An Encouraging Revelation

AN ENCOURAGING REVELATION

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:1-3 (KJV)

It seems that the history of man has began to reach its climax, and because of this, it is of the utmost importance for all people to realize the greatness of Jesus Christ, His present and future power to redeem, judge and bring to fruition the completeness of His redemption.

It is the purpose of this study to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as being alive, seated at the right hand of the Father; as the “Chief Subject”; the exalted Priest-King in chapters 1 – 3; as the glorified Lamb in chapters 4 – 5 and reigning on the throne; the Judge of all the earth in chapters 6 – 18, and in chapter 19 He returns to earth as the conquering King of kings; finally, closing the book ushering His Bride (the Church) into the glorious heavenly city; thus “UNVEILING HIS GLORY”.

The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ has been viewed by many, even professing Christians, as a book of “Doom and Gloom”, as has also been the other apocalyptic book of Daniel. They are not. These are books of hope and fulfillment of our final joy – eternal joy. Let me insert this information concerning the title of the book. Some refer to the book as “Revelations”. Not to be “Know it allish”, but there are no plural revelations, it is a single Revelation. It seems to me that there is one proper title of the book, and it is given in the first sentence of the text, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ…”

The book is for our understanding. It is written where you must be familiar with the rest of Scripture, especially the Old Testament. It is filled with symbolism, which is open to interpretation, but by the work of the Holy Spirit a committed Christian can understand. I know that I will fall far short of excellence, but these will be my thoughts and understanding in my study, hopefully and prayerfully led by the Holy Spirit.

This book was written to encourage the Christians, who were being persecuted by Rome, of the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ. He would conquer every kingdom of man that would exalt itself against Him.

This book was written while the Roman persecution was going on under Domitian who hated Christianity. He had exiled John to “The isle that is called Patmos”. This is where John received the Revelation. It was sent to, and read by the seven churches mentioned in verse 11. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It is a book for the Church of all ages until the redemption of mankind is complete.

We will see in the Revelation that it is truly of Jesus and His power to redeem, and that until its completion we, who are Christians, are to keep the faith of Jesus Christ. He will be faithful to fulfill the Father’s will in us.
Let me explain something before I continue. I believe the Bible teaches the rapture of the Church before a period of Tribulation comes on the earth. That that period of Tribulation will be a total of 7 years in length, and that at the end of that 7 years Jesus will come down to earth, set up an earthly kingdom for a period of 1000 years. At the end of that thousand years will come the Great White throne judgment where all the haters of God, “…Inhabiters of earth” will be judged by their works. I believe these things can be seen in The Revelation, as well as other Scriptures. I also know that there are a many good Christian people who do not believe that form of eschatology. That is their belief, and they will go be with Christ in the rapture whether they believe it or not. I will be happy to meet them there.

Let us look now at the Revelation. If we think about the time that has passed since the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus, it could have been as much as 6o years. The Domitian reign of Rome is nearing an end, and John probably needs some encouragement, as well as those to whom he will send this writing. The “Unveiling” is the unveiling of Jesus Christ in all His glory. It will show things which must “Shortly take place”. There are some who argue against the imminent [ready to take place] appearing of Jesus Christ. This is one statement for it. Jesus reveals the suffering and rejection He has endured. He will reveal His power and His glory which all shall see. It is a revelation given by the Father to Jesus to reveal what “Must shortly come to pass”. It is a message which is delivered by an angel to His servants for all the servants of Christ. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 (KJV). This apocalyptic message is to be revealed (Rev. 22:10), while the message for Daniel, in his time was to be concealed (Daniel 12:4). There is only one thing that John is told not to write and reveal, and that was the message of the seven thunders (Rev. 10:4). What was said there we may never know, nor should we even speculate.

There is a faithful witness in this Revelation. John’s gospel and epistles point out Jesus Christ as the Living Word (John 1:1), the Lamb, come to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and that He is God in flesh (John 1:14). John shows us Jesus very clearly as the Word become flesh, for the purpose of dying for our sins, buried, and rising again. He is getting a look at Jesus much unlike anything He has ever seen. The only thing that may have come near it would have been on the mount as Jesus was “Transfigured” in their sight. John faithful in his testimony and witness of Jesus Christ.

