other savior? Is there even worth comparing him to? He's in a category all by himself. There is no one like our Lord Jesus and you would rather live a human life than see the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now there's an epiphany coming for you if that's the way that you think. There's an aha moment coming for you. The light bulb’s going to go on because when you see Jesus, you're going to think this was the purpose. His glory was the reason. And is your life in line with that? Do you love his appearing? Or are you kind of just loving your life right now? Let's be honest, we live in a beautiful place. We have financial resources. You hear somebody around here and say, I'm starving. It's just like, bro, you're not starving, bro. You're just getting a little hungry. Let's ratchet that down a little bit. Bro, I got two words for you: Costco, we’ve got plenty of food, bro. We’ve got dollar 50 hotdogs. You're right. I mean, like, see, we have this idea that it's hard for us to wait for things.
Go back to 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Let me show you what I mean by talking about it. Like we can't even wait for our next meal. Have you ever been at your house and you're like, what's for dinner? And by what's for dinner what you really mean is, where is my dinner? And why isn't it here right now? If you've ever had that conversation at your house before. Am I speaking to anybody right now, anybody want to be honest here today, right? See, this is the thing. I feel like I see us as a culture, I see us as a church, we are not good at waiting. We're not exactly known for patience. It's not exactly our strongest virtue. Like we're used to instantaneous gratification. These people are not known for waiting for the Lord. Like there's an expectation and anticipation. I see people there waiting for Jesus to come back. They’ve got no problem waiting for Jesus to come back. Like they're so cool waiting for Jesus to come back, it's almost like they don't even care if he comes back.
See, why is it like we have a hard time waiting for the next thing we want, but then waiting for Jesus? Oh, that's easy for some of us. Because there's not this like strong sense of I want to be with Jesus in our lives. And so, have you gotten so comfortable in Orange County or LA County and Southern California, that you're just happy to keep living here? Or would you rather today be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and to be with him forever? See these people., what everybody knew about them is they're waiting for his Son from heaven. The Greek word here, let's dive a little deeper into this. First, the Greek word is anameno. Anameno is one of my favorite words in Greek. It means to remain to stay. It's about abiding in Christ, remaining in Christ and he'll remain in you. Stay in Christ, and he'll stay with you, abide in the vine. Well, “ana” is a prefix attached to “meno.” and ana, sometimes it's translated “by or a among.” So, it's translated here, this the only time this combination here is used in the Greek New Testament, and meno. So, they translated it “waiting for or remaining by or staying among,” like, they're just anticipating, expecting Jesus to come, that's where they're remaining. That's where they're staying. It's a thought that's driving them forward into the future to consider when is Jesus coming? They are waiting. So, this is something that if you study the idea of who is a Christian? A Christian is someone who is waiting for Jesus to come and get them. That is the full process thought of the gospel. He, yes, he died for me. Yes, he rose that I can have eternal life. Yes, he ascended into heaven, and he's interceding for all of my prayers. And he's right there at the right hand of God. But there is more to the story. And we haven't yet seen his glory. And so we are, we are remaining by we're staying after ready. We are waiting for Jesus. That's what these people were known for. Now, once you start looking for this, you're going to find it all over the place.
Let me show you a few verses. You don't even have to turn there in your Bible. We're going to go through them quickly. We'll just put them up here on the screen. Philippians 3. Let's look at Philippians 3:20. Right there our citizenship is in heaven and from it, what does it say there everybody? We await a Savior. We await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, verse 21, “who will transform our lowly body to be like his.” What glorious parts. So, here's something you need to really think about. You right now, all you've ever known is your soul being in your body, this body, the body that you were born with, and your soul is not going to stay in this body. Okay, so whether you die and when you die, you are absent from the body, but present with the Lord. For everybody who believes in Jesus, our body is just a tent. And when we die, we're not going to still be in this tent. We're going to be with the Lord. Can I get an Amen from it about that? Or when Jesus comes, there will be some who are left. who are left alive when Jesus comes, I'm rooting for us. I want to be one of those people. We will, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed, and we will go from this lowly body to a glorious body like Jesus. We will go from mortality to immortality, from perishable to imperishable. That will happen at that moment that we are caught up to meet him in the clouds. So, who would like a new body? Is that something worth waiting for? Does that sound exciting, some people are more excited about it than other people. But we will all be very excited about it when it comes. That's what we are waiting for.
