Monday, March 21, 2011

I & II Thessalonians

Click here to hear Pastor Zac Poonen's sermon on the Books of I and II  Thessalonians, which is summarized below:

I Thessalonians - The Gift of Godly Ministry in Preparing Us for the Second Coming of Christ
  • True repentance is to turn from idols to God
  • An idol is anything in your life that takes the place of God
  • Paul outlines the gift of a holy, just, and blameless ministry:
    • They do not speak to please men, but God. 
    • They don't use flattering words to appeal to the people.
    • They never preach for the purpose of making money.
    • They do not seek glory or honor from others
    • They do not assert their authority in order to compel people
    •  Their love for the people was shown in gentleness towards them and pouring out their lives in service to them.
    •  They worked hard night and day so as not to be a financial burden on the people.
  • It is not just the message preached, but the way one lives which demonstrates the Gospel.
  •  A true servant of God is like a mother and father; both gentle and nurturing as well as providing discipline and correction.
  • Even though Satan was able to hinder some of Paul's ministerial efforts, Satan could never hinder God's purpose.  So it is with us as well.
  • A servant of God finds joy in the spiritual development of those whom he serves.
  • Holiness is increasing in love for one another and is how we are established unblameable in before God.  
  • It is our responsibility to possess our bodies in sanctification and honor.
  • If our ambition is to please God, then we must study to be quiet, mind our own business, and work with our own hands to earn a living.
  • There is no secret coming of Christ.  He comes immediately after the tribulation with a shout and the trump of God.  Then, the dead in Christ will rise and those who are alive will be caught up to meet Him in the clouds.
  • Jesus only comes as a thief in the night for those who are in darkness. 
  • What does it mean to be asleep?  When we sleep, the things that are real around us seem unreal.  Conversely, the things that are unreal seem real
  • We must highly appreciate our elders and those who labor in the faith.
  • Man is a trinity just like God with a spirit, soul, and body.

II Thessalonians - How Do We Personally Prepare for the Second Coming of Christ?
  • The Thessalonians patience and enduring faith is the clear proof of God's righteous judgment in two areas: 1) That they are worthy of receiving the Kingdom of God; and 2) That those who trouble them are worthy to receive affliction and tribulation.
  •  Persecution will continue until the coming of Christ.
  • Do not believe or be shaken by people's visions or words about Jesus having come.  We do not know the day nor the hour of Jesus' Second Coming.
  • Jesus cannot come until the falling away occurs (which is already happening) and the Antichrist is revealed.
  • There is a mystery of iniquity just as there is a mystery of godliness.  The mystery of godliness is that Jesus has come in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16).  The mystery of iniquity is that Satan will also come in the flesh through possessing a man known as the AntiChrist.
  • The spirit of antichrist is already around to prepare people's hearts for receiving the AntiChrist.  He will come with all types of wickedness, as well as with power, signs, and false wonders.
  • If we are not willing to acknowledge the truth - about God and about ourselves - then God will allow a person to be deceived.
  • The reason many follow that which is false today is because they do not want to acknowledge the truth about their own sin.
  • The purpose of the Gospel is that we might acquire the glory of Christ.
  • Stay away from those who live lazy lives.  The Apostles' example should be followed which was to work hard and not be chargeable to others in the Body.
  • The servant of God must be a model for others, working harder than all others in that calling.

14 comments:

  1. Hey there, I've been trying to listen to this message but am unable too because the link appears to be broken. Any other links available?

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  2. The Rapture

    1 Thessalonians 4
    16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

    I don't know how everyone else feels about this, but I continue to pray as Jesus said in Luke 22:36 that I, my loved ones, and all those that I encounter and share the Word of God with (even those that would be considered enemies) would be counted worthy to escape....

    Luke 22
    35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
    36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

    What is this snare that the Jesus spoke of? I believe it to be the tribulation, as those left behind will be ensnared in the terrible hardships to come. A snare is a trap. Now could this be alluding to the coming of Christ to set up His Kingdom for the thousand year reign after the tribulation? I don't believe so. This Word is to believers....why would the Lord tell us to pray that we be counted worthy to escape His reign?

