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December 27, 2015

"THE ULTIMATE AIM OF GOD"

TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 5: 6-11 (Read vv. 1-11)
READING:
 1 Corinthians 15: 34-35

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SUBJ: The importance of realizing that the aim of God is that we should live forever with Him and that joyful expectation and watchfulness with regard to that prospect is characteristic of His people.

AIM: That we should heed the warning of the Apostle and avoid the various forms of sleep that tend to come upon many.

INTR: The Thessalonians and the difficulties they endured are given as an occasion to bring our focus all the more upon the Lord and the desire that He has for His own.
1. It is their suffering that arrests our attention at the first, but then Paul directs their attention and ours to the prospects that await in the future of the Lord’s people.
2. It is with reference to that which they had already received that they were encouraged even as this chapter begins with “But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need…”
3. It was rather that he would direct their attention to the aim of God for them as their ultimate source of encouragement and comfort.

THESIS: The aim of the triune conspiracy (the world, the flesh and the devil) is to deflect attention away from Christ and to discourage true life and fellowship with Him. Watchfulness and sobriety is that spiritual activity whereby our mind and affections are set upon the Lord and His promise.

I. An important “therefore” (vv. 6-7)
1. There is an element that listens to the false reports and such were they of Jeremiah’s day: They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14.
2. The destruction comes suddenly: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. Isaiah 30:13.
3. Being born again of the Spirit of God and knowing Christ (in whom is no darkness at all) we are therefore not uniformed either of the darkness or the light.
4. It only follows that as such we should be ever vigilant that such things be a matter of great care.
1) In reference to this passage, Bunyan’s Christian was warned by the shepherds not to stop in the enchanted grounds (which tended to bring on sleep and render one vulnerable)
2) The words of Paul are no less intense.
5. Spurgeon saw this as a tendency in both saved people and lost and spoke of:
1) Samson, The disciples in Gethsemane, The tares and the wheat, The five foolish virgins
2) In another message he enumerated such things as insensibility, subjection to illusions, inaction, and insecurity.
3) We are reminded as well of Belshazzar’s feast!
6. Therefore:
1) The reasons above are incentive enough in that we would not be taken in that way.
2) And that we be not compared to those who are given to the way of the world and darkness.
3) But, more importantly that we understand that the issues are critical
4) Christ has died and risen again and there was no intent to lull us to the apathy and indifference of others.
5) Christ is coming (Paul described the nature of His appearing in chapter 4).
7. The examples of Nehemiah, the admonition of the Lord in the Garden, and the cry: The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? Isaiah 21:11.

II. The directed manner of waiting upon the Lord (vv. 8-9)
1. Remember to which realm we belong – we are of the day dwelling in the light of His countenance – recalling “God hath shined in our hearts…”
2. To be sober: that is alert with all our spiritual faculties working and see: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18.
3. The breastplate of faith and love – not merely as a defense but rather as a way of progressing onward in the good fight of faith.
1) Note the positioning of these things is to protect vital organs – the heart and lungs
2) Gill reminds us that faith works by love and love always accompanies faith.
3) It is thereby that the righteousness of Christ and the means of grace whereby the vitals of religion are preserved.
4. The helmet (the hope of salvation) protects from sin and Satan and the things that would attack the mind and divert our affections away from Christ and the sense of His presence.
5. It is to maintain thoughts of what He has done, to what He had brought us (immortality and light) and of that which we shall have in Him forever.)
6. There is great emphasis to be understood here in that we are shown the extremes.
1) What He has not done – appointed us to wrath
2) What He has done – appointed us to obtain (get, own, use…) salvation.
3) These are seen as a reason to watch – how important are these things to us and how intent is the enemy that they should be taken away?

III. The desire of God (vv. 10-11)
1. It is of such importance to God that Christ came into the world to die in order to obtain it for the Father and for us – Salvation is sometimes spoken of as “Thy Salvation” (David and Simeon)
2. The reference to sleep here is to dying (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13).
3. That we should live together with Him – If this is His desire should it not be so with us?
4. Would we be taken by surprise if He came just now or at any time?
1) Let us not sleep
2) Be reminded: Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Psalms 121:4
3) 16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Malachi 3:16-17