Look At Titus 2:13. We'll throw that up here, Titus 2:13. And you can see it right there in the middle “waiting for our blessing and hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” This is like what I'm putting my hope in, what I'm looking forward to, and it's going to be this glory. I'm waiting for the glory of Jesus to be revealed. All I've ever known about Jesus long-distance, all I've ever known about Jesus, by faith. How great will it be to lay eyes on Jesus? To see him? And just to marvel at him, to glory in him? That's what we're waiting for. How about Hebrews 9:28, it talks about how Jesus came once already to pay for sin. But then it says this, he says he's coming a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those. and then look at that right there, “who are eagerly waiting for him.” This is not just like, well, I believe he's coming back. No, this is like someone who is eagerly waiting for Jesus. Am I talking about you right now? That's what the Thessalonians were known for. If we looked at your spouse, and your kids and your coworkers and your neighbors, would someone say that you are waiting for Jesus? Would they describe you as eager and ready for Jesus to come and get you? See, I love all the kids here at the church. I like to talk to the kids here at the church. You ever have a kid at church say today's my birthday? Anybody have any? And then the mom, all of a sudden makes the awkward face like today's not really the birthday? Have you ever had that conversation? This happens to me regularly? Am I the only one who has this? Today is my birthday. Okay, awesome. So today is really your birthday? How old are you? Well, actually, it's in January, right? Ever had that conversation with a kid? They just know it's coming soon. And it's like this kid, they're so excited about their birthday. They're so on the countdown. They can't even really count the days, but they know it's coming. And it's like, they already have the joy. They already have the eagerness. They already know the big day is coming. And they can't wait to celebrate. Am I talking about you right now. Some of us, we just need to be honest with ourselves. And we need to admit, I'm not as excited about Jesus coming as I should be. And the minute you admit that, you can start getting really excited. And some of us, who are excited, or maybe you have been excited. I mean, I can remember times in my life where I was like, I woke up that day. And I was convinced, today's the day. And I'm going to go talk to somebody today. And I'm going to tell them the good news. I'm going to tell them that Jesus, he died on the cross to pay for their sin. And Jesus rose again. And he offers them an eternal life if they believe, and I'm going to go have a conversation, and they're going to believe, and that's the person we're waiting for. We're here at the end of the earth. We're here 2000 years later, we're here, right here. I mean, as far away from Jerusalem as you can get, here we are. And they are the person that we're waiting to believe. And as soon as they believe, que the rapture, let the angels sing. We're all like, we're going, I'm ready. I'm ready. I've had days like that. Those were some of the best days of my life. I remember one day, we had this worship night and I was frustrated and disappointed that Jesus didn't come back while we were singing those songs. Have you ever felt like that? And is that a way that you regularly think in your life? You can say oh, yeah, there was a time I was really excited about it. No, are you waiting for it now and where you're at in your walk with Christ? Today? Like if Jesus came back today, would that interrupt the rest of your day? Or was that the point that you've been living towards? See, not only is it like they were waiting for, and not only is that a theme throughout the Scripture, but we'll look at what we're specifically waiting for Jesus to do.
