LISTEN: True Hope in Hopeless Times (Part 5) with Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

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TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6

Today, we come to the final message in our series, True Hope in Hopeless Times. Recapping what we have learned in this series, we know that the true hope of believers is Jesus Christ Himself and the event called the Rapture when He will call His church out of this world to be with Him forever. We look forward to the Rapture because it means being like Jesus, because it means being with Jesus, and because of the certainty of the coming of Jesus.

In our last message, we looked at how Christians should handle death from First Thessalonians chapter 4. By using three key words in that passage — Sorrow, Sleep, and Spirit — we saw that: (1) Christians do not have to be sorrowful about death because Christ conquered death and the grave; (2) For the Christian, death is really a sleep in which our bodies are laid to rest in the ground as they await the Rapture when they will be resurrected and transformed into glorious bodies; (3) When a Christian dies, his spirit immediately leaves his body and goes to be with the Lord.

Today, as we close out this series, we are going to look at the issue of the delay in Christ’s coming. As we noted, the believers in Thessalonica were eager for Christ’s return. In fact, scholars state that the disciples and the apostles expected Christ to return within their lifetime. So, understandably, they began to worry as they grew older and as their friends began to die, and Christ had not come back. Unlike many people today, they were not trying to cling to this world; they were eager to get out of this world.

Paul writes to the Thessalonian believers and helps them to understand some things regarding the delay in Christ’s return.

1. We see that it is right for Christians to be concerned about Christ’s return. Paul tells the believers, “of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.” Now, it might sound like Paul is telling them, ‘You don’t need to be worried about the times and seasons,’ but that is not what he is saying. Paul is saying, ‘I don’t need to tell you all over again about the times and seasons because you already know about that.’

2. While it is okay to be concerned about (or interested in) Christ’s return, we have no reason to despair about His return. Paul says in verse 2, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” It seemed to the Thessalonians that Jesus was taking a long time to come back. They woke up each morning thinking, “Today may be the day!” But days, weeks, and months passed, and nothing happened.

3. While some Christians might be concerned about Christ’s return, we have work to do while we wait. Paul shares with the believers, “Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”

As we work, the consistent, steady reminder that the Rapture could take place at any moment gives us hope for today, tomorrow, and for all time. We do not have to despair because it seems like Christ’s coming is delayed. We do not have to face each day like those who have no hope. Christ — our true hope — is coming for us, and His coming can happen at any time.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

LISTEN: True Hope in Hopeless Times, Pt 4 (Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #161

TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at the topic of true hope in hopeless times. Last week, we looked specifically at Jesus’ command to “let not your hearts be troubled.” We can do this by choosing not to let our hearts be troubled, by choosing to believe in God, and by choosing to believe in Jesus Christ.

Today, as we continue with this theme, we are going to look at how the Christian deals with death. Death is all around us. People who were here yesterday are not here today. People who got up this morning will not be here tonight. You might have plans for this day that you will never get to fulfill because death will come knocking.

President William McKinley was the third American president to be assassinated. He clung to life for several days after he was shot. Towards the end, as his life slipped away, his wife started crying and screaming, “I want to go too! I want to go too!” With his last measure of strength, McKinley turned to her and spoke his final words: “We are all going.”

Yes, we are all going. And it is likely that you will see and hear about a lot of people who go before it is your turn to go. Let’s look at how we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to handle death. We are going to do this by focusing on three key words in our passage — Sorrow, Sleep, and Spirit.

1. Sorrow. In First Thessalonians, Paul writes to a group of Christians who were particularly enthusiastic about the Rapture. They were eagerly awaiting Jesus’ return. However, when Jesus did not return as fast as they thought He would, and some of their number died, they began to worry. Paul writes to them and says, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”

2. Sleep. Why is it that the Christian does not have to sorrow over death? Because for the Christian, death is not final. Death is, as Paul termed it in verse 13, a “sleep.” This sleep refers to the status of the physical body of the believer. When you are asleep, you are out of touch with your physical environment, and that is what will happen to your body when you die. It will be put in the ground, and it will be unable to communicate with its surroundings using its God-given senses.

3. Spirit. This is another reason why Christians do not have to sorrow about death. Second Corinthians 5:8 says, “to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” When you die, your body goes down into the grave, but your spirit leaves your body and goes instantly to be with Lord. In reality, you never truly die. Your spirit is always alive, and when your body sleeps, your spirit will go on to do what the Westminster Catechism says is the purpose of man — “to love God and enjoy Him forever” — with the added benefit of being in the actual presence of our Savior Jesus Christ in Heaven.

We must always remember that Jesus Christ conquered death when He rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, so we do not have to fear death as the world fears death. We do not have to sorrow over death as the world sorrows over death. Thank God, we have true hope to cling to in the face of death.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.