We come now to the first of seven Beatitudes of the Revelation. It is a promise of blessing, of happiness – that is what the meaning of “Blessed” is. What many churches and pastors are getting away from in worship services is the reading of God’s Word. There is a special blessing for those who will read the Revelation in worship to God. This blessing would apply, I believe in any situation. In our own private reading, in a Bible study group, corporate worship, or parents with children, and spouses reading it together. There is also a blessing for the hearer of these words. “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). To “Hear” means with understanding putting it to action, which leads us to the third blessing. The keeping of this is to “hear” it putting it to work for encouraging others in the faith, and for our own stability of faith. It is something to hang on to, because the times are tough. “Do not doubt in the dark, what you have learned in the light.” One thing is certain and that is that “time is short”, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” (1Thes. 5:2). This is a book of hope for the Christian. It is a book of encouragment. These seven beautitudes are placed in the book to show us the light in the darkness of troubled times. Seeing that there are seven of the “Beatitudes” it means that our joy will be full, and gives us strength in the face of opposition.

We see that Jesus is central to this final book of the Bible. Were the Bible to close with any other book we would not have a completed picture.

The Bible begins with the book of “Beginnings” – Genesis and closes with the triumph of Jesus Christ, the redemption of mankind. A-MEN.

A-MEN.

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Living As Christians In The World Today (6)

People of the Day Light
To show that since the coming of the Lord is a certain event those who are born again will not be surprised at that coming, but will be prepared and ready, by being prepared by God for that great day.

INTRODUCTION:
In the last chapter, the final six verses, we saw the blessing of being in Christ, whether we are alive at His coming or dead.

It is exciting thinking of our Lord’s certain return. There may be many who name the name of Jesus, but call this teaching myth, or someones wild imagination run wild. Jesus, our Savior said that He was returning or “I will come again…” (John 14:3). If He lied about this how can we trust Him for salvation; because this event is a part of our redemption/salvation. We would not be able to trust Him if He does not return. His coming again is further evidence of His bodily resurrection; especially when He raises those who have died as His followers. The only way He would not return is if He did not rise bodily from the grave. He will come again, just as He said.

In this chapter, and the final chapter of Second Thessalonians we find more encouragement for the born again child of God, but it is also a warning to those who do not know Jesus. Verses 1 – 11 tell us of the “Day of the Lord”. The “Day of the Lord” is also mentioned in the Old Testament books of Joel 2:1, 2ff.; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Isaiah 2:12-21. It is also called “The time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7. This is a day of darkness for the reprobate, unbelievers alive in that day. A day of struggle, catastrophe, chaos, torment, and sorrow; unlike any event ever seen on earth.

In verses 12 – 22 we are instructed in our daily lives, how we ought to live. It involves respect to our spiritual leaders, warning those who reject authority, beiing thankful, rejoicing, praying, our responses to the preaching [prophecy] of the Word and other such things.

Verses 23 – 38 is the conclusing of the letter. There is much to this conclusion – our sanctification; the faithfulness of God (v. 24; see also Philippians 1:6), a request for prayer, and the way we are to greet one another.

Verses 1 – 2 —

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 (KJV)

Paul had evidently spoken to the Church concerning times and seasons before he was ran out of town, but here is a friendly reminder.

Why should the teaching of the rapture of the Church and “The day of the Lord” be preached and taught? 1.) For comfort and encouragement to Believers; 2.) For the purity of the Believer (2 Peter 3:14); 3.) For a zeal in the hearts of Believers for those who are lost (2 Peter 3:9, 10); 2 Corinthians 5:11); 4.) “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

Jesus will come like a thief when He comes in the clouds. Only those who know HIm will rise to meet Him in the air. When people suddenly realize a co-worker, a wife, or husband, son or daughter, a friend, the driver of an automobile, the pilot of an airplane (Private or Commercial), the pastor, the deacon, or a Sunday School/Bible Study teacher is missing there will be such chaos as the world has never seen. There are people unaware. These people who are still in darkness.

Verses 3 – 4 —

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” vv. 3-4

The world is longing for peace. We are hungry for it. We can almost taste it. When it appears there is peace; when it appears that economic peace and recovery is here, that there is peace from war and strife; that is when the people will be at ease. Nothing destructive will happen, people believe all is well. Who would dare upset our progress? Jesus will come, and the unprepared “Shall not escape”.

This day will not came “As a thief” for the prepared (See Matthew 25:1-13). This word “Darkness” is used in reference to those who are outside of Jesus. Therefore, if one is in the light he is not in darkness.

Verses 5 – 8 —

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” vv. 5-8

Sleeping is one of the times in our lives when we are unaware. When we are asleep we could almost care less for what goes on around us. It is a dangerous time.

This sleep is of the spiritual sort. Unaware of the darkness. Unaware of the peril that is in the path ahead. It means satisfied with the way things are – COMPLACENCY. Indifferent, uncaring, about what is ahead – you know, bur you are unwilling to act upon it – APATHY.

