Main point summary
Be sober and keep on encouraging one another because although the Lord will return suddenly to accomplish the wrath of God, you are not destined for wrath, but have obtained salvation in Jesus Christ and will be with him on that day!
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Now concerning w the times and the seasons, brothers, 1 x you have no need to have anything written to you.
After I have celebrated the history of your coming to faith, and assured you of our longing to come to you, I want to instruct you about the day we are all looking forward to when Christ returns, beloved, even though I know that you don't need me to because you have already been instructed about the Day of the Lord.
For you yourselves are fully aware that y the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
You don't need to be taught because you already heard the words that Jesus himself said, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority," (Acts 1:7) It is not for us to know the exact day of Christ's return, it will appear like thieves do, when you are not expecting or prepared for it.
While people are saying, “There is peace and security,”
The day of the Lord will come when people are thinking that time will go on as it has always seemed to, and they appear to be saying, "Life is good, I am safe and will always be,"
then z sudden destruction will come upon them a as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman,
when the day of the Lord comes, as foretold in Isaiah 13, those who have not trusted Christ for salvation will suffer the wrath of God; it will happen suddenly,
and they will not escape.
because there is no warning, they will not escape eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord.
But you b are not in darkness, brothers,
In contrast you are not blind to the salvation found only in Jesus Christ, faithful Thessalonians,
for that day to surprise you like a thief.
because your spiritual eyes are open, you will not be blind-sided and harmed by the day of the Lord, when God destroys his enemies.
For you are all c children 1 of light, children of the day.
You will not be harmed because you are children of God, having believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
We are not of the night or of the darkness.
We are not blind to the reality of God, and the way of salvation.
So then d let us not sleep, as others do,
Because we can see, we must not live as if we were unaware that the day of the Lord is coming or be distracted by the cares of this world,
but let us e keep awake and f be sober.
Instead we should maintain our focus on the gospel and live as though we believe that the day is coming soon.
For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, g are drunk at night.
Those who are blind to the light of the gospel are in darkness, and those who go on sinning willfully, cannot see the truth that God's wrath is coming.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober,
In contrast, because God has made us see the light of the gospel, let us live every day understanding that believing in Christ is a life or death matter,
h having put on the breastplate of i faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
in believing in the gospel, we have put on the righteousness of Christ, as we would a breastplate and this faith in Christ protects us just like a helmet does.
For God has not destined us for j wrath, but k to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
You are children of the day and God has not chosen that you be destined for hell, instead God has chosen you to be saved through our Lord Jesus Christ,
l who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
who was obedient to the will of God to the point of death, and so took our punishment, and now, when he returns, whether we are alive or dead in the flesh, we will be with him and will not suffer the wrath of God.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Because we have been saved from the worst danger possible, that of eternal spiritual death, rejoice and remind each other of this, and strengthen one another to live by faith as we wait for the day, like you are currently doing.
This parallels 1 Thess 4:9, "Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you because you yourselves have been taught by God to love on another."
Motivation: You are children of light, which should encourage you not to be afraid of where you are on the kingdom calendar, or about "the days and the seasons."
Command: Keep awake and be sober, because you are children of the light, NOT children of the darkness.
Anchor: Because we have obtained salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, because we have put on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of salvation, we are not destined for wrath, whether we are alive or dead.
Command: Because you have been saved from God's wrath, you can be confident and have powerful ground for building one another up in the faith, so KEEP DOING IT!
Means: In a sense, receiving the gift of salvation from Christ equates to putting on the breastplate of faith and love and putting on the helmet of salvation, and is the means to our becoming children of the day.
Means - v. 8b see note. Motivation - v. 5a, see note, Command - v. 6b, see note; v. 11 see note Anchors - v. 9-10, see note Takeaways... Christ's death on the cross, has changed the destination of believers from 'experiencing God's wrath,' to 'being-with-Jesus' - Hallelujah! So, we should encourage one another with this great truth. Paul commands us to live, not sleeping or distracted or drunk, as those who live in darkness live. Instead, because we have such a great future with Christ, we are to live with our focus on the gospel: alert, sober, encouraging & building one another up. Next steps... I loved this course. Michael Lane did a wonderful job in designing the instruction and the learning process. He gave helpful, timely feedback. I would (and will) recommend it to anyone who is wants to dig deeply into God's Word. I am planning to take the self-paced Phrasing course that starts on Jan 3, 2022 on 1 John.
