Living As Christians in The World Today (4)

A Rock Solid Faith

To build up the believer to a purity of life and faith in the sight of God, and to be prepared ro the glorious appearing of Jesus our Lord.

INTRODUCTION:
When we are not with our children we wonder, “How are they doing without us present?” We may be away a little longer than expected. Some unexpected traffic jam, or we make a detour to WalMart, or the bookstore, and we are there longer than expected. Parents seem to never end in their wondering abou their kids.

Paul was in a similar situation, only he was being hindered from his “Parental” duties by Satan. He just could not take it any longer, and sent Timothy to be with them in his place, to find out how they were doing.

Timothy brought back that encouraging report, but still, Paul longed to be with and to see his kids; to visit with them and to encourage them.

Looking at Verses 1 – 2 —

“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; and sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith…” 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (KJV)

The word “Wherefore” means this carries on from chapter two – especially verses 19 and 20. Paul sharing with the Thessalonians how he could not wait to be with them, and find out how they were doing in their lives of faith.

Verses 3 – 5 —

“That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.” vv. 3-5

Many times when afflictions hit us we tend to think that God has forgotten us. When we feel that way we can get to a place where we can not-care, and really get into a state of depression. You could say , “We faith” in the faith.

Suffering for Christ’s sake should not come as a surprise to us. When we live holy in Christ Jesus it will come (See 1 Peter 4:12-14 and 2 Timothy 3:12).

Verses 6 – 7 —

“But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith…” vv. 6-7

There is a mutual love between the parent and the child. There is great comfort,even in persecution for the one who founded the Church, to hear of the people’s desire to see him again as well.

Verse 8 —

“For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” v. 8

Caring can steal the strength away. Being unable to build up the Church in faith Paul was fearful for them, that they migh fall away. The heart was heavy. Sleep was slow in coming, if it came. When Paul was not working, preaching, or sleeping he was praying for the Church. They were “Babes in Christ” and they needed nourishment and care.
At receiving the news Paul rejoiced. He could now live free from the worry and care of this infant Church.

Verses 9 – 10 —

“For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?”  vv. 9-10

A desire to see them and help them grow in the faith. A new born child does not have all it takes to grow. A baby needs to be fed. A baby needs to be nourished, and sheltered from harm; and a baby needs to be loved. The same is true of the spiritual child or Church.

Prayer is for the Church what breathing is for the body. The study of God’s Word is for the Church what food is for the body.

Verse 11 —

“Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.” v. 11

If we are to care, and to be cared for we must trust our directions to be led by Jesus in us – which is the Person of the Holy Spirit.

Verses 12 – 13 —

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” vv. 12-13

Paul’s prayer:
1. Increase and abound in love (agape’);
2. In order to “Establish” [be grounded] in heart; set them up as stable, unshakeable sanctuaries of peace;
3. Blameless in God’s holiness – To be holy is to be clean and fit for God’s Spirit to use.
We are called upon throughout the Word to be fit, to be holy for His use and service. Here we are told to be “Blameless in holiness” meaning God’s holiness. We must be clothed in that if we are to be caught up with the rest of the saints.
The saints mentioned here are the souls and spirits of the departed dead in Christ referred to in chapter 4:14.

 

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LAST DAYS: ABOMINATIONS THAT COME

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand: ) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” Matthew 24:15-18 (KJV)

The Abomination which makes desolate was mentioned by Daniel the prophet, as Jesus says. Daniel the prophet wrote, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:27 (KJV). ALSO SEE DANIEL 11:31. The apostle Paul writes of an abomination of desolation in 2 Thessalonians 2:

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, 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 2:3-4 (KJV)

The temple was destroyed as Jesus said it would be in 70 A.D. Titus a Roman general ordered many trees laid up against the walls of the temple, fueled to accelerate the fire, and the excess heat cracked the white marble stone, so that it crumbled, melting the gold which was imbedded in the seams, and the Eastern front, in order for Titus and his troops to collect the gold. Is this the “Abomination of desolation” of which Jesus is speaking? There are some who think so, and some of those same people will even tell you that Jesus came back at that point and time. Yes, that’s right, there some who believe that the second coming of Jesus has already come and gone. Isn’t the wonderful peace we have on earth really amazing? Isn’t it great how the serpents are harmless to children playing over their dens? It is really amazing to see the lion and the lamb eating straw together these wonderful days. Now I am being sarcastic for a reason, and that is to make the point that Jesus has not yet returned. The destruction of the temple is not the “Abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet”.

Would not Jesus had mentioned it being the Abomination when he told his disciples, “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (v. 2)? That was fulfilled in the 70 A.D., but not the “Abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel”. Some might even want to remind us of an abomination of desolation which took place during those 400 years of silence when Antiochus Epiphanes set himself in the temple, sacrificing a pig, and declaring himself as God. If Jesus, however, is reminding them that it was spoken by Daniel the prophet; Jesus sees it as yet a future event, but going beyond that of the destruction of the temple of 70 A.D.. It is yet, for a day and time that is to come.

It is for a time of which Paul has written. One will come making peace with Israel, and that is according to Daniel; “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:”. With the world in such an upheaval right now; in wars, poor economical outlooks, crime on the increase, the love of many growing cold, right becoming wrong, and wrong becoming right, the technology and science of man being exalted, and attempts of dethroning the God of the Universe; is the world not ripe for a world ruler to come on the scene and seemingly put an end to these things? Human ingenuity, human kindness, humanity itself is being exalted over all things. “We can save ourselves” is the words we sometimes hear.

Jesus says, “When you see the abomination…stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand: )” Jesus is not giving a command for the believer in tribulation to “stand in the holy place”. The “holy place” will be the position of the “abomination of desolation”, the Antichrist; when you see him standing in the holy place. These seeing this take place will be the Jewish people who have not yet believed, but will find it abominable for a man to be declaring himself as God. That is what makes it abomination. I may not have needed to explain that to anyone but myself, but there it is. I needed to ask myself, “Who would be standing in the holy place?” Looking at the following instruction which Jesus gives, it becomes clear that the Antichrist is the one who is standing in the holy place. Jesus’s instruction is, “Whoso readeth, let him understand”. He wants, desires greatly for His people to understand of what, and of whom He is speaking.

The command Jesus gives is for one to flee. The covenant maker, has now broken his covenant, taken away the sacrifices, and exalted himself in the place of God. For this to take place there is going to be a rebuilding of the temple. It is being spoken of by many Jewish people of Israel during these days. To my knowledge and understanding the Jerusalem temple has been destroyed at least three times; Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the raiders of the Babylonian army, then Ezra the scribe went and oversaw the rebuilding of the temple (Read the book of Ezra), then it was destroyed again, and rebuilt by Herod the great and never was completed, and this was the temple which Jesus foretold would be destroyed; which happened in 70 A.D..

This abomination will happen sometime in the future. Maybe not too far away, but very near.  Do you know Jesus died for your sins on the cross, was buried – carrying all the weight of sin, and its condemnation, guilt, shame, and death away; and Jesus rose bodily from the grave.  He is alive forever more.  He is coming soon to take His Church to a place He has prepared for us.