If you're with me in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, to wait for his Son from heaven. And God who raised him from the dead, right? The Gospel leads to Jesus coming back. That's the culmination. And then look at how it says, Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come. See, I have the idea that there's unfinished business I have the idea that there's more in store and that Jesus is going to come deliver me what I'm waiting for is a rescue. What I'm waiting for is the fullness of my salvation. The word here delivers us is this Greek word ruomai. I will throw it up here on the screen. And it's a word that means to deliver, to rescue, it’s to save somebody. And it's a word that's used in Matthew 6:13, where Jesus teaches us that we should pray every day, “lead us not into temptation, but” what, everybody? Deliver us from evil. And the fact Jesus teaches us to pray that verse right there points to why we should be waiting for Jesus to come. Because is anybody else tired of always having temptations rise up in your own self? Right? I don't want to be led into those anymore. I'd like to be done with that. And is anybody else thinking there's so much evil going on in the world today? The spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, they're doing a lot in the world, it just even some of us over the course of our lives. It seems like where we live has gotten more evil. Like, Lord, I need you to save me out of this evil, there's evil increasing all around me. See, there's evil rising up within us, evil around us, and we're praying, rescue me, deliver me, save me. That's what they thought. They thought he's going to come and save us. There's going to be judgment for sin, there's going to be wrath, it's going to be a great and terrible day, the day of the Lord. But for us, it won't be rescue, it will be deliverance, it will be salvation.
So, one of the things that God wants you to think about that God is trying to teach us here at this church is there's a part of our salvation that is already, and there's a part of our salvation that is not yet. Like are you saved? Well, you could say, I'm already saved. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. And I have been justified, God has declared me righteous based on the blood of Jesus and I have been forgiven of my sins. I'm saved. Yes, you've been justified, but not yet, have you been glorified? You don't have the glorious body, you don't have the new life. So, there's a part of your salvation that is still yet to come when you'll be out of the sin in your body, out of a place of sin all around you. That's what they were looking forward to. They were looking forward to a rescue. They were thinking Jesus will deliver us right now. Our church is reading through the book of Exodus. Is anybody reading through Exodus with us? I can see you guys, this is great. Yes. Now, if you're not reading Exodus with us, there's a schedule on the back of your handout, you're invited to join us. There are videos on YouTube going along with it. But some people, one fellowship group at our church, they're reading Exodus, and so they had like Movie Night the other night, and it was like, we're going to go watch the Prince of Egypt, inspired by the reading of Exodus. Now, I was like, in one hand, that's super cool. They're getting together. And the other hand, I was like, if you're getting together as a fellowship group, why don't you just read Exodus, rather than watch a movie? But I digress. The point is, right. The point is the Prince of Egypt, if you've ever seen that movie, there's a song in the movie, “deliver us to the land you promised us, deliver us.” It's like people are crying out there groaning? They were slaves in Egypt, and you promised us this land. And so, you’ve got to deliver us, you’ve got to come and rescue us. And God heard their prayers. God remembered, God saw, God knew. See, do you have that? That sense of expectation? Do you have that thought that there is much more to my salvation, yet to come? And I still need to get rescued out of this world, I still need to get delivered from all the judgment that's coming on this place.
Point number three, let's put it look down like this: “Have faith in your future salvation.” See, there's more salvation in store? Yes, I'm already saved. But there are things that I have not yet been saved from. And so, are you looking forward in your faith? Are you looking forward to the more to the rescue, to the deliverance that is coming? Let me show you this from some other passages. Let's go later in 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18. This is supposed to be something that we regularly think about ourselves, and encourage one another about First Thessalonians 4:17. This is the verse that this whole sermon has been building up to right here, then we who are alive, those who are left behind, wouldn't that be great to be one of the people who are here when Jesus comes back? Is anybody with me on this? Does anybody want to be one of the people? We call it the rapture. And unfortunately, when people hear “rapture” these days, they think of some debate of some event, like, is it going to happen? When's it going to happen? How's it going to happen? “Rapture” is a word that means “ecstatic joy or delight.” Would it be awesome to have no gravity, be caught up in the clouds and see the glory of the Lord Jesus? Right? I mean, I would love to be one of those people. Then, like when Moses is talking about being on the mountain with God, and Paul's over here talking about his missionary journeys? You could be like, yeah, well, that was alive when Jesus came back. I mean, that would be great to be able to drop that in eternal conversations right there, right? And that's what it's saying here. Then we, who are alive, who are left, will be caught up. That's where the whole idea of rapture comes from right there. The idea that you will be caught up together with him in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will always be with the Lord, we will be with the one that we love, we will be in his presence, no more long-distance, we will get to not just believe in Jesus, but to see him with our eyeballs. That's what it's saying here, you have not yet experienced that. That is the fullness of your salvation to behold the glory of the Lord. And then notice what it says, “Therefore, encourage one another with these words.” This is not just like a happy thought for you to think. Today could be the day I'm waiting for Jesus. I don't want to get caught up in my life today, I want to get caught up in the clouds to be with Jesus. That's a great way for you to learn how to think. But then, when was the last time you texted somebody or somebody texted you, or you put it on social media, or you dropped it in your fellowship group chat, like hey, hey, everybody, he's coming soon. Hey, today could be the day. Hey, remember what we're waiting for. We're going to see his glory, we're going to marvel at him. Like we're supposed to be regularly reminding each other that the best is yet to come. And the best memories of your life have not been made yet, when you get to see Jesus and be with him.
