The Church Waiting

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

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The Church of Thessalonica was a successful Church. It doesn't take long to figure out why they were so effective in the work of God. Here is a Church that was waiting for the Lord's return. However, they were sitting around doing nothing; they were knee deep into God's work while they waited.

The Preachers of the Church

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians... (1 Thessalonians 1:1) The opening verse names Paul, Silvanus (Silas) and Timotheus (Timothy) as the preachers who had been greatly involved in planting the Church at Thessalonica. Paul is a Gentile name meaning "little or small." His Hebrew name was Saul. As Saul, the apostle was born of Jewish parents (Philippians 3:5), a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28), in Tarsus of Cilicia, and trained in Pharisaical doctrine by Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Now wondrously converted, and renamed Paul, he is sent forth by the church (Acts 13:2). Paul, a veteran missionary, had been saved and serving God for twenty years when he started the Church of Thessalonica. He was a seasoned and experienced missionary.

Silvanus, also known as Silas, was a converted Jew. (Acts 16:20), considered one of the chief men among the brethren (Acts 15:22), and also a prophet (Acts 15:32). He was a companion of Paul on his second missionary journey. (Acts 15:40) He had been commissioned a missionary by the Jerusalem church and was later chosen by Paul to take the place of Barnabas (Acts 15:40). Silvanus 6 was one of the Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 15:26) He was sold out to the work of Christ. What a blessing he must have been to the Thessalonians.

Timotheus, or Timothy, is a name derived from timao, meaning "to honor," and from "Theos," meaning "God." Timothy's name means "one who honors God." Timothy was a native of Lystra. His father was a Greek and his mother a Jewess (Acts 16:1), and he was saved under Paul's ministry (1 Timothy 1:2) Paul considered Timothy his son and he became a faith laborer with Paul in the ministry.

All three men were included in the greeting because all were closely associated with the Thessalonian church. This letter is the first New Testament epistle written to a particular church and was written from Corinth shortly after Paul left Thessalonica, about A.D. 51.

The Position of the Church

This letter is written unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:1) Now notice the words, in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. What blessed words these are—they speak volumes. Though the location of this particular local Church was the city of Thessalonica their actual position went far beyond the city limits. They were in God the Father and in Christ. It speaks not only of their position, but of the reason for their existence. The Church is not made up simply of a group of people who believe in God, but of a group of people who take their very existence from him. It describes not only their spiritual standing, but their spiritual stamina as well. The Church derives its very life from God. God is the very atmosphere and life of the church. 7

The Prayer For The Church

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. (1 Thessalonians 1:2) Paul's Pastoral heart really shows here. He was constantly praying. Notice that this is in the present tense, signifying continuous action. These men were dedicated in their prayer life. Notice the phrase, for you all. They gave thanks for all of the people in the church at Thessalonica, not just for a few. Everyone is part of the ministry and therefore is to be prayed for. Giving thanks and praying for each other ought to be one of the things that we are known for—it ought to be our reputation. Paul said to the Philippians, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Notice that Paul uses the term for you and making mention of you. This is the ministry of intercessory prayer—praying on the behalf of others. The prophet Samuel said, Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you... (1 Samuel 12:23) Samuel considered his failure to pray for others as a sin against the Lord. Everyone can pray! Pray for your Pastor; pray for your Sunday-school teacher; pray for the leaders, the Bible Institute, yourself, your spouse, your children, etc. There is no shortage of people to pray for—PRAY!

The Performance of the Church

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father. (1 Thessalonians 1:3) Joy filled Paul's heart as he prayed for the Thessalonians. The word remembering means "having in mind or be mindful of." The phrase without ceasing means 8 "constant or continual." As Paul remembered these believers there were three great characteristics that stood out.

Their Ministry Was Real

Paul remembered their work of faith. Good works are produced by faith and Paul testifies that their work was a result of their faith. James emphasizes that faith without works is dead. (James 2:20) A saving faith is a working faith. We are saved apart from works, but we are saved unto works. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10) This is a faith produced work. Christians do not perform good works in order to be saved, but because they are saved.