“Let us not sleep”, but let us be aware, able to control ourselves, watching, waiting for the Lord’s appearing, which is the “Blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Those who are watching are those “Who love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Jesus commands us to watch (Matthew 24:42-43; Luke 12:35-40). The person (The Believer) who is watching is an alert Believer. We are to be “Watchmen” sounding an alarm to the populace (See

Ezekiel 33:1-6). The Watchmen must remain awake.

There are all kinds of evil wickedness going on in the darkness. People doing their evil, hate for light to expose it (John 3:19). The ones who participate in the darkness are not people of light. They too need the light.

The”Breastplate of faith” is to turn the fiery darts of Satan, which is constantly hurled at the children of light. The “Helmet of Salvation” is on our head where we have most of our sense – sight, smell, sound, and taste; and the head is also the control centel for the body. We reason with our head. Is it any wonder we must have the Helmet of Salvation”.

Verses 9 – 11 —

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” vv. 9-11

It is pretty evident by verse nine that God has not intended for His Church to go through the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” which we call “The great tribulation period”. It does not stand on the one verse alone though (See Revelation 3:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:7). It stands on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The comfort of these words are not empty. Where would the comfort be if we had to endure “Great tribulation”? We endure tribulation already, but nothing the like of which awaits the “Day of the Lord”, when all living unbelievers will be tried and “They shall not escape”; except through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and very likeable persecution death.

Verses 12 – 22 —

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” vv. 12-22

Here is listed some things which seem to indicate those who are awake, aware, and ready for the Lord’s return.

vv. 12-13 – Having respect for your pastor, deacon(s), teachers, the ones who are responsible for your spiritual well being. Hold them up in prayer for boldness, love, and encouragement.

This is certainly not an excuse for overlooking a false preacher or teacher, but one who teaches and believes the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, Holy Spirit inspired Word of God.

PEACE = Not constantly squabbling, quarelling, but working in unity for the same cause and purpose. If the Church cannot be at peace with one another there is little hope for the world to be at peace.

v. 14 – The word “Unruly” means insubordinate (in religious matters) which is an unwillingness to submit to authority. We are told to warn such, and not to be in such a case ourselves.

Encouragement is always needed. When others encourage us we are motivated to serve the Lord in a greater capacity. We can minister to others with encouragement.

v. 15 – Always pursue the good. Do good to others even when they treat you wickedly.

v. 16 – Rejoicing is a sign of no fear, a sign of peace and contentment. When we rejoice in our Lord there is also a witness to those around us.

v. 17 – Pray for perseverance. Keep on bringing your requests to the Lord until He answers – He will either give what you ask, or He willl say “No!” or He might say “Wait!”

v. 18 – When others around are complaining, whether about their work, home, family, sickness, or Church, we are to be thankful “In everything” knowing that God is in control of the circumstances and He is using themto make us stronger and better Christians.

v. 19 – The Holy Spirit is likened unto fire. To quench a fire we often dump water on it – we put the fire out. To “Quench the Spirit” is to hear Him speak to us, but determine we will not heed His leading, and do our own rebellous act. This is sin, and one that is very often committed by all of us. We do not have time, or not right now, or somebody else can do it are words often expressed that quenches the fire of the Spirit.

v. 20 – Prophecy is the “Foretelling” of the future and/or the “Forthtelling” of the Word of God. All the prophets of the Bible “Foretold” the future – but even more important they were “Forthtellers” of God’s Word. Many, many times when God’s prophet told of some future event it was confirmed as the Word of the Lord by a present or imminent sign. Today the prophet of God only foretells by the written Word of God, and it is confirmed in that same word. He also forthtells by that same word.

The word “Despised” means contemptible, least esteemed – to have no delight in. It means you may like music in the worship, but you cannot stand the preaching of the word. It makes you uncomfortable, you want to get out as quickly as possible. Ask yourself “Why?” You are uncomfortable in the presence of God, and His holy Word. That is why. Proverbs 13:13 states, “He who despises the Word will be destroyed.”

v. 21 – Goes along with verse twenty. When a man stands to deliver God’s message there is to be a test. Does it come from God, or does it contradict His Word? If it goes against the Bible; it is not a message from God.

v. 22 – Staying away from every form of evil is the Christians calling, ife we are prepared for His coming. If it shows up, and you are tempted by it flee from it; run with all the strength you have – run from it.

Verses 23 – 24 —

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” vv. 23-24

God Himself is the One who sets us apart from all others, and He preserves us blameless for the coming of Jesus His Son.

God is faithful. He started the work, and He has never left His work undone. The work He has began in you He will complete (Philippians 1:6).

Verses 25 – 28 —

“Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” vv. 25-28

A request for prayer, greeting and a charge or challenge to read this epistle to all Christians is given by Paul in closing.

His request for prayer was not just empty words. Paul knew the importance of prayer.
Never short on grace he always left it with others. So ought we as well.

