Life Group Discussion Guide for 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

This week’s sermon is the first of two that will deal with the subject of eschatology in 1 Thessalonians. Three years ago Austin preached through the book of Revelation. We published a glossary of terms regarding the last things in the Bible to help life group leaders discuss the topic with others.

Different Views of the End Times

I published this glossary because texts like 1 Thessalonians 4 & 5 are often read with the assumption of a dispensational premillennial theology. While that theological system is certainly fine, we also need to be aware and consider other system of thought that are faithful to Scripture and held by other Bible-believing Christians.

It’s highly likely that there will be different viewpoints of the end times represented in any small group, so you need to at least know where some of them come from.

Resurrection Hope?

Perhaps the greatest question universal to every human being who has ever lived is this: what happens to me when I die? Believers, pagans, ancient people, and modern people have all had to come to terms with this question.

In the 66 books of Scripture, this topic becomes progressively more clear as the writers progress in time. In other words, we know far more about life after death at the end of the Epistles (New Testament letters) than we knew at the end of Psalms.

Paul had already said much about the subject to the church at Thessalonica, and he wanted to remind them of the teachings of Jesus in order that they might be encouraged even in the inevitable face of death.

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Discussion Questions

  • What is the difference between grieving with hope and grieving without hope? (v. 13)
  • Why do you think it is important that Jesus will return with those who have died? (v.14)
  • What do you think these verses teach us about Jesus’ rule as king?
  • How are you preparing for a future life accompanying Jesus as he rules the earth?
  • How have your beliefs about the resurrection of Jesus helped you through a time of grief? (v.18)
  • What are some helpful ways of encouraging those who are experiencing grief?
  • What are some unhelpful ways of trying to encourage the grieving?

Prayer Time

Have a time of prayer for each individual in your small group. Especially pray for encouragement for those who are grieving the deaths of loved ones. Practice “encouraging one another with these words.”

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