Go over to 1 Thassalonians 5 after it talks about the day of the Lord. Look what it says in verse 9, “For God has not destined us for wrath.” See, the perfect love of God has cast out the fear of judgment. God has destined us to obtain salvation. See, it's like salvation is still something we're going to obtain. We haven't yet fully been saved. There's more to it. We're going to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake, whether we're left alive when he comes, or asleep, whether we die before he comes, we might live with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up just as you are doing. So, I'm supposed to think this way, I'm supposed to have zeal for Jesus to come, and then I'm supposed to speak this way to you. And we're supposed to build each other up, and this faith that we're supposed to have in Jesus coming. This is what unites us together as a church, here at this church. We’ve got people coming from a lot of different places, a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of different preferences. And Christians these days are so good at disagreeing on things and dividing over things, when we're all supposed to be uniting in our faith, because we've got one Lord, one hope, one baptism, it's all about being on Team Jesus, and he's coming, and can we all get together, that we are the ones waiting for him to come that should be uniting us together as a church,? We have a goal, we have a climax, we have something that our whole lives are building up towards. And it's Jesus coming to get us. And because I know Jesus is coming to get me, and I'm building you up by telling you about it. I'm trying to encourage you, hey, don't get caught up in what's going on right now. We're going to get caught up in the clouds to be with him. Wait for that. Stay ready for that.
Go with me to Romans 5:9. I don't know if you remember we did a sermon called Much More in Store back in Romans chapter 5. This is a great chapter where it has one of those but God verses but God shows his love for us, “and that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And so that's good news. Jesus, he died for you, he shed his blood for you. If you believe in Jesus, you can be saved from all of your sins, you can be already saved. But then it says this. There's more to it, Romans 5:9. “Since therefore, we have now been justified by his blood,” that's what's already happened. Then it says this, “much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. There's a great and terrible day of judgment coming, and you and I will be rescued out of it, will be delivered out of it, will be saved from it. We have more salvation to look forward to.
