Hopeless Predictions

This Sunday we’ll be reading 1 Thes 5:1-11.  (In the Message)exploding-earth1

The church in Thessalonica obviously asked Paul (through Timothy) how much longer until Jesus returned.  Facing the difficulties they were enduring, it only seems natural that they wanted a timeline…a date on the calender that they could fix their hope on. 

The Thessalonians were part of a long line of Christians who became overly fascinated with setting a date for Christ’s return.  People have been setting dates for Christ’s return for about 2,000 years.  None of them have been right, by the way.  Why do you think there is such a desire to do this?  Why do we get so infatuated with knowing when the world will end?  What does Paul say about this kind of intrigue in v1-3?  How does that inspire hope in us?

Paul goes on in v4-7 to make a contrast between people of the day and people of the night.  What do you think his point is in this contrast?  To help interpret  this analogy, we need to consider the twin metaphors of sleep and drunkenness.  The opposite of that would be to live as someone who is awake and sober.  V8 basically explains what that looks like in real life.  What three elements of life does Paul prioritize in v8?  

To live in a way that is ready for Christ’s return…do we need to calculate the days of Daniel’s prophecy…or keep a close eye on the United Nations…or write letters to be sent to loved ones after we are raptured?  What does v8 tell us about a life that is anticipating the end of the age….what should we be doing?

Paul again encourages us to comfort each other with this stuff in v11…and I think v10 gives us a big clue about why this IS comforting.  Does it comfort you?

See you Sunday!

Also…I did a “Wordle” of my finished teaching notes…and this is what came out:

hopeless-predictions

3 comments

  1. I think many people live in fear about the end time prophesy. (In the past, I was very afraid as well.) They think if they know the answers (when, what, where, how), this would relieve their fears. We who are in Christ now trust that Jesus will do what He said He will do and we will be protected. His love and His sacrifice for us is proof that we can trust Him, even when we don’t know all of the answers.

  2. “Tell Graham to see…” a great line from a great movie (Signs), but also what Paul seems to be saying here. “You guys are different now, use the new eyes God has given you. Don’t just look, but see, really see.”

    And using these new eyes we are in the world, and when doom is broadcast from every corner and those things that are trusted start to fail, we can give a report of what we see — of our hope in a King who knows no boundary, see no color, fears …. nothing.

  3. It can be so hard to stay focused and not be side swiped on issuess while studying or living the Biblical ways shown. I think Paul is encouraging focus paths for the Thes’s. He is once again pointing out hope and telling us to love each other, not to look for the dates or times but to be ready at all times and to be busy loving each other while we wait. If we are tying too hard to know everything and figuring out timelines, how can we be showing love, sometimes I find this becomes a form of idol worship — taking God of the top of the list and that is not going to grow us as Christains or help another as we band together. The last few directives from Paul are telling us how to live and where to place our focal point. Again and again he goes to love and hope, living clean, lifting each other. Sorting out timelines does not fall under these labels, nor do the last few chapter examples of what not to do. But the what to do list keeps hitting it over and over, readiness, love, hope, for ourselves and each other.

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