635.) 2 Thessalonians 3

October 7, 2011

“Consider the ant, you lazy bum. Watch its ways, and become wise.” — Proverbs 6:6.     (GOD’S WORD Translation, 1995)

2 Thessalonians 3 (English Standard Version)

Pray for Us

1Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 4And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Warning Against Idleness

6Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

WORK

I slept and dreamed that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was duty.
I acted, and behold, duty was joy.
–Rabindranath Tagore,  winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature.

The works of a Christian ought to be regarded in the same light as would have been those of Adam and Eve in paradise… “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (He) could not have needed to be justified and made righteous by keeping the garden and working in it; but, that he might not be unemployed.
–from Luther’s On Christian Freedom

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.
–Robert Frost

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
–Theodore Roosevelt

Coming together is a beginning.  Keeping together is progress.  Working together is success.
–Henry Ford

Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
–Harvey McKay

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Music:

I cannot resist!   “Work, for the night is coming.”

Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling,
Work ’mid springing flowers;
Work when the day grows brighter,
Work in the glowing sun;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man’s work is done.

Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the sunny noon;
Fill brightest hours with labor,
Rest comes sure and soon.
Give every flying minute,
Something to keep in store;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man works no more.

Work, for the night is coming,
Under the sunset skies;
While their bright tints are glowing,
Work, for daylight flies.
Work till the last beam fadeth,
Fadeth to shine no more;
Work, while the night is darkening,
When man’s work is o’er.

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13As for you, brothers (and sisters), do not grow weary in doing good.

(Here are two good things I think can be hard work!)

.

.

14If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Benediction

16Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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Next book:  ESTHER!!! 
Grab a friend to join you
and read this amusing yet awful,
depressing yet delightful book together! 

(Is that enough of an encouragement?)

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
ant.   http://boldandfab.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/hard-work-ant.jpg
squirrel.  http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_w6b0c81asWQ/TNoLoYygzhI/AAAAAAAAAPg/Hm1vFZmEHZs/s1600/imagesCAYXBOD2.jpg
lazy.    http://www.thebig3zone.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/lazy.jpg
tending babies.  http://letmejustsayit.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/overwhelmed-mom-holding-babies-0-280×280.jpg
shoveling snow.    http://media.lansingcurrent.com/img/croppedphotos/2010/01/13/01-14_Snow_Angels_20_t640.jpg?a6ea3ebd4438a44b86d2e9c39ecf7613005fe067
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634.) 2 Thessalonians 2

October 6, 2011

Let no one deceive you.

2 Thessalonians 2 (English Standard Version)

The Man of Lawlessness

1Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

It seems the Thessalonian Christians were being victimized by false teachers who did not understand prophecy.  Perhaps some people had come into their group who had professed that they were led by the Spirit and that they had a letter from Paul stating that the day of the Lord had already commenced and the rapture had occurred — and they had missed it.

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

One idea for building the "Third Temple" on top of Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The coming of the day of the Lord will be marked by these two things:  1) the “rebellion” (apostasy) will come first — people will turn away from Christ and the truth of the Word of God — and 2) “the man of lawlessness” (the Antichrist) will appear. 

Some scholars believe that the reference to him taking “his seat in the temple of God” means that a new Jewish temple will be built in Jerusalem.  Indeed, there is an organization in Israel dedicated to this project.  The Temple Institute’s ultimate goal is to see Israel rebuild the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, in accord with the Biblical commandments.  To read more about their interesting plans, click  HERE.

Other scholars believe that the New Covenant, brought by Jesus and marked by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer, means that the body is the temple, or that the temple has been superseded.  Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians may suggest this: 

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

This idea is related to the belief that Christ himself, having claimed to be and do what the temple was and did, is the new temple (John 2:19), and that his people, as a part of the “body of Christ” (meaning the church), are part of this temple as well (2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-5).

I have given you a couple ways of looking at these verses.  Know that there are many other interpretations of these ideas as well, within Christian circles.

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5Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6And you know what is restraining him (back to the man of lawlessness) now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Stand Firm

13But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice the contrast.  Those who reject God (verses 9-12) will be condemned, but those who have been sanctified in the Spirit and living in the truth of God will gain everlasting glory with Jesus Christ (verses 13-14).  This is what matters — that we are found in Christ, and that we live our lives in service to the Lord as a thank offering for what his death and resurrection has obtained for us.

15So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

16Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

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Music:

“May Jesus . . . and God . . . strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

“Take My Life and Let It Be” consecrated, Lord, to Thee . . . was written by Frances Havergal in 1874.

Frances had begun reading and memorizing the Bible at the age of four (eventually memorizing The Psalms, Isaiah and most of the New Testament). At seven she wrote her first poems. Several of her mature verses became hymns. In addition to “Take My Life,” she wrote such favorites as “I Gave My Life for Thee,” “Like a River Glorious,” and “Who Is on the Lord’s Side?”

Because her voice was lovely, Frances was in demand as a concert soloist. She also was a brilliant pianist and learned several modern languages as well as Greek and Hebrew. With all her education, however, Frances Havergal maintained a simple faith and confidence in her Lord. She never wrote a line of poetry without praying over it.

One of the lines of this hymn says, “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.” In 1878, four years after writing the hymn, Miss Havergal wrote a friend, “The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the Church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me…Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure.”

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
wolf in sheep’s clothing.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_mkZ9_d0QN7w/TMjxAh74xGI/AAAAAAAAAsA/I6AU4b161AI/s1600/false-prophet.jpg
Third Temple.   http://dschondog.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/thirdtemplea.jpg
Stand firm.   http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Myr30eqU-Ns/Te2dEf2ixaI/AAAAAAAAAus/EFdx78BqhfQ/s1600/Stand-Firm.gif

633.) 2 Thessalonians 1

October 5, 2011

2 Thessalonians 1 (English Standard Version)

Greeting

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving


3
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

The Judgment at Christ’s Coming

5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—

We usually think that God is absent when we suffer, and that our suffering calls God’s righteous judgment into question. Paul took the exact opposite position and insisted that their suffering was evidence of the righteous judgment of God. Where suffering is coupled with righteous endurance, God’s work is done. The fires of persecution and tribulation were like the purifying fires of a refiner, burning away the dross from the gold, bringing forth a pure, precious metal.

–David Guzik

* * * * *

Iraq

North Korea

Iran

Myanmar (Burma)

Saudi Arabia

Afghanistan

Indonesia

Bangladesh

Pakistan

Egypt

Pray for the persecuted church in these nations!

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6since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Paul is referring not to people who have never experienced the opportunity of hearing the gospel, but to those who have had the opportunity and did not respond.  The fact is, some respond to God’s revelation and others do not.  The latter must bear the consequences of their own choice.

–David J. Williams 

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9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

11To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12so 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 Risen Christ" by He Qi

Colossians 1:25-27 (New International Version)

I . . . present to you the word of God in its fullness —  the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.  To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

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Music:

I love verse 11 — every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power — everything for Christ, by Christ, through Christ!

“Everything”  by Tim Hughes.

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Live for Jesus.    http://www.cybershirts.com/images/Live%20For%20Jesus%20%28lg%29.jpg
your faith is growing.    http://www.citadelsquare.org/images/2thessalonians1_3%20leaves.jpg
to follow Jesus.    http://bereanbaskets.com/images/au_un98052.jpg
He Qi.    http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/he_qi_the_risen_christ.jpg