Sermon Notes & References

What a Hope We Have!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

January 21, 2018

A. Introduction

    1. New Testament Preaching 1


    2. Gospel of the Kingdom 2


B. The Problem Solved

    1. The Question Here                    4:13


    2. The Common Hope 3                   4:14-15


    3. The Order of the Rapture 4           4:16-17


C. The Application                         4:18

    1. Christians Have a Great Hope


    2. Christians Have a Great Message 5

1 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. . . . . . . . . . . . . What a Hope We Have!


A. Introduction

    1. New Testament Preaching

        a. If you examine the sermons in the book of Acts

            (A)    Peter’s on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2

            (B)    Paul’s in Pisidian Antioch in Acts 13

            (C)   their messages related the death of Jesus on the cross

            (D)   that He was raised from the dead never to die again

            (E)    and through Christ there is forgiveness of sin

        b. so that, when in Athens Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection – Greek, Anastasias – they thought these were foreign gods: Acts 17:18

        c. also in Stephen’s defence in Acts 7, it was when he told Jesus’ death and that He was now at God’s right hand, that the Jews killed him

        d. so the cross, the resurrection, the ascension of Jesus Christ was central to the apostolic preaching


    2. Gospel of the Kingdom

        a. this, then was the gospel of the kingdom being proclaimed

        b. the term “kingdom” in Scripture has a two-fold thrust

            (A)    the true (universal) church of Jesus Christ where He reigns

            (B)    the coming kingdom where He shall reign with His saints

        c. and it is evident, that when Paul was preaching at Thessalonica

            (A)    he reasoned from the Scriptures, “explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” (Acts 17:3) – this is the gospel of the kingdom

            (B)    so that the Jews complained to the authorities, “… they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” (Acts 17:7)

        d. thus, in the three weeks Paul was with them, the believers there had heard of Christ’s coming kingdom, and hence of Christ’s coming again, and they had questions, so that upon Timothy’s return, Paul responded to them in this letter

        e. so the parousia, the Second Coming of the Lord, underlies this letter throughout; even as we saw last week, in the call for their purity


B. The Problem Solved

    1. The Question Here . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4:13

        a. But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.

        b. This passage is addressed to brethren

            (A)    the NT term for Christians, the saved

            (B)    those who through faith are God’s children

            (C)   the emphasis here is on future of believers; not of unbelievers

            (D)   what happens to believers at the parousia?

        c. we are told here in no uncertain terms what our future is going to be

            (A)    of this we are to be fully informed

            (B)    in describing this, Paul uses a euphemism, soft way of saying death

                 (1)    the term, “pass away”, used to be used in speaking of dying

                 (2)    which carried the idea of passing into another place

                 (3)    but now people just say “pass” with the implication that this is the absolute end … which is a sad comment upon our time

                 (4)    both Jew and Gentile in NT times used “asleep” for death, not that there was an expectation of waking up, but rather that the person who has died looks at rest, and has rested

            (C)   what is going to be said, then,

                 (1)    applies to Christians who are falling asleep

                 (2)    but equally well to Christians who are still living

                 (3)    there is no need for the second group to grieve on behalf of the first group since they both share in the same hope

                 (4)    which is not the situation for those who reject Jesus Christ


    2. The Common Hope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4:14-15

        a. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.

        b. in these verses, as else where, the coming of the Lord is specifically the return to earth of Jesus – “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

        c. the assurance that this will take place is that “God will bring ...

        d. Again, what is said here is of interest only to Christians: to us who “believe that Jesus died and rose again

            (A)    the test of faith of Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;

            (B)    and as before, applies equally to the living and the dying

            (C)   further describing these dead as “asleep in Jesus

            (D)   which is a wonderful state, as Paul says, “But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;” (Philippians 1:23)

            (E)    yet is not the ultimate desire of the believer as we shall see

        e. again also, what is being said is still of equal application to both the church militant (on earth) and the church victorious (with Christ)

            (A)    the coming of the Lord – His return to reign – is the important event for which we all await

            (B)    the one group – specifically those of us who will still be alive – have no advantage or precedence over the other, those now dead


    3. The Order of the Rapture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4:16-17

        a. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.

            (A)    once more, note that the focus here is on believers

            (B)    these verses say nothing concerning the resurrection of the unsaved unto judgement – that this takes place in the same hour I consider to be clear from John 5:24-28, but I agree to disagree agreeably with believers of another opinion.

        b. but it also seems eminently clear that this is just one of the many events that will take place at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ

            (A)    the language in this verse is echoed in the book of Revelation

            (B)    it is also as is described in Matthew 24:24-31, as for example, verse 27: “For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

            (C)   and of verse 31: “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and l His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

        c. so the order in these verses is

            (A)    the return in glorious fashion and announcement of the Lord – that is Jesus Christ – from heaven

            (B)    the resurrection of those who are dead in Christ

            (C)   then the gathering of all in the Rapture!

        d. it is true that the word “rapture”as such is not found in Scripture

            (A)    however, the words “caught up” render the Greek word, harpazo

            (B)    this is literally “to seize, snatch away, carry off”, as for example in John 6:15, after the feeding of the 5,000, they sought to “take him (Jesus) by force to make him king.

            (C)   it corresponds to the Latin, rapio, from which we get ‘rapture’ – the young couple who are enraptured with each other have been carried away forcefully by their love!

        e. and thus comes the final result, which is the all-important one

            (A)    Thus we shall always be with the Lord

            (B)    whatever, whenever, and however the other events of the second coming of the Lord shall be, the kingdom age and the saints’ reign

            (C)   this is that which really matters: living in His immediate presence


C. The Application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4:18

    1. Christians Have a Great Hope

        a. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

        b. this is the truth that counts for believers; whether living or dying


    2. Christians Have a Great Message

        a. this glorious hope is available to anyone who will trust in Jesus Christ

        b. Jesus said: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NAS)

        c. And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” (Revelation 22:17 NAS)

        d. marvellous, indeed, is the message we bring!




© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:


              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              IGNT              Interlinear Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, 1956; as well as other Greek Texts as W&H, Nestle, etc.

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              Philips     The New Testament in Modern Englis, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

              RSV        Revised Standard Version © 1946, 1952 National Council of Churches of Christ; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd

              WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth

Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:

              BM       Biblical Museum, Editor James Comper Gray, ca 1870

              CP   -      Decision, July & August 1962, Open Your Bible, by Dr Sherwiood E. Wirt

              EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

                             1, 2 Thessalonians: Robert L. Thomas

              EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

                             1 & II Thessalonians, by James Moffatt

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site,

              NCBC –    The New Century Bible Commentary – 1 and 2 Thessalonians – I. Howard Marshall – Wm B. Erdmans

              RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

              TTB      Thinking Through the Bible, Rev’d John McNicol, D.D., © 1944 by the author; The Upper Canada Tract & Book Society.