Living As Christians In The World Today (3)

The Christians Hope

To show that caring Christians live not for themselves but for the Lord and those who have come to Christ through their ministry.

INTRODUCTION:
Paul calls the Thessalonian Church to remember how it was when he came to them. He reminds them how he worked and labored; howhe had suffered persecution, realizing they were suffering persecution as well.

The concern Paul had, as any man of God does, is that the people be strong in the faith. There were and are temptations which lure God’s children off the path of living the Christian life. It is especially so in the time of Paul’s letters to them, and as the time of the return of Christ draws nearer.

What joy there is for a mother and father who raise their children in the precepts, statutes, judgments, and commandments of the Lord when their child gives their life to Him. When a father teaches his son how to safely operate the farm tractor, and that boy takes it up like he was born on it, and almost may have been. The joy, the hope of the Christian (The active Christian) is when he/she sees one they have taught living according to God’s Word. What joy Paul must have felt and received when word came to him how these had grown in the faith.

Looking at Verses 1 – 2 —

“For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: but even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.” 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (KJV)

There is great assurance in these verses. The work of God is never in vain. If oneperson comes to Christ as a result of our presence it is not in vain. This Church was a very active Church, and very much alive. They were not in the least way in danger of losing their candlestick.

Even though persecution arises we are to continue to be bold with the message and gospel of Jesus Christ. When we are persecutied for our faith, and because of our boldness of speech we should approach it just like Peter and John, and all the Apostles did in Acts chapter four. They were commanded not to speak in that Name (The name of Jesus) anymore. They went and told the others, and they all just prayed for more boldness.

Verses 3 – 12 —

“For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: as ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:3-12

The concern of a parent is noticed in these verses. Paul, having been gone for several days, maybe weeks or months, shows his concern for their growth. He reminds them of his work and faithfulness, and the things whichhe taught them the three weeks he was with them.

  • v. 5 – “A flaterer can use either truth or lies to achieve his unholy purpose, which is to control your cecisions for his profit.” Warren Wiersbe. Paul did not use flattery, or manipulation. He was not in it to please Paul or any other human being.
  • v. 6 – If a Christian is to lead he must be sure of his motive. If it is to receive glory from man he will be bought off. The man of God does not seek to please anyone, but God, and His Son Jesus Christ.
  • vv. 7 – 9 – There has been much said about expectant mothers and their drinking of alcoholic beverages. It is because the alcohol gets into the bloodstream from which the baby is sustained, and can cause awful deformities.
    The loving, caring mother will not eat or drink anything that would bring harm to her baby, either before or after it is born. She feeds, and cares for that child holding it close to here heart.
    We are to be as caring and nourishing to the unborn-again, and the new born again as an expectant and nursing mother – just like Paul.
  • vv. 8 – 12 – Servants of God see themselves not as dominant leaders, but as servants to the people, whicle remaining faithful to God.

Verse 13 —

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13

The Thessalonian Church had received God’s Word, not as some new philosophy, but as the word of truth. They received it as it was a living word from the Living God.
They realized the philosophy and teachings of man has no power, no life, and often leads to guilt with no answer, no way out. They, even more, realized the Word of God offered hope for the hopeless man and woman.

The Word of God to the Thessalonian Church was life changing, “Effectively works in you who believe.” There is great thanksgiving for the people who are in such a case.

Verses 14 – 16 —

“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

These people were standing for Christ at the peril of their lives. It is Jesus who does the changing in our lives, so it is also He who empowers us to stand in tribulation.
Paul likens the Thessalonians to the Judean Christians who were persecuted for their faith.

No religion is persecuted so harshly as ones personal relationship with Jesus Christ is when it is lived in His presence and power.

The religious establishment are the ones’ who killed Jesus. This by no means is saying that He did not die for our sins. They are also the ones’ who “Do not please God, and are hostile to all men.” This religion also allowed no room for different groups of people, and allowed no one but themselves to be saved. They just keep on heaping their sins, piling them up one upon another, condemning themselves. They bring God’s wrath upon themselves, because they will not accept the salvation God offers to all. “God patiently waits as sinners rebel against Him and He watches as their measure of sin and judgment fills up. When the time is up, God’s patience will end and judgment will fall.” Warren Wiersbe.

Verses 17 -18 —

“But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18

Many times there are hindrances which come into our lives and ministries. Paul experienced this. He says the hindering was by Satan, for only he would hinder the work of the gospel, but I am sure Paul realized that Satancannot do any more than God will allow him to.

The saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, is not absolutely false. In Paul’s case especially, he longed to be with them, to teach, and guide them in God’s program for their lives.

