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November 12, 2017

"MUTUAL COMFORT"

TEXT: Thessalonians 5: 8 - 11
READING:  Ephesians 6: 10 - 24

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SUBJ: Comfort and assurance to be had in consideration of the divine appointment and the means whereby it is obtained for us and given to us in Christ.

AIM: That we might be exercised in the mutual devotion Paul references here by a manifestation of faith and love coupled with the hope of salvation thus maintaining a constant and consistent conversation with Christ in the midst.

INTR: The trials of the Thessalonians have often been referenced along with their exemplary reaction to them – first thoughts of them are often connected with their “work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope.”
1. As Paul begins to conclude this epistle he would bring to bear on them that the assurance of knowing Christ persists through the very things that catch the ungodly in darkness.
2. A precious emphasis here is found in their identity as a body -- the thought of being together is stressed. See 5:17 --note that it occurs twice in the text. (137 times in the N. T.)
3. The aim of Paul and the object of the Gospel is to turn believers away from the threats of this present world and rather that we see ourselves delivered from it: 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:4-5

THESIS: The idea of being together carries us beyond the thinking of this world and rather identifies us with Christ in both the present and future sense and that as the result of His redeeming work.

I. The securing armor (v. 8)
1. It is interesting that in the face of grim circumstances Paul identifies as being of the day.
1) The most obvious consideration here is that we have spiritual vision and have the light of Christ upon us and in us so that things both positive and negative are exposed.
2) It would do no violence to the Word here to suppose that the “day of salvation” is in view: (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 2 Corinthians 6:2.
3) It is more than merely being enlightened; it is to be fully vested in that day claiming all that belongs to it.
2. As such then we don the armor
1) The breastplate of faith and love – looking to the matters of the heart and seeing secured as we look by faith to Christ our Lord and there believe Him and His promises that are eternal.
i. Our attachment to Christ and confidence in what He has said and done wards off all that would oppose true devotion to Christ and
ii. The love for Christ, a matter of experience in true believers, and the love of the brethren validates the claims of faith.
2) The hope of salvation – so protecting the mind and tempering all that enters therein.
i. The mind is the processing point for all that would enter into our thoughts – so we are directed to “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ who thought…”
ii. Thus, when the hope of salvation becomes the filter the mind is protected.

II. The securing truth (vv. 9-10)
1. Nothing this world may inflict on us can compare with the wrath of God and we (as identified in verse 8) are not appointed to it; our appointment is to salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ!
1) Not just to be saved, but to obtain (possess, hold title to, fully participate with Christ and much, more.
2) Not by Jesus as an impersonal act, but as fully involved with us from the cross to glory!
2. The reason of our standing with God is not found in the decisions of men nor the uncertain actions of those attempting to merit salvation
3. The qualifying identity of Christ to us here is that is He who died for us.
1) There are many thoughts that come to mind as to what was obtained through the death of Christ:
i. We are delivered from the wrath to come
ii. We are (as previously quoted) from this present evil world – its claims, its enslavement and it consequences.
iii. We are recipients of eternal life and a glorious life it is.
2) The emphasis here is stressed in that whether we die or live that we should live together with Him
i. It is certainly true that the desire of the believer is to be together with Christ Jesus and it will be so
ii. It is further a matter of blessedness that we will live together with Him – Fellowship among the Saints is a foretaste of what we shall experience in glory with Him.

III. The securing activity (v. 11)
1. Wherefore comfort (or exhort) yourselves together
1) See the encouragement of Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18. This was, of course, the words concerning the second coming.
2) The tone of comfort here may any and all of the hope of the resurrection of Christ, the second coming of Christ and the thought of being forever with Him – Gill
3) But, it may also look to the fact that they are not lost in darkness and infidelity but that we are the children of light and that we walk in the light as He is the Light.
4) The assurance that these things can never fail in that He has died and so is the application here.
2. Thus, we would move to edify (the idea is to build up and strengthen) one another
1) Paul acknowledges that this they were already doing and so urges continuance and
2) Leaves with us an example of the things that encourage us and so temper our look to the future as we look to His coming.