Their Motives were Right

Their work was a labour of love. Their labor for the Lord was not drudgery. They weren't serving because the preacher put them on a guilt trip. They weren't working for the praise of men. They were laboring for the Lord because they loved Him. Paul calls it a labour of love. The only proper motivation for serving the Lord is love. Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

Their Manner Was Resolute

They continued with a patience of hope. The word patience means to "remain or abide under." The word hope means to "anticipate or expect with confidence." These precious people labored under a blessed anticipation. What was their hope? It is the same hope we have today. It is the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13) These Thessalonian believers lived and 9 labored for Christ because they wanted to be found faithful at His coming. The imminent return of Jesus Christ motivates the believer to live a holy life and promotes the purity and separation of the Church from the world. This is our blessed hope.

The Possession of the Church

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (1 Thessalonians 1:4) The New Testament Church is for God's people. This is by God's own choosing. The doctrine of election is a battleground. However, the Bible does present election in the balance. Election does not mean that God chose to save some while choosing others to Hell. God who says that He will save whosoever will did not choose a select few and arbitrarily foreordain and condemn the rest to Hell without a chance. Such is not the God of the Bible. God is a loving Saviour Who is ... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) The word election simply speaks of the fact that God made a sovereign choice to save the lost. God's foreknowledge is a twin doctrine to election.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2)

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29) The immeasurable foreknowledge of God is the basis for His election. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. (Acts 15:18) God is timeless. Based upon anything except God's foreknowledge, election would be fatalistic, depriving man of his free choice, which the Bible commands him to exercise. 10 In eternity past God looked down the corridor of time and saw us. He saw that we were dead in trespass and sin and condemned to die. He planned to send His only begotten Son to this earth to die on the cross in our place. God saw us in eternity. He saw us one day presented with the choice of receiving Jesus Christ. He heard some say no to Christ and heard others say yes. Those whom He foreknew would say yes, God chose in Christ to be saved. This is where God's sovereignty and man's free will is reconciled.

The Power of the Church

For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:5) This is a good verse for the soul-winner. Here we have four important things that must accompany the gospel.

There must be Exposition

For our gospel came not unto you in word only. (1 Thessalonians 1:5) Now notice that it did not come by the word of God only, but the word of God was involved. No one gets saved apart from the word of God.

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:22-25) 11

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

First and foremost our gospel must be based on the Word of God. Bible preaching involves preaching the gospel. There are some who preach only the gospel. This is as out of balance as not preaching the gospel. This is why I believe expository preaching to be the best.

There is too much "hit and run" preaching going on that neither feeds nor helps God's people. Don't butcher the Bible to make a point. Stay with the text. Reading a few verses, and then going off on a tangent, never referring back to the text or any other Scripture is not Biblical preaching. The typical three point preaching of today is, 1) Read the text; 2) Depart from the text; 3) Never return to the text. Preacher, mark it down. No amount of screaming, hollering or showmanship will make up for the lack of Scriptural content in a sermon. The strait contextual expository sermon is the most effective sermon for several reasons:

Expository Preaching Edifies and produces a Scripture taught congregation. The cults (Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons) refer to the "Bible Belt" as "The Golden Land Of Opportunity." These cults are growing in leaps and bounds as the result of the average Church member being unable to defend his or her beliefs.

Expository Preaching Equips God's people for service. Hit and miss, here and there preaching does not educate believers in the Word like expository preaching will. A few anemic points and an emotional story will not equip the people of God for service.

12 Expository Preaching Eliminates the tendency to ride hobby horses by keeping the preacher in the text. Riding hobby horses seems to be the specialty of some preachers.

Expository Preaching Emphasizes the Scriptures more than any other type of preaching. Verse by verse preaching requires that the preacher draw the main part of his sermon from the text. Hence, the word of God is the main part of the message.

Expository Preaching Enriches the Pastor's personal knowledge of God's Word. The Pastor must be a student and a workman of the Word to prepare and preach expository sermons.