While we look at this andknow that Satan was hindering Paul from coming to Thessalonica; we can also know that while he was in Corinth writing this letter, Paul was doing a great work there. We can learn a great lesson here. While Satan may be hindering in one place we need to be at work where he is not. Satan can be in only one place at a time.

Verses 19 – 20 —

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 19-20

Giving of gifts can be a very joyous occasion. The giving of a gift should be as joyous to the giver as it is to the receiver.

What a joy it is to see people come to faith in Christ, especially those where you have been used by the Lord to help that person come to Jesus.

The hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing of a soul-winner will be to see all those he has had a part, “In the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming.” That is our glory and joy. What do you have to give to the Lord when you appear before Him at His throne?

Living As Christians in The World Today (1)

Living As Christians In A World Gone Mad

To show Christians how we are to live in the world as the coming of our Lord Jesus draws near.

INTRODUCTION TO SERIES:
It appears that some of the people in the Church were being told or just believing the return of Jesus was so near, and that if they really believed that they should quit their jobs, sell their homes and lands.

These two letters teach completely the opposite. As a matter of fact the Bible teaches opposite of that. Jesus’s coming is certain and definitely near. We are to keep on yielding our lives to Him, and going about the daily Christian life as though He might not come for a million years.

First Thessalonians mentions the second coming of Jesus as the end or near the end of each chapter. Chapter four gives us an indepth look at the “Catching away” of the Saints which is commonly referred to as the “Rapture”.

In Thessalonica there was much heathen, pagan worship. The Church was greatly persecuted because they were living their faith. They would probably be called radical by even many professing Christians of our day.

We live in a society that is quite similar to theirs. People do not mind what god you worship, as long as you keep it to yourself. “Keep it [your faith] in the Church building.” Do not take it to your job. Do not take it on vacation. Do not take it to your friends, because if you do you will be tagged as a trouble maker, a rabble rouser, and you will be shunned by your peers.

That is why this series in the Thessalonian Letter; “Living As Christians In A World Gone Mad”.

Part 1 – Change By The Power of God
To commend the Church for their faith, and hope that is in the heart: and to challenge them to live exemplary lives to show forth the change that God has wrought in their lives.

INTRODUCTION:
The study actually begins in Acts 17:1-10 which tells of Paul’s short ministry in Thessalonica. It was only about three weeks in duration, but in three weeks there was an established Church – a body of Believers worshiping, praying, studying the Scriptures, and breaking bread together. The Believers fearing for Paul’s and Silas’s life sent them away (Acts 17:10).

Paul is a man of God greatly concerned about this young Church. He sends Timothy to them and Timothy sends word back to Paul of their growth and stedfastness of faith. Paul is thrilled, and fully knows that it is the work of God’s Spirit. He sends them a letter to assure them of His prayers, to encourage them, and to exhort them to continue strong in the Word and faith, no matter what.

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1 (KJV)

Looking at Verse 1 –
Paul begins the letter in pretty much his normal way; only he adds Silvanus [Silas] and Timothy. These are men the people at Thessalonica were familiar with. He also acknowledges that they are a Church in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what counts. It really does not matter if a board of men, or a government recognizes a Church; as long as it is in God and the Lord Jesus, it is a Church.

Paul sends them a familiar greeting “Grace and peace”. True grace and peace can only come through God and His Son Jesus.

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father…” 1:2-3

Verses 2 – 3 —
There is thanksgiving in Paul’s heart for this Church, and their faithfulness. He also assures them of his prayer for them.

Their faith that works; the love they show to others ministering to others and to one another; their patience in God – knowing He always knows best in every situation; these were all known by Paul as their spiritual leader, and He remembered them.

BE READY JESUS IS COMING SOON.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that He died on a cross for your sins, was buried and rose again from the dead; and He is alive forever more.

LAST DAYS: THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM WILL BE PROCLAIMED TO THE WHOLE WORLD

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14 (KJV)

There are many who believe and teach that Jesus cannot come again until the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed and received all over the world. There are only a few places on the earth where the gospel has not been preached. During the time of suffering, the time of tribulation, the gospel message may contain the message of the coming of Christ’s rule and reign upon the earth. It would be a means of preparing the believers for that day.

The “gospel of the kingdom” does need to be spoken today (2015), but it is not heard much from the pulpits of our churches. May God have mercy toward those pastors/preachers who neglect to tell of the glorious kingdom of Christ on earth.

