1 Thessalonians 4:13

1 Thessalonians 4:13 is a continuation of 1 Corinthians 15.  If we believe that there is the resurrection of the dead, then that means that we believe that Jesus rose from the dead and all those who fell asleep in Him, God will bring with Him, meaning, bring back to life as Jesus Himself was brought back to life.  Verse 17 says nothing about the deceased returning with Christ.

Verse 16 says that when He descends from heaven, those who are dead will rise first.  John 5:28 says, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

The dead will be in their graves not with Christ.  When they are resurrected, come out of their graves and are gathered to Him, we who are alive will join them.

In John 6:40, Jesus says, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

He promised, “In My Father’s house are many mansions:  if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2, 3).  These verses clearly show that when people die, they don’t go straight to heaven to be with the Lord.  The righteous dead and living will go to heaven when Jesus returns.  Martha knew this because when Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again”, her response was, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:23, 24).

While we watch and wait for the Lord to return, let us take comfort in the assurance that we shall always be with the Lord.


The Humility of Jesus

One morning as I prayed, I reflected on the humility of Jesus.  He left the glory of Heaven where He was worshipped and praised, where He was with God, the Father.  Jesus, God the Son became the Son of God and the Son of man.  He humbled Himself when He came here on earth in that He came to serve and not to be served.  He came in the flesh as one of us.  There was humility in His birth.  He was born in a manger surrounded by animals and hay.

He was the Son of a carpenter and He too was a carpenter, which makes sense.  It ties in with His ministry here on earth.  A carpenter builds.  Jesus came here to build a relationship between God and us.  He came to build a relationship between Himself and us and with one another.  And when He was to return to His Father, He built a relationship between the Holy Spirit and us.  Jesus was humble in that everything He said and did was of the Father.  He was obedient to the Father in all things, following His will even onto death.  He placed the Father first and us second.

Jesus was humble in appearance and in behaviour.  He wanted to teach us that we should be humble.  God loves humility but resists pride.  Humility allows for God to be in our lives.  It allows us to love Him completely and to totally surrender to His will.  It allows us to recognize our need for Him.  It allows us to love others and each out to them.  Humility allows us to give of ourselves—to be selfless.  Humility is of the Spirit.  We should be humble in spirit.  Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” and “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth”.  Because of His humility and faithfulness, Jesus is now exalted and is sitting at the right hand of God.  He is now King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  His name is above all other names.

Jesus taught us that in being humble we allow God to us to fulfill His plans.  We open ourselves for His will to be done in us for His glory and for the benefit of others.  In doing everything the Father commanded Him to do, Jesus made it possible for us to receive the grace of God by which we are saved from the wages of sin.  Humility led to salvation and an inheritance of the kingdom of God.

Self-exaltation is a deterrent to God. It is what got Lucifer cast down from Heaven.  Psalm 138:6 says “Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly:  but the proud He knoweth afar off”.  God has no regard for the proud, for those who like to puff themselves up and boast.  They put themselves before God and look down on others.  They are self-involved and do not keep the commandments of God.  They love themselves more than God and others.  Their self-importance blinds them to His will.

The Bible speaks clearly of God’s view of the proud.  We should be humble as our Lord Jesus was.  Pride leaves no room for God to work with us on in us.

1 Peter 3:18-20

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,  by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

Peter makes these statements:

  • Christ died onec for our sins
  • Christ who was innocent died for us who are guilty
  • Christ died in order to bring us to God
  • His body was put to death and His Spirit made alive
  • Christ preached to the spirits kept in prison
  • The people disobeyed God while Noah built the ark
  • Eight people went in the ark and God brought them safely through the flood

What these verses say to me is that Jesus died for our sins in order to reconcile us with God because sin separated us from the Father. 

Christ preached to the spirits in prison during His ministry here on earth.  He preached, “Turn back to God!  The kingdom of heaven will soon be here” (Matthew 4:17).  The people were prisoners of sin but Jesus came to free them.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Jesus read this to the people and then after He closed the scroll, He announced, “What you have just heard Me read has come true today” (Luke 4:18-20).  Throughout His ministry, Jesus fulfilled this prophecy.  He healed the sick, the lame, the crippled, gave sight to the physically and spiritually blind, cast out demons and taught people the good news about God’s love and His kingdom.  He freed many from spiritual darkness and the bondage of sin.

He also preached to the people in Noah’s time.  He did so through the Holy Spirit.  These were the people who disobeyed God while Noah was building the ark.  God was patient with them, giving them ample opportunity and time to repent.  He gave them 120 years during which Noah preached to the people.  Peter referred to Noah as “a preacher of righteousness”.  Sadly, in the end, only eight people (Noah and his family) were saved. 

Today, Jesus through the Holy Spirit is preaching to us, urging us to repent so that we could be saved from the destruction of the earth.  We ought to pray like David that God would bring our souls out of prison (Psalm 142:7).  Just as in the days of Noah, God is patiently waiting for people to repent and turn to Him so that through Jesus, they could be saved.  Peter confirms this, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  God wanted to save more than eight people in Noah’s day but when the people continued to wallow in wickedness and rebellion, God had no other choice but to condemn them to destruction.

Don’t make God do something that breaks His heart.  Follow Peter’s advice, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.  Don’t allow yourself to be being led away with the error of the wicked;  but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:14, 17, 18).

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