(1 Thess. 5:4, 5)
In the opening verses of the fifth chapter, Paul addresses the condition of those who, for whatever reason, are not prepared.
The Thessalonians already know that the reality of the Second Coming is certain; only the timing is unknown. The surprise will be tragic for those who are not ready. Some are unprepared because they don’t believe in the Second Coming; others because they think they can delay their preparation until events convince them the end is near.It was late in the 1950s. A young man heard a preacher say that Jesus was coming in 1964, thus the church better get ready. The young man decided that because it was still a number of years off, he wouldn’t bother readying himself until about, well, 1962. In other words, the preacher’s intention to increase the sense of urgency had the opposite effect on the young man. Such delay is perilous, of course, because you don’t know if you will live through even today. The good news is that we don’t need to know when Jesus is coming in order to be ready now.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 5. What is the spiritual meaning of metaphors like light and day, darkness and light? What aspects of your life could be described as light and what as darkness? Think through the implications of your answer.
In these verses Paul begins a series of contrasts with day/night and darkness/light (a ruin/rescue contrast is implied in verse 3). Unbelievers will be surprised by the events of the end, but believers will not be surprised. Why? Because they live in the light. The Bible is a “lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” (Ps. 119:105, NKJV). Prophecy is given so that we can have enough information in order to be spiritually prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Preparation for the Second Coming involves investing serious time in the Word of God. Preparation is the act of laying up treasure in heaven. Preparation is about a daily surrender to the Lord.
There are many distractions in today’s world, from jobs to e-mail to entertainment to a cornucopia of drugs and other mood enhancers. Paul’s appeal comes down to us through the corridors of time. Set distractions aside. Put the Word of God first in your life, and you will not be overtaken by events, no matter how unexpected their timing may be.