    The Lord begins to reveal himself by His Spirit, to those that earnestly seek Him with all of their heart to have a relationship with Him. As we live and walk in this relationship, getting to know the Lord bit by bit, we begin to see His nature revealed through His Spirit. We begin to see this blessed truth come alive in scripture as confusion slowly gives way to understanding. One thing I am beginning to understand is that our Lord has not appointed those that He loves to endure His wrath. We will suffer the wrath of the enemy at times, for our Lord Jesus' name sake....but I firmly believe that the Wrath of the Lamb is something entirely different, and saved up for the sinner, not those that have received salvation in this era of grace.

    1 Thessalonians 5
    9 For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
    10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

    His word specifically says that His wrath is appointed for His enemies. What is the wrath of God? It is his just hatred of sin and His holy vengeance against the wicked.

    Nahum 1
    2 God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

    I am not an enemy of God. Nor are they that are in Christ Jesus that dearly love him, therefore there is no wrath reserved for us.

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  3. The Rapture (part II)

    Further revelation of our Lord's nature is revealed in His dealings with the cities of the plains, Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18:22-33) Abraham boldly approached and spoke to the Lord because that is the kind of relationship he was blessed to have. And we see in Genesis 18:25 that Abraham knew enough of the Lord, through relationship as revealed by His Spirit, that to kill the righteous along with the wicked in His wrath and judgment is not His nature. It is far from His nature...

    Genesis 18
    25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

    As Abraham interceded for Sodom the Lord said He would not destroy Sodom if fifty righteous be found in the city. By verse 32 Abraham has talked the Lord down to ten righteous....and I personally believe he could have talked the Lord down to one. In Genesis 19:22 we see that the Lord would do nothing to the city as long as Abraham's nephew Lot was there.

    Genesis 19
    22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

    Now if this is true of God's nature under the Law, how much more so is it under grace? This is why it is confusing as to why one would believe that our Lord would pour out the wrath of His judgments upon the heads of the righteous, along with the wicked in the days of the tribulation. It is also confusing as to why individuals find it so hard to believe in a rapture or catching away. There have already been six examples revealed in scripture from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation.

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  4. Hi Hanniel Online,

    The Christian Fellowship Church website was hacked early yesterday. They are working to get it back up and running; hopefully within the next couple of days.

    I'll post again once their site is restored.

    Pray you and the family are well!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Broken skai,
    I read your comments and would like to ask a question? Do you feel that the whole of the tribulation is God's wrath?

    When I read in Revelation I find that there is a beginning when the man of sin comes to power and persecutes those who won't worship him and then I find a second half where God pours out His wrath.

    Maybe the rapture is going to happen in the middle before God pours out his wrath. Lot escaped the destruction that was sent by God but he did indeed live in the totally sinful/perverted society. God wanted Abraham to pray. If we are taken away before the anti-Christ comes to power who will pray for and preach to (as Noah did) to those who are blind?

    I am trying to understand it. I have no concrete answers from God yet. But those ideas are what jump out at me when I read Revelation and other passages about the end of time.

    What do you think?

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  6. To Anonymous: "If we are taken away before the anti-Christ comes to power who will pray for and preach to (as Noah did) to those who are blind?"

    Friend, I believe that part of the judgment that will befall this earth is the removal of the light. The removal of the saints. Those that come to believe afterward will face persecution unlike anything ever experienced on this earth. And they will ultimately be numbered with those mentioned in Revelation 6:9.

    Revelation 6
    9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.

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  7. Hi Broken Skai,

    I am sure all would agree that whenever our time comes, we must be found in Him, so this is not a major issue for me.

    However, I do believe that the Scriptures refute the idea of a secret whisking away before the tribulation period.

    "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

    "Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matthew 24:29-31

    "But in those days, AFTER that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven." Mark 13:24-27

    Luke also seems to support this. We are told that we will be detained, persecuted, betrayed, hated, and killed all the while the earth is also experiencing earthquakes, famines, and pestilences (Luke 21:7-26). It is only after these things that Jesus is said to come in the clouds and only then that we are to "look up" to be gathered with Him (21:27-28). Note as well that - even while being in the midst of this tribulation - God still gives us assurance of His divine protection through it all (Luke 21:18).

    The crux if the issue seems to hinge on what it means to escape God's wrath. I agree most certainly that God's people are not meant to be vessels of His wrath. Compare the text below with that above:

    "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Revelation 6:12-17

    Then in the next Chapter we see the 7th seal opened and a great cloud of witnesses present who have come out of great tribulation (Revelation 7:14).

