Sunday School Material 7-4-10: God's Plan for Salvation
(I Thessalonians 5:1-11; 7/4/10)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material lesson is believers have a great hope of salvation. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure that we are saved and living accordingly.
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Read I Thessalonians 5:1-3
I. Coming of Divine Wrath. We see in this section of the Sunday School material that Paul reminds his readers, the believers in Thessalonica, that they know what to expect regarding the timing of God's wrath. The timing is really unknown like a thief in the night. It is pictured as a woman delivering a baby.
- The Day of the Lord. Notice in vss. 1-3 of the Sunday School material the idea of the "Day of the Lord." This is a reference to when God will punish those who have not accepted Christ as their savior.
The commentator believes that it starts at the Tribulation and ends at the Great White Throne Judgment. Whenever it starts and stops, it will be a terrible season for those who are not saved.
Furthermore, no matter what "they" say, it will surely come. Let's make sure we are saved and helping others do the same, so we can avoid the wrath of God.
Read I Thessalonians 5:4-8
II. Preparation for Divine Wrath. Paul urges his readers in this section of the Sunday School material to live like they are children of light. The children of darkness sleep and are non-responsive to the times in which they live. However, children of the day are to be known for being sober, having faith and love, and having the hope of salvation.
- Children of darkness. Notice in vss. 4-5 of the Sunday School material the mention of children of darkness. These are those who are not saved. No matter what a person has going for them, if they are not saved, they are in the dark.
Money, relationships, health, nor intellect can override one being in the dark. Only accepting Jesus as one's savior by faith will lead to one coming out of darkness into God's marvelous light.
Let's help people get saved, so they can come out of darkness. Whatever good work we do in economic empowerment, social services, or political reform should be ultimately aimed at the salvation of people. Without salvation, all other gains leave a person in the dark.
- Children of light. Notice in vss. 5-8 of the Sunday School material the urging to live like children of light. We can be children of light by accepting Jesus as our savior by faith and yet not live accordingly.
To live accordingly includes soberness, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and putting on the helmet of the hope of salvation. Soberness includes being temperate or self-controlled.
The breastplate protects the vital organ. In this case, our faith in God and love of God and others are lifted as that which protects our vital organs as believers. And the helmet protects the head, where thinking takes place.
Our thinking center should be protected with our hope in God saving us from the penalty of our sins and the terrible things to come. Let's live like children of light. When we don't live like children of light, we are living like children of darkness and find ourselves subject to chastisement.
Read I Thessalonians 5:9-11
III. Deliverance from Divine Wrath. Paul goes on to say in this section of the Sunday School material that God has appointed the children of light to salvation and not divine wrath. Whether the children of light are sleep or awake they will be with the Lord. Children of light are to comfort and edify one another with these types of thoughts.
- God's appointments. Notice in vs. 9 that God appointed some to salvation and others to His wrath. Notice further that salvation is built upon the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Instead of worrying ourselves with God stuff like how can God appoint some to salvation and others to wrath, let's focus on making sure we are saved and helping others get saved. Without salvation, the Day of the Lord will be such a terrible season.
This recurring emphasis on evangelism should move all students to give greater effort to the "Each Reach One" ministry. It should move us to make sure that the worship experience is attractive to those who seeking to get right with God.
- Being together with the Lord. Notice in vs. 10 of the Sunday School material that all believers, whether they are sleep or awake, shall be together with the Lord. Believers are going to have to be together for a long time, so we might as well start getting along with one another now.
It is a marvelous idea that we shall be with the Lord. More important than golden streets, peril covered gates, and the great processional of saints is the idea of being with the Lord.
As long as we are with the Lord, we can face whatever else will come our way. Let's remind ourselves, especially in low moments, that we shall be with the Lord.
- Comforting and edifying one another. Notice in vs. 11 of the Sunday School material that believers are to comfort and edify one another. No matter how strong we think we are, we are in this thing together.
We are many members of the same body. Let's work on strengthening one another. We can comfort and edify one another with our kind words and actions. This is especially needed in down moments like when a close loved one dies, when money is funny, and when our health is failing.
Conclusion: Let's work on making sure we are saved and living accordingly. God has much for those who obey His will.
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