Many years ago I heard a speaker liken the Lord’s coming for the believer to people waiting for a bus. There are those who wait for the bus but are busy doing other things whilst they wait, like reading the paper, talking to others, daydreaming, and using their mobile phones. They are waiting for the bus but their minds are elsewhere. On the other hand, there are others who are also waiting for the bus but are actively looking for it. They are stood up, looking down the road to see whether or not it is in sight, looking at their watches, consulting the bus timetable etc. They are waiting and their minds are focused on the appearance of the bus. In the end, all of them will get on the same bus, despite the difference in the manner of their waiting.
And so it is with the Lord’s coming. When He comes all believers will be taken, those who are not thinking too much about it, as well as those who are actively waiting! In his first Letter to the Thessalonians, Paul refers to the Lord’s coming in each chapter, and gives five reasons why we should not just be waiting passively, but actively.
In chapter 1 verses 9 to 10, Paul reminds the believers at Thessalonica of the day when they were saved and ‘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, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come’.
Every believer can relate to these words for we all have a moment in our past when we were saved, and are looking for that moment in our future when the Lord will come for us. But in the interim we have a unique window of opportunity to serve the living and true God!
So one reason why we should be more positive as we wait for the Lord’s return is that this time of waiting is an opportunity to use those gifts that God has given to each of us for His service.
In chapter 2 verses 19 to 20 Paul looks forward to the Lord’s coming because it will be a time of joy and glory. He writes, ‘For what is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy'.
It will be a time of joy because Paul will be reunited with these believers from Thessalonica, many of whom he had led to the Lord. He had hoped to see them again in this life yet Satan had hindered him from doing so, v. 18. However, Satan will not stop this reunion when the Lord comes. Imagine meeting up again with someone whom we have led to the Lord, or who was a link in the chain of our own salvation. What a joyful experience that will be!
It will be a time of glory for shortly after the Lord’s coming is the judgement seat of Christ. This is when rewards for faithful service will be given to the believer. Crowns speak of reward and Paul refers here to the ‘crown of rejoicing’, one of five crowns mentioned in the New Testament. How gracious God is! He not only saves us and brings us into His family, but He deigns to reward us for our feeble efforts in His service.
To be continued