Expository Preaching Establishes a solid Scriptural foundation for faith and practice. The Bible is our final authority—expository preaching gives people a solid foundation upon which to stand.

Expository preaching requires more study and hard work on the preacher's part. However, preaching is our duty. Preachers must prepare their sermons and take preaching seriously if they are going to feed their people.

There must be Enablement

Paul brought the gospel not only in word but, also in power, and in the Holy Ghost. (1 Thessalonians 1:5) Just like no one gets saved without the Word of God, no one gets saved without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. The truth be said, He is the real soul-winner. This enablement is twofold.

First, The Enablement of the Soul-winner. It is not a "One, two, three, repeat after me" plan of super salesmanship evangelism that wins the souls of the lost, but it is the child of God filled with the Spirit of God. We have way too much scoreboard evangelism and far too little biblical soul-winning. Paul's dependence was on the power given to him by the Holy Spirit. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be 13 witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Old fashioned Holy Ghost power is the missing element in much of today's soul-winning.

Second, The Enablement of the Sinner. When the Holy Spirit is in control of the soul-winner He will be active in the soul-winner's work—convicting the lost of their sin and drawing them to Christ. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (John 16:7-11) Notice that the Holy Spirit comes to the child of God. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9) Once the Holy Spirit indwells the believer He has a two-fold ministry. 1) To empower the believer to live for Christ. 2) To work through the believer to win others to Christ. The Bible states that once He indwells the believer that he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. (John 16:8) As God's people, we must lay a firm hold on this truth. Where the Holy Spirit is not at work to convict the lost of their sinful condition and need of salvation there will be no souls saved. It is only as the believer surrenders to and is filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing that He can flow out and into the lives of others. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39) As long as we grieve, 14 quench and suppress Him in our lives there will be no real fruit. It is only as we give Him full control our lives that He can flow through us to others.

There must be an Endorsement

The Thessalonian believers received the gospel in much assurance. (1 Thessalonians 1:5) This is an important, but often missed truth in soul-winning. Noah Webster defines assurance as:

"The act of assuring, or of making a declaration in terms that furnish ground of confidence... Firm persuasion; full confidence or trust; freedom from doubt; certain expectation; the utmost certainty."

The idea is that of an apologist, not only one who is able to carry the message, but also one who is able to communicate the message and one who can convince others of the message. This falls in line with Peter's command to, sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)

There must be an Example

Paul said, as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:5) The success or failure of soul-winning hinges on this truth. Paul walked and lived so close to Christ that he was never afraid to put his life out for examination. The best message a man can deliver is his own life, showing the reality of the truths he presents.

The Persecution of the Church

The Thessalonians were a persecuted people. They had received the word in much affliction. Too often conflict and trouble 15 distracts and hinders us, but not the Thessalonian believers. Instead of stalling they stayed by the stuff.

They were Responsible in their Service

Paul says, And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord... (1 Thessalonians 1:6) This is important in these days of easy prayerism and easy believism. God's work of salvation among the Thessalonians was evidenced by their becoming followers of their leaders and of the Lord. This is the way it ought to be done. As the Pastor follows the Lord, the people follow him. In fact, the Scriptures are quite clear here. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. (1 Corinthians 4:16) Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1) We notice that this is a command. Therefore we ought to be diligent to follow Godly leadership, for Godly leadership always moves you closer to Christ. Don't miss the importance of this passage. The Thessalonians had never seen Jesus, but they had seen Paul. The only way they could physically see Jesus was by looking at Paul. Paul lived so close to Christ and so reflected Christ's character that as they mimicked Paul they were actually becoming like Christ. What a responsibility we have as Christians, to live above reproach. Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3)

They were Receptive of the Scriptures

Next, Paul commends them for having received the word. (1 Thessalonians 1:6) There is nothing that touches a Pastor's heart like seeing people receive the Word of God as it is preached. Paul has just testified as to their salvation—how that the Holy Spirit had worked in their hearts, bringing them to Christ. Now speaking of 16 how they received the word, Paul simply laid out the truth that a Christian, having turned from sin to Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit, will naturally receive the word of God. Paul brings this matter up again and expands on it a little later For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

