If there ever was a bible verse that is being ignored it is this one: “Therefore, Comfort One Another With These Words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
And for some reason I have been putting the blame mostly on pastors, because in their preaching they don’t very often preach to comfort their people with the news that Jesus is coming soon, and that the dead, as well as the living, will be translated and taken up to heaven to be with Him.
But Paul, in this verse, is not speaking to pastors; he said, “comfort one another with these words.” Hence, every Christian has the command to comfort others.
And how are we to comfort out fellow believer? Are we to put our arm around them and tell them that all will be well, that things aren’t as terrible as they seem?
The way we are commanded to comfort them is “with these words.”
Though Paul gives them ample instructions in chapter 4, and in earlier chapters, I believe he is referring to verse 13-17, because the Thessalonians were so concerned about those believers who had died; for he says, “Lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.”
And the words that Paul wants us to comfort others with is the entire teaching here on the Rapture of the church, which is found in verses 13 through 17. Yes, if our brethren are to be comforted, they must hear the entire teaching. We are not just to say the words, Jesus is coming soon! We should tell them all of it. I think people are tired of short clichés. That mean very little to them. They want the whole story. They want to know in detail what is going to happen. So here it is as Paul teaches it.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Here is the teaching in my words:
1. We are not to be ignorant concerning those who have died. For just as Jesus died and rose again, all our Christian friends who have died will also rise and be with Him.
2. Very soon He will come to us from heaven. And the angels will declare His coming with a shout and with a trumpet sound.
3. And the dead will be the first to be resurrected and taken up to Him.
4. Then those who are alive will rise up next; and they will meet the resurrected dead in the sky.
5. And all believers, the resurrected dead and the living, will be with the Lord in the air.
6. And from that time on, we will always be with the Lord.
This is the teaching that God wants us to bring to our fellow Christians—in case they are ignorant or confused about such things. This is the teaching that Paul says will give them comfort. And perhaps it would be better to read the verses or quote them from memory, so that they will not miss anything; for every word of Scripture is so powerful. As Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “The word of God is living and powerful, and shaper than any two-edged sword…”
I wonder how many of us need to be comforted by “these words.” All of us!
And I wonder how many of us need to say “these word” to others so as to comfort them. All of us!
Yes, we really need to be comforters. We really need to bring “these words” to others—words of hope and encouragement. I challenge you as I challenge myself to do it!