‘Concerning the times and seasons …’ introduces 1 Thessalonians 5. People often explain this about being about Jesus’ return. Or about the end of all things. That is, it’s about a future time, not the present time.
I think that’s right enough to be OK, but just wrong enough to miss something very helpful.
Instead, 1 Thessalonians 5:1 makes us consider all times and seasons. Since preaching on this last weekend I’ve figured out a better way to summarise this (it’s common enough to find the perfect sermon phrase on the Monday after preaching). Here’s my summary:
The day of the Lord defines all other days.
In other words, the ‘times and seasons’ include today, and tomorrow, and every day until that coming day when the Lord will appear. And it defines every day after that as well!
Jesus certainly will return (like a thief in the night, verse 2). His return is called ‘the day of the Lord’. Since ‘the day of the Lord’ lies ahead of us, we know where the world now stands: in night. Since ‘the day of the Lord‘ lies ahead of us, we know about the Lord’s people: we are children of the day (verse 5).
Understanding this leads to powerful changes in life: we don’t live for the night; we stay awake and alert; we encourage each other to press on; we grasp our secure hope; etc. And this all flows from understanding the times: that the day of the Lord defines all other days.