No Place to Hide

Pastor Phil Andrukaitis, April 30, 2023

The Apostle Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians

 General Theme: Living Righteously While Waiting Patiently for Jesus to Return

Sermon Title: No Place to Hide

Sermon Text: First Thessalonians 5:1-3

Subject: The Day of the Lord

Complement: The Day of the Lord is a time of divine judgment upon the world.

Dominating Idea: The Day of the Lord is a call to repent and to be saved.

Overview & Review

I.          Spiritual leaders prove their concern for the church. (1:1a)

II.        Spiritual leaders provide care for the church. (1:1bc)

III.       Spiritual leaders pray for the church. (1:2-10)

IV.       Spiritual leaders pattern a life of loving service unto the church. 2:1 – 3:13)

V.         Spiritual leaders prescribe exhortations for the church. (4:1 – 5:28)

            A.         Exhortations regarding practical sanctification (4:1-12)

            B.         Exhortations regarding eschatological concerns (4:13 – 5:11)

                        1.         What happens to Christians after they die?                          

                        2.         Will the church experience “The Day of the Lord”?           Our Focus Today

            C.        Exhortations regarding ecclesiastical [church] responsibilities       (5:12-22)


In his book, Approaching Hoofbeats, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Billy Graham writes about the stubborn Harry Truman [not the 33rd President of the United States] who ignored the warnings and defied Washington’s volcano, Mount Saint Helens.  Graham writes:

“Mount Saint Helens belched gray stream plumes hundreds of feet into the blue Washington sky. Geologists watched their seismographs in growing wonder as the earth danced beneath their feet.  Rangers and state police, sirens blaring, herded tourists and residents from an ever-widening zone of danger. Every piece of scientific evidence being collected in the laboratories and on the field predicted the volcano would soon explode with a fury that would leave the forests flattened.

“Warning!” blared the loudspeakers on patrol cars and helicopters hovering overhead.  “Warning!” blinked battery-powered signs at every major crossroad.  “Warning!” pleaded radio and television announcers, shortwave and citizen-band operators.  “Warning!” echoed up and down the mountain; and lakeside villages, tourist camps and hiking trails emptied as people heard the warnings and fled for their lives.

“But Harry Truman refused to budge.  Harry was the caretaker of a recreation lodge on Spirit Lake, five miles north of Mount Saint Helen’s smoke-enshrouded peak.  The rangers warned Harry of the coming blast.  Neighbors begged him to join them in their exodus.  Even Harry’s sister called to talk sense into the old man’s head.  But Harry ignored the warnings.  From the picture-postcard beauty of his lakeside home, reflecting the snow-capped peak overhead, Harry grinned on national television and said, nobody knows more about this mountain than Harry and it don’t dare blow up on him…

“On 18th of May, 1980, as the boiling gases beneath the mountain’s surface bulged and buckled the landscape to its final limits, Harry Truman cooked his eggs and bacon, fed his sixteen cats the scraps, and began to plant petunias around the border of his freshly mowed lawn.  At 8:31 a.m. the mountain exploded.

“Did Harry regret his decision in that millisecond before the concussion waves, traveling faster than the speed of sound, flattened him and everything else for 150 square miles?  Did he have time to mourn his stubbornness as millions of tons of rock disintegrated and disappeared into a cloud reaching ten miles into the sky?  Did he struggle against the wall of mud and ash fifty feet high that buried his cabin, his cats and his freshly mowed lawn – or had he been vaporized (like the 100,000 people at Hiroshima) when the mountain erupted with a force of 500 times greater than the nuclear bomb which leveled that Japanese city?

“Now, Harry is a legend in the corner of Washington where he refused to listen.  He smiles down on us from posters and T-shirts and beer mugs.  Balladeers sing a song about old Harry, the stubborn man who put his ear to the mountain but would not heed its warnings.”[1]

Transitional Thoughts

Today, there are many “Harry Trumans” in our culture [and in many other cultures] who ignore and stand defiantly against the warnings of God’s judgments.  Therefore, as we direct our attention to the text before us, all history [HIS STORY] is heading towards The Day of the Lord.  The Day of the Lord will bring an end to the kingdom of man that has been operating within the kingdom of darkness, under the influence of Satan. 

