Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Some Golden Daybreak

Advent 2016 - The Second Coming in 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Some Golden Daybreak


For the introduction to this series click here

Today is the 10th day of Christmas and I am finally finished with my Advent series! And this last post has a surprising twist. Let’s take a look.

2 Thessalonians 3:5
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

“This preparation for His coming does not lead us to neglect any of life’s duties, but a simple, faithful attitude of righteousness and fidelity to every trust, or, as the Apostle expresses it so finely: “The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”

In the days of Paul a class of men had risen up who have never been without their successors, who abused this doctrine by turning it into an occasion for all sorts of irregularity in life and conduct. They neglected their families. They gave up honest work. They fell into fanatical practices, and they disturbed all religious social order. The Gospel of the Kingdom has no sympathy with such rubbish. The best preparation for Christ’s coming is to be faithful in your calling, whatever it may be, and found at your post. The idea seems to be that Christ expects us to be always ready, and then everything that comes in the way of life’s duties is equally sacred and heavenly.” (A.B. Simpson)


And now let’s go back to a passage I skipped. What?? Yes, I confess, I slid right past a second reference to the advent in 1 Thessalonians 5

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it.

As I said before, Paul was a holiness preacher.

“This verse contains a prayer for the entire sanctification of the believers at Thessalonica in order that they might be fully prepared for the Lord’s coming. The word “unto” should be translated “at,” implying not that we are to grow into sanctification in view of the Lord’s coming, but we are to receive it as a gift of the God of Peace, and then be preserved in it by His grace so that we shall be in a constant state of preparedness whenever the Lord may come, and we shall be “found of him in peace without spot and blameless.” This preparation must be very thorough and complete, embracing our whole spirit, soul, and body, and including our abiding in Him so that we shall be “preserved blameless” and presented “faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” Such a high degree of grace is beyond human attainment, and therefore it is divinely provided and promised to those who will receive it. “Faithful is he that calls you who also will do it.” Dearly beloved, by all the hopes and fears of the coming age, let us receive this grace and be clothed in the fine linen and white, which is the righteousness of the saints.” (A.B. Simpson)

The way I figure it, if the apostle can pray this for me, with confidence that God will do it, then I can pray this for myself, with the same confidence! Is this not confirmed by Peter and John:

2 Peter 3:14  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 

1 John 2:28  And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 

Jesus is coming and God has his work cut out to make me ready, but “faithful is he that calls you who also will do it” Amen and Amen!

I want to conclude this series with a chorus we learned in the first church I pastored, Brent Alliance Church in Pensacola, FL. If you don’t know it, stop by some time and we’ll sing it for you!

Some golden daybreak Jesus will come 
Some golden daybreak, battles all won 
He'll shout the vict'ry, break thro' the blue 
Some golden daybreak, for me, for you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Second Coming and the Son of Perdition

Advent 2016 - Second Coming in 1 & 2 Thessalonians

The Second Coming and the Son of Perdition

For the introduction to this series click here


I confess, this is a difficult passage. It’s not what he says about the second coming, rather it is some of the details surrounding what he says about the second coming. There will be dark days before the second advent, but there is comfort in the certainty of His coming and His sure and certain victory!

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
 1  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
 2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
 3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
 4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
 5  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
 6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
 7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
 8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
 9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Paul mentions the second advent twice, so let’s start and end with these two references.

1  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto himcoming, the parousia; he is referring to 1 Thessalonians 4 where he spoke of his coming and our being caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air. Here he calls it the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him. Both of these chapters, 1 Thessalonians 4 and 2 Thessalonians 2, speak of the same event – the parousia of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and those who are alive and remain being caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us – It would seem teachers had come and confused the Thessalonians, claiming by a word of prophecy, by teaching, and by (forged) letters from Paul that...
the day of Christ is at hand – that the parousia could happen at any moment; “causing much distress and disturbance of mind to the brethren” (Simpson). Why would “at any moment he could return” teaching disturb them? The same way it has disturbed others – they quit their jobs, quit paying their bills, quit caring for family and folks around them because “Jesus is coming, right now!”