    I offer this only to share some more food for thought.

    God bless you!

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  8. To Latter Days Ministries:

    First off I want to state that I have the utmost joy and admiration for the Truth that the Lord has allowed to be shared through this ministry. I am part of a ministry as well, and often point believers in this direction as I believe there to be much Truth shared here. However, on the issue of the rapture/gathering together there is much confusion and many unanswered questions.

    For example, If there is no rapture, then what do you make of the parable of Jesus concerning the wise and foolish virgins(Matthew 25:1-13)? There is also the theme of one being taken and the other left or forsaken(Matthew 24:40-44)But again,

    Luke 22
    35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
    36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

    What is this snare that the Jesus spoke of? It isn't His return, for that will be relief for all of the world. As for Matthew 24:29-31,Mark 13:24-27, I understand this to be the return of our Lord with the army of His Saints throughout the ages... those that have died previously, and those that have been raptured.

    There will be those that come to believe after the rapture as one of the seal judgments deals with the killing of tribulation saints(Matthew 6:9-11). Not to mention the 144,000 sealed of the tribes of Israel(Revelation 7:1-8) and the preaching of the two witnesses(Revelation 11:1-14)

    This is not about easy living or trying to escape persecution. I believe we are going to be persecuted unlike anything we have ever seen in the west, and there will be a great falling away before the rapture. But this is just the opinion of one believer.

    May he Spirit of the Lord be with you.

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  9. Hi Broken Skai,

    I do not think you are being contentious at all. Please feel free to express your insights on the blog, even if they are at odds with my own.

    I am not sure if you saw my previous post, for I removed/reposted it due to some grammatical errors. It is possible that post may answer some of your questions.

    I do believe there is a catching away of those in Christ to meet Him in the clouds (if that is what you believe by "rapture"). My point is that this does not happen before the tribulation begins.

    Regarding the passage in Luke, it says:

    "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so THAT DAY come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall IT come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21:34-36

    The "day" we should be watchful for and pray to escape is the "day" of the Lord (and all that it entails) which will come like a thief in the night for those who do not believe.

    We are often told to be watchful for the day of the Lord so as to not be caught unawares. The "day" of the Lord is the day when His wrath is poured out on mankind.

    In Isaiah 2:12-21, the "day" of the Lord is described as a day where people will seek refuge in the clefts of the rocks to hide from His wrath; just like Revelation 6:12-17 says.

    In Isaiah 13:6-22, the "day" is described as a day of wrath where God destroys sinners in judgment.

    Joel 2:1-31 speaks of this "day" saying that the sun will darken and the moon turn to blood before that "day" comes; just like Acts 2:20 and Revelation 6:12.

    So there will be a rapture, but it seems to take place after the 6th seal is broken in Revelation at the coming of what is called "the day of His wrath". It is this day of the wrath of the Lamb which all believers are called to be watchful for, and from which all believers will be saved.

    I sure don't believe you are trying to live easy. However, I do believe Scriptures place the rapture after the tribulation begins and not before (for reasons stated above).

    May God's Spirit continue to lead and guide you as well!

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  10. Ok, I'll keep an eye out for it. Yes, we are doing well. I hope you all are well. Did those lefty golf clubs ever show up? May you are continue to be blessed.

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  11. Hi Hanniel Online,

    The site is back up and I believe I have fixed all applicable links. Let me know if something doesn't work for you.

    Golf clubs? I don't know anything about that. To whom were they sent?

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  12. H Latter Days, I will listen to Zac's sermon- he is one I often listen to.

    I was a pre-trib believer until I did a very in depth study a few years ago. It is very eye opening when you just do a plain reading of those scriptures pertaining to the subject, and then take them at face value. It's not a mystery. Here is a link to my study-

    http://believersjourney.blogspot.com/2008/06/rapture-of-saints-will-not-occur-prior.html

    In Chist, Sarah

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  13. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you so much for linking to your study. I will take a look at it today.

    I don't see this topic as divisive, as each of our goals is to live for Christ every day...and when our time comes, it comes. However, I do also want to rightly divide the word and be sure to have proper spiritual understanding of what He says so that it can be applied to my life.

    God bless you sister!

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