SHAKENED AND TROUBLED
2 Thessalonians 2:1 ¶ Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 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; 4 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.
This group of believers making up the church at Thessalonica was a group so strong in faith towards God and love towards one another that the Apostle Paul “gloried” in them. He even proclaimed that these gifts of faith and love were so evident that he was certain of their eternal election by God! 1 Thessalonians 1:3 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; 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
And THAT is an amazing statement! But he could “see” their faith by their works. James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Yet the hearts of these very strong believers were “shaken” and “troubled.” For no sooner does the gospel come into their hearts, as there comes Satan to rise up against them concerning the doctrine that always draws his afflicting works; the second coming of our Lord! And what an avalanche of deceptions that the dragon flooded out of his mouth in order to cause the true believers to be “carried away” with his lies. Revelation 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. But as you see, none but the earthly unbelievers swallow down his lies! For of God’s true people, we read in John 8:32: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
But look at the various attempts made by the lord of darkness to deceive these believers. The Apostle Paul mentions “by spirit.” That is by spiritual gifts, referring to false preachers. Then he mentions, “by word,” as from any false opinions. And then he mentions these false apostles’ counterfeit letters with his name forged on them. Satan really released all his weapons upon this church! This was the reason of the apostle’s second letter.
But we must realize that it is possible for fear and faith to dwell in the same heart, at the same time. Psalm 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. And this is because the believer, having both a physical birth, and a spiritual birth can experience both fear and faith at any given time. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. While the new spiritual man is being spiritual, the old man, born of the flesh, is still being fleshly. Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Our sanctification is a progressive growth. We are not immediately switched into glorification upon the moment of our spiritual birth. So the Lord puts the glorious treasures of grace, faith, and love into our “earthen vessels.” And that is so to reveal that the excellency of this ability is only from God.
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
While that which is born of the flesh can have fear within it, at the same time that which is born of the spirit will have abiding faith! It is the believers responsibility to continue to “put off” the nature of the old man born of the flesh, and “put on” the new nature born of the Holy Spirit. Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
The Apostle Peter writes of the same things to those whom he addresses as “the strangers scattered.” And he too speaks of his knowing their election by the evidences of the expressions of grace from the newly born spiritual lives. 1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
And he too addresses their mental attitudes towards their temptations and trials. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
And both the Apostles Paul and Peter speak of knowing that these believers are in the kingdom of Christ by their reactions to this onslaught of trials by Satan. 2 Thessalonians 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
And the Apostle Peter sets forth the battle plan of Satan concerning the second coming of our Lord. For he reveals that Satan shall release such words of mockers and scoffers concerning the second coming. 2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
For it is a fallen luminary who unlocks the bottomless pit and releases hordes of locust spirits that block out the light of revelation. Revelation 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
And if there ever was any doctrine which Satan opposes it is the doctrine of Christ’s second coming! For Satan knows that it is only to those who look for the Lord’s coming that he shall appear with their total and complete salvation. Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. He will be coming without any farther provision for sin, bringing to those looking for him into their final glorified state.
And what does the Apostle Peter give as the spiritual ‘antidote’ to this deception? He sets forth the remedy as being growth in grace. Cooperating with the Holy Spirit in being concerned with our spiritual maturing is that which is essential! 2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
And we must keep in mind that the delusion shall be so strong that if it were possible, even God’s elect would be deceived! Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
And we must also understand that this delusion shall blanket the earth as being sent from God Himself! He may use Satan to do it. But He, as always, is the First Cause! 2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
And why will he do so? It is not because that unbelievers do not know the truth! It is said to be because that do not LOVE the truth! About 90% of religion in our nation is carried on by inordinate affections being used by the angel of light! Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
And just what are inordinate affections? They are “sinful passions,” (Amplified Bible), and passions which go “beyond the normal limits.” (Bible Dictionary) For that is the source of the majority of supposed religious experience across our land. – Getting excited about being religiously excited!
And on the other extreme there is dead orthodoxy. Hearing a factual lecture by a teacher of the group’s accepted religious doctrine, who presents himself to be a gospel preacher, or pastor. 2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Consider these warnings in order to understand why it is God who sends the strong delusion that they all might be damned. Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Ezekiel 33:30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. 31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Both the stony ground and the thorny ground seeds spring up at the beginning. But neither have the ability to bring forth fruit unto perfection. Not all who leave the starting gate shall cross the finish line! 1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
The true believer is called to work out that which God has worked in him. And he is to do so, due to his two births, with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
So let us not fail to continue to remain stedfast. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
For God has given us a “good hope through grace.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
Pastor Gene Breed
August 8, 2019