A Walk in Hope by Rev. Shine.P Thomas
Are You Walking Towards the Light in Hope?
Paul in his epistles compares our Christian life to a walk. When we study the book of Thessalonians, we find different walks mentioned in there.
1. Walk in holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
2. Walk in Love. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10
3. Walk in honesty.1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Today we will take a look at a believer’s walk in hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformedabout those who sleep in death,so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are leftwill be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage one anotherwith these words.
The blessed hope of a believer is the rapture. It speaks of the time when Jesus shall appear in the air. Those who have died in the Lord Jesus Christ in previous days and years will be raised from the grave and we will be caught up together along with them changed with our new glorious bodies to meet Jesus. This is called the rapture. We will all fly away.
How many of us come to times in our life where we just want to get away from everything? In Psalm 55:1-5 David is oppressed by his enemies. He is talking of all his troubles. He is tired of persecution and wickedness all around him. Thus, in his prayer to God, he says:
Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
Have you ever felt like that? Well one day we will get away, for we will literally fly away from the troubles of this earth to be with the Lord forever.
Once a farmer had an old clock that was all gone. One night as he was listening it struck 16 times. He woke up and said, “Honey get up, it is later than it ever has been before.” That statement is true concerning the return of the Lord. We are close today to the return of Jesus Christ than ever before in human history. If Jesus comes now we will board the rapture flight, Boeing 777. We will fly away. That is the blessed hope we are waiting for.
I. Walk in Hope,The rapture involves a lifting up
As we walk right in hope, we are going to be lifted up.
1 Thessalonians 4:17
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the cloudsto meet the Lord in the air. (That is up.) And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Heaven is up. D L Moody was asked, why did he look up when he prayed? He said,“Because heaven is up where my Jesus is.”
When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.
Until the day he was taken up to heaven.
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. So heaven is up and we will be lifted up to heaven.
a. The lifting up to heaven involves a people
1 Thessalonians 4:1
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to livein order to please God,as in fact you are living.
Who is this epistle written to: Brothers and sisters in Christ! Those who are saved are the ones who will be lifted up. Jesus is coming after the saved. He is not coming for the lost.
Will you be among those lifted up that day? Some of you say, “I hope so pastor.” Let me ask, “Are you are an Indian?” And you say, “I hope so.” Brother you know if you were born in India or not, and you know if you are born again by Jesus.
Did Job say, “I think my Redeemer liveth?” No. He said, “I Know that my redeemer liveth.” You either know Jesus personally or you don’t. There is nothing like, “I think, I might go to heaven.”
Christ isn’t returning for anyone who thinks they are saved, but for those who know it! If you’re saved and you know it, clap your hands! The rapture involves a people and if you are not sure, you can be one of them right now. Accept Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour.
b. The lifting up to heaven involves a person
The person is the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven,with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God,and the dead in Christ will rise first.
No one will make it to heaven on their own. There is no stairway to heaven or highway either! None can climb that ladder. It is only through the Lord Jesus Christ. If we let Him be our tour guide in this world, we’ll enjoy life’s journey much more, and when he comes he will whisk us through the air to heaven.
c. The lifting up to heaven involves a power
It is resurrection power.
10I want to knowChrist—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings,becoming like him in his death,11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrectionfrom the dead.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are leftwill be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
What power we see in these verses! Can you imagine a power so strong that can cause all the dead in Christ to come forth from their graves? Not only in the cemetery, but from every place in the world, such as the bottom of the sea, the dust of the earth, or from the highest mountain! That is resurrection power. Not only will the dead in Christ rise, but those alive in Jesus will be transformed and rise up in the air. That power is given to the born again saints.
II. Walk in Hope,The Rapture involves a leaving
So, what’s going to happen on this earth when the Rapture occurs? Maybe you’ll be riding in a car; you’re a Christian. When the trumpet sounds, you are instantly caught up, you’ll disappear, leaving behind only your clothing and physical things that cannot inherit eternal life. All the innocent children are gone. Oh! There will be great exodus from aeroplanes, malls, offices, factories, classrooms, sporting events. If Jesus comes now at City Harvest some will be taken and some will be left!
Rapture involves a leaving. Flight 777 is now boarding now. We are going to leave some things behind here. Some people are going to be left behind.
a. We will leave sin behind
Imagine waving goodbye to all possibilities of sin as we take this walk.
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful,but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
No sin can go there. This is the reason that some people won’t make it. They love their sins so much that they are unwilling to repent of them and allow Jesus to save them.
Some of you fear you could never stop sinning. You can’t stop by yourself, but God can help you! And as long as you walk this earth, you’ll still struggle with sin, but take your Christian life day-by-day. Trust Jesus everyday to overcome sin. So we sin less as the days go by. We may still slip and fall, but on that day when He returns we will leave all sin behind.
I read an article about the hot air balloons. At the onset they are held to the ground by ropes and sand bags. When the stove is on and there is flame, the balloon is filled with warm air inside and it rises. If it wants to rise further, they cut the ropes and if they want to go higher, they throw the sand bags overboard. If it wanted to go lower they would stop the flame. It should be the same with the saints of God. Every day we should be getting rid of our sins, throwing that sin overboard, keeping the flame of the Holy Spirit in us, and going higher. If we let that flame down, we will descend. Is your Holy Spirit flame burning?
