by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2 December 14, 2014 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(097)Thesis:The promise of God is to be "believed".
Introduction:Last week we looked into the reality that Paul wanted to set the Thessalonians up to be candidates for the sanctification of their souls. One of the chief obstacles to such sanctification is the soul's tendency to latch on to relationships in an unhealthy way. God intends relationships to be "icing on the cake", not the cake itself. Souls thrive in an environment of love-driven relationships. But they are highly susceptible to "worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator" because of their main point of liability: fear. What this means is that there is only one relationship that can actually provide the security souls need, but other good relationships add to the sense of security like icing adds to the flavor of the cake. The danger is that the soul will opt to eat the icing and ignore the cake, i.e., it will turn to human relationships to provide its security. This, human relationships cannot do.
Paul intends to give the Thessalonians a far better foundation for their souls' need.
I. The Foundation is Rooted in "Faith".
A. The nature of such "faith" is that it establishes the bottom line for all expectation.
B. The particulars of such "faith" are two: death and resurrection.
1. The "...if we believe that Jesus died..." does not mean that there was in anyone's mind any doubt as to whether Jesus died.
a. At issue is not whether Jesus died under the hands of Roman crucifixion.
b. At issue are two major considerations: Who died? and Why did He die?
1) The "Who" issue is resolved by Matthew 1:21.
2) The "Why" issue is resolved by Romans 5:10.
2. The "...if we believe that Jesus ... arose..." raises the question of what difference that makes.
a. We are not "saved" by the resurrection of Jesus in any direct sense.
1) Romans 4:25 brings "justification" into the picture at this point.
a) Paul did not mean that we are "justified" by the resurrection.
b) But, since resurrection is the foundation of the faith that Jesus is, in fact, the Son of the God, it forms the basis for the faith that does bring us to justification (Romans 1:4).
2) Resurrection, of itself, only means that Jesus' experience of functional existence was not terminated in any kind of final sense.
a) Death typically means the end of functional existence in some "realm".
b) Resurrection simply means that that "end" was only temporary.
b. Believing that Jesus arose means believing that He is continuing to have a very real and, as we shall see, profound continuation of His functional existence in our "realm".
II. The Foundation Consists of the Promise of God to Restore the Relationships Terminated by "Sleep".
A. The "even so" means that a prior example has been established so as to make a future example its mirror image.
B. The particulars are critical.
1. The Primary Executor of Power is viewed as the "Power" behind the "even so".
2. The objects of the execution of the Power are "those put to sleep by Jesus".
a. The "sleep" issue is a passive participle describing those in view: those who were put to sleep.
b. The active agent of this action is Jesus.
1) This is critical because it says that no "believer" is "put to sleep" by anyone except Jesus (a la John 10:18).
2) This is also critical because it reveals that the resurrection of Jesus actually did turn the "termination of death" around in a complete reversal: Jesus is yet fully functional in our realm.
3. The specific reality to come: God will bring them with Him.
a. The first consideration is: where are they now? ("with Him").
b. The second consideration is: why are they coming with Him now?
1) Most fundamentally, the point is that what was lost by "sleep" will be fully recovered.
2) Subsequently, all who "grieve" because of what was lost can stop grieving because those who "sleep" are merely "on vacation" from this realm of ours.
a) The temporary interruption of the relationship has a purpose -- the solidifying of the soul's main Hope.
b) The temporary interruption is just that: temporary.