They Are Lying to You (2 Thessalonians 1)
In this sermon, we delve into the second letter that the apostle Paul sent to the Thessalonians, penned around 50-51 A.D., roughly one month to one year after his first epistle. The primary purpose of this letter was threefold: first, to encourage the church to stand strong in the face of persecution; second, to correct their misunderstanding about the imminent return of Christ; and third, to provide instructions on how to deal with those within the congregation who refused to work.
Chapter 1 Overview:
Paul commences this letter by extending his greetings and grace to the Thessalonian church, emphasizing the importance of God's grace as a prerequisite for experiencing His peace. He, along with his partners in the Gospel, Silvanus, and Timothy, sends this message of encouragement.
In verses 3-8, we observe Paul's heartfelt thanksgiving for the Thessalonians' growing faith and abounding love. Despite enduring persecutions and tribulations, their unwavering patience and faith stand as a testament to God's righteous judgment. This trial by fire fortifies and purifies the church, separating genuine believers from those who merely profess faith. Persecution, while uncomfortable, serves as evidence of both the authenticity of their faith and God's impending judgment.
Paul, proud of the Thessalonians, boasts about their faith and love, setting them as a model church for others. He poses a challenging question to the congregation: Are we also a model church? This leads us to contemplate whether people can say that Calvary Chapel West Jacksonville exhibits such profound faith and love.
Verse 5 reaffirms that persecution serves as evidence of the Thessalonians' genuine faith and love and as a precursor to God's judgment. Every time a Christian faces persecution for their faith, God gathers evidence. An example from the Gospel of John, where Jesus defended the woman caught in adultery, illustrates this point.
Verses 6-8 anticipate the return of Jesus. In that day, the righteous will receive commendation and rest, while the wicked will face condemnation and judgment. Two judgments are highlighted: the Bema Seat Judgment and the Great White Throne Judgment.
Verse 9 addresses the different views on Judgment Day, highlighting the eternal punishment of the guilty, which stands in contrast to annihilationism, universalism, purgatory, and reincarnation.
Verse 10 highlights the celebration that will ensue when Jesus returns. There will be a glorification of saints and admiration among believers.
In verses 11-12, Paul prays that the Thessalonians will walk worthy of God's calling, just as he himself did, despite his past persecution of Christians. This challenges the congregation to consider whether they are willing to live for Christ even in the face of suffering, and if not, whether they would be willing to die for Him.
The sermon also addresses the importance of discussing controversial issues in our society that are being silenced. The church's First Amendment rights to worship, free speech, a free press, assembly, and petitioning the government are highlighted.
The sermon then touches on various controversial topics, including medical misinformation surrounding vaccines, the history of vaccine mandates in schools, the rise in autism rates, and questions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. The discussion also delves into abortion, the pro-choice argument, and the potential use of vaccines for population control.
The topic of transgenderism is explored, with an emphasis on the scientific perspective regarding gender and the potential dangers of stifling free speech on these subjects. The sermon concludes by encouraging hope in the face of persecution, drawing inspiration from the biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the promise that those who persecute believers will ultimately face consequences for their actions.
Calvary Chapel West Jacksonville, under the leadership of Pastor Allen Victor, remains a sanctuary for the faithful to gather, seek God's word, and find strength in their journey of faith.
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