Many ask the question “Why?” in the face of tragedy and death. Others question, “What happens to the deceased?” Paul addresses these questions in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18.
To study these verses first spread out what you find. Then sort it into groups. I identified three groups: things having to do with the mind, our feelings and our will. Once sorted, I structured an outline. For a title: Our Hope in the Face of Death. 1. Our hope addresses the mind. 2. Our hope acknowledges our feelings. 3. Our hope appeals to the will.
Next, amplify further. Our hope addressing the mind is amplified by listing the historical facts that Jesus Christ died and rose again. God promises believers their own resurrection and ascension when Jesus Christ returns. Paul didn’t want Christians to be ignorant of this glorious outcome of their hope.
Under our hope acknowledges our feelings, I noted, it’s natural to grieve the death of a loved one, but our grief is tempered by our ultimate destiny as believers. We need encouragement during such times, and that’s ok.
Under our hope appealing to our will, I noted, we need to believe what God has provided. This is encouraged by the faith of others who stand with us, affirming these great truths.
To summarize, as an application, the best way to prepare for our own or someone else’s death is to believe in Jesus Christ and help others take that step as well. Then, together, we can face death with a firm, well founded hope.