Pastors and preachers are saying, “I want to preach practical messages that people can use for their everyday life. I don’t see any practicality to preaching of ‘pie in the sky by and by’”. How could anything be any more practical than getting people ready for Christ’s coming? Preacher, one day they are going to look you in the eye and say, “Why didn’t you tell us? Why didn’t you tell us that Jesus was coming again? Why didn’t you tell us we needed to be ready?”, then what will your answer be? “Well, it wasn’t practical to preach”. The truth is friend, YOU DON’T BELIEVE IT. What are you doing behind that sacred desk where you are supposed to be proclaiming the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27-28). Oh yeah, not many of you are using a “sacred desk” any longer. You are using a plastic, see through, maybe fiber glass stand. You are still responsible for preaching the whole counsel of God.

The message of the kingdom of Christ has continued to be proclaimed since Jesus gave the commission to go into the world. Where one has failed or fallen, God raises another to continue. God has always had a remnant of people. The message will continue right up until the end of the time of trouble that is coming on the earth, and possibly right through the Millennial reign of Christ on earth.

LAST DAYS: Be Prepared

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:9-14 (KJV)

The birth pangs coming on the world are small in comparison to what is going to come. There will be an unprecedented increase in storms, earthquakes, other weather related catastrophes; unlike anything the world has ever seen. This all for the purpose of God’s redemption of His people, His nation called Israel. It is my belief that we are seeing these birth pangs this very day.

The nation of Israel is being attacked daily by cowardly terrorist who believe their only sure way to eternal blessing is by the taking of the infidel – Jews, Christians and pagans – if they cannot convert them to Islam. Jesus said, “See that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” 24:6. The world over is seeing these things take place, and we should see them as God’s invitation to repent of our sins and trust His Son as our personal Lord and Savior.

We must realize that these words are being spoken to the Jewish people; particularly to the disciples at this time to make them aware that He has not come to set up His earthly kingdom just yet. That the people of Israel have a time coming for cleansing and repentance. Let me give you three things for now that let me know that this is a message for the Jew: 1) When we look at the text of Matthew we see the genealogy of a King – the King of the Jews; 2) the mention of the “Abomination of desolation” in verse 15; and 3) “Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” verse 16. These are clearly references to Jewish people.

There will be a point before the judgment proceeds with the nation of Israel where the Church will be taken out of this world. For some reason some want to call it a “Secret Rapture” or some other word such as that. There will be nothing secret about millions of people missing. That is why Jesus has cautioned us, warned us many times “I am coming again”, “No one knows the day or the hour”, “In such an hour as ye think not; the Son of Man cometh”. His coming for His bride is imminent, ie. sudden, and without further notice. What is secret about that? What worldly thief announces his coming? None. If any home owner knew a thief was coming they would be ready and prepared. We know Jesus is coming again for His bride; we need to be ready for His appearing, and for His call, “Come up here”.

On that day when millions disappear then, there is going to come a time of persecution on the nation of Israel. There will be a time of peace for about 3.5 years. Then that peace will be broken by the false peace maker, and that is when they will need to flee to the mountains.

Sorrows Coming to Pass

In looking at the Olivet Discourse we see that the disciples are still without understanding concerning the death, burial and resurrection; and they are still looking for Him to set up an earthly kingdom at that present time. The thought of the temple being destroyed was beyond their thinking and curious minds. The temple; to the people of Israel represented a security, and the presence of God.

As I study this portion of Scripture a question comes to my mind. What of the ark of the covenant? Historians have told us that the ark of the covenant was hidden by Jeremiah in Egypt, or other such stories. In Jerusalem, in the time of Jesus, however, there is a temple, and there is a Holy of Holies within the temple. There is a “veil” which was torn during the crucifixion of Jesus (27:51). The ark of the covenant always represented the presence, power and glory of God. During the time of Jesus was the ark of the covenant behind the veil that was torn from the top to the bottom? Does it matter?

For the temple to be destroyed would be catastrophic for the Jewish people. In the hearts of most of the leaders of Israel, the presence, power, and glory of God seemed to be of little significance; after all, they had their temple, their sacrifices, feast days, Sabbaths, and special days.

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to shew Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:1-8 (KJV)

In verse one as we saw in the last study/message Jesus departs from the temple. Again, this is Matthew’s last mention of Jesus in the temple, and now he has Him departing from it. Even if the ark of the covenant is present behind the veil, the real glory of God has left. The ark of the covenant was only a shadow of the Lord Christ. Made of wood, representing man. Covered in gold representing the purity and deity of God; and within was the law of God – the Ten Commandments – given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai, Aaron’s rod that blossomed (Numbers 17:10), and a sample of the manna (Exodus 16:33). Many probably do not, nor will they want to see it; but this event of Jesus departing the temple is a very sad event; but one which speaks loudly of a coming judgment upon those who rejected Him.

Without God in the temple it was being left desolate (23:28), just as Jesus had said. Being left desolate the temple, then, would become subject to defilement, desecration, and destruction. Always evidence of God’s displeasure and departure.

