Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Duty to Break Fellowship

2 Thessalonians 3:6 KJV
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

Sometimes Paul exhorted and urged believers to do a thing. Sometimes he besought them. In this case Paul used the strongest term; he commanded them to withdraw from other Christians who would not follow after and live according to the traditions Paul had given them.

Paul later says that in doing so we are not to think of them as enemies, for they are not, yet we still mark them and have no fellowship with them.

Christianity in our day is becoming so feeble minded that the very idea of being commanded to do a thing is offensive to us. To be commanded to withdraw from someone and not to fellowship with them would be considered unspeakably harsh. What I see is the importance Paul places on this practice. It's not a suggestion or even a request. This is so important to the advancement of the Gospel that he issues a command. It is important because it is necessary to prevent the decline of Christian faith and practice into anything a person might want to call Christianity. We have no right, no authority to create our own traditions and culture around our faith. We are duty bound, obligated yes, even commanded to carry on our faith exactly as we have received it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Popular Deceptions Concerning the Tribulation

2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV
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;

It seems to me that Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians for such a time as this. The discerning Christian senses the evil of the hour and cannot help but believe that the coming of the Lord must be near. But we are also aware that there have been times of terrible tribulation in the past. We feel a need to strengthen the saints for hardness should Christ not return soon.

Signs of