13 As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. 14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.–2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 (NLT)
In 2 Thess. 2:5-12, Paul talks about the spirit of the anti-Christ that is already present in the world. The anti-Christ is being held back by God’s Holy Spirit. Our concern now is to stand firm on the Holy Scriptures and not be deceived by that spirit of the anti-Christ. That spirit is busy today in our world deceiving people and it explains why intelligent people believe incredible things. The world as a whole will become more wicked as time passes. Those of us who have been called to salvation and have accepted Jesus as our Savior have nothing to fear from the anti-Christ or satan himself. Jesus has given us eternal comfort and hope. He will continue to strengthen us and comfort us as we carry out His plan for each of our lives. We are not to live in fear, because we belong to God Who has told us that He is greater than the spirit that lives in the world. We cannot be defeated!!!!! But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.–1 John 4:4 (NLT)
1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. 5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you?–2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 (NLT)
The return of Jesus has probably been and still is the most debated subject in the history of Christendom. We cannot know for certain when that event will occur. Even Jesus told us that we would not know for sure, not even Jesus knew: “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.–Matt. 24:36 (NLT)
We can only know for sure that it hasn’t happened yet. In the above passage, Paul tells us of some events that must occur before the return of Jesus. Some have already occurred, but there are more to come. We have no need to chase after rumors of His return. When He returns in the eastern sky, everyone will know about it. Our concern is to stay ready at all times and spend our time telling others about Jesus and His love. Jesus will return at the very day, hour, minute and second that the Father has already chosen. We are to keep our lamps burning and filled with oil, so that we will be ready when He returns whether that be now or thousands of years from now.
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
3 Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. 4 We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. 5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering.6 In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you.–2 Thess. 1:2-6 (NLT)
Most Christians in the Western World have not experienced the kind of persecution to which Paul is referring. Probably the worst persecution that we receive is losing (temporarily, hopefully) the friendship of someone close to us because of our belief in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is talking about those early Christians who gave their lives for the Gospel. I would guess that most of us have wondered, at some time or other, how far we would go for the Gospel. Would I really lay down my life for Jesus? Let’s look at Romans 8;10 (NCV): 10 Your body will always be dead because of sin. But if Christ is in you, then the Spirit gives you life, because Christ made you right with God. Since this is true, we should consider our physical bodies already dead. But our Spirit will always be alive because of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. So, if we are attempting to live the lifestyle that Jesus wants us to, isn’t the decision already made? We agreed to die with Christ and mortify (put to death) our fleshly desires so that we will be raised with Christ in our new immortal bodies. It is all about faith and trust. Will God do what He said or not? The answer is “Yes, of course, He will.” In His mercy, He will protect and perfect us and in His justice, He will repay the persecutors. “19 My friends, do not try to punish others when they wrong you, but wait for God to punish them with his anger. It is written: “I will punish those who do wrong; I will repay them,” says the Lord.–Romans 12:19 (NCV). Our part is to love and obey and leave the rest to God.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.25 Brothers, pray for us.–1 Thessalonians 5:16-25 (ESV)
One of the reasons I love Paul’s letters is the fact that right in the middle of telling us how bad it is and how much worse it could be, he suddenly stops, (and I believe) he just shouts it out. REJOICE! If our laboring for the Lord does not bring us joy, we need to realign our priorities. One of the ways we quench the Spirit is to refuse to be joyful in our walk with God. We should test everything we hear, Does your pastor’s sermons always line up with the Word of God? You should check every comment I make and see if it really fits the with the Scriptures. The more we study God’s Word, the more we will see why Paul was always content regardless of his situation. God will give us His peace, and we are blameless in God’s eyes because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Fear not, God is faithful, He will do what He says He will do. If we remain faithful, we will reap our crowns (rewards) in heaven.
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak,be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.–1 Thess. 5:12-15 (ESV)
We must remain humble where God has put us. We need to learn “to bloom where we are planted”. In other words, we should work diligently where we are until God moves us. Be obedient to those He has ordained to be over us. Since we are all parts of one body, we must work together in unity and unison to accomplish the work God has for us. If it is truly God’s work, it is not just “busy” work. If we do our part, God will certainly do His part. Work well and willingly with others. Encourage and help others with patience and love. We must always seek to do good to others and let God take care of the rest. Even though, we may never see what becomes of the other person, the one thing that we can be sure of is this: God will not be mocked, each of us will reap what we sow.
6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.–1 Thessalonians 5:6-11 (ESV)
Paul is not saying that our physical bodies don’t need rest. He is saying that we need to be Spiritually alert at all times. We are to be alert, sober, and dressed in our battle armor each moment of every day. There is a Spiritual battle being waged for the control of our minds 24/7/365. We may not see the combatants but we can know from Scripture that the battle is being waged continuously. There are examples of this in the following texts as well as other places: 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.–Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,–Daniel 10:12 (ESV)
We just need to remember that if God is for us, who can defeat us? So, we encourage each other with these words.
1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 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. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.–1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 (ESV)
Christians have been saying for years that we are living in the “end times”. The world may go on for a few more years or for thousands of years. Whether we can agree on when the world will end or not, is not of vital importance to our choice of lifestyles. What is important is that we all understand that if the world doesn’t end in our lifetime then we are going to die. Of that, we can be sure. Since our “world” will end when we die, we should choose to live a lifestyle that reflects the love of Jesus and the change His love has made in our lives. We are children of light and we should always live as though we live in glasshouses. We should consider our lives to open books and they should be “Scriptures” to those who may never read a Bible. Everyday, our lifestyle is a witness for God or for the enemy.