What Eternity Looks Like
Today we begin our study in 2 Thessalonians Despite Paul’s 1st letter, There was still much confusion about Christ’s 2nd Coming The people there (under great persecution) Thought his return was imminent. Some even refused to work. As we discussed 4 weeks ago, No one knows when Christ will return. Paul encourages them to: -Go about their daily lives -Be ready! 2) Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. Our country is getting less Godly. Christians today are the minority. Our society is becoming less & less tolerant of Christian values. Even so, we don’t understand hardships faced by other believers around world. Everyday, Christians in other countries are: -beaten -imprisoned -killed For their faith. This is what these people were facing. But it’s easy in our hardships To think God: -Doesn’t notice -Doesn’t care 3) Paul reassures them that God: -Cares -Is Just -Sees what’s going on in their lives -Going to be their vindicator These are important points That we’re guilty of forgetting 4) 2 Thes 1:5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. It’s easy to not speak-up about our faith. We don’t want to be: -mocked -politically incorrect -perceived as overly religious When we back down to pressure, God is listening. It’s OK to be ridiculed for your faith. That’s what this passage is about. Notice what Paul tells them: 5) as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God- vs. 5 I want to be counted worthy!!!! In the end, He’s the only one we need to please. 6) 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. God promises to: -Be our avenger -Be our comforter I believe that part of that vengeance is paid-back here on earth. Listen to Psalm 94 6.5) The Lord is a God who avenges. O God who avenges, shine forth. 2 Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve. 3 How long, Lord, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant? 4 They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting. 5 They crush your people, Lord; they oppress your inheritance. 6 They slay the widow and the foreigner; they murder the fatherless. 7 They say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.” 8 Take notice, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise? 9 Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? 10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge? 11 The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile. 7) Vss. 22-23 22 But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. 23 He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the Lord our God will destroy them. God avenges people (on earth) for their wickedness. It’s a promise. WE don’t have to worry about it. He takes care of it. In addition, they get a double whammy. There’s eternal punishment, as well. 8) This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might Hell is a very real place. I want you to notice again vs. 8 9) 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. The Day of Judgement is like a storm That we KNOW is coming. In the days of Noah, He tried to warn them. They laughed & mocked him. As Christians, we share Christ because we believe vs. 8 10) 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. It’s not that we’re trying to be: -elitist -anti-semitic It’s not that at all! We love everyone. We want everyone to go to Heaven. But it’s not our choice, It’s their’s. Each year, people in coastal areas are warned Of major hurricanes. Some flee Some don’t Despite REALLY good information, some people ignore the warnings & die. But it didn’t have to be that way. The same is true of eternity. Heaven is a choice. 11) 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. How do you personally know God? THROUGH JESUS Jesus came to pay the price for our sins. 12) Jn 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. There is only one way to Heaven…Jesus You can receive eternal life by obey Gospel. There is a place called hell. It’s reserved for those who don’t obey Gospel. 13) 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might There is a false teaching in church today about hell. -brief -only lasts for few minutes There’s one word here that proves them wrong. EVERLASTING Everlasting doesn’t stop. This isn’t the only passage describing hell. 14) “Blazing furnace/ weeping & gnashing of teeth” -Mt 13:42, 50 "Eternal fire”- Mt 5:22, Mt 18:9 “Tormented with fire & brimstone”- Rev 14:10 Worst of all, those in hell will be shut out. 15) 9 shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might Those in hell cannot escape. They won’t be able to cross over. They’ll be permanently separated from God. I don’t believe in trying to scare people into eternity. At the same time, we can’t ignore the realities of it either. IF you have given your life to Christ, Something glorious awaits you. It’s going to be better than you ever imagined. Paul tells the Thessalonians about the punishment awaiting those who deny the faith. Next, he says: “For you, there’s something special” 16) 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. He says: “You’re going to Heaven, Because you believed our testimony to you.” Today, I challenge you to share your faith. Take as many people to Heaven as you possibly can. That was Paul’s mission & it’s ours' too. Paul concludes it by saying: 17) 11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.