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					1 Thessalonians 5:1-11        Thankful Through Trials                 LS: November 12, 2006

For what should we be thankful to God today? For His provisions in our life? His loving care?

We should be thankful because God is good all the time. Even during times of sorrow and
suffering, during times of discouragement and despair, God is good all the time.
We should be thankful that Christ came as a babe in Bethlehem, so that He could be the Lamb of
God, to be crucified for our sins and then to rise again on Easter morning. We celebrate the birth of
Christ on Christmas. He came unexpectedly. He came in the stillness of a holy night.

But why should we be thankful that Jesus is coming again? Isn’t the fact that He came as a baby
in Bethlehem enough? That he was crucified and rose again, isn’t that enough? Why should we be
thankful that Christ is coming again? We should be thankful that Christ is coming again because:

1. He will separate the believers from the unbelievers 1 Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord
Himself will descend from heaven with a shout. . .and with the trumpet of God.” The term trumpet
of God symbolizes judgment. When Christ comes again, He will not separate the rich and the poor,
the haves and the have nots, He will separate the believers from the unbelievers.

2. It will be the beginning of a new life. 1 Thessalonians 5:3, “For when they say, “Peace and
safety!” Then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And
they shall not escape.” Those of you who have given birth to children know that when the labor
pains start, there is no turning back. You can’t say, “I think I’ll put this off till next week. I’m not
ready yet.” Sorry when the labor pains start, whether you’re ready or not, there is no turning back.
So it is when the day of the Lord comes. There will be no turning back.

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3. He will be completing His mission. When He came the first time, He came to get us started on
the path of obedience to God. Now when He returns, He will gather those who have chosen to live
this path of obedience. 1 Thessalonians 5:2, “The day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”
For those who are ready, Christ will come as a long awaited Saviour. But for those who are not
ready, Christ will come like a thief.

So before Christ comes again for the final time, our mission, should you decide to accept it, is to
lead people living in darkness to the light so that they too can see Christ not as a thief, but as the
might God, the King of Kings, the Lion of Judah, the Rose of Sharon, the Lamb of God.

Are we living in the Age of Night? Evil is abounding. Human lives are being weighed not by the soul
but by the pound. We are being judged not by the standards of impartiality but by the shallowness
of superficiality. Human lives are being watched not through the eyes of godly mentors, but
through the eyes of the sexual predators. But Romans 5:20 says, where “sin abounds, grace much
more abounds.” We live in an evil, sinful world, corrupted by sin, but God’s grace abounds more.

We can be thankful because we always have the hope of living in the light and not in darkness.

But the choice of living in the light of Christ does not come without hardships and sacrifice.

Four hundred years ago a group of people made the decision to move from darkness to light.
It was on a cold fall morning on September 16, 1620, when the 90 foot long wooden boat, known as
the Mayflower, left Plymouth, England with over a hundred Puritans, later known as Pilgrims.
They made the decision to set sail to the new land across the Atlantic in order to escape spiritual
darkness.
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For two months they battled the stormy and unpredictable Atlantic Ocean on a boat without an
engine, toilets, or running water. They were on a wooden boat with no engine, not even electricity.
It hadn’t been invented yet. Would you risk your family and all your worldly goods on a wooden
boat with no engine, no running water, no electricity, no bathrooms, and travel across 2,000 miles
of open waters to a distant land?

They had nothing but knowledge of the ocean currents, the force of the wind to propel them and
the formation of the stars at night to guide them, and a mountain called prayer. After two months
crossing the Atlantic, through storms and rough waters, they finally landed in Massachusetts. . .in
the dead of winter.

After a rough crossing, the travelers were exhausted and wanted only a warm bed and a lot of rest.
They didn’t get it. In below zero weather, they had to find wood to build shelter to get them
through the winter. They had to forage for food, find water and game if they were going to survive.

Of the one hundred and ten Pilgrims who came across Atlantic crossing, less than fifty survived the
winter of 1620. The Pilgrims could have stayed home and not bother with crossing 2,000 miles of
stormy waters. But they were on the narrow path of obedience and so were thankful through their
trials. Are you thankful in the midst of your trials? Philipians 4:6, “Do not be anxious, but in
everything, by prayer with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” When the Pilgrims set sail
to America, they chose to live on the road less traveled. When the Israelites left Egypt, they went on
a road less traveled by. When Jesus began His ministry and going head to head with the religious
establishment of the day, He went on a road less traveled by. When William Booth left the
Methodist Church to go off on his own, he went on a road less traveled by.

How about you this morning? Does your life’s journey put you on the road that everyone travels or
are you on the path that is leading you from darkness to light?                            p.3


Let us be thankful for our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has shown us the way to live,
that we might have life, and have it abundantly, as we walk in His light. Shall we pray.

Song 334: I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today. I know that He is living, whatever men
may say. I see His hand of mercy, and I hear His voice of cheer. And just in time I need Him. He’s
always near.

Chorus: He lives, He lives. Christ Jesus lives today. He walks me with me and talks with me. Along
live’s narrow way. He lives, He lives. Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives. He lives
within my heart.

In all the world around me, I see His loving care. And though my heart grows weary, I never shall
despair. I know that He is leading, through all the stormy blast. And the day of His appearing, will
come at last. (chorus)

Benediction: The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be
gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Nu. 6:24-26)
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