The blessed hope | Light of His coming!

The blessed hope | Light of His coming!

Points Covered: Order of future events, how we are saved from God’s wrath, and our life in light of his coming.

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 2 & 3

Introduction:

We are living in days of great despair. The world is living in uncertainty and hopelessness. I thank God for everyone here because we have been saved from the world; we have a blessed hope of Christ’s return and a glorious future in Jesus Christ.

The believers at Thessalonica were somewhat astir because someone had been teaching wrong doctrine that they were going to have to undergo God’s wrath, the tribulation before Jesus returns in the second coming. Apostle Paul corrects that error and teaches them the order of events.

I. Order of future events.

1. Rapture | Light of His coming!

The first event in this order of events as Paul corrects this erroneous teaching is the rapture.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 // Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him. That is the next step which is to take place, our gathering together unto Jesus Christ. We believe someday soon we will hear that trumpet and the believers will be gathered together unto him.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 // For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

That is the rapture. Jesus comes back in the clouds and he takes us to heaven with him.

2. Tribulation | Light of His coming!

The second event in the order of events as presented in the scripture is the tribulation.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 // And then (When is that? That is the event following the resurrection and the rapture that we just read about) And then shall that Wicked be revealed….

The second event in the order of events is the tribulation, that seven-year period of time when this world is ruled by that wicked, by the antichrist himself. That time of seven years of God’s judgment poured out on this earth.

3. Second Coming | Light of His coming!

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 // Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come (second coming), except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 // And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

So in this passage of the Bible the Apostle Paul as he lays out the events we discover that the order will be first of all a rapture with a resurrection, secondly the Great Tribulation which is described in the Book of Revelation, and third the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, is that born out elsewhere in the scripture? It certainly is.

Turn with me back to the OT: Isaiah 26.

Isaiah 26:19-21 // Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (That is the resurrection at the time of the rapture) Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (Come my people, 7 years a little brief time. So note the order: The resurrection, and then the rapture, and then the tribulation.) V20 until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity (Second Coming): the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

Isaiah 27:1 // In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

The second coming mentioned here. So in this OT passage of this great prophet Isaiah, you have that same order born out. There is first of all the resurrection with the rapture, then there is this time of tribulation, this judgment of God; and then you see Jesus coming in the second coming back to this earth to establish his kingdom for a 1000 years.

The Book of Revelation gives that order of things.

Revelation 4:1 // After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

From Revelation 4 all the way to Revelation 5 is the picture of the church in heaven, praising God for his greatness around the throne. The judgment seat of Christ has taken place. We have our rewards and we worship him. Then chapter 6 describes the tribulation on the earth. So consistently in scripture there is the order: First the resurrection and rapture, then the tribulation on this earth, then the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

My dear friend let me give to you the same encouraging word that Paul was giving to the Christians at Thessalonica. Jesus is coming back soon for his people. If you know Jesus Christ as your savior you need not worry about being here during the tribulation because you will be in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been saved from wrath through him.

II. What qualifies us for the rapture?

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now look at the order that Paul gives why we (church) are saved from the wrath of God.

1. The Gospel

2 Thessalonians 2:14 // Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is the gospel? | Light of His coming

The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus came into this world, lived and died for you. He paid your penalty on the cross. You do not have to face the judgment of God. There is life available to you because Jesus died in your place. That is the good news. The good news is that you and I do not have to face the fires of hell for eternity. The good news is that we have been saved from tribulation. We have a wonderful future with God in heaven because Jesus took our place. My dear friend that is good news.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That is the gospel. The gospel saves from the tribulation or God’s wrath. But the gospel in itself cannot save us; there is some responsibly in man’s part to the gospel.

2. Our belief in the light of the gospel

We are saved from the tribulation because when we heard the gospel we believed. Apostle Paul is given the order of things backward here:

2 Thessalonians 2:13 // But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: We are going to be with God in heaven and will not go through tribulation because we have heard that wonderful good news of the Lord Jesus Christ and we believed the gospel.

