4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-10
This was a continuation of Paul’s imminent return teaching. I think what Paul is saying here is to continue paying attention to what’s going on around you. It’s easier to get focused on the day to day problems than to realize we are charged with a sober mission: proclaiming the hope of salvation through our faith and love.
I was discussing this issue today because we’re dealing with some internal church problems. Jesus told His disciples: “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
This is certainly a large part of what Paul wrote here. Certainly we are to love those outside the church, but loving those inside the church is another matter altogether. And it’s not particularly easy to do. It’s why fractions occur and church splits happen. I find it stunning that others would see by our love for others inside the church walls that we are disciples of Christ.
The world is watching. And waiting.