Encourage One Another


1 Thessalonians 4

When I read I Thessalonians 4, the word Hope springs to mind. The hope that we can have a different life - not one controlled by baser things, but one that is characterized by holiness and honor. I know I can't live that life myself - I am nothing without the cross of Christ that frees me from the penalty for the junk in my life and also frees me from the power of that old life over me.
Paul writes this letter with Timothy and Silvanus - an excellent example of what it meant for Paul to let God grow up people around him who could carry on his mission with even greater passion and energy. In encouraging the Thessalonians, he points them to a higher purpose - sanctification, or holiness - and then he mentions something they are doing very well - loving each other. But he doesn't stop with the praise; he urges them on to even higher things. He urges them to "do this more and more." What would our lives look like if we surrounded ourselves with the people who urge us on to love more and more. Instead, we (myself included) gravitate towards people who will make me feel good about where I am. It is like a doctor lying about your future, or a pilot saying it will all be alright, while she jumps out with the last chute. We need people like Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to urge us on to not rest, but be better.

And then they move to the hope to come - the return of the Lord, our Lord. The hope we have that even as God raised Him from the dead (I Peter 1:21 - God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.), He will also raise us. Listen to these words and let them sink down into your heart, if indeed you have Christ in you, the Hope of Glory:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

We will always be with the Lord - that should bring us chills. What a privilege to be able to encourage one another with these words.

tom albers TOM ALBERS | Elder Chairman

Tom committed his life to Christ as a junior in high school in 1975. After moving to Austin in 1995, Tom and Cindy attended Hill Country Bible Church in Cedar Park before becoming part of the HCBC Pflugerville and Hutto Bible church plants. Tom serves as a Small Group Leader and in Youth ministry and in other ministry oversight roles. Tom and Cindy were married in 1986 and are parents to Will, Emily, Clare, Hannah and Nathan and grandparents to Owen.

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