In A.D. 70 the destruction of the temple was fulfilled. There was not one stone left upon another. These gleaming white marble stones were cut with precision, where each one fit perfectly as the building was being erected. The largest stone which was cut out measured 40 feet in length, by 12 feet wide, by 12 feet high, and weighed up to 100 tons. The East side of the temple was plated with gold, and as the morning sun rose it could be seen from many miles away. The temple had been forty years in the building and it was not completed at the time it was destroyed.

To see these massive stones, and hear the words of Jesus, it would be hard to imagine that that temple could be destroyed, and not one stone be left upon another. However when the temple fell, almost forty years later, it was just as Jesus said. Not one stone was left upon another.

A Study Bible note says,

24:2. not one stone shall be left here. These words were literally fulfilled in A.D. 70. Titus, the Roman general, built lare wooden scaffords around the walls of the temple buildings, piled them high with wood and other flammable items, and set them ablaze. The heat from the fires was so intense that the stones crumbled. The rubble was then sifted to retrieve the melted gold, and the remaining ruins were ‘thrown down’ into the Kidron Valley. See notes on 22:7; Luke 19:43.” THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, NKJV, p. 1438.

It goes to show, when God says something is going to happen; it will happen; and just as He has said.

We are all somewhat curious about the future. We have that curiosity and the only way we know the future, or at least a part of it is by God’s revelation. The disciples were curious, and so asked Jesus, “When will these things be?”, and this was after they were the one’s showing Jesus the temple (v. 2); probably because they were in awe of its beauty and size. I am somewhat amazed by the architecture of the old European variety. There is an old church building in France which was started in its construction in 1100 A.D., and was completed around 1500. It is a massive piece of art, and craftsmanship. It still stands today, but for how much longer only God really knows. It is much greater to be in awe of the One who has shaped and formed and built all things from nothing.

The disciples asked Jesus three questions. Question 1: “When shall these things be?”; Question 2: “What shall be the sign of thy coming?”; and Question 3: “…of the end of the world?” When the disciples, awed by the glory of the building, saw that Jesus was not; they asked Him, “When shall these things be?” With psychics giving people false hope for the future just to gain a few dollars, people still reading their horoscopes, and some flocking to seminars where they can learn how to build their own future by building on themselves; we need a clear word from God on the matter of what the future holds. As has been said, “I don’t know what the future holds; but I know who holds the future.” We can trust and know; when we know Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior; that anything that is in our future is in the hands of the Almighty God, our Creator.

The only reason people go to psychics, palm readers, fortune tellers, necromancers (People who claim to communicate with the dead), and witches is to keep control of their lives themselves. I am forever grateful that the power of the control of my future is not in my hands, but the hands of my heavenly Father. Now, don’t misunderstand me. That does not mean that I can sit down and do nothing. As a responsible man, and Christian man; I still must be vigilant to tend to my regular business affairs, spiritual life, and see that my family grows in the Lord as well. I must be a responsible steward of all that God has blessed me with, and God help me, and forgive me where I haven’t been. God will reveal as much of the future that I need to know, as He wants me to know. He most likely will not tell me when I will die; when my wife, or my children will die; or the death of anyone else for that matter. He can, and He has before with others, but there is nothing that tells us He must do so.

The disciples equate the destruction of the temple with the end of the world [age]. A question we might ask is “Why would God destroy the Temple?” It was the center of worship for the Jews. To the Jew, it was the place where God dwelt. The place where they could meet God, and for some they thought to contain Him only in the temple for themselves, leaving them free to live as they pleased.

Why would God destroy the temple? To save Israel. God will destroy buildings, houses, lands, livestock, even lives to save a soul. Jesus did not tell His disciples when the temple would be destroyed. The destruction spoken of here would take place some years in the near future; it was; and there will be another one built, sometime yet in our future. Instead of telling the disciples “When” these things would come to pass, Jesus mentioned to them some signs of things which would happen before the return of the Lord.

Then in verse four Jesus begins answering the questions when He says, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” With the world experiencing the many forms of catastrophe which we all have seen it is no wonder there are those proposing things which are really “Get rich quick” schemes and scams. Even worse though are the spiritual charlatans who propose the many ways to God; than any way is good as long as you believe. Some give you a promise: “When you send in your offerings to me, then, God will multiply for you, your offering a hundred fold”. None of these false prophets warn of sin, death, and judgment; and certainly none of them call for repentance, and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. There are many in the world out to deceive and to get what they want from anyone who will follow them.

Jesus’s words are, “Take heed that no man deceive you”. In this world there is only one hope and His name is Jesus Christ Son of the Living God; who died on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried carrying our sins away, and rose again as evidence that He is the God incarnate who created all that there is.

