Today David started on the second part of our ‘Living In-between’ series on Thessalonians, focusing on 2 Thessalonians 1: 1 – 12. This second letter is shorter but stronger than 1 Thessalonians. From the start we are reminded that these Christians were facing fierce hostility and persecution.
As usual, David put questions to us at the start of the sermon:
Q.1. Whenever you think of Jesus, what kind of images come to mind?
In answering this question, few of us probably picture Jesus as Paul did:
Q.2. Is your faith growing?
Q.3. Is your love for those around you increasing?
Q.4. Are you persevering, enduring, hanging in there, amidst all the challenges and hassles you’re facing?
These believers demonstrated a ‘progressive’ Christianity by their:
1. Faith – a living, dynamic, developing experience (v.3).
2. Increasing Love – something that was present and increasing (v.3). For us today, the important point is that this is about submitting to God and letting Him, by His Spirit, get to work in our lives and hearts.
3. Endurance – Paul was giving thanks for this, but he was also boasting to others about their endurance (v.4).
GOD’S ULTIMATE AND FINAL JUDGEMENT
For us this indicates that there is some level of judgement operative in our lives as believers right now. Trials are the means God uses to work out His eternal purposes in our lives and prepare us for His kingdom.
David stressed that the trials are NOT God’s judgement. Rather, persevering through the trials is evidence that God’s judgement is right, and that we are indeed worthy of and part of His kingdom.
At this point, the strength of Paul’s words regarding the judgement that lies ahead was evident, sobering and indeed disturbing. There are 3 questions to ask:
When is it going to happen?
It will happen when Christ returns:
Who is going to be caught up in it?
There are two groups of people – a specific group of those who caused trouble for the believers (see v.6); also a general group ‘who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus’ (v.8).
A day is coming when those who don’t know God and don’t obey the good news of Jesus will face chilling consequences.
What form is it going to take?
Whatever this means exactly, there are certain things we can say about it.
Their punishment is eternal; it is destructive; and it removes them from the presence of God. This is difficult; but God is just, He is talking to us, communicating to us through creation and in and through the person of Jesus Christ.
1. If you are a believer, there will come a day when you will not only see Jesus in all his radiant glory, but you will share this glory for all eternity.
2. David, our pastor, says that his prayer for Windsor Baptist Church is that we will be people
- Whose faith is growing;
- Whose love for one another is increasing;
- Who keep going, despite the difficulties.
LET US PRAY THIS FOR EACH OTHER!