Our understanding of this situation requires some action on our part. It is a decision to either hold to what you know or get drawn into the delusion.
(2 Thes. 2:13-15)
A. Aren’t you glad that your name is written down in the Book of Life! Aren’t you glad that your sins have been washed away! God chose you. God chose me. God decided that we were worth saving. He sanctified us, saved us, called us, and gave us the glorious inheritance of Heaven! As one old time preacher said, “We are the true blue, sin killing, blood bought, sold out, Spirit filled, children of God.” While the readers 2000 years ago in Thessalonica had a little better understanding of some parts, we get a bigger perspective. So, what is the message that Paul is telling us today?
B. Hold on to the truths of the Word of God. Hold on to the gospel that taught you about Jesus. Let no man deceive you. Don’t be fooled by every little wind of doctrine that may come! Sure the world will call you “old fashioned”! The gospel is not new, but it is well established, by our eternal God. It’s old and yet it’s still fresh and living and powerful! Sure the world will say that you are irrelevant and you are irrelevant according to their desires of the flesh. The life that you live, the gospel that you preach, and the Jesus that you serve are diametrically opposed to what the world is all about.
C. But this world is going to be destroyed and all that is in it. The man of lawlessness, Satan and all the demons will be forever cast into the Lake of Fire. Everyone who refuses to accept truth will be there with them, forever!
D. But the salvation that you have and the gospel that you live by and the Holy Spirit within you will live forever! Thank God for what he has done for us!
I. God Chose You
A. I love feel good passages. I like to read about the blessed calling from God to me. Passages like this cause some people difficulties, but in the full context, seem clear to me. God calls, I choose to hear and obey, God saves.
B. When Peter used the keys to the kingdom recorded for us in Acts 2, we read a sermon about conviction. Convicting people that sin took Jesus to cross and God raised him up from the dead. Some of the people that heard that sermon so convicted by it that the Bible says they were “cut to the heart” and ask, “What shall we do?”
C. Some of you know the answer Peter and the apostles gave, “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That promise was for them and for all whom the Lord our God calls to himself. God’s calling every sinner to be saved. God’s calling was universal through the Jesus – “for God so loved THE WORLD that He gave his unique Son that whoever believes in Jesus will be saved” (John 3:16). Yes, the calling by God is universal. It started on that day with 3000 Jews.
D. But time went on and God’s calling was to everyone so the gospel message was carried to a Gentile named Cornelius. Few Gentiles could have matched the devotion this man had. But God wanted to impress upon Peter and the Jewish Christians that the gospel was for all – God’s calling.
E. The man God chose to bring about a “first fruits” of Christianity to the Gentile world was Paul. God chose him as a vessel, and instrument to the kings, Gentiles and Jews. Paul took that message on missionary journeys first in Galatia then to Europe. These in Thessalonica were part of that first fruits of Christianity in Macedonia.
F. God chose us for a reason: (vs 14) “that we may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The idea is that we participate in the glory of Jesus. That glory was seen in his life while on this earth as he proclaimed the kingdom of God. That glory was seen in his suffering and death on the cross. That glory was seen in the power of the resurrection that also resurrected us from the dead man of sin. That glory will be revealed again when Jesus comes to claim his own.
II. Hold On To the Truth
A. Hold on to the joy of your salvation and the knowledge that God is faithful, but you also need to hold on to the truth. Truth is something people want to redefine. Listen again to verse 15.
B. As Christians we need to ground ourselves in God’s word. An old proverb says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” How about this one, “Better to build a fence by the edge of a cliff than a hospital at the bottom.” The best way to prevent error is to teach truth. We all need to be in study more. Classes need to be more than just a discussion of feelings, but a search for truth and putting truth into our everyday life.
C. Let me ask you, “Do you know what you believe and why you believe it?” Push yourself. Can you teach someone from the Bible what a person needs to do in order to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and be forgiven of their sins? That’s what they did in the early church. They taught about Jesus from scripture.
D. The teaching is to stand firm and hold on. Instead of being shaken by the false teachings, instead of being worried about the second coming and the man of lawlessness, stand firm and hold on to what you know is truth. Examine every doctrine taught in this building, every doctrine that I teach and those taught by others and when you have the truth of God revealed through the fullness of God’s word, then stand firm and hold on it.
A. The church in Thessalonica had to determine truth. They knew Paul, they had letters from Paul, but they had to decide if they would live by that understanding or listen to a different voice. The same is true for us.
B. We have God’s word. There are many interpretation and slants, but eventually you have to decide what voice you are going to listen to. Let not be mine, but let it be God’s calling.