For the past six thousand years, man has made a wicked mess of this world.  As a result, “man knows nothing of how great civilizations have fallen.  They don’t connect the historical fact that the rejection of God ALWAYS leads to the rise of evil.[2]

As we ponder our apostatizing culture worldwide, perhaps Rod Serling’s opening statement is most appropriate after all; “You have just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.”  I believe Americans are living in the “Twilight Zone” just as Harry Truman was living in his twilight zone.  Each night, the news becomes more and more depressing as the wickedness of man, administrations, and governments is made known.  For example:

  • The battle between pro-life and pro-choice continues to intensify throughout our nation.  Choice, “the legal right” to kill the unborn in woman’s womb, even before the child is born, is more sacred than the life of the child.  In fact, there are eight states that allow abortion up to the moment of birth:  Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, New York, plus District of Columbia. 
  • Today, gender dysphoria [when a person’s psychological and emotional sense of their sexual identity does not match their birth sex] has generated much confusion in our culture.  Consequently, a great disturbance has resulted within the social structures of the family, schools, medical community, and government.

While our world has descended into the depths of mutilating children in the womb – even up to birth – our society has descended further into depravity by mutilating young children with pharmacology and surgery to advance the transgender community.  Children and young teens have been deliberately brainwashed by individuals promoting these godless values.  My heart goes out to the children.  Indeed, the congressional halls of state and federal government that embrace and legalize these values are operating in the halls of the Twilight Zone.

  • And speaking of children, just two days ago, a US senator Josh Hawley [R. MO], thanks to a whistleblower and other governmental officials, confirmed that the US is acting as an intermediary in a highly profitable child trafficking scheme.  As I watched a child no older than my grandson weeping as he told his story to a border patrol, I cried and suppressed venting my anger against our corrupt, lying politicians. 
  • The redefinition of the family has led to the legalization of same-sex marriages; an unthinkable idea just a few decades ago. 

While each of us could come up with several examples of a decaying society as this country moves deeper into the twilight zone, the present efforts to reverse this country’s course are futile.  As I stated last week, it’s too late for our nation but it’s not too late for repentant sinners.  God is writing HIS STORY.  It began in Genesis and will end in Revelation.  HIS STORY is rapidly moving to its end, an end which God calls, The Day of the Lord.  According to John MacArthur, this day is eternally designed by God and written on the pages of Scripture.  The Day of the Lord is defined as the final judgment day. 

Presently, we are living in “man’s day.”  And while sinful man lives with a measure of freedom to create his own environment, sinful man is operating under Satan’s governorship, which operates under the sovereign reign of Almighty God.

Just as Harry Truman was living in the danger zone of a very active Mount Saint Helens, our world is also living in the danger zone of divine judgment, the Day of the Lord.  While Harry Truman was defiant in the face of the volcano, so also our world.  We too are living defiantly in the face of Christ’s promised judgment – The Day of the Lord and His second coming.

It is agreed that 25% to 33% of the Bible is prophetic in nature.  In addition, there are over 1,800 references to Christ’s second coming in the OT, along with nine NT authors who refer to Christ’s second coming over sixty times.  Yet, if we were to ask folks [within and outside the community of faith] about the return of Christ, we would be surprised by their responses:  I don’t know; I don’t believe it; I don’t care!

Listen, when it comes to preaching the gospel, our preaching must also involve warnings.  During his short stay in Thessalonica (perhaps a couple of months before he was forced to leave), Paul had clearly taught them and warned sinners of the Day of the Lord.  In his first and second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul addressed this issue:

  • 1:9-10  “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven Whom He raised from the dead, Jesus Who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
  • 2:16  “…so as always to fill up the measure of their sins.  But God’s wrath has come upon them at last.”
  • 4:6  “…that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.”
  • 5:9  “For God has not destined us for wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him.”
  • 2nd Thessalonians 1:5  “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God…”

The old time preachers would often say, “Turn or burn.”  For those who do not know Christ, God has given you ample warnings.  His judgment day is coming.  Repent and be saved.

In last week’s sermon, we carefully looked at the concept of the Rapture and learned that the Apostle Paul…

“…explained to the Thessalonians that when Christ came for His own, as promised in John 14:1-3, Christians who have died would be resurrected and living Christians would be changed and caught up to be with the Lord and taken to heaven (1st Thessalonians 4:15-17).  Paul also told them that when the Rapture, the snatching up of the church occurred, the Day of the Lord would soon follow; a time period in which God would deal in direct judgment upon the world and its sin.”[3]

A brief time after the Thessalonians received Paul’s first letter, false teachers once again converged on the young Thessalonian Church and told them that the Day of the Lord was now upon them and that they were to understand their present afflictions, through persecutions, as proof that the Day of the Lord had come.  Moreover, these false teachers were putting forth the idea that the Rapture would occur at the end of the Day of the Lord[Today, this teaching is known as post-tribulation.]  