3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Let no man deceive you by any means – don’t be fooled by teaching, by sermons, or by books telling you that Jesus could come at any moment...
for that day shall not come, except there comethat day refers to the parousia, the revelation of Christ; Paul, speaking by the Holy Spirit, is very clear, it shall not come before two things happen first...

a falling away first
Before the parousia of Christ, there must be, there will be, a falling away. Falling away is a translation of the Greek word, αποστασια or apostasy, and according to Thayer it means “a falling away, defection, apostasy; in the Bible namely, from the true religion (Acts 21:21; 2 Thess. 2:3).” A falling away from or forsaking of what? The Faith. Before Christ returns there will be a falling away from the faith, from the doctrines and morality of the faith. I think it is safe to say that apostasy has taken place, and not only in our lifetime. A brief glance at church history will demonstrate this. The Reformation. In the late 1800s there was the higher criticism movement which sought to strip the Bible of divine authorship. In the early 1900s liberalism burst on the scene, attempting to “update” the faith and make it compatible with modern thought. And look around today, even the “evangelical” church is accepting, embracing, promoting practices that just 50 years ago it condemned. Multitudes of “Christians” today deny Jesus is the only way, repudiate hell, reject the wrath of God, condone abortion, homosexuality, and immorality, all in the name of “love”. I believe we are living in times of apostasy.

and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition
Who is this man of sin, this son of perdition? None other than the antichrist. Paul says he had taught them about him, Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? Nevertheless, he refreshes their memory:

 4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
 6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
 7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
 8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed...
 9  whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
This describes the career and character of the man of sin. The mystery of iniquity doth already work, it has been at work in the world since apostolic days, and is working today, but something is withholding/letting it, that is, hindering it, holding back its the full manifestation in the son of perdition. In v 6 Paul says, ye know what withholdeth... Is it any consolation that the Thessalonians knew what he was talking about? Yeah, not for me either!

11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness
This man of sin, the son of perdition, antichrist, will be welcomed with open arms by those who have rejected Christ. They will gladly embrace him and his doctrines of God and Christ. The antichrist is the devil’s substitute for Jesus. The world will welcome him because they have rejected Jesus. The way of Jesus is straight and narrow and the flesh despises it. As for the way of the man of sin, wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.

Earlier I offered an abbreviated v 8, here is the entire verse
8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
This brings us back to the second advent. The Wicked One shall be revealed, and run his course, but he shall be destroyed by the coming of the Lord.

the brightness of his coming – brightness is the third word used for the return of Christ, it is epiphaneia, epiphany, “an appearing, appearance; often used by the Greeks of a glorious manifestation of the gods, and especially of their advent to help” (Thayer). Coming is our word parousia. Epiphany speaks of his glory; apocalypse his power; parousia his presence.

“Paul here uses both epiphaneia (epiphany, familiar to the Greek mind for a visit of a god) and parousia (more familiar to the Jewish mind) of the second coming of Christ.” (A.T. Robertson)

Epiphany occurs a few more times in the New Testament and every other time it is translated appearing:

1 Timothy 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

The emphasis in parousia is presence, a coming that results in the presence of the one coming. I think it’s safe to say that the phrase, the brightness of his coming is to be understood as, the appearing of his presence. Amen. The mere appearance of Christ destroys the adversary!

Praise the Lord! Jesus is coming again. His coming is called parousia, apocalypse, epiphany. He will be revealed from heaven with power, he will appear in glory, he will come to be present with us. There are those who tell us that these words tell us of different comings, so that there is to be a secret coming (parousia) followed by his visible coming (revelation). No, there are not two or three second comings, there is only one second advent. And we are waiting for his parousia, his revelation, his appearing. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

This is your day • Prepare • Jesus is coming soon!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas memories

December 24, 2016


As I was driving home from Augusta last night I reminisced about Christmas past. Mary’s family always came together during Christmas. Every year we gathered in such exotic places as Arkadelphia, AR, Jackson, MS, Starkeville, MS, Macon, GA, Doe River Gorge, TN, and Hamilton, AL. As the families grew so did our gatherings. We all drove from hours away to get together. These are great memories!