There are even some of them who say they are christs, and there are some who will tell you they have the christ spirit or something like that, but what they teach and say is contrary to the true Christ – there is only one – and His name is Jesus, Son of the Living God. The teaching of these male and female charismatic speakers are indeed fascinating, even captivating, but lies meant to lead you away from the truth. Even Oprah has her own gospel now, and it may include Jesus but not the Bible Jesus who died, was buried, and rose again. For if she really believed in Him she would not be promoting other ways to God. The kind of message she and others are proclaiming are leading many souls away from the truth of Jesus Christ right into the arms of Lucifer. Jesus said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.”

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:” Matthew 24:6-7 (KJV)

If we take a look around the world of 2008 we find wars going on in many nations. Oun own nation the USA is at war with two nations – Iraq and Afghanistan – and working toward another with Iran, due to Iran’s arrogance, and their hatred for Israel and the United States, and their threat that nuclear power would bring to the world. The president of Iran has vowed to destroy Israel. We need not fear that happening; it won’t; because God has promised otherwise, and we have seen His Almighty hand of deliverance before.

Jesus tells us in the verse above, “See that ye be not troubled…”. There is a war going on in our own nation. It is not a war with guns, bullets, and bombs; but a war of thoughts and ideas; a war of right versus wrong – what is right and what is wrong – even getting where wrong is considered right, and right is considered as wrong. Let me give you a for instance; in the minds of some citizens of the USA same sex marriage is a good thing for those who want to practice that perversion of a sexual relationship, and if you are silent and will support it by your silence saying on occasion, “I see nothing wrong with it”, then you are good. On the other hand if you oppose this perversion of a sexual relationship, and warn people that it is against the norm, or against God and right, then you are bad. According to a number of these same sex marriage advocates to be against their marriage or union and speak against it is “Hate speech”. That is only one instance of wrong being right, and right being wrong. There are others. You could call it a “Culture war”, but I think it better called a “Spiritual war”.

When Will Jesus Come Again?

I would hope that most of you who come here, if any, since this is new; would know that anyone who would set a date is walking in dangerous territory.  One thing we are warned that no one knows the day or the hour of His coming:

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Matthew 24:36

We must remember that this reference is speaking of the second coming of Jesus in glory and power to reign as King from Jerusalem over the whole earth (Zechariah 14:4-11).  We do not know the time, day or hour; however, it does seem we are supposed to watch for the signs of His coming.

One of the signs of His return in glory is the rapture of the Church.  That is a time when the Church of Jesus Christ, His Body on earth, will be taken up. “The dead in Christ will rise first…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16); that is all the dead from the time of Christ until the day of the catching away.  “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up…” (v. 17).

That will be a major event on the earth when it happens.  There will probably be great chaos, unlike any event that has ever taken place.  I will not go into any details, but there will be chaos all over the world, as millions of faithful, believing people in Christ Jesus will be suddenly gone.

When will Jesus come again?  When He is ready.  When the Father says to the Son “Go get my children”.

Be ready.  Get ready today by calling on the crucified, buried, and resurrected Saviour Jesus Christ.  He will save you.

Signs and Sensationalism

Let me say right at the start that this site will not be dealing with “signs” concerning the second coming of Jesus.

I think looking for signs can be sensationalism, and we do not desire to get sensational, which leads to emotional decisions, excitement without stability in God’s Word.

The thing today’s Christian should be concerned with is that Jesus said, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…”  (John 14:3), and we are told in the book of Acts,

“…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.” Acts 1:11 (KJV)

Are the signs of the times important?  Most definitely; however, the Christian is to be looking for the Saviour Himself to come in the clouds.

That will be sensational.

Battlefields

The header picture of this site is of a battlefield where over 150 years ago the Confederate army met the Union Army in a battle during a war that has killed more soldiers than any battle in American history.  That field is in Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

Yes, this site is about the second coming of Jesus Christ; and I use this intro to have you realize that the coming of the Lord, the Second Coming, will not be without conflict.  There will be a battle when Jesus comes again to take the earth, and control over.  The battle will be against those who hate God, who hate His Son and everything about godliness, holiness, righteousness and justice.  The  early stages of  that battle are being fought today, and have been fought since the resurrection of Jesus by those who love Him.  However, one day that battle will end when Jesus returns; the world of unbelievers will stand against Him, and with a breath from His mouth they will be defeated.  Read Revelation 19.

It is mentioned “And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:14).  These are the saints which have been caught up to be with Him in heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  They have chosen to believe the word of the LORD, His Son, His death, burial and resurrection; and have followed Him on earth that they also may follow Him from heaven.

Will you do that today?