2017-02-05 - 2 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ Postlude
And so Paul closed the letter with a reminder that Christ is the one who is the source of their peace with the Father. And He would be with them.
Conclusion: First please note, a correct understanding of Scripture doesn’t always translate into proper behavior. The Thessalonians understood Christ could return at any time. This led to a confusion about their suffering, causing them a great deal of emotional stress. Part of the purpose of this letter was to correct this confusion.
But there was a second group who apparently chose to take the teaching Christ’s return, and its valid corollary of the urgent need for giving out the gospel as an excuse for being parasites on society. They said, in effect, “Because the Lord would return at any moment, we must give our time to spiritual matters and not be concerned with day-to-day life.”
This is nothing new, and the problem hasn’t gone away. Yes, the Lord can return at any moment. This is our hope and comfort. But we are to occupy ourselves, until He comes. Yes, giving out the gospel is urgent, not just because the Lord can return momentarily and remove His church, but because we have no idea how much time we have as individuals to serve Him. And giving the Gospel is urgent, because we also have no idea how long the recipient has to receive it. Although remember, none who God has elected to salvation will be lost because we were slack. But I wouldn’t want to have to explain to Him why I wasn’t on the job.
We must be balanced in handling Scripture, stressing those things vital to salvation. Next we need to apply the teachings related to the Christian walk in an even-handed manner. Consider the approach of some churches. They focus on only teaching and are like the ivory tower, proud in knowledge and dead in life. Others stress experience and are like the lab rat, living for the drug received for proper behavior. They constantly strive to recapture the warm fuzzies and are totally unequipped to live in the real world. There are those who find the Devil in every engine block. And some are so concerned with prophecy and the big picture, they take no notice of the desperate lives of those right next to them.
The Christian Walk Is A Walk of Balance.
Which brings us to Paul’s last point. Now certainly I don’t believe he is speaking to anyone here as he deals with the specific issue of idleness. I think there is a broader principle here, and that is we must be a benefit to the society around us. This doesn’t mean we will always be perceived that way, but nevertheless, we must strive to be responsible. And that does mean paying our own way and not living off our community.
But there are other ways to be active, to contribute as good citizens and therefore bring honor to the name of the Lord. We can be good employees when those around us are shirkers. We are working for the Lord, not for our bosses. And young people can be industrious students out of a desire to please their Father in heaven.
We must strive to strengthen our marriages, so unbelievers can see what it means to have the Lord as the focus of the marriage relationship, not perfect marriages, but ones that can survive and be positive. And we can strive to be godly parents, showing our responsibility to our children isn’t to satisfy society, but to honor God.
And though we know biblically that the world will continue to grow worse, this doesn’t excuse us from trying to improve the lot of those around us. Jesus healed, fed, and cast out demons in the midst of a society that would soon kill Him. We must care for those in need, the homeless, the excluded, the victims of society, not only to make their lives less painful, but so they will have the opportunity to discover the final answer isn’t in better circumstances, but in a relation with the God of the Universe.
We must be willing to take a stand for the pre-born, the handicapped, the elderly, all those that are unable to stand for themselves. God, through out Scripture, expresses concern for the oppressed and intends to judge the oppressor. This means that we must be responsible citizens and vote for those that hold our positions. We must be willing to speak out for those in need. We must be willing to stand for biblical truth.
Now we’re not called to make enforce standards of Scripture on the unbeliever. We’re not called to take over government, bringing in the millennium, contrary to the ever growing acceptance of Dominion Theology. We are called to allow the Lord to make us over in His image, to prepare us to be His spotless bride. But nevertheless we are members of this society, and as such we are to be Salt and Light, to slow the process of moral and social corruption, and to shed God’s light into the darkness of this world. As Jesus said,
“You are the salt of the earth, … You are the light of the world” (Mat. 5:13–14).
Let us be open to the Lord’s leading, not only to bring the message of salvation, but to live out the differences that come with the Lord’s working in our lives. Let’s offer the greatest gift ever given to anyone, forgiven sins, and an eternity of peace and joy with our Lord. Let us never forget to comfort one another with the hope of that eternity and the soon coming of our Lord and Saviour.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Th 4:16–18).
“Depart now in the fellowship of GOD the Father,
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.