Shaken or Secure?
MORN. WOR., FBC of CC, MARCH 29, 2020
II THESSALONIANS 2
When was the last time you were really upset? What was it that upset you so? Have you been upset since government stipulations have begun to control your daily life? Is there some teaching of the Bible which upsets you?
The book we ponder this morning was written because some believers were upset that the return of the Lord had happened, and they were facing the trials of the Tribulation. To understand the blessing of their future, God gave them three things for their good:
1. THE COMING V. 1
2. THEIR CALMING: V. 2
3. GOD’S CONFIRMING: 3-5 ff.
1. THE COMING V. 1
Eschatology is the ‘Doctrine of Future Things’ and the last of the ten major doctrines (teachings) of the Holy Bible.
This teaching of future things is wrapped around TWO Comings of Jesus Christ to this earth, and the conclusion of all end time solutions to the conflict of Satan and sin with God. Jesus told us in John 14 that He would “go away but then come again to receive us toHimself as people who believed in Him as Savior for their eternal life.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ has two parts to it, one for His Church, which is the primary theme of I Thessalonians, and the other to Israel and the world, as themed in II Thessalonians. However confusing these two parts of His Second coming, or return, can cause worries for Christians, instead of COMFORT. The clearest text telling of the return of Jesus Christ for His Bride, the Church, is I Thessalonians 4:13-18. This describes how we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, whether living as born again Christians, or dead in the grave born again Christians. This is to bring us great comfort, because it brings us home to heaven, to be with our Savior forever, ending our journey of faith in this sinful world. The Greek word for “gathering together” (episenagoge) = the complete collection, throughout the whole assembly of believers. All who have come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior will be brought together to unite with Jesus Christ at HIS Marriage Supper to sit down with Him for the first time in heaven, and find Him serving US! This will be after judging all our works and giving us rewards for those honoring God, and before His second return to Judge Israel and rule the world as King.
Jesus is COMING AGAIN! That is certain. Some claim He will come at the end of earth’s history, to judge all people in a general judgment. One of the hymn-writers put it that way in “There’s a Great Day Coming,” “When the saints and the sinners will be parted right and left.”
Others claim He will come after this world has experienced Tribulation to purify people, at the end of the tribulation; others that HE will come in the middle of the troubles and save His people out of the rest of the Great Tribulation (a 7-year period of great troubles for the world.
Then there are those of us who believe Jesus wi8ll usher His people home before the real troubles come upon the earth - Rev. 3:10. We are PRE-Tribulation, and PRE-Millennial people. Therein lies the COMFORT of I Thess. 4:13-18!
But, friend, none of this is of much good to you, UNL:ESS you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for His everlasting life and be saved from the way of eternal death. You must receive Jesus Christ’s GIFT of Everlasting Life - to be saved from unending death and hell separated from God and Heaven in Hell! John 3:16; Rom. 10:9-13; John 5:24; 20:31. Born with a sin nature, a “want to nature” we need to believe Jesus Died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried as a dead person Who gave His life and blood for our sins, and then rose again according to the Scriptures, so that we might live forever, die and rise again like Him to heaven.
If you have believed in Christ’s work for you, received His as your God and Saviour after telling Him your sins, and asking His forgiveness and asking for His eternal life, then you can be assured that you are waiting for HIS COMING AGAIN with hope, confidence and anticipation. You no longer need to fear meeting God/.
2. THEIR CALMING: V. 2
The Lord is our Giver of peace. He brings us calm in the storm, rest without worry, hope for our future. It is disarming, disturbing, “clamorous, frightening, even wailing” to have a major upset in our plans. Eg. Last spring, having to fit a sister/sister-in-law’s funeral into our return trip from Florida, then having our flight canceled. We lost the fees for our flights home, but God graciously replaced them with flights to Maryland, and allowed us to rent a car to return the rest of the way after making it to the funeral service.
Eg. Chinese students of Missionary Woods’ ministry in Ithaca who have had to remain in the U.S. indefinitely instead of returning home.
If Jesus returned, and you missed your ‘flight to heaven with Him,’ would that be troubling to you? This is the same word that is used in Matt. 24:6-7. In this passage, God is prophesying to us that “wars and rumors of wars” plus other degrading things will precede the return of Jesus Christ in the run-up[ to the Great Tribulation. The disciples had asked Jesus WHEN He would return, and He gave them this answer, with the admonition to “be NOT troubled, because these things were but the beginning of sorrows.” This word of comfort finds a special application to the Jewish people who are to come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ in the beginning days of the Great Tribulation, but also may find us in the church age seeing the apostasy of the end of the church dispensation, and living in a time of increasing unbelief in God while governments, movements and policies are developing towards a “globalization” of world governance to be in place for the Anti-Christ and False Prophet rule with Satan, the un-holy triumvirate of the Tribulation.
CoV - 19 may also be one of these scary things. It has now been officially named SARS - CoV - 2! It is a “Severe, Acute Respiratory Syndrome,” affecting mostly the breathing system of the body. It spreads very rapidly, has an animal cross-over source, likely bats, was likely sourced in China, as was a couple other of the 7 Corona type viruses which have spread around the world. In Luke 21:10-11, Jesus foretold of nations rising and falling, and “earthquakes, famines and PESTILENCES (DISEASES), fearful sights and great signs” would be evident to people, especially Jewish, during her time of being “trodden down of Gentiles,” v. 24, from B.C. 606 through the present; these will stop when Jesus Christ Christ returns as KING, v. 27; Zech. 14:3-9.
