We have considered the church in Thessalonica, how their faith, love and hope in God after their conversion has been a wonderful testimony to all those around. In 2 Thessalonians, Paul exhorted them in saying, “we ought always to thank God for you,….because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing” (vv 1-2). And this was taking place amidst all the persecution and trials; their perseverance was truly outstanding in such a context. Paul encouraged them that they will ber which counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which they were suffering (v5). The assurance Paul communicated: God will pay back trouble to those who troubled them; God is just. When Jesus comes again, He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction. As for the Christians, the prayer is that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in them, and they in Him (vv1:5-12).
It is wonderful to see how the church in Thessalonica grew from strength to strength in their faith, love, hope, and perseverance even when they had to go through trials and suffering. How different this is, in our churches today. We become discouraged, quarrelsome, and doubt God’s goodness and reality. We make the mistake of measuring God’s faithfulness by what is happening in our lives and lose sight of God’s cosmic plan to bring about all things under Christ eventually and definitely. We fail to see our privileged position to be involved in God’s eternal plan and purpose. Like the people of God in Malachi, we question God’s love and faithfulness, and even doubt His promise and grace.The church in Thessalonica has much to teach us.
“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (2nd coming)…Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for the day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness (antiChrist) is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2:1-4)…..The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayrd in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (vv9-12).
This is the revelation from God’s Word through Apostle Paul – and it will surely come to pass. Already, the circumstances in this world are moving rapidly towards this event. Before the second coming of the Lord, there will be a great tribulation, accompanied by a great rebellion by antiChrist and the display of the works of the evil one in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and in every sort of evil. The call to God’s people and the church is to be faithful to Him and to overcome (refer to Christ’s letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation). Notice that the devil, antiChrist, and all the minions can perform miracles (counterfeit though) as well as signs and wonders, even deceiving some of the elect. The distinguishing mark is the truth of God revealed in Scripture and by the Holy Spirit.God allows them to believe in a lie by sending a powerful delusion; to begin with, they refused to believe the truth and be saved, and they delight in wickedness. Thevword “delight” appears again but those who refused to believe the truth deligjt in wickefness whereas those who are God’s people delight in God, holiness and the truth. Already, the current context reveals many from various nations who will not blink an eye to propagate a lie, and those who already have the spirit of antiChrist will join him and Satan to seek to instal the false Trinity.
With such a revelation from God, how and what can we do to.prepare for such a development> Paul wrote:” from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit (not by evangelistic methods) and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then brethren stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you by word of mouth or by letter. The apostles remind us that through much tribulation we shall enter the kingdom of God. Unless we are united in the truth and in love, instead of quarrelling and bickering we shall not be able to stand. May God encourage us ad enable us to finally stand when the Lord appears and overthrow the lawless one and destroy evil by the splendour of His coming.
In the closing chapter the Apostle Paul asked the brethren to pray for him and his co-workers – specifically for the spread of the gospel and its effectiveness (3:1). Paul asked for protection from wicked and evil men; however, he is confident in the faithfulness, strength, and protection of the Lord from the evil one. Hrre we are reminded that Christians battle not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual powers of darkness.
Do we wonder why Satan works so hard to dispossess the Gospel which dispossesses him? By the light of the Gospel many who were once his friends find the way to truth and life. By the same light, saints move with blessed assurance toward their eternal home. Nothing torments the devil more than to see his old companions neglect their former sinful pleasures and spend time studying theScriptures instead. He knows that a saint without the knowledge of the Gospel is as vulnerable as an army without ammunition.
Therefore he labours endlessly to impede the message of the Gospel and to drive God’s Word away. This he does continually by distorting the message; he uses wicked men and false brethren to sow discord and deception; he targets especially those in the frontline – the pastors, the teachers, the leaders in the church, and those who serve God in various ways.Paul knew that he and his co-workers need the prayers of the people of God. The devil can use persecution, deception, human pride and self-centredness for his purposes. Behind every discord, every disharmony, be sure to know that he is directly involved and he rejoiced to’ cripple the work of God. Brethren, be prayerful be vigilant – above all, look to the Lord to fight the battle valiantly.