You may have lost a loved one recently and miss them terribly! They were devoted followers of Jesus and you wonder what happens to them in the future after they die. Or it may be that you are facing death – you trust in Jesus, but really would like an authoritative word about your future as a Christian. Well the Apostle Paul helps out on these issues! This is what he said (and notice how he said it!) I’ll let him speak on the issue…
“Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep [or died]. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words!” (1 Thessalonians 4:14–18 ESV)
Let me just point out a couple of things I think will be helpful…
1) Apostle Paul is sharing something that he has heard directly from the Lord!
2) A Christian’s resurrection and ascension is based squarely on the resurrection of Jesus! He paved the way and conquered death! Because He did it – those that are His (those that are “in Him”) will experience it… He is the “firstfruits” (cp. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23)!”
3) Consequently, the coming of the Lord is a big deal for us… for those who have died “in Christ” and are still alive and following Him when He returns.
4) The bottom line – the outcome of all of this? We’ll be “home!” Forever with the Lord! How did the old gospel song express it? … “This world is not my home! I’m only passing through! …”
Someone of my “coffee with the Lord” friends needed to hear this word of assurance directly from the Lord today! I know it surely encouraged me this morning! Our future is certain “in Christ!”