Concerned about the impact from these erroneous teachings upon the young and afflicted church that was already struggling with bereavement, Paul fired off a second letter to them, addressing this very issue: 

       “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to   Him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the Day of the Lord has come.  Let no one deceive you in any way.  For that day will not come, unless the rebellion   comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.  Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?” (2nd Thessalonians 2:1-5).

The truth I want to reemphasize is this:  The Church of Jesus Christ is not destined to experience the wrath of God (1st Thessalonians 1:9-10; 5:9).  I believe the Scripture clearly teaches that the Church will not enter into the Great Tribulation (Revelation 6-19); however, the Church may experience the wrath of Satan, prior to the Lamb’s wrath being unleashed against this unbelieving world.  Therefore, let us not confuse Satan’s wrath with God’s righteous wrath.

Let’s turn to 1st Thessalonian 5:1-3 and read Paul’s response to their inquiry about the Day of the Lord

            “Now as to the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.  For you yourselves are fully aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape.” 
(1st Thessalonians 5:1-3)

Here are three truths that characterize the Day of the Lord:

I.         The Day of the Lord is a date that remains a secret with God.
II.        The Day of the Lord will come suddenly and without escape.
III.      The Day of the Lord is characterized as “God’s Day in Court.”

I.         The Day of the Lord is a date that remains a secret with God.

“Now as to the times and the seasons, brothers,
you have no need to have anything written to you.”
(1st Thessalonians 5:1)

The phrase “the times” chronos (Strong’s #5550) and “the seasons / epochs” kairos (Strong’s #2540) generally refer to the end times.  Chronos refers to chronological time whereas kairos views time in terms of seasons or eras, like “the times of the Gentiles.”  In other words, the Thessalonians, like us, were curious about end time events and how they would chronologically unfold into historical periods of time.

Last week, I referenced Jesus’ response to His disciples when they asked Him about end time events. 

            “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:36-37; NKJV).

Interestingly, this phrase, “the times and the epochs” is also found in Acts 1.  Jesus is about to ascend to heaven, when His disciples asked Him a related question about end times.

            “Lord, will You at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)  Jesus responded, “It is not for you to know “the times or seasons” which the Father has put in His Own authority”       (Acts 1:7).

Well, responding to the Thessalonians in a similar fashion, Paul’s response, “…you have no need of anything to be written to you…” is God’s way of saying; this is all I have intended for you to know.  The timing of the Day of the Lord remains a secret with God.

Since God has ordained certain events to occur at specific times throughout man’s history, we are to keep our eyes opened for these events but not to guess as to when they will occur.  This is how Paul comforted the Thessalonians in his second letter to them.   

Nevertheless, God’s secret date for this coming Day of Judgment is no excuse to slack off in studying eschatology and understanding how other biblical teachings relate to this area of study.

Question:  Why do you think God has not revealed the date of His timing?  Could it be that if people knew the date was a long time away, a spirit of indifference may settle in our hearts; of if the date was “tomorrow” panic may overcome our hearts?  I believe God would have His people live by faith with a spirit of readiness and holiness.

II.        The Day of the Lord will come suddenly and without escape.

For you yourselves are fully aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 

While people are saying, “There is peace and security,”
then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon
a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
(1st Thessalonians 5:2-3).

Paul describes the timing [he did not define the timing] of God’s Judgment Day that awaits this Christ-rejecting world with two metaphors.  Having taught the Thessalonians about the Day of the Lord, the Thessalonians knew “full well” akribōs (Strong’s #199) that this Day of Judgment would come like a thief in the night. 

  • The first metaphor is a thief who breaks into your home at night.  Perhaps you have had this experience sometime in your life.  It is not a pleasant experience. 
  • A thief, no matter the time of day but especially at night, is never welcomed. 
  • A thief’s sudden presence is a shock to our homes, our security, and our well-being. 
  • A thief never forewarns his victims as he seeks to catch them unaware, unprepared, and vulnerable.

When we secure our homes at night, we usually have a sense of well-being and security.  Well, as our world continues to ignore, reject, defy God and His Word, our world becomes dull of heart and blind to the ways of God. 

