A Thief in the Night

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (ESV)

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

The day is coming like a thief in the night... When it says not to sleep, it is not literal. It is figurative. It means not to close our eyes to the signs of the times, not to give in to fears about what may come. Things are more frightening at night, but when the sky starts to lighten, it starts to feel better. The anticipation of the sunrise brings hope. But the coming of the Lord when He returns will be sudden, and if we are sleeping, it will catch us unaware.

Jesus was asked about when His return would be. He responded that He did not know, only the Father knows. He said no man knows the day nor the hour. But He also said keep watch, for the signs will be evident. Once we know that the day approaches we are to keep watching so that we will not be caught unaware.

So we should be able to recognize the time as it approaches, and remain vigilant. Let us not sleep, but labor for the Kingdom. Let us be about the Father’s business, and share the love of Christ with others. If we are good servants, and stay busy with God’s commands, then even if the Lord does come back so suddenly that we are caught unaware, it will not matter, because we will be doing what He wants us to be doing.

by Virgil Stripes

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