Expository Studies

Play Video
Play Video

Daily Encouragement

Play Video

August 4, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Hoping for Resurrection Today

“But we do not want you to be uniformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13, Page 1849  

        This passage forms the basis for comforting one another regarding the death of believers in Jesus Christ.  Sometimes referred to as the Rapture, Jesus will return in the clouds with those dead in Christ.   With the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, the dead in Christ will be raised.   Paul also describes the order of resurrection: (1) all those believers who have died in Christ before the moment of the Rapture; and (2) those believers who are alive on the day of the Rapture.

      In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, page 1849, Paul turns to the subject of teaching hope.  Every Christian should be hoping based upon revelation from God concerning the future of those who have died.  Jesus wants us to know and to hope in Him.  Paul makes three important points here.

      First, God wants you to know about all the believers who “are asleep.”   Jesus used this same symbolic speech to describe Lazaurus: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep”   (John 11:11, page 1677).     John explained that Jesus meant: “Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they [His disciples] thought He was speaking of literal sleep” (John 11:13, page 1677).   In front of His disciples, and others, Jesus called Lazarus to come out of the tomb, and Lazaurs came out still bound hand and foot with wrappings, and a cloth wrapped over his face (John 11:44, page 1679).   Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and, in the same way, Jesus will awaken every person in Christ at the Rapture.  I have met many people who tell me that they either died or had a near death experience, and now they have seen the other side.  They said it was nothing to fear, but peaceful.  The only reliable source of knowledge about the after-life is the revelation of God contained in the Bible.  I have never met anyone who had the power to resurrect the dead.  I am sure many people are quite sincere in telling me what they saw, or felt, when they were near death, but often they were hearing Satan comfort them, and not Jesus.  Believers do not rely upon our own experience to know the future, but rather upon the Word of God.  He wants you to learn from Him about the future, and He has a lot to say about the future.  Jesus holds the future, and controls the whole universe to follow His pre-ordained plans.  We must listen to Him, and not the experience of people who have no real view of the future.  Remember, that Jesus called Himself the first fruits of the resurrection, because He was the first person to have a glorified body (“1 Corinthians 15:20, page 1801”).  When He raised Lazarus and others during His earthly ministry, they did not get a new glorified body, that would never decay, but they were restored to their old body, destined to die again and undergo decay.  When Christ returns at the Rapture, He will raise His own children, and give them glorified bodies that will never decay.

      Second, Jesus does not want you to grieve hopelessly over your deceased Christian friends.  They are only sleeping in the sense that their bodies have been placed in a tomb, to undergo decay.  At the moment a believer dies, they are “absent from the body,” but immediately “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, page 1809).  Remember that resurrection always refers to bodily resurrection, because your spirit has been present with Jesus in Paradise from the moment you die (Luke 23:43, page 1650).    Therefore, you leave your body on earth, but your spirit goes home immediately to be with Jesus.  Spiritually, you are present and at home with Jesus from the moment you die.  We do not grieve over them because we know they are with Jesus, and nothing could be better than that assurance and fact. 

       Third,  like Jesus, Christians grieve over their dead loved ones.  Our grieving, however, will never be with the sense of permanent loss, or complete desolation, felt by unbelievers.  They have no assurance, but in fact, have lived in fear of death for a lifetime (Hebrews 2:14, page 1871).    Jesus has freed us from the fear of death, and has broken the bondage of sinful slavery.

        Therefore, we do not grieve as unbelievers, but live in freedom and knowledge coming from Jesus alone.

         So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we know that Jesus lives forever, and our Christian friends have only fallen asleep in their bodies.  Spiritually, they live with Christ today. 

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when  we encourage each other to know and remember that we do not grieve as Gentiles over those who sleep in Christ.   

       ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we fail to remind our friends that bodily death only means our Christian friends are at home with Jesus.   

Application for Today

        Today, I want to encourage my Christian friends to avoid grieving for dead Christians, because death only refers to being absent from the body, and present with the Lord.  Who will you lift up with the knowledge of death and resurrection today?


 Christ Assembly Basics 

Christ Assembly provides free access to various studies from the Bible, the Word of God. The studies in this website are not inspired, but God produced the Bible, consisting of sixty-nine books (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament). The Holy Spirit inspired authors to produce original autographs of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Those original authors wrote over the course of many centuries. They wrote divinely inspired words and every word was divinely inspired. The authors communicated in their own styles, and with their own vocabulary, but God breathed out every word of the final autographs. The words in the Bible really matter, and deserve careful study. 
As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
We accept the teaching of the Word of God. As born again believers, baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit, the anointing from God teaches us all things. We love to study the Word of God as we abide in Christ Jesus our Lord. God blesses all of us when we read His word, hear His word, and heed His word. We share original studies of the Word of God without cost and we do not receive donations. We support the finances of this ministry through private means, so that we are not a burden to anyone. We oppose charging people to read books, articles, journals or other studies of the Word of God. Such work should be supported by donations, but not in prescribed amounts and not as a requirement to gain access to what God has freely provided. What God has freely given, we should freely share. Just as Paul worked making tents, so we work to support this ministry. 

 Christ Assembly License

The author of all original material on this website retains all legal and equitable rights to the properties at issue. The author granted Christ Assembly a limited-use, revocable license to publish material on this website, while reserving all ownership rights to the original author. You may use any original material on this website to the glory of God, but you may not receive anything of value for such use. You may not receive any donations related to any original material on this website. All use of original material on this website is subject to the revocable, limited license above. You must conspicuously indicate on any use of the original material that it originated from ChristAssembly.org.  Any revocation of the license shall be posted on this website and all rights to use material may be revoked without prior notice. By copying and using any original material from this website, you consent to such license. Christ Assembly opposes any payment for access to studies, articles, journals, or other publications of studies concerning the Word of God. As God has freely given, so also the products of His grace should be freely shared.