Intro: One week ago Gracie, our little 7 y/o dog, completely tore a ligament in her left leg that required immediate surgery. It is a mystery how Gracie injured her leg, because one minute she was running with excitement through the house and the next minute she was limping to her bed unable to stand. Something happened to her inner stability as she was running the race. Our lesson from Scripture today, reminds me of this situation with Gracie and how believers can be injured spiritually causing us to limp in faith if we run toward sin.
The church in Thessalonica has been running the race in their relationship with Christ who is being revealed and glorified in the lives of believers. However, along comes some false teaching and it causes the followers of Christ to lose their footing, strength, and endurance to stand strong. Because they are being fed lies, they begin to waver in their faith during a time of persecution and with that momentary doubt the enemy charges in with fear. So, the believers write a letter telling Paul about this increasing persecution they are experiencing, as well as wanting to know when God will send relief from their suffering. In other words, when will the Lord be returning to deliver and gather his children of righteousness?
In our passage today, the Apostle Paul writes back to exhort the Thessalonian believers to stop wavering in their faith and hang onto the Holy Spirit, because two things must take place before the coming day of the Lord [the return of Christ]. First, there must be a “great” apostasy—believers rejecting the Lord by refusing to follow the Truth—Christ. Second, there must be an unveiling of the lawless one—the Antichrist—who will oppose Christ by seeking to fill the world with wickedness. Evil works in the hidden places of the heart to rob, steal, and destroy the faith of Christ’s followers; to bring fear, doubt, and abandonment of genuine faith (John 10:10).
Besides the Old Testament Book of Daniel, the New Testament also refers to Satan’s human instrument of evil whose character is defined by sin—the Antichrist—should you like to read more:
The Man of Sin—2 Thessalonians 2:3
The Son of Perdition—2 Thessalonians 2:3
The Lawless One—2 Thessalonians 2:9
The Antichrist—1 John 2:22
The Beast—Revelation 11:7 & Revelation 13:1
So, we must understand the plan of God in Christ to work through his redemptive children to unveil righteousness while at the same time the Antichrist is working through his destructive children to unveil wickedness. We must make a choice who we will exalt, because at this time God is holding back the advancement of evil through the work of the gospel, the Holy Spirit, and the Church—the children of righteousness. How long will God restrain evil? The answer seems to be until God reveals the Truth of the gospel, recalls the Holy Spirit to heaven, and removes the Church [raptures his children] from this worldly realm. During this time [tribulation], the Antichrist will have his way—hell on earth—until Christ returns with his righteous warriors to defeat evil and set up his Kingdom on earth.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 VOICE
7 For the mystery of sin is already working its way through the world; He who holds him [evil one of lawlessness] back now will continue to suppress him only until He [Spirit of Christ] is pulled out of the way. 8 It is then that this rebellious one will be finally unleashed. But the Lord will slay him with the breath of His mouth; and with the splendor of His coming, He will bring him to his predetermined end. 9 Still the rebellious one arrives with all sorts of power, performing signs and fake miracles sanctioned by Satan; 10 he employs every manner of wicked deception to wile away those who are destined for eternal death because they reject the love of the truth that leads to salvation. 11 Because of this, God sends a deceptive influence over them so they will wander from the truth and believe the lie. 12 As a result, God will judge all of those who did not entrust themselves to the truth when it faced them but instead reveled in wickedness.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the Truth revealed in your Word, today. Help us to choose wisely whom we will serve, because each day may be our last here on earth. We never know when you will call our name or return for your Church. We are not assured of spending eternity with you by our own goodness; rather, we are assured of being welcomed into the heavenly glory because we have received and chosen to live the Truth found only in Christ. Help us to pay attention and be ready. In Jesus’ name. Amen.