Can you turn with me to 1 Peter 1:8. This is the verse I want to end our time together on here. I think this verse really summarizes the Thessalonians and the kind of church that we want to be here in Huntington Beach. I want us all to be united in our faith, that we all have a sense looking forward of expectation that we are waiting for Jesus to come. We are a church at the end of the earth at the end of the age, and we want to be ready when Jesus comes. I want him to find faith here in Huntington Beach among us, and that's what we're here to be united on at this church. And 1 Peter 1:8-9 he just says it so well. This is totally how I feel. I hope. I hope that you can relate to these words in 1 Peter 1:8. He says, “Though you have not seen him you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him.” I mean, I feel so close to Jesus. And yet I have never actually been close to Jesus physically, spatially. Like, wow, I've denied myself. I've taken up my cross. I follow Jesus. Like me and some friends, we moved here to Huntington Beach because we had faith that Jesus would build up a church here, like, I want to live my life for Jesus, and I've never even been in his presence. I've never even laid my eyes on him. I love him so much. But yet, it's always been long-distance. It's always by faith, not by sight. And it says here, hey, you haven't seen him but you love him, you do not now see him you believe in him. And you rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. Obtaining the outcome of your faith, obtaining what is still yet to come and the fullness, the salvation of your soul, when your soul is no longer in this body, but in a new body. A body when you see Jesus, you will be made like Jesus because you will see Jesus for who he really is, and you will glory in Jesus, you will marvel at Jesus, and this feeling of joy inexpressible. Then I think the closest feeling I've ever had outside of my faith in Jesus to joy inexpressible was when I was in that airplane, and my wife, Christa, she said, yes, let's get married. And we're just like two happy people up in the clouds, on the Southwest flight, just totally overjoyed, right? Like, we're going to spend our life together. Because sometimes I feel the joy that is so much stronger than that. A joy inexpressible and filled with glory, that Jesus is going to come get me when he's riding on the clouds. And I'm going to meet with him. Sometimes I'll be walking around here at church, and I'll just get a surge, a bolt of that joy inexpressible that my life is actually getting lined up with the ultimate purpose, the ultimate meaning, the epiphany, the aha moment when Jesus comes on the clouds, and every eye sees him, and everyone realizes it's always been about him, it is his story. And it's for his glory. And as I can see God working that in me, I feel this joy, and I'm waiting for Jesus to come. And I need to share that joy with you. And we need to build each other up in that joy that Jesus is going to come and get us. And that's what we're waiting for. So, I want to pray for you about this. And we wanted to have a song of reflection. So, we're going to sing a song up here. And during that song, you can think about do you love his appearing? Are you putting your faith in your future salvation? Or would you have to confess that you're too caught up, and you're a prisoner of this moment, and you want to be right here right now. So, it's a chance for us to even talk to Jesus, to let Jesus know we're waiting for him to come, or to confess that we need to get ready. So let me pray for you. And then we'll take some time to reflect here together. Let's pray.
Father in heaven, I just want to thank you for the example of the Thessalonians, a group of people even though they lived from our perspective, so long ago, in the first century, this group of people that was known for waiting for Jesus to come. And if somebody died, it's like, oh, no, they missed it. And then they're even wondering later, did we all miss it? Because they know this is the point. This is the climax. This is the thing that it's all building up to is the revelation of Jesus as the Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth. As our Father, please make us a church of people. Make me a person, make every single person who believes in you here, make us people who love the appearing of our Lord Jesus, that we're counting down the days, even though we don't know how many days it is. We know that he said, he's coming soon. We know he's coming like a thief in the night, that it could happen at any moment. And so, Father, make us people who are waiting for it, longing for it, looking forward to it. And Father, if there's anybody here, and we're talking about the things of the age to come and they're caught up in this present world, they're stuck in this age. I pray that today, you could open their eyes to see spiritual things. Someday everybody will see Jesus on the clouds. The people who are not ready for Jesus, they're going to weep. They're going to mourn because as soon as they see the glory of Jesus, they will know they were on the wrong side of history, because they weren't believing in Jesus. Father, I just pray say that nobody here would have that moment on that day. I pray that people hear you, would open their eyes today that today they could have an epiphany. But today they could see what life is really all about. It's not about them living out the rest of their days. It's about them counting down the days till we see him on the clouds, with the glory shining, beyond compare, and we will marvel at the glory of our Lord. Father, please let us say what your people have always said, let us say Maranatha. Let us say, Come, Lord Jesus centered Jesus right now we just want to say we believe in you Jesus, we know you're at the Father's right hand, we know you've been exalted to the name that is every name above every name, and we want Jesus, your name to be lifted high here in Huntington Beach. We want your name to be lifted high in our hearts. So, Jesus, we are waiting for you. And we ask you to come Lord Jesus, we want to be with you. So, we pray that in your name. Amen.
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