Jesus Christ has promised us to deliver us from all sin. At salvation we were saved from the very penalty of sin, the sting of sin is death. In the present we are saved from the power of sin. One day in the future we will be saved from the very presence of sin. We will leave sin behind. So now we got to sin less as they days go by.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us runwith perseverancethe race marked out for us.
b. We will leave sorrow behind
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,for the old order of things has passed away.
In heaven there is no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death, no more wars, no sickness. Jesus will wipe away all our tears.
c. We will leave Satan behind
As Boeing 777 takes off, it will rise above the reach of War Plane 666 on the earth.
And the devil, who deceived them,was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur,where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
A Christian counsellor questioned a little girl who had recently received the Saviour. Trying to prepare her for temptations of the evil one, the friend inquired, “What if the devil knocks on your door to try to lead you astray?” She replied, “I’ll ask Jesus to answer it!”
Satan will never leave us alone on earth. He will treat us like he treated Jesus. He went after Jesus and tempted him 3 times. Then the Bible says, after he finished tempting Jesus, he departed from him for a season. But he was back again when Jesus started his ministry. Likewise we also may face some setbacks from the devil here, but praise God he will not bother us in Heaven.
III. Walk in Hope, Rapture Involves a Landing
Every departure leads to an arrival. If you leave a place you will have to arrive at another place. Every aeroplane that takes off lands, except for MH 370, likewise even Boeing 777 lands, but it lands in the air.
1 Thessalonians 4:17
After that, we who are still alive and are leftwill be caught up together with them in the cloudsto meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lordforever.
Not all flight involves a safe arrival. When we are on board a flight, we hold our breath especially when it lands, anything can happen. Remember God’s flight definitely lands safe. This flight will land in the shores of heaven.
Once, birds hit the engine of aircraft midair and both the engines failed. The ATC asked them to land back. The pilot said, “No the aircraft cannot reverse.” They gave another runway ahead, the aircraft did not have the power to pull the plane. The Hudson river was there and the pilot said, “I will water land.” Sure enough, the pilot landed on water and all the passengers were safe. The pilot went and checked all the seats twice to check if anyone was left behind and he was the last one to disembark the aircraft. This is an good illustration about Jesus Christ.
The pilot of our faith is Jesus Christ. He will make sure that everyone who trusts in him will land safe in heaven’s shore. Song: In that happy golden shore.
a. This landing involves new bodies
20But our citizenshipis in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,21who, by the powerthat enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodiesso that they will be like his glorious body.
We won’t have the same bodies we have on earth, but we will have glorified bodies, new bodies like Jesus after his resurrection.
b. This landing involves new buddies
I say to you that many will come from the east and the west,and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language,standing before the throneand before the Lamb.
In our small church we have such great fellowship. After meetings and meals we can talk and it can go on for hours. I believe it will be even a greater fellowship in Heaven as we meet new friends there!
We will see the Bible heroes like Elijah, the man who called fire down from Heaven, who went to Heaven in a fiery chariot. David, the giant killer. We will see Noah, the ark builder. Daniel, who walked around in a den of lions. and Paul, the great apostle. We have read about them in the Bible, but then we will fellowship with them. Then we find that we will be one among them. Oh! What a fellowship, what a joy divine.
c. This landing will involve a new building
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going thereto prepare a place for you? God has allowed mankind to build some great buildings here on earth, but they will look like a hut compared to the mansion what God has prepared for us in Heaven.
1 Corinthians 2:9
What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love him.
A woman who was dying in her home was attended by the local Doctor. He asked the woman, who was very poor, how she could be so happy in death? She replied, “I getting ready to go from the poor house to my mansion in the sky.” One moment dirty old floors, the next, golden streets, one moment cracked walls, the next, walls of Jasper.
One step into the pearly gates and we will say it was worth it all. Some people say how I hate to leave this world. No, one step will tell us that Heaven is more interesting than we ever thought. Heaven is a wonderful place.
d. This landing will involve new blessings
No longer will there be any curse.The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
In Eden the curse was planted, in heaven it’s plucked, it is taken away! No more curse.
We have received many blessing down here, both material and spiritual. But our greatest blessings are yet to come in the future in Heaven. We will receive our rewards for our Godly deeds, we will see our loved ones who have gone on before us, but the greatest blessing will be to see Jesus, and fall on our knees, and cry Holy, Holy, Holy.
I heard about a little girl whose mother had died. When she was taken home by her father, she went from room to room crying out for her mother. The home had lost all its attraction to her without her mother. That is the same with Heaven, if there was no Jesus there. Jesus will be what makes heaven for us.
What does the coming of the Lord Jesus have to do with our walk today?
2 Peter 3:9-14
9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,as some understand slowness. Instead he is patientwith you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire,and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blamelessand at peace with him.
1. If you have not accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, place your trust, faith in him now
2. If you know the Lord, live in light of Christ’ coming?
Walk in hope.