The Great Homecoming

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The Great Homecoming 

First Thessalonians 4.13–18

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 10, In the year of our Lord, 2014


  1. The joy of going home 


  1. First Thessalonians 4.13–18 – A Great Homecoming 
    1. In every way it will exceed all earthly homecomings
      1. Numbers of people
      2. Everlasting homecoming
    2. 1Th 4.13 – The Great Hope

      13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope (1Th 4.13).
    3. 1Th 4.14 – The Homecoming of God

      14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (1Th 4.14).
    4. 1Th 4.15 – The Assurance of the Great Homecoming

      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 will by no means precede those who are asleep (1Th 4.15).
    5. 1Th 4.16 – The Great Announcement of the Great Homecoming

      16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first (1Th 4.16).
    6. 1Th 4.17 – The Great Homecoming

      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 (1Th 4.17).

      1. Reunited with brethren
      2. United with the Lord
      3. Home forever
      4. No longer strangers and sojourners
    7. 1Th 4.18 – Great Words of Comfort

      18 Therefore comfort one another with these words (1Th 4.18).
  2. The Great Homecoming Happens in Heaven 
    1. This is the emphasis of First Thessalonians 4.13–18
    2. Earth is merely God’s footstool

      1 Thus says the Lord:

      “Heaven is My throne,
      And earth is My footstool.
      Where is the house that you will build Me?
      And where is the place of My rest?”
      (Isa 66.1)

      1. The heavenly homecoming surpasses all earthly homecomings
      2. Second Peter 3 – As His footstool it will be destroyed

        10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2Pe 3.10).
      3. A new home awaits us

        13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2Pe 3.13).
    3. Therefore, do not center your hopes upon earth
      1. Paradise will not be here
      2. Ultimate retirement not here
    4. However, how can it be a homecoming unless we are pilgrims?

      8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord (2Co 5.8).
    5. Delights of the heavenly homecoming
      1. Jesus shall serve us
        1. He served people here

          11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted (John 6.11).

          John 13

          13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish (John 21.13).

        2. Though He serves now, we shall actually witness it then

          35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them” (Luke 12.35–37).
      2. Christians shall see Him

        4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads (Rev 22.4).
      3. We shall serve him personally and directly

        And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.  (Rev 22:3).
      4. But we must serve him now

        10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister (Heb 6.10).

        42 “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matt 10.42).

        Matthew 25.31–46

  3. Guarantee Your Part in the Great Homecoming 
    1. The heartbreak of missing a family gathering
    2. Missing the great homecoming will bring eternal heartbreak
      1. One of the torments of hell is seeing what you are missing

        23 “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16.23).
      2. The guarantee on being there, is obtaining the forgiveness of God
        1. Luke 15.11–24


  1. No one goes to the great homecoming by accident or automatically. 
  2. He has sent out the invitation and you must respond.