map
Support I.B.C
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
The return of Christ 2Thessalonians
The return of Christ
2 Thessalonians
Are you ready?

Scripture readings: Matthew 24:1-31, 2 Peter 3

Last week we took a look together at 1 Thessalonians

-The church of Thessalonica was founded by Paul and Silas in a span of 3 weeks in AD 50
-Paul and Silas ended up getting run out of the city
-The new believers faced incredible hardship and persecution for their faith
-Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians around AD 52-- his purpose was to encourage them in their faith
-Paul was worried that because of the persecutions they faced that they would fall away and abandon Christ: THEY DID NOT. They were genuine believers! (that's why last week I talked about the marks of a genuine follower of Christ)
-Because of their faith, hope, and love in Christ, the Thessalonians commitment to Christ became known in all the churches
-Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians ends with a reference to the second coming of Jesus Christ.
-Last week, in considering the marks of a genuine Christian, we noted that one mark of a Christian includes a longing for the return of Christ.

This morning we are going to take a look at 2 Thessalonians

-probably written shortly after 1 Thessalonians
-The theme of Christ's return dominates 2 Thessalonians

Interesting: Perhaps no Bible book, save the Book of Revelation has as it's consistent focus, the return of Christ

Since the return of Christ is the primary theme of 2 Thessalonians, that's what we are going to consider in our time this morning.

Read 2 Thessalonians 1

THE RETURN OF CHRIST

1. When Jesus returns, it will be to deliver His followers and to judge the world 1:5-10

In 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 Paul seeks to ENCOURAGE the beleaguered Thessalonian believers by reminding them that though they are are hated, mistreated, and persecuted greatly for their faith in Christ as Savior and Lord, that one day those who are abusing them will be punished by God for what they are doing.

The punishment that 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 speaks of is a serious thing.

THE judgment to come and Hell are real and should cause a degree of alarm

-To many mock the idea of Christ's return. (2 Peter 3)
-Talk of Hell and the judgment to come is unpopular- even in church
-Many trivialize what the Bible teaches about Hell and the judgment to come. Some even speak of Hell as a made up place
-The Word of God does not lie. Judgment day is real and spoken of many times throughout the entirety of God's Word ((Daniel 12, Joel 2:11, Isaiah 34, Malachi 4:1, Nahum 1:6, Psalm 2 etc)
-Judgment day is a necessary day - for it is ultimately about justice. For God to be just the punishment of sin and rebellion is required
-Note that Jesus is the one is the Judge (John 5:22)

For those who are in Christ Jesus, the day of Judgment ought to hold no fear for us (Romans 8:1 teaches that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus) Because Jesus paid it all. He took the punishment that we deserve for our sins.

Judgment Day is real. If you are not right with God, be reconciled to God! According to his love, grace, and mercy, God has made a way to be right with Him: He sent Jesus down to Earth to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins-- taking upon himself the punishment that we deserve

A thought on the judgment to come

A contemplation of Hell and the judgment to come ought to motivate us to share the way of salvation with people! Since we know what happens at death-- a person's spirit either goes to Heaven or Hell-- we ought to have a concern for where people will spend eternity.

These two things we can hold in balance: We can be comforted by the fact that the wicked will be punished AND moved to talk to people about becoming followers of Jesus, because we do not want them to go to Hell


2. The return of Christ is yet to come 2:1-12

Now this may seem like an obvious point to you- but it's not. Lot's of people have come and will come who have declared that "Jesus has returned" For instance, 7th Day Adventists teach that Jesus made an invisible return in the 1800's.

Jesus warned us the same way in Matthew 24:23-26 saying; "At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christ's and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.

The Thessalonians by letters, false prophecy, and reports, came to believe that Jesus had returned and that they had missed the second coming of Christ. They thought- to borrow from Tim LaHaye- that they had been left behind. (2:1-2)

In response to this, in his writing, Paul rushes to encourage them and to explain to them why Jesus had not yet returned.

Note Paul's address

-Don't let anyone deceive you. v.3
-I talked to you about the marks of Christ's return and the events leading up to it and surrounding it. Let me remind you of what I said v.5
-Here's how you know that Jesus has not yet returned and you haven't been left behind: The man of lawlessness/the anti Christ- has not come READ 2:3-12

I find it very fascinating that Paul's primary argument for why Jesus had not returned has to do with the appearance of the Anti Christ/The man of lawlessness.

For further info on the Man of Lawlessness/the Anti Christ (of whom there have been many types-- ie Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Nero, Antiochus Ephiphanes, etc) you will want to read Daniel 7-11, 1 John 2:18,22, Revelation 13, Matthew 24

Caution: We are not to be afraid. Satan is a defeated foe. We have been told these things ahead of time that such things might not take us by surprise and destabilize our faith.

Another reason Jesus hasn't returned yet?

One of the reasons is this.... 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance"

In light of God's mercy and the soon coming of Christ- ensure that you are right with God on his terms-- by faith in Jesus.



3. As we wait for Christ's return it is important that we stay faithful, pursue godliness and keep busy- leading productive lives 3:6-15

Twice in 1 Thessalonians Paul exhorted the Thessalonians not to be idle. Here in 2 Thessalonians 3 Paul takes almost a whole chapter to talk about leading a productive, and busy life.

Were the Thessalonians given to idleness because of despondency over their supposed missing of Jesus' return or was laziness a particular trait of the citizens of Thessalonica? We are not told. Yet we do gain some important insights into how we are to live as we wait for Christ to come.

We are to live busy and productive lives. Read 3:6-15

-of course ones health is a factor (mentally and physically)
-we are to be self supporting
-we are to be hard workers
-we are not to have our hands out (unless of course we really are in need)

This is not the only passage in Scripture that talks about working hard for a living. In Proverbs 6:6-11 it says; "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

Note: Balance is needed. Some people are workaholics and so this passage is not for them.


Further: On the subject of how we are to live in view of Christ's return 2 Peter 3:10-18 says;

"The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen

CONCLUSION

Jesus is coming back. Are you ready?

Don't be swayed by those who mock. Stay faithful. Pursue Christ with all your heart.

God's Word is true. It's every promise and prophecy will come to pass