I remember one particular Christmas morning. We were living in Pensacola, FL. It was 8°. In Pensacola, FL! We only had Anne and Sarah in those days. We all piled in the car and drove to Arkadelphia, AR, where it was just as cold with lots of snow and ice. And everybody else drove there in ridiculous and dangerous conditions!

And then there was football. Mary was the first of her family to get married. And she married me! When I joined the family, Mark was the only brother at home. He and I would go out to the backyard and play “punt return”. That is, we would stand at opposite ends of the backyard, one of us would punt the ball to the other who would attempt to return it for a touchdown. This was tackle punt return.

After a while, her brother Ronnie started coming home, and he joined Mark and me in the backyard. Since you can’t play punt return with three people, we made some changes and played “goal line stand.” That is, the ball was placed at the 3 yard line, two guys were the defense and one guy had four chances to score. Again, this was tackle.

Then Dave came along. He married Mary’s sister Debbie. But before they married he joined us in the backyard. Now we played  all-out, tackle football, two vs two. We had a blast!!

Now back to the Christmas it was 8° in Pensacola and colder with ice and snow in Arkadelphia. As was our annual tradition, we all drove on icy roads to gather together. We were committed to playing football, so we all bundled up and headed off to a field to play in the freezing cold ice and snow. As we were trudging out the back door, Mary’s mom told us what a dumb idea this was and yelled out to us, "If you get hurt don't come crying to me." We laughed among ourselves and went on to play the famous “Ice Bowl.” And no one got hurt.

Yes, we had great times in The McDougald Christmas Gathering.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Were Mary and Joseph refugees?

I saw this on facebook last week. I've actually seen quite a few memes and posts saying the Mary & Joseph were refugees. “See, they were refugees, therefore it would be hypocritical of you to offer anything less than all-out support for refugees today.” My point today is not to debate or discuss whether or not we should support refugees or how many etc. Instead, I’m asking, Were Mary and Joseph refugees? Is it biblically correct to refer to them as refugees? 

First, let’s refresh ourselves with the story from Luke 2:1-7

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed... And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Next, let’s define refugee. Here is a definition offered by Merriam-Webster:

ref·u·gee
noun
: someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons
: one that flees; especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution

And in order to be thorough, let’s define immigrant and homeless as well

immigrant : a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence

homeless : having no home or permanent place of residence

Is there anything in the story of Jesus’ birth to indicate the family were refugees? Let’s see, they weren’t fleeing anything or anyone; they didn’t leave one country and enter another seeking safety; they weren’t relocating at all. The government decree called for them to temporarily travel to Bethlehem. They didn’t even go to a place with a different culture. They went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, 70-90 miles apart, two cities within the same country.

Therefore, they were not refugees – they had not been forced to leave their country and go to another because of war or politics. They were not immigrants - not only did they not leave one country for another, this was merely a temporary inconvenience. They weren’t even homeless. Since they were seeking lodging in an inn, I would say Joseph was willing and able to pay for accommodations.

What were they then? Inconvenienced travelers. Were they “squatters” who “wrecked a barn”? No. These are all details added to the story. As far as we know, Joseph paid his own way the whole trip. The truth is, while the story mentions no room at the inn and the birth in the manger, no emphasis is placed on either detail. It’s almost as if, while unusual, this was not all that uncommon.

So calling them refugees is nothing more than sloppy sentimentalism (akin to making the innkeeper gruff and uncaring), an attempt to capitalize on general biblical illiteracy to promote an agenda. Let me hasten to repeat, this is not about whether supporting refugees is a biblical mandate or not. I am simply stating that it is quite incorrect to use the nativity to say it is.

There is another incident that tells a different story. Matthew 2:13-23

13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.  
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:  
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.  
19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,  
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.  
21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.  

This time the holy family clearly were refugees – fleeing their own country in order to escape government persecution. I don’t know how long they were in Egypt but this was obviously a temporary stay, until I bring thee word. They weren’t immigrating. Were they homeless and penniless during their stay in Egypt? There is nothing to indicate that. Did they “wreck” things while they were there? Again, there is no evidence. Were they part of a mass migration from Judah to Egypt? No. They stayed briefly and then returned to Judah.