Where does the church fit into this order of things? It doesn’t, for it will be ushered home just before this breaks out s persecution against Israel by the world ruler. This global government seems unstoppable - think how a UN health entity and a US disease control organization have been able the shut down most of the nations of the world using a long chain protein RNA microscopic organism, seen as a “corona” under an electron microscope in a first!
But what does God tell us to do? “Be not soon shaken in mind, or troubled, neither by spirit nor by word, nor by letter…since the Day of Christ is at hand.” His Return will begin a series of troubles - think the book of Revelation - which will end the dominion of Satan, His world leader and head of religion, (Anti-Christ and False Prophet) - and terminate the ever growing influence of apostasy from the worship of God in as conflict with the Babylon Systems of false religions, and commercial enterprises (Rev. 17-18). To Jews or Church, Luke 21:19, God says, “In patience possess ye your souls.” In Matthew 24:6, He cautions, “…see that ye be not troubled…”
II Tim. 1:7: “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Matthew 6:25, 31, 34: In His first great sermon (on the Mount) Jesus calmed our soul with his instructions not to be upset, and anxious about things - “Take not thought” is a phrase meaning ‘not to be care-filled’ over what is going on in our world and lives. Phil. 4:6-7 instructs us to be PRAYER-filled instead, to solve this worry syndrome and bring us the “Peace that passes all understanding.” I Peter 5:7 gives us the method to bring this peace about - “Rolling all our cares unto Jesus, because He cares for us.” It is like rolling those big stones unto the stone boat to take them away!
There is a great calming effect upon our hearts to let the timing of Christ’s return up to God to send Him forth! The rapture is God’s way of bringing us who are in His church, home to heaven. Gold has a plan - John 14:1-6.
3. GOD’S CONFIRMING: 3-5 ff
Prior to the return of Jesus Christ, we are assured things will get worse and not better. A century ago, there was an ecumenical movement to try and evangelize the world through social remedies such as removing poverty, etc. It lost sight of repentance of sin, and the gospel of the grace of God to change hearts. Many governments took up the cause with Socialism and government programs to provide a “safety net” of services for people, until we have a world of Socialist helps for people managed by mostly godless people. The results are destruction of families and homes, introduction of immoral lifestyles and diseases, waste of money and human lives all in the name of human well-being. God affirms that this apostasy will end in a “Son of perdition (ruin, waste)”
In charge of the world. (This is a title given to Judas Iscariot!) This is another name for the Anti-Christ, a world ruler who will accept Satan as his god and guide. The 4th verse reveals that he demands to be worshipped as god, and will head up a world system that is all anti-god.
v. 7-10: Paul had warned these first generation Christians that there are two kingdoms vying for the worship, allegiance and hearts of people in this world; one is apostate under the control of Satan; the other is true and holy under the righteous control of God. One pretends to be sovereign and good for people; the other is just and good for any and all who will trust God. One serve its god with pleasures and sins; the other serves God by upright principles and good works. One has a savior Who died on the cross for us; the other uses power, signs and lying wonders to rule.
It is the Holy Spirit Who keeps resisting Satan’s rule of power, helping us to be humble, true and sincere instead of pretentious, proud and selfish. Satan keeps us as sinners in our sins; God converts us from our sins to become like Him and fit for Heaven.
v. 10: Satan’s kingdom brings a person to hell and eternal separation from God; Christ’s kingdom brings us to His home in heaven; under the one, we perish; under the other we are saved- eternally.
v. 11: the one kingdom is delusional; the other Kingdom is real - v. 12.
“Shaken” is a word that has its root in a word that means to rock something back and forth until it topples, or to stir up until destroyed.” ‘Rock the canoe’ and soon you are in the water! Accept false teaching about the return of Jesus Christ, and one finds he is disturbed in his heart and soul.
SARS CoV -2 is shaking up a lot of people. Its rapid rate of spread around the world is disturbing, as is its targeted influence on the elderly and the weaker immunity people of society.
However, God has given us immune systems which identify and sort out good from bad organisms in our bodies, fight the bad ones and preserve the good ones until one day, we run out of the ability to do so - and we DIE. God has numbered our days. What He asks of us is that we apply our hearts to wisdom, repent of our sins, believe on Jesus Christ as our Savior, and get to know God, and begin worshipping Him and serving Him. Luke 10:27 - heart, soul, strength and mind are to come together in this developing of our relationship with God. The ingredient of faith must become our directing principle as we “see Him Who is invisible, and serve Him. Either we trust God or we rely on His enemy as we go through life; with trusting God, we have the calming confidence to guide us aright. With trusting Satan and the popular broad way, we trade temporal pleasures for eternal life and rewards, to be deceived in the end. Choose whether you want to be “shaken and troubled,” or calmed and comforted. With Joshua of old, we can say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (24:15).
I Thess. 4:13-18 clearly describes how the ushering up to heaven will occur for us as believers in the church age. The passage concludes with a word of COMFORT. And here in II Thess. 2:16-17, after warning of the apostasy at the end of the church age, and deception of Satan’s global government, are told that God is giving us “everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace,” top “comfort our hearts and establish us in good works.”
The God we worship and serve is ABLE to keep us from falling, able to bring us joy, and present us faultless to God in His perfect Heaven one day! Are you trusting Him to come and help you move some day? The coming again of the Savior is much better comfort than the confusion of the SARS virus. It may knock us down; but the other takes us safely home! And in the meantime, my body and your body will be arming a defense against us, very possibly conquering it, like it has some other virus every winter or year for scores of years now! Let us practice the faith factor (with discretion) instead of the fear factor.
528: My Faith Has Found A Resting Place