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1 Thessalonians 4:13-17


Intro: We have just come out a season where we celebrated the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world. Thank God He came that first time! I praise God for every truth surrounding His first advent.

  • I praise God for the virgin birth.
  • I praise God for His sinless life.
  • I praise God for His teachings, His miracles and His ministry.
  • I praise God for His substitutionary death.
  • I praise God for His victorious resurrection.
  • I praise God for His glorious ascension.

The first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into this world was a time of amazing power, wonderful miracles, and astounding love and grace. In sending Jesus into the world, God accomplished salvation for all who will believe. In sending Jesus into the world, God demonstrated His love for a lost and dying world. In sending Jesus into the world, God completed His perfect and profound plan of salvation and redemption.

Thank God for all Jesus accomplished when He came the first time, but He went away! Acts 1:9-10 tells us about how the Lord Jesus ascended back into Heaven, leaving His church here to preach the Gospel to the lost. When He left His people here, He did not leave them without hope. He left them with the promise that He would come again, Acts 1:11.

Listen to what He said the night before He went tot he cross to die, John 14:1-3. Even at the end of the Bible, as the book of Revelation closes, the Lord reaffirms His promise to His people that He will come again, Rev. 22:20.

A lot of people have looked at the Lord’s promise to come again and have determined that it is a lie, Ill. 2 Pet. 3:3-4. Regardless of what the world says, or what unbelievers say, the Lord is coming! The passage we have read gives us some of the details surrounding His return. I want to take the verses we have read today, and share with you some events that will take place when Jesus Christ comes back for His people. These events give us hope in this world where there is so little reason for hope. These events should cause us to rejoice, even though sometimes, there is little to rejoice about. These events remind us that our Lord is coming, and when He does, He is coming for us! Let’s examine these events together as we talk about When Jesus Comes.


The Thessalonians had heard about the coming of the Lord. They knew He was coming, but they were confused about the doctrine of the second coming. They thought that believers had to be alive until the coming of the Lord or they would somehow miss the resurrection and the rapture. They had come to believe that their departed loved ones, who had died and been buried, were gone forever. 

Paul writes to them to let them know there is hope for those who have gone on to be with Jesus. He set the record straight about the saints of God who have already died in the Lord. He tells us something about their present situation. In doing so, he gives us encouragement and hope regarding those believers who have left this world through the doorway of death.

A.  There Is A Word About A Situation – Ill. “asleep and sleep” Not soul sleep. A euphemism for death. Their bodies are asleep, but their spirits live on! Ill. “sleep” implies “rest.” That much is true, the redeemed are resting from the burdens and trials of this life, Rev. 14:13; Rev. 21:4.

B.  There Is A Word About A Location – In verse 14 Paul tells us that God will bring the dead in Christ with Him when He comes. If He is going to bring them with Him, then they must be with Him ahead of His coming. Ill. 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:20-24; 2 Pet. 1:14. Don’t worry about those who have gone on before! They are with the Lord but they will be back. They are coming with Him!

C.  There Is A Word About A Affirmation – Ill. The fear of the Thessalonians. Paul tells them not to worry. When Jesus comes, the dead in Christ will be raised first. Ill. “Will not prevent” in verse 15 means that we will “not precede them”. We are all going in the first resurrection, but they will be raised and translated first! A cemetery would be a wonderful place to be when Jesus comes for His church.

  I.  There Will Be A Resurrection


A.  It Will Be Sudden – “Caught up” – “to snatch away, or to seize by force.” When Jesus comes, it will be a sudden event. One moment we will be living life as normal, the next moment we will be with Him in the air, 1 Cor. 15:51-52. (Ill. The picture in Luke 17:34-36.)

B.  It Will Be Selective – Ill. “We”. Jesus isn’t coming for everyone. He is coming for only for those who have been saved by the grace of God. Many will expect to go, but they will not make the trip, Matt. 7:21-22. Some will go that we do not expect to go! It is a matter of faith! It is a matter of the heart. Those with His nature will go, 2 Pet. 1:4; those with Adam’s nature will stay! Ill. The picture in Luke 17:34-36.

C.  It Will Be Serious – The rapture will be serious because only the redeemed will go! Everyone else will be left behind to face the horrors of the Tribulation Period. Be sure you are ready because Jesus is coming! (Ill. Matt. 24:44

D.  It Will Be Sensational – The very language of this verse rings with excitement. It is a verse of action and adventure. The Lord is pictured entering the very domain of Satan to gather His Bride to Himself! (Ill. Eph. 2:2) The rapture is a military invasion! Jesus attacks Satan on his own territory, calls His wife up to meet Him there and proves His absolute dominion over Satan! 

By the way, the Lord sent an angel to announce His birth. He sent and angel to announce His resurrection. The Lord sent the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and draw us to Jesus. But, when it comes time to collect His Bride, the Lord is coming “Himself”. (Ill. Jewish wedding custom! Ill. We are going to a wedding in the air, Rev. 19:1-9. Ill. Sounds exciting to me!)

  I.  There Will Be A Resurrection

 II.  There Will Be A Rescue


A.  We Will Meet The Saints – Ill. “caught up together with them” –There are multitudes that have gone on before us to Heaven. We miss them now, because we cannot see them. We cannot hold them, talk to them, or be with them. There is a day coming when we will be together again! They are safe with Jesus now. When He comes He will raise their bodies from the dead and take them up into the clouds with Him. We will see them again! Parents will see their children. Spouses will see their partners. Friends will be reunited again! What a day that will be! Surely we can rejoice in that truth!

B.  We Will Meet The Savior – Ill. “so shall we ever be with the Lord” – While it excites us to think about seeing our loved ones again, what thrills my heart is the knowledge that one day I will see Jesus! I will see the One Who loved me more than His Own life. I will see the One Who died for me on the cross. I will see my Redeemer. The Friend Who has stuck closer than a brother. I will see the crucified, risen Lord. I will see Him there, Ill. Rev. 22:4; John 14:1-3; Ill. Job 19:25-27! Surely we can rejoice in that!

Conc: When Jesus comes, we are going home! When Jesus comes all the pain, sorrow, separation, suffering, sin, and heartache will end immediately. When Jesus comes, we will leave this world behind and fly away to a better place to spend eternity with Him and all those He redeemed when He died on Calvary. When Jesus comes we will be caught up, carried away and completely changed! I say with John, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”

If we truly believe that Jesus is coming, we should be engaged in a couple of activities.

1.  We should be looking for Him, 2 Tim. 4:8! 

2.  We should be living like He might come at any time, 1 John 3:3!

3.  We should be loving the lost and preaching the Gospel, Mark 16:15!

He’s coming! Are you going? If you are rejoice and praise Him! If not, come to Him and be saved!

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