John 3:16 // For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

3. Sanctification | Light of His coming

The third reason we will not face tribulation and heaven is open for us is because when we believed in the gospel the Spirit of God sanctified us.

Look at 2 Thessalonians 2 as we are tracing it back here, there was the hearing of the gospel, there was the believing of the truth of the gospel, then there is the sanctification of the spirit.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 // But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ, we are sanctified by the Spirit.

In John 3, Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus about being born again.

John 3:3 // Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:6 // That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

We were born into this world one day. We are men and women of flesh in these bodies of flesh. The Bible says in Adam we all died. Since Adam sinned all are born into this world as sinners. Our spirits are born dead, no life toward God.

But as the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 is reminding us that the day we heard the gospel and believed that good news, we were given the new birth, we are born of the Spirit, we are made alive in Jesus Christ. We are sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

4. Salvation | Light of His coming

Then the fourth reason we will not face tribulation is because we have been saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 // But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

When you heard the gospel, when you believed the gospel, we were sanctified and God saved you.

All the saved here lift your hands up and praise the Lord!

Now let me pause for just a moment. There are some who take this passage of scripture and say, “Well God chooses some people to be saved. Thereby God chooses some not to be saved.” My dear friend, that impunes the very character of God.

2 Peter 3:9 // The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

John 3:16 // For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 12:32 // If I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

The question is not whether God wants you to be saved or not to be saved, he wants all men to be saved. The choice is open to all. The question is: Will you believe the truth of the gospel?Altar call!

Now in light of our salvation and in light of the fact that Jesus Christ is coming again how are we to live?

III. Our response to salvation and second coming.

What is our responsibility in light of our salvation and Jesus’ coming?

1. Live by the Word

2 Thessalonians 2:15 // Therefore, brethren, (In light of this wonderful truth) stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. The traditions which are spoken of here are the teachings of the scripture, which the Apostle Paul had been preaching to them. They are to stand fast and hold those teachings of the scripture and live those in their lives.

We have this book. It not only tells us where we are going and what we shall escape. This book also tells us how we are supposed to live today. So many times we give lip service to it. Our first responsibly is to live in obedience to the Word of God.

2. Work hard and not be a busybody

2 Thessalonians 3:7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: (Then he reminds them of his visit to Thessalonica when the church was established there.) for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

This comes right down to make application to where we live. Stop gossiping and start working. Quit wasting your time running your mouths and be productive.

All of that set within the context of our responsibilities because we have this wonderful salvation and rapture. So he says, don’t be a busybody, don’t walk disorderly, don’t be lazy, you work and you eat your own bread that you get with your work.

3. Live lives of separation

2 Thessalonians 3:6 // Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother (Saved people) that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 // And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

This context speaks of three kinds of separation applicable to us.

a. Separate from gossipers

When someone comes and says have you heard? You know what we are supposed to do? We are supposed to say, “I don’t want to hear it and turn and walk off.”

b. Separate from wrong doctrine

Remember the context is wrong doctrine spreading in the church. Keep away from every new age theology of grace and prosperity. Keep away from wrong doctrine.

c. Separate from worldly lifestyle

Practice of separation on the basis of lifestyle.

4. Pray

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

Prayer is supposed to be the part of the life of a child of God who has been saved from wrath through him.

How is your prayer life?

5. Don’t quit

2 Thessalonians 3:13 // But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

2 Thessalonians 2:17 // Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work.

Now don’t give up, don’t quit. The road gets difficult from time-to-time. The kind of living we are talking about takes some surrender to God and determination and strength of character. Don’t be weary in well doing.

Jesus is coming someday and perhaps soon and you and I will be caught out of this earth before that tribulation period, we have been saved from wrath through him. Now in light of all that don’t quit, don’t be weary in well doing.

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