I finished up 1 Thessalonians today and I have to say that I smiled at this verse because I once again thought of Paul as the proud "papa" of his little Thessalonian children.
As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1 The 2:11-12)
Now there is a whole study unto itself in those verses. You know, work, family and ministry responsibilities just get in the way of great bible study!! :) I need to get moving here so I can get to the office.
While I'd like to discuss more on shepherding, I just have to write about the rapture of the church. I'm not going to debate here the pre/post/a/? tribulation concepts now, even though I do have a view. Suffice it to say that if we are alive at Christ's return we might just be in for a ride wilder than we've ever seen. Let's dig in.
Reverse skydiving. What a concept! Do you think that is what it would feel like to be one of the living raptured church members? Apparently in Paul's letter, he is addressing questions about the second coming of Christ. I pity Paul here in trying to address something as complicated and potentially scary in a letter. I wonder what I would be thinking as a new believer upon hearing what Paul had to say in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with him in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Do you get mental images of what will happen? I wonder how quickly the living will be taken up? Will it be a blink of an eye? or the 120 mph backwards skydive? (note: I really don't know the speed of a falling sky diver - it seems I've heard something like it before). Paul is saying that the day is coming when we will be reunited with our loved ones again. Our Christian brothers and sisters will see Jesus first at this time, whenever it may be, and we who are living will follow shortly behind.
All coolness aside about this moment, knowing that it will happen someday according to the scriptures but not knowing when it will happen, should bring us a sense of urgency to tell the people in our lives about Jesus. What if today was the day? Think about how much more difficult it will be for people to come to know Jesus if all of the people who really knew Him were gone?
Just some thoughts to think about. I better stop before I get into the pre/post/a thoughts, which are for another time and place.