Moreover, as world leaders strive to secure world peace apart from God, a false sense of security will come over this world.  Eventually they will say among themselves, Ah, finally, peace and safety; however, God will unravel their efforts to secure peace without Him and unleash His judgments upon the earth.  Remember, the Day of the Lord is the end of “man’s day.”

Therefore, in the context of this verse, the metaphor of a thief coming in the middle of the night refers to judgment:  The Day of the Lord is not a day of hopeful deliverance but of unexpected calamity [John MacArthur].  The Day of the Lord is inevitable yet unpredictable.

  • The second metaphor is a pregnant woman experiencing labor pains.  While labor pains begin slowly, the frequency and intensity also increases and suddenly, there is no escape from that which will follow – the birth of the child.

Bringing these two metaphors together, it becomes clear that just before the Rapture of the church occurs, our world will be comforting itself saying, peace and safety; however, immediately after the Rapture, the Day of the Lord will come suddenly and there is no escape from the “destruction” olethros (Strong’s #3639)

When we think of destruction, we tend to think of war-torn real estate.  While there are other passages that would point to such destruction (Revelation 6-19), the sudden destruction of which Paul refers also involves the ruin…

  • …of a person’s body [even death] (1st Corinthians 5:5)
  • …of eternal separation from God; not annihilation (2nd Thessalonians 1:9)
  • …of a person’s purpose for living (1st Timothy 6:9)

Harry Truman, who lived at the base of Mount Saint Helens, possessed a false sense of security in the face of impending doom.   He is representative of so many people in our world and country, living with a false sense of security.  We live in perilous days [i.e. hard to bear; troublesome; dangerous] (2nd Timothy 3:1-9; 2nd Peter 3:1-4).  But how much harder it will be for those on whom the Day of the Lord falls.  For them this Day will come…

1.         …without warning

When a person least expects it; taken by surprise; unprepared.  Today, I believe that there are many people like Harry Truman who are ignoring the warning signs of our times.  When the Day of the Lord comes upon them, they will not know what hit them.

2.         …without God’s assurance

The scoffers of our times will miss the Rapture.  And very early into the Tribulation, people will be saying “Peace and Safety.”  But this hope for peace and safety will not occur even though this world strives for peace.  Why?  There is no peace of God apart from the Gospel of God.  People will strive for peace of mind, but peace will flee from them.  Many will say they possess peace.  Many more will say that peace has come to our world.  The truth, however, is that these people will possess a false hope brought about by false teachers.

3.         …without protection from calamities

Ruin, destruction, and death are foretold in Revelation 6-19.  This is a most frightening time to be alive on earth.  Man, and animals will turn on each other.  Demons will be unleashed to harm man.  God will continue to pour out His wrath.  The sinner will suffer loss without end.  When they think they’ve lost everything, something worse will happen to them.

4.         …without escape

There is no place to turn, except to God.  Even there, however, many will refuse to repent (Revelation 9:20-21).

The illustration of a woman with birth pains is given to emphasize not only the suddenness of the judgment, but also the inevitability of the judgment.  When a woman has birth pangs, you know that the child is coming.  There is no way of stopping the child from coming forth.  So also, when the Day of the Lord comes, the judgments to follow cannot be stopped until they have accomplished God’s purpose.

Do you  recall Belshazzar [King Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson], who held a feast in Babylon, using the utensils taken from the Temple in Jerusalem thereby desecrating them?  Belshazzar was filled with pride and wine and praised the gods of gold and silver.  Belzhazzar  even believed that there is no god powerful enough to stop him. 

Suddenly, a part of a hand appeared out of nowhere and wrote on the plaster of the wall in the king’s palace:  MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

            MENE:            God has numbered your kingdom and finished it.

            TEKEL:           You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.

            PERES:           Your kingdom has been divided and given to Medes – Persians.

Just as Belshazzar experienced the sudden destruction of his kingdom and purpose for his life that night, so also those folks who experience the Day of the Lord.

III.      The Day of the Lord is characterized as “God’s Day in Court.”

While preparing this overview God’s judgment, I discovered the Day of the Lord appears 23 times throughout the Scripture.  There are other phrases like,that day”and “that great day”which also appear 75 times.  All these phrases point to one central theme:  God will have His Day in Court.

Since there are several events, past and future that illustrate the Day of the Lord, here are three associations connected to the Day of the Lord

1.         The Day of the Lord is associated with CONDEMNATION.

Judgment is in view.  During a time of national optimism throughout Israel, the prophet Amos, preached against Israel’s many sins.  Israel had perverted and destroyed justice in her land and would not repent.  Yet, by God’s hand, He would exercise His justice.  Listen to what God said through His prophet, Amos.

