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Meeting the Lord

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (NIVUK)

All people need hope, and most hold onto the possibility of better things in the future. But Christians are confident that their hope is not in their imagination; it is secured on the promises of God. The Lord Jesus said that He will come again to eliminate evil and to reveal His eternal kingdom. He left His personal instructions about what will happen at the end of time (1 Thessalonians 4:15). Everybody will see Jesus as the Lord, the King of everybody and everything (Philippians 2:10-11). It is His right to command and our responsibility to submit to His authority.
Jesus will come in His physical resurrection body, visibly and with great glory through the clouds (Matthew 24:30-31). There will be a very loud sound, overwhelming every earthly noise, and the presence of many angels announcing the arrival of the Lord of eternity. Then the graves will open, the earth and the sea will give up their hold on the decomposed remains of those who died in Christ (Revelation 20:13), just like when Jesus was crucified (Matthew 27:52-53). But at this great resurrection, the once-dead believers will have immortal glorified bodies. They will not walk the streets but meet the Lord in the air.
All those who are trusting Christ, wherever they may be living, will also hear the call and will also meet the Lord in the air. Our union with Him will never be broken; we will be in His glorious presence for ever. So the timing of a believer's death will not affect that union, except that those who are alive will have the privilege of witnessing the resurrection of those who were once-dead in Christ. Nobody who belongs to Jesus will be left behind. At a time when the first generation of believers were being buried, it was a huge encouragement to their believing families and the churches.
Wise businesses assess their credibility on their potential profit. In other words, what they believe will happen at the end controls everything done before it, and is the basis of investor confidence. For the Christian, we know what will happen at the end because Jesus has told us in detail, and He never tells a lie. So, our daily lives should be controlled by the fact that Jesus will come again (Matthew 24:42). Our faith is not fictional; it has an end point. Whether we are alive at the time or not, we will be welcomed by Jesus when He comes. That is why it makes no sense to live unholy lives now. It is time to repent and re-gear the business of our lives towards the certain hope of Christ's return in glory.

Father God. Thank You that Jesus will certainly return; and I want to be ready for Him with a life that is focussed on glorifying Him. Forgive me for my many sins and failure to live righteously. Please give me a new heart which is determined, with the help of Your Holy Spirit, to live in such a way that shows I am expecting Jesus every day. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams