We’re down to the final study in our Wendesday night journey through the one another’s of the New Testament. This one is pretty awesome – we’re to comfort one another. It’s based on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, a familiar passage to many. It concerns itself with Jesus’ second coming, which forms the basis of our comfort of one another.
What amazed me about the passage is the word “comfort.” When we read it in English, we get the idea that we’re to console or support one another, as though we are grieving. But neither the context, nor the language support that simplistic viewpoint. You see, Paul was challenging a church that was strong in a lot of ways, but their one weakness was that they had exchanged action for apathy, expecting the Lord to come before their efforts would be worth much.
The Greek words themselves that make up this word mean “to call alongside of.” So it isn’t the thought of coming alonside someone, but rather calling someone alongside us. It’s a call to action – to stand together in the hope of Christ’s coming. Paul gives several bases for action…
- Jesus died and rose again. (it’s “since” we believe)
- Jesus will bring the saints with Him when He comes.
- The dead in Christ shall rise.
- Living believers shall be caught up. (I believe this refers to the rapture of believers)
- We will be with the Lord forever!
All of these are great truths to explore, but the conclusion Paul reaches is that in light of these truths, we ought to call each other to action – to stand in hope when all the rest of the world seems hopeless.