They were Resolute in Their Suffering

They received the word in much affliction. (1 Thessalonians 1:6) Where the Word of God is preached, Satan will work overtime to destroy its effect. Paul reminds them that they had received the Word of God against Satan's efforts to stop them. They had experienced this satanic activity from the time Paul first preached at Thessalonica.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. (Acts 17:1-4)

Life often becomes a war zone as the forces of Hell contend against the Spirit of God for a sinner's heart. Whether unsaved and being dealt with by the Spirit or saved and being led by the Spirit, Satan takes every opportunity to hinder the work of God. 17

They were Rejoicing in the Spirit

Not only did they receive the word in much affliction, but also with joy of the Holy Ghost. (1 Thessalonians 1:6) Praise God! What a beautiful contrast. Opposite the affliction of Hell there is the joy of Heaven. The fruit of the Spirit is joy. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) The believer has a guarantee of victory. Satan will fight us every step of the way. There will be many trials and tribulations along the way, but we are assured of victory. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

They were Reflecting the Saviour

So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. (1 Thessalonians 1:7) Even in the midst of much affliction the Thessalonians stayed "by the stuff." The word ensample is an old English word that simply means example. This word comes from "toopos" and carries the idea of marking something by striking it. It speaks of a stamp, scar, style or resemblance. It is the word from which our English word type is derived. In other words, the Thessalonians had been touched by Christ and His character was revealed in their life, thus becoming examples for others to follow. This is a wonderful commendation of the Thessalonian believers. They were Christ-like examples to both saints and sinners.

They were Reaching The Sinful

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. (1 Thessalonians 1:8) The Thessalonian believers had a contagious 18 faith. Jesus said, ...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15) They were doing just what they were commissioned to do. They were getting the gospel out. The word sounded means "to sound off, sound forth and sound abroad." It was used to describe a trumpet blast. Their sounding out of the word was Courageous, Clear, and Constant. They had been so effective in the propagation of the gospel that Paul said, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. That's getting the job done!

The Purity of the Church

For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. (1 Thessalonians 1:9) The word turned here means to "revert or turn about." This is one of the best examples of repentance in the Bible. They turned to God and at the same time turned from idols. Repentance requires change. Repentance says, stop doing what you are doing and start doing the right thing. The lost world, and unfortunately, many in the Church, do not want to be told that they are wrong. According to the Bible there are three areas affected by Biblical repentance.

The Attitude of Repentance—A Changed Mind

The Thessalonian Christians had turned to God. Repentance is not a popular doctrine today. Many even flatly deny repentance. The fact that repentance is a New Testament doctrine is proven by simply reading the Bible. The word repent occurs in one form or another over one hundred times in the Bible; fifty six times in the New Testament alone. The word "repent" comes from the word "Metanoia" which means to change one's mind; to reconsider; to think differently. When one hears and understands the gospel, he is presented with a choice. The choice is ... except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3) It is at this point that a 19 decision is required. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14) It is unfortunate that most people will reject God's narrow way that leads to life. In this passage the Lord tells us that the majority of people will go down the broad way to destruction.

The Affection of Repentance—A Changed Heart

Not only did they turn to God, but at the same time they turned from idols. While it is true that the basic definition of the word "repent" is a change of mind, we must also realize that a change of mind in connection to salvation is far more than a momentary event, when a little prayer is repeated. It is a change of mind that so affects one that he becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. A new man with a new nature. This is far more than intellectual assent. It is a change of mind that leads to a change in direction. Repentance starts with a changed mind, but the Bible teaches that salvation goes beyond the mind. It is when one embraces the gospel and asks forgiveness for his sin that he is at born again. A radical change takes place in the new believer's life. He is changed from being a child of the Devil. (John 8:44), to being a child of God. (John 1:12) What a change! Paul said, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) When one is saved more than the mind is changed. Paul speaks clearly here, All things are become new.

The Action of Repentance—A Changed Will

As a result of repentance one's whole life is changed. Now he will serve the living and true God. When a sinner faces his sin and calls upon Christ for salvation, his life changes. Repentance is a 20 change of mind that ultimately brings about a change in direction. According to Thayer's lexicon, repentance is defined as:

"The change of mind of those who have begun to abhor their errors and misdeeds, and have determined to enter upon a better course of life, so that it embraces both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and hearty amendment, the tokens and effects of which are good deeds."

In other words, repentance is a change of mind that bears fruit in a changed life. Fruit is the outward demonstration that something real has happened in the heart. We must understand that repentance and faith are inseparable. While we recognize that repentance is a change of mind, we also realize that a change of mind about God will result in the changed will and direction of a sinner's life. A. W. Tozer said, "To move across from one sort of person to another is the essence of repentance: the liar becomes truthful; the thief, honest; the lewd, pure; the proud, humble." That is the truth of Bible repentance. We see this truth beautifully illustrated in Luke, chapter fifteen. The Prodigal didn't just realize his sin and just remain at the hog pen, he made a decision to do something about it. I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. (Luke 15:18) True repentance will bring the sinner to the place that he does something about his sin. For the Prodigal there was only one solution. He said, I will arise and go to my father. The hog pen was no longer appealing to him. After repentance his desire was to be with the father and so he got up and went home! That is the repentance of the Bible. So it was with the Thessalonians, and so it is to be in every believer's life. When we turn to Christ, we turn from our sin. No man can serve two masters. When Christ comes in the idols go out. 21

The Prospect of the Church

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10) The wonderful doctrine of the rapture is prominent in every chapter of this epistle. (1 Thessalonians 2:17, 19; 3:13; 4:15-17; 5:8, 23) Someone has rightly called this letter "The Epistle of the Blessed Hope."

The Return Anticipated

We are to wait for his Son from heaven. (1 Thessalonians 1:10) This particular word for wait, (anamenoô), is used only here in the New Testament. It speaks of imminency. It carries the idea of waiting up for someone. This perfectly describes the imminent return of Christ. The word imminent means "impending, or looming." Concerning the rapture, it means the Church could be caught out immediately, or at any moment. The Scriptures continually admonish believers to watch, be ready, and to expect His return at a time when ye think not. This imminent return was the hope of the early Church. Their popular greeting, Maranatha. (1 Corinthians 16:22), expressed their belief in the imminent return of Christ, for the church. The imminence of His coming is what gives the message of the rapture its strength. It is the certainty of His return and the uncertainty of the time that gives His people the incentive to stay pure, to do His work, to watch and occupy until He comes. Paul wrote, For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20) Notice that Paul was looking for Christ's return and that his looking was present tense.

The Resurrection Authenticated

Our wait is for Jesus, whom he raised from the dead. (1 Thessalonians 1:10) If there were no resurrection then our wait 22 would be in vain. Right after His resurrection and just as He ascended back into Heaven we were given assurance of His return.

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:9-11)

It is this same Jesus who we wait for. His resurrection is the basis for our hope. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3) Jesus said, because I live, ye shall live also. (John 14:19)

The Rescue Assured

Jesus has delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10) Notice that this is the wrath to come; it is yet future. It is referring to God's future wrath upon the unbelieving and wicked world, once the bride is removed. But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. (Romans 2:5) This is the seven year tribulation period that runs from Revelation chapters six through eighteen. It is described in Scripture as the day of the Lord. (Amos 5:18), the time of Jacob's trouble. (Jeremiah 30:7), hour of temptation. (Revelation 3:10), a great day of his wrath. (Revelation 6:17), and the wrath of Almighty God. (Revelation 19:15) As God's children we will not undergo this wrath. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:9) God has promised to deliver His people from the tribulation since 23 they are not appointed to His wrath. Notice that the child of God is delivered... from this time of wrath. The preposition "ek" translated from carries the idea of away from or out of. The word delivered means to "draw to one's self, to rescue, to deliver." It carries the idea of an evacuation with regard to impending danger.