Observations from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Author/Occasion: Paul, Silvanus and Timothy. They spent three+ weeks there & established the church (Acts 17:1-9), then continued on to Berea, then Athens, then settled in Corinth for 18 months (Acts 18:11). Paul sends Timothy to them to inquire about their faith. 1 Thessalonians is Paul's response to Timothy's report. This section is Paul's instruction about "times and seasons" and "end times." (v. 1) Recipients: The church, true believers in Thessalonica. ( 1: 1) They have been instructed about "The Day of the Lord." (v. 2) Relationship: The letter is to "brothers and sisters" of faith, fellow believers. Themes: How to live in view of the End Times - by faith, hope & love Children of light/day v. children of night/darkness Analogy: sobriety v. drunkenness (v. 6-7) Analogy: being awake v. being asleep (v. 6-7) Tone: Alternates between warning to those who are in darkness, and encouragement to those who are "children of the day." (v. 5) Purpose: Instruction on how to live in view of the fact that the "Day of Lord" is coming. Keywords: Day of the Lord light/darkness awake/asleep drunk/sober faith, hope, love General: Paul starts out by saying that he has no need to write to them about the Day of the Lord, and yet...v. 1-11 are like a quiz review about the coming Day of the Lord. Since Paul says this, it can be inferred that he taught them when he was with them about the Day of the Lord, that no one knows exactly when it will be, it will come "like a thief in the night." The phrase in V. 3, "and they will not escape," infers there will come a point-of-no-return for those who have not accepted the salvation through Jesus Christ. Verses 4-6, make it seem that those who have obtained salvation may not be completely surprised when the Day comes: "But you brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake YOU like a thief." Children of darkness are those who have not "obtained salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (v. 8b) Children of the day are those who have obtained salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (v. 8b) Whether we die BEFORE the Day of the Lord, or whether we are alive-in-the-body on the Day of the Lord, we will be with Him (Christ) on that day. Paul's main point is: Keep on encouraging one another as you see the Day of the Lord approaching because we have been saved through our Lord Jesus Christ! Questions: v. 1 Do they have no need to have anything written to them because Paul taught them while he was with them OR, does this relate to 1 Thess 4:9, "now concerning brotherly love, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another." How will "sudden destruction" come upon people in the Day of the Lord? (v. 3) Will they not be surprised when the Day of the Lord comes (v. 4), or will they be surprised in the sense of not knowing the exact day and not surprised in the sense that they were ready for the Day and looking forward to it. Does v. 4 "but you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise YOU like a thief," point to their not-being-harmed-by-the-thief because they are in Christ? How are people in 2021 saying "There is peace and security?" (v 3a) What exactly does Paul mean by "let us not sleep," in v. 6a? He obviously doesn't mean 'we will never sleep.' Does he mean, 'let us not walk around unaware, acting as if the day of the Lord will not come, surprising those who have not received the gift of salvation?' v. 8b Is there a concrete connection between how Paul refers to 'the breastplate' as "faith and love" here, while in Eph 6, he defines 'the breastplate of righteousness,' which I understand to mean Christ's righteousness. Is he indicating that through faith and love we obtain Christ's righteousness, which is a breastplate for us? Compare Versions: Very little difference between ESV, NASB & NET versions. V. 4 refers to the recipients as "brothers," (ESV), "brethren," (NASB) ,"brothers and sisters," (NET), and "friends" (MSG). V. 5 identifies believers as "children of light, children of the day," (ESV), "sons of light and sons of the day," (NASB, NET & MSG) In the MSG, v. 6, I like the encouragement, "So let's not sleepwalk," that clarifies what I think Paul means when he says, "So then let us not sleep as others do." In the MSG, v. 9-11, I question the phrase "Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind." It could be understood that if they don't encourage each other, they will lose their salvation, which is not Paul's point, I think.