Tuesday, November 27, 2007

II Thessalonians 1:5-12


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. 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 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.

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.

The righteous will suffer and the wicked will seemingly get away with their wickedness. The trio makes it clear here that those who have chosen to be with the Lord will be with Him forever and those who have chosen not to be with the Lord will be shut out of His presence and glory forever--just as they have chosen.

It's interesting that the big issue given here is the "presence" of God. I contend that hell is best defined by the absence of God and heaven is defined as being in the presence of God.

Then they pray for the Thessalonians in this regard: FIRST--that our God may make you worthy of His calling. This is a constant prayer in the New Testament. We have been called by the God of gods and we want to walk worthy of that high calling. NOTE the prayer is that "God may make you worthy", not that you figure out how to become worthy. This is grace at its very best!

SECOND--that by His power He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness. Now their prayer is that God may exert His power to bring about every good desire you have in your heart. I love this one. So much of the time we have great intentions, but are unable to produce it. They pray that this might be produced through the power of God, Himself.

THIRD--that by His power He may bring to fuition your every deed that is prompted by faith. And not only producing your good desires, but that every deed you endeavor that is motivated by faith will also become a reality.

All of this is so that the name of Jesus may be reflected in you and you in Him. Now that's the highest privilege of all time--that your life might be a reflection of the person of Jesus. This brings to mind a couple of verses in the letter to the believers in Philippi. It says there, "I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead."

To reflect Jesus fully is to reflect His suffering and the power of His resurrection.

II Thssalonians 1:1-4


1 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.

Here we have the second letter from the trio to the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica. Their instructions and prayers in the first letter seem to be coming true of these new believers in Jesus.

NOTE "your faith is growing more and more" and "the love all of you have for one another is increasing". The gratefulness to the Lord has nothing to do with how much they have grown nor how much more they have learned. They are not enthused about their latest building project, their choir or their massive offerings. They were most grateful to God for their faith growing and their love for one another increasing.

Today we are all excited about the wrong things! We must learn something from this. We must focus our gratefulness and enthusiasm on growing our faith in Jesus and increasing our love for one another. THEN AND ONLY THEN do you have something to share with others in this world that is supernatural! The Lord is giving me the eyes to see this among the fellowship of Jesus with whom I hang out. I am seeing a growing faith and an increasing love that is thrilling me most. Each time we gather together I am sensing this "more and more" idea within the fellowship. Now that is what encourages me most.

Now NOTE the context in which the "more and more" takes place. For the Thessalonians it is in the midst of trials and persecutions in their lives. They found the key to growing faith and increasing love for one another. It is perseverance!

Perseverance has the idea of hanging in there. When you are in the position of hanging in there in the midst of great difficulty, you'll see your faith growing and your love increasing for one another. So, what are we to do? Pray for more trouble and problems? No, trouble and problems will be provided automatically. What we must do it TAKE THE TIME, no, MAKE THE TIME alone with the Lord to learn how to grow your faith and trust in Him. And, MAKE THE TIME to be with one another-log some hours together-in order to set the proper context of opportunity to learn to love one another. There is no substitute for investing yourself in growing your faith and increasing your love for one another.

So, where are you spending your time? Are you wasting it yourself or are you investing in your personal relationship with Jesus and your relationships with your brothers and sisters?