Main point summary
Believers, we don't want you to be overcome by grief, because the Lord who died and rose for us has promised that he will come again for us, and for those who have died in him. We're all going to be together again with the Lord! So encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,
Brothers and sisters, we don't want you to be in the dark about what happens to those who are "asleep" in the Lord,
g that you may not grieve as others do h who have no hope.
so as to spare you from grieving like those who do not have any hope in the face of death.
For i since we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
Because since we know and believe and rely on the truth of Jesus' death and resurrection,
even so, through Jesus,
in the same way we believe that through Jesus,
God will bring with him j those who have fallen asleep.
God will bring along with him all those who have "fallen asleep" in him.
For this we declare to you k by a word from the Lord, 1
For this we proclaim to all of you by a message from the Lord himself:
that l we who are alive, who are left until m the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
That we who are alive--we who are left here on earth until the Lord's glorious arrival--will not experience this event before those that have died in the Lord.
For n the Lord himself will descend o from heaven p with a cry of command, with the voice of q an archangel, and r with the sound of the trumpet of God.
Because the Lord himself will come down from heaven with an earth-shaking angelic command, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.
And s the dead in Christ will rise first.
And as a result of this, the dead in Christ (those "asleep") will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be t caught up together with them u in the clouds
Then and only then, we who are alive--who are left on the earth--will be lifted and drawn up together with them in the sky
to meet the Lord in the air,
in order to meet the Lord in the air,
and so v we will always be with the Lord.
with the result that we will always be together with each other and with the Lord.
Therefore encourage one another with these words .
Therefore, use these words to encourage and comfort and strengthen one another in the face of death.
The word "as" carries an important point. It's not that Christians don't grieve at the death of a loved one. But because of the gospel, the Christian's grief is not a hopeless grief.
Not just a theory or speculation or human interpretation or opinion, but a solemn promise from the Lord himself.
Pastors often use these words at the graveside to comfort those who have lost loved ones. But Paul is actually not exhorting pastors to use these words to encourage others. He's telling all the Thessalonian believers to use these words to encourage one another. So, all Christians should be familiar with these words and be ready to use them to comfort others who are grieving.
The sight and sound of this event will be dramatic. In other words, no one's going to miss it, not even those who are now dead.
It's the word of the Lord that is the basis for the words by which we encourage one another.
Growth Plan: I currently submit one or two projects per month for feedback, usually from a book of the Bible I am currently preaching through. I am preaching through James right now, and have been submitting projects on James for feedback, so as to sharpen my understanding of the text before I prepare my sermon. I plan to continue doing this for whatever book I'm preaching through.