All this talk of refugees and immigrants reminds me of the time Israel fled Egypt and wandered up to the land of Canaan. They were refugees. They were immigrants. Wait, didn’t they take over Canaan?

Back to the real question, Does the Bible teach us to support refugees and immigrants? Whether it does or not, these two incidents in the life of Jesus do not speak to it or illustrate it. If anything, it would encourage us to offer assistance to inconvenienced travelers.

Were Mary and Joseph refugees? No.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Second Coming and Suffering for Jesus

Advent 2016 - Second Coming in 1 & 2 Thessalonians

The Second Coming and Suffering for Jesus

For the introduction to this series click here


In his first epistle the emphasis was on the comfort the coming or parousia of Christ brings believers. In this second epistle the tone is different, the emphasis is on the power of the coming. “In the second epistle we have the vivid picture of the other side of the advent, the coming of the day of God as it will appear to the unbelieving and ungodly.” (A.B. Simpson)

2 Thessalonians 1:3  We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
 4  So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
 5  Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
 6  Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
 7  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
 8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
 9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth
Amen! They were really growing in the Lord. It's neat to see once again the trinity of virtues in the Christian life: faith (grows exceedingly), love (abounds), and hope (of His coming).

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure – It would seem life was not a bowl of cherries for these believers. There was persecution and tribulation, and I have no doubt that every step of progress in their spiritual lives was met by more intense pressure (tribulation). But they would not give up (patience), they pressed on (faith).

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer – we are surrounded and bombarded daily by people who preach that increased faith on our part will reduce, even eliminate, trouble and tribulation, that faith in God brings wealth and ease. Lies! All lies! The Holy Ghost says here that God is in this tribulation and persecution. He didn’t bring it, but he is in it, using it to make the Thessalonians worthy of the kingdom of God.

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us – God allows them to persecute us now, then he will repay those who have troubled us with tribulation of their own. Tribulation for those who trouble us, and for us who are troubled, rest. Amen! But when?

when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels – here is the second main word used for the return of Christ, revealed. It is the Greek word, apokalupsis or apocalypse. It means revelation, appearing. Parousia emphasizes the result of his coming, his presence, and the comfort that brings. Apokalupsis speaks of the revealing, the unveiling, the appearance of Christ; the emphasis is on power and glory.

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power
Here “we have the vivid picture of the other side of the advent, the coming of the day of God as it will appear to the unbelieving and ungodly. It shall be rest with us “when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe,” but for them who “know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” it will be “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (AB Simpson)
If we accept the comfort of the parousia, we have to accept the vengeance of the apokalupsis or apocalypse. The second coming will not be a joyous event for everyone. Who are these folks? “them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”. And what is the vengeance on such? everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Oh how we need to pray for the lost in our families, among our friends, and those nations who are yet in darkness!!

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day – The Thessalonians were being persecuted by the unbelievers, they were considered dirt to be trampled on. In that day everything is reversed. Our persecutors will suffer the vengeance of the Lord and we will be the Lord’s glory. Isn’t this amazing? He comes to be glorified in his saints, in us! He will be glorified in his saints, he will be admired in all them that believe. Oh sure, we will praise and admire him, but he will be glorified in us – “These are your people! What a great work you did in saving and keeping them!”

Amen! and Amen! So, how do we apply this to our lives? The Holy Spirit does that in the closing verses of the chapter (2:11-12)
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The First Noel


The First Noel, the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.

And by the light of that same star
Three Wise men came from country far
To seek for a King was their intent
And to follow the star wherever it went.

This star drew nigh to the northwest
O'er Bethlehem it took its rest
And there it did both stop and stay
Right o'er the place where Jesus lay.

Then entered in those wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee
And offered there in His presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.


Like so many other Christmas songs “The First Noel” has mysterious beginnings in either France or England. The First Noel is one of the few surviving early Christmas standards that can genuinely be earmarked as a folk song. It was written by and for the peasants hundreds of years ago.

In England, The First Noel was sung each year by many peasants as they lit the Yule log. Therefore, this became the song that started the entire Christmas season, the twelve days of Christmas. Especially for children, this carol meant the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year.

The First Noel finally was published by William Sandys in 1833. A lawyer by trade, Sandys loved music and spent his spare time collecting both French and English folk songs. Already a favorite with the peasant class, when the Church of England began to use new songs during services in the mid–1800s, The First Noel found universal acclaim.

Our modern English word Noel (also written Noël and Nowell) comes from the Middle English nowel, which Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined as “a shout of joy or Christmas song.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Second Coming and Times and Seasons

Advent 2016 - Second Coming in 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Second Coming and Times and Seasons

For the introduction to this series click here


Paul has painted a beautiful portrait of the second coming of Christ, filled with comfort, consolation, and encouragement. But this renewed emphasis on the soon coming of Christ, then as well as now, naturally raises the question, “When? When will all this take place?” Paul writing by the Holy Spirit, anticipates this inquiry and answers it.

1 Thessalonians 5:1  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
 2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
 3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
 4  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
 5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
 6  Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober.
 7  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
 8  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
 9  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10  Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

1  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you – I don’t mean to be flippant, but apparently we do. Paul must have taught these things to the Thessalonians when he was with them, yet he felt the need to repeat it.

2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night 
you know perfectly - he had obviously taught them this.
the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night – He is referring to the teaching of Jesus, But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Paul is saying, “We don’t know when he is coming.” His coming as a thief in the night does not mean he is coming to steal something, it refers to the unexpectedness of his coming, But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
they shall say - This is an important key to understanding this passage, for he begins a strong distinction between they and ye/we and paying attention to this will help us understand what he is saying. Who is they? Unbelievers. The day of the Lord will come upon unbelievers suddenly and unexpectedly, as a thief in the night.

4  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief
That day should not overtake us, believers, as a thief. The unsaved will be caught thoroughly off guard. The saved need not be caught unawares.
An interesting thought:
“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness - Probably St. Paul refers to a notion that was very prevalent among the Jews, viz.: that God would judge the Gentiles in the night time, when utterly secure and careless; but he would judge the Jews in the day time, when employed in reading and performing the words of the law. The words in Midrash Tehillim, on Psa 9:8, are the following: When the holy blessed God shall judge the Gentiles, it shall be in the night season, in which they shall be asleep in their transgressions; but when he shall judge the Israelites, it shall be in the day time, when they are occupied in the study of the law. This maxim the apostle appears to have in view in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th verses.” (Adam Clarke)

5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness 
We are not in darkness because we are children of light, children of the day. The dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Jesus is the light, and he has shined the life of life and truth on us. This means we can see the hand of God at work and recognize the times.

6  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober
This is fun: watch literally means to stay awake, so he is saying, “let us not sleep but stay awake.” Obviously, he is not speaking literally, you cannot stay awake all the time. And as we know, when you stay awake too long you can be “asleep with your eyes open.” He means, just as a person is unaware of things around him when he is asleep, so we can become spiritually asleep and thus unaware of what is happening around us. Let us instead watch and be sober.

“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” We are here reminded that the saints of Christ shall know enough of the time of His coming to be ready. The world will be surprised, but the Bride of the Lamb will know early enough to be in the attitude for translation. At the same time, there must be no carelessness, but a spirit of vigilance and a habit of constant preparedness. ~Simpson

7  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
Being of the day means we are awake and alert. We are also to be sober - clear headed, clear minded. How? Putting on the breastplate of faith to protect our hearts and the helmet of the hope of salvation to protect our minds.

9  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10  Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
This is what the parousia, the second coming, will bring to us – salvation. And how can we sum up that salvation? That we should live together with him. The parousia is not merely a spectacle, the show of shows, no, this is to bring us salvation, that we might ever be with him. Amen!

11  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do 
There is comfort in his coming and the resurrection, there is much comfort in the hope of salvation, there is great comfort in our ever being with him!

Yes, come, Lord Jesus!