            “Woe to you who desire the Day of the Lord!  For what good is the Day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light.  It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met   him; or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Is not the Day of the Lord darkness, and not light?  Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?”  (Amos 5:18-20)

A generation later [30-years later], the Assyrian Empire carried off the ten most northern tribes of Israel into captivity [722 BC].  About 136 years later, in 586 BC, the two remaining southern tribes of Israel, Judah and Benjamin, were invaded by the Babylonian Empire and carried off into captivity because of their gross sins of spiritual adultery, sacrificing their children on Baal’s altar, and oppressing the poor and the widows.

Yes indeed, the Day of the Lord is associated with condemnation.  Listen to the Lord as He cried out through His prophet, Isaiah,

            “Therefore, I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger”
(Isaiah 13:13).

2.         The Day of the Lord is associated with DESOLATION.

The prophet Zephaniah [630 BC] spoke out against Judah’s sins of idolatry, of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and of forsaking the Lord (Zephaniah 1:5-6).  Read Zephaniah 1:14-18 for a description of the Great Day of the LORD.

3.         The Day of the Lord is associated with RESTORATION.

The Day of the Lord is also associated with universal restoration, and in places it relates to the Messiah.  Read Isaiah 11:10-11.  However, we must not forget that restoration must include judging and purging evil before healing and joy occurs on that day.  Read Malachi 3:2 and 4:1-2.


On the world scene:  The Day of the Lord, as understood in this Thessalonian letter, points to that time of judgment as revealed in Revelation 6-19; the unfolding of the seals, trumpets, and bowls of judgment.  God’s judgment comes because of charismatic world leaders and their political allies who maneuver their resources to achieve globally unity:  economically, ecologically, and ecumenically.  Apart from Christ, their efforts are doomed to fail, because their scheming, dominating, and deceiving will lead to global chaos.  There will be no place to hide.

On the national scene:  Thanks to the diversity of news outlets, the American citizen has opportunity to look at himself and those who represent him in Congress.  And what do we see?  Our government continues to poke its finger in God’s eye by legislating same sex marriages, aborting millions of unborn children, limiting health care to the elderly [it’s coming, don’t be fooled], and spending our grand-children’s earnings.  Tell me, are we living on the eve of destruction?  Is American living with a sense of false security?  Does 2nd Timothy 3:1-9 and 2nd Peter 3:1-4 describe our times?  There will be no place to hide.

On a personal level:  Every sinner who has not been drawn to Christ by God the Father and regenerated by God the Holy Spirit, lives with a false sense of security.  All is not well with their soul.  Here are three truths to consider: 

  • God’s condemnation for your sin hangs over you, now.  Death awaits you, both physical and eternal.   You are still alive because God has willed it so.  Apart from Jesus Christ, you have no hope!
  • If you do not turn away from your sin and turn to Jesus, desolation – eternal death will immediately follow your physical death and you will be forever separated from God and tormented without end in the Lake of Fire.  As the old preachers use to say, Turn or burn.
  • God’s restoration – reconciliation – is promised to sinners who will acknowledge their sins before God,  believe in their hearts Jesus died on the cross for their sins, and confess with their mouths – that is to cry out to God to save them from divine judgment – will be saved (Romans 10:9-10).  Perhaps the Spirit of God is moving in your heart at this moment, convicting you of sin.  Cry out to Jesus now.  Seek Him.  Repent from your sins.  Receive His forgiveness.  Follow Him. 

Our text this morning tells us that at any moment, this day of judgment could suddenly erupt, ultimately sweeping nearly 75% of the world’s population into eternity.  The question is, where will these living souls spend eternity?  Where will you spend eternity?  The world cannot hide you from the wrath of God; but Christ can.  Cry out to Jesus to save you from the Day of the Lord.

As David wrote:  “You are a hiding place for me; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with shouts of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7)

May you find eternal life and peace in Christ.

[1] Graham, Billy, “Approaching Hoofbeats, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” (Waco:  Word Books, 1993), pp. 12-13.

[2] Jill Martin Rische, “When All Hell Breaks Loose,” [doc online];, accessed 2019, Mar.22.

[3] Walvoord, John, “Is a New World Order in the Prophetic Future?”  Kindred Spirit, Spring 1991, p. 5.

%d bloggers like this: