To listen this sermon go to Encourage One Another
What is encouragement, and what is an encouraging sermon? For many it is found in ancedotal sermons and platitudes that make us feel we are ok, when we are not (See V. 3). It would be easy to take this verse 11 admonishing us to encourage and build one another up, and lose the context, which is steeped in the consummation of the age and those have now died, without seeing the return of Christ.
Paul reminds them that we are not called to figure out when Christ is coming back since that will happen like a “Thief in the night,” but encourage those that have lost loved ones (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), with the only hope of the gospel, which is Jesus died for our sins so that those have died, will be caught up again with their loved ones to live out on the new earth to God’s glory. Verse 9+10 demonstrates this reality.
9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
True biblical encouragement comes from reminding each other that we have such a great hope in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and that’s something we often forget when times are tough, or when we lose a loved one (See 1 Thessalonians 4:18 see too 2 Peter 1:9).
While human encouragement can be fine, it is finite, and only the work of Christ and God’s plan for the ages (The Gospel) can really encourage us. If we don’t find the reality that we are broken and sinful, yet still loved and accepted by God through Christ.
In short, He died so that we don’t have to in the sense that our death, like His, is not permanent.