Enduring Tribulations

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Enduring Patiently

2 Thessalonians 1

Again the theme of our lessons this quarter is practical Christian living.

Once you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior you will find out that we are all in a spiritual war.

Each believer must endure suffering in this world to be worthy to be called a Christian!

Christ Jesus will provide comfort through these troubles and abundant rewards when He returns to take us home. Not only this but Christ will bring judgment to all those that have troubled His people.

The “Second Coming” of Christ will reveal His wrath and power upon all His enemies and that same power will be magnified in the complete salvation of His saints.

The Church will not pass through any part the Great Tribulation period nor see the time of God’s wrath.

1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

These Thessalonians were still struggling with these things as some do today, so the Apostle Paul wrote this second letter to them.

Both of these letters were written from the city of Corinth.

The first letter dealt largely with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His saints and these Thessalonians misunderstood some the teaching.

For this reason we need to hear the Word of God over and over again.

These people were so convinced that the Lord could come at any moment, which is still true today, they came to the conclusion that it was useless to work for a living.

This was the wrong conclusion because of Christian persecution they felt that they were already going through the tribulation period spoken of by Paul.

Paul wrote this second letter to correct these views and bring them to the knowledge of what it means to walk worthy of God.

The Book of 2 Thessalonians will also teach us some important things about the Anti-Christ.

Let’s begin:

*****2Th 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

It is believed that after these Thessalonians had received the first of Paul’s epistles that some anonymous person had also written a letter to them claiming to be Paul and that stated that they were already living in the “day of the Lord” which is a lie.

2Th 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

This teaching is still taught today in many places and was false then as it is now.

This brought confusion and fright to this newly formed church.

The “day of the Lord” will not begin until Jesus returns unto this Earth.

Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Act 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Act 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Jesus will return to the same spot from where He left on the Mount of Olives.

This will not be a secret thing.

Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Silvanus or Silas and Timothy were still with the Apostle Paul and this only happened at Corinth on Paul’s second missionary trip.

This is where the Apostle Paul wrote both the books to the Thessalonians.

Notice Paul immediately recognizes this assembly as a church.

Jesus said:

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

This is what constitutes the Church.

Remember a church is a house consecrated to the worship of God the Father, through the “Gospel of the Son, Jesus Christ” or a collective body of Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit!

One of the best weapons for fighting Satan is praise. No matter what our circumstances are we need to praise the Lord!

*****2Th 1:2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not the Church that saves, it is God through Jesus Christ.
It is not the Church that is to be worshipped it is Our Father in Heaven.
It is not the Church where we are to place our faith, it is in Jesus Christ.
It is not the Church building that is blessed, it is the “Body of Christ”!

Grace is still “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”.

Grace is the unmerited favor of God and it is only the love of God that can satisfy us enough to bring peace in our lives in this flesh.

When we think of peace as being the ending of war we have missed the point of this word in our scripture.

Peace with God is being reconciled back to Him.

2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

It is the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ that closes the gap between us and God.

It is God who decided that He wanted to do this.
It is God who provides the means for this to take place.
There is absolutely nothing we could have done to make peace with God!

God was in Christ Jesus and this is the only means of reconciliation!

Those that reject that God came down from Heaven to abide in Jesus cannot be reconciled and will never have the peace that God offers so freely by His “Grace”.

Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

When God as a babe in the flesh, the angels got involved in God’s plan!

Luk 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And this is why we must esteem those that are called of God.

Isa 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

And this is why we must thank God for what He has already done and God tells us what He is about to do in His Word.

*****2Th 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

The Lord Jesus redeemed us and we have been pardoned!

Pardoned means “like it never even happened”.

Num 14:20 And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word:
Num 14:21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.

We are pardoned by the “Grace of God” and paid for on Calvary’s Cross.

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, “which he hath purchased with his own blood”.

That word “bound” means “we owe”.

We are obligated to thank God for what He has done and foolish if we do not do so!

When God calls and we answer, He does not hesitate to immediately forgive us all our sin.

Not just the sin we have sinned up to that point but of sin throughout our life time.

Our names are immediately written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life and can never be removed, surely we can thank God for what He has already done.

The Lord Jesus paid the price for our redemption while we were all still sinners, surely we can thank Him for what He has already done!

We have been saved from a burning Hell.
We have been saved from the coming wrath of God.

Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Surely we can thank Him for what He has already done!

When we abound in the love of God, then that love will abound even more toward each other!

These are just the proper things to do if you claim to be a Christian and walk the Christian walk!

Only when our faith is real can these things happen!

Our faith cannot be in miracles, nor in the history of the church, nor counterfeit, nor temporary.

Our faith must be in the unseen but the true Living God!

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Our faith must be that we believe the promises of God are so real, that we can live them in this life we have now!

This is the faith that can be seen by others!

*****2Th 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

The Apostle Paul had now been in Corinth for nearly a year and a half and not only had he heard of how these Thessalonians were enduring persecutions and tribulations but Paul had even boasted of it in his own sermons to other churches started in Corinth.

1Th 1:8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

We can think what we want to, but even in America Christians may wake up one day and find that Christianity is outlawed!

We should pray much for those in certain places that are being beheaded and condemned to death just because they trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

These tribulations in the Church Age are those that all saints must endure and these tribulations come from men.

Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

The future tribulations that come after the Rapture of the Church, will all come from God Himself.

There will be a great difference!

It is hard for us in America to realize true persecution until we see what is happening in Iraq and Syria and throughout the world, today to Christians.

The Bible speaks of these thing in the Psalms:

Psa 74:7 They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground.
Psa 74:8 They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.
Psa 74:9 We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.
Psa 74:10 O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?

Places of worship are being destroyed.

Even old places such as the tomb of Joseph, the Temple mount, and many other places are being systematically destroyed by those of false religion.

It astounds me that the Muslim call Jerusalem a holy place but “they turn their backside” to Jerusalem and pray toward Mecca 5 times a day.

They never pray toward Jerusalem!

**It is Jehovah God, not Allah who instituted and founded the Church.

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

These are the places where Jehovah God is to be worshipped and acknowledged.

But we should remember it is all those with faith and patience who inherit the promises of God.

Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

**Faith comes before suffering because we will all suffer for the name of Jesus Christ.

The faith of all Christians will be tested before the return of Jesus Christ to get His Church!

What is the greatest sign of faith? To grow in the love of God and for our fellow saints with great joy through all persecutions.

*****2Th 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

We are made heirs to the Kingdom of God by the “New Birth” but we prove our worthiness of that kingdom by the readiness with which we endure suffering for the things of Christ Jesus.

We are all subject to the same treatment that Jesus suffered.

Listen to what Jesus said:

Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

We may never have to endure the cross but Jesus says to pick up your own cross daily and be prepared.

Jesus never said that that cross would not be heavy at times!

We may never be whipped by a cat of nine tails but some go through worse than this today in other parts of the world.

We are not standing on a mountain top with no escape and no food and water but there are some that are doing that in our world today.

We all will suffer some but many today suffer a deliberate attack on their person just because they claim Jesus as Lord.

Still at all times we are to praise the Lord!

We are to take a definite stand knowing that we will become the objects of the world’s hatred.

This is how we become worthy of God’s Kingdom!

We are to love our enemies.
We are to bless them that curse us.
We are to pray for those that despite-fully use us.

But in His own due time God will deal with all those that have persecuted His Church.

This is also a promise of God!

There will be a righteous judgment of the ungodly!

*****2Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

Righteous here in this verse means that God is justified in the actions He will take!

Most liberals do not like this verse.

God is not pleased with how the world treats His children.

And just as God made His own choice to provide this period of “Grace” we call the “Church Age” God has already made His own choice to recompense tribulation to them that trouble His children.

Recompense means to repay them for what they have done!

Psa 94:23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.

From God’s standpoint this is the absolute right thing to do!

There are only two groups of people on this Earth.

Those that love the Lord Jesus Christ and those that do not!

Those that love the Lord will be in Heaven during this time of re-compensation and only those left behind will feel the judgment of God for all the things they have done and for rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ.

This re-compensation is righteous in the sight of the Lord!

Today we know of the Muslim who believe they will rewarded for persecuting the followers of Christ but God says that their reward will be His judgment not 70 virgins in Heaven!

After all Allah is not Jehovah God!

Where will the Church be when this takes place?

*****2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

In Chapter 4 we saw Christ Jesus returning in the clouds to possess His Church.

This when Jesus will return as a “thief” in the clouds!

We do not know much about this time.

Here in this verse, we see Christ Jesus returning to the Earth.

This will take place at the end of the tribulation period which will last 7 years.

These are two separate events!

Those who are doing the troubling will receive tribulation during those 7 years.

Those who are being troubled will already be at rest, where no troubles can ever reach them again, gathered by the Lord!

Those that are “at rest” are the “Raptured” Church.

Rest is the exact opposite of tribulation!

Mat 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Those angels that come with the Lord the first time testified of peace:

Luk 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Those same angels that come with the Lord on in second return will bring vengeance and flaming fire.

The angels may not know the plan of God but they will always be involved in God’s plan!

*****2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

When God introduced Himself to Moses it was at the burning bush.

Exo 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

God guided Israel through the wilderness with a pillar of fire.

Exo 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Fire is used throughout the Tribulation period.

Rev 8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Rev 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

This Earth we now live on will be burned up in the end by fire.

2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

God will come in vengeance but this cannot be considered revenge, because to God it is only justice.

Psa 50:3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
Psa 50:4 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.

Our God is a consuming fire.

Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

There are only two kind of people in this world. Those that love Jesus and those that do not love Jesus and God has this warning.

Psa 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

The world may mock these things but on the “day of the Lord” they will get to meet my God and it will not be a good day to be alive on this Earth.

Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Knowing God means much more than knowing about God!

To know God is to know Him as He is!

Knowing God requires a personal relationship with Him!

Knowing God is acknowledging Him as the Sovereign Creator of this Earth and all creation.

Knowing God is acknowledging Him as the only Redeeming Savior.

Knowing God is acknowledging Him as the all-seeing Righteous Judge.

Who are those that do not know God?

Those that do not obey the “Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ”!

It is by the “Gospel” that people are saved.

1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

No matter what the world says there is no other means of salvation!

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

The “Gospel” is the good news of the Bible and salvation is offered freely to anyone who has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Those that die in the “Day of the Lord” will have no excuse for rejecting the love of God as they face the Living God!

Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

How will all these that reject the Lord perish?

*****2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
2Th 1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

This destruction this “everlasting judgment” is not an annihilation of being!

This destruction is “everlasting punishment”!

Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

This destruction is “everlasting torment”!

There will no parties and no joy in the Burning Lake of Fire.

This destruction will be an everlasting separation from God and His power to change things for the better!

**This fiery hell cannot be located on this Earth.

Rev 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

This burning lake of fire was created for Satan and his angels and it exist now and will exist after the Earth is destroyed by fire.

This burning lake of fire will be as far away from the New Earth as possible!

God is pure.

God is love.

God is power.

God is righteous.

God is in all beauty.

God is the essence of intelligence.

These are some of the things that make man real and these are the things that have been rejected by the lost and none of these things will be found in hell!

While those that choose to be in Hell, and it is a choice they make themselves, God will be glorified in all His saints.

In Chapter 4 the Rapture of the Church was made clear.

God will be “admired in all them that believe”.

There is no such thing as a partial Rapture!

There will be a time of rewards at the “Judgment Seat of Christ” but “all the saved” will admire the Lord on the day He will judge this Earth!

2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Knowing all these things then we need to pray for the saints and for the lost!

*****2Th 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
2Th 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is in the hope of all these things that must keep us faithful in these days we live now!

In verse 5 Paul said we should strive to be worthy of the kingdom of God.

This is our walk with God after salvation until the day of the Rapture or physical death.

In this verse we that should consider this day by day.

God ‘s calling is in His “Grace and Love” and this is the same calling we all have to show to those around us!

We should not ever forget, it is a great privilege to be allowed to walk with God in this life, through a world that rejects Him and be given the opportunity to walk with God throughout eternity.

It is a privilege to bear the name of Christian, when the name of Christ is so despised in this world.

It will a great privilege to be counted worthy of His calling!

But for those that reject Our Lord Jesus there is this coming judgment!

Those that do not know the Lord today will certainly know Him when He is revealed from Heaven in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that obey not the “Gospel”!

Without a doubt every knee will bow to Jesus!

Isa 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

This is also the “Gospel”!

Let’s Pray!

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