Book information

Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessaloniansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-87083-154-2
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 17 of 31 Section 1 of 4

LIFE-STUDY OF FIRST THESSALONIANS

MESSAGE SEVENTEEN

WATCHFULNESS AND SOBERNESS

Scripture Reading: 1 Thes. 5:1-11

Immediately after Paul presents the hope of a holy life for the church life, he covers the matter of the watchfulness and soberness of this life. We have a wonderful hope, a hope that the Lord Jesus will come back and that we shall be raptured to Him. Along with this hope, we need watchfulness and soberness. As we are hoping, we need to watch and be sober. For this reason, 1 Thessalonians does not end with chapter four. In this wonderful book for new believers, Paul adds yet a further word concerning watchfulness and soberness. Once again, we should follow Paul’s pattern. We should not simply encourage new believers in their hope. We should also go on to tell them that along with this hope, they need to be watchful and sober. They should not be asleep, and they should not be drunk or in some kind of stupor.

As Paul was writing the last part of chapter four, I believe that he was burdened to speak a word on the watchfulness and soberness of a holy life for the church life. If this book concluded at the end of chapter four, and if we did not have 5:1-11, some believers may be misled. In fact, because they isolate 4:13-18 from the rest of this Epistle, Christians have been misled or even drugged in their mentality. Therefore, as we apply chapter four to our situation, we should not neglect 5:1-11. This means that as we wait for the Lord’s coming back, we need to be watchful and also sober.

TIMES AND SEASONS

In 5:1-3 Paul indicates that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. Verse 1 says, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you.” Times and seasons here refer to the Lord’s coming. This is confirmed by the expression “the day of the Lord” in verse 2.

THE DAY OF THE LORD

In verse 2 Paul goes on to say, “For you yourselves know accurately that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” The coming of the Lord in the preceding chapter is mainly for comfort and encouragement. The day of the Lord in this chapter is mainly for warning (vv. 3-6), since it is mentioned in the Word mostly in relation to the Lord’s judgment (1 Cor. 1:8; 3:13; 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; 2 Tim. 4:8).

The fact that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night indicates that its coming is kept secret and that it will come suddenly. It is not known beforehand by anyone (Matt. 24:42-43; Rev. 3:3; 16:15). This thought is strengthened by what Paul says in verse 3: “Whenever they say, Peace and security, then sudden destruction comes upon them, as birth pangs to a woman with child, and they shall by no means escape.”


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