1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NKJV) – But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Paul had to give instructions to this church on how they were to respond to death.
For He must reign until He puts all enemies under His feet.
Get Informed (Verse 13)
Respond based upon Christ not death. Get information. We need to know regarding death. We don’t have to be ignorant and act like those in world, but upon scripture.
Grieve In Hope
Leviticus 19:28 (NKJV) – “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 14:1-2 (NKJV) – “You are the children of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
We don’t grieve as those who have no hope. Our response to grief cannot be based upon culture, it must be based upon Christ. We don’t mourn as the world does. At that time, the world responded to death according to their ritualistic, pagan ideals. But we can grieve in hope because Jesus has already demonstrated victory over death. We are to grieve, but simply not as the world does.
When a person dies, you don’t respond like the world. You should grieve as a person who has hope—if you are in Christ.
“We have hope because Jesus is the prototype.” – Pastor Billy Johnson
“My belief must inform my behavior.” – Pastor Billy Johnson
You have hope because the dead in Christ will get up again. What we are looking at on the outside is an earth suit. There is a distinction between you and your body. When we die there’s a separation. You haven’t seen the best you yet. This body of yours, will not be subject to death again. We are going to always be with the Lord. There’s going to be a time when you’ll see the One who loves you most.
Give Encouragement (Verse 18)
Now that we have this information about death, we can grieve in hope and comfort each other. Comfort simply means to come alongside. And we do this by encouraging, consoling, and supporting one another with these words. We should not add our own ideas, erroneous philosophies, or misguided thinking to these words.
“You get in danger when you go off script.” – Pastor Billy Johnson
“Think through what you are going to say before you say it.” – Pastor Billy Johnson
Sometimes comforting one another is through presence. Your presence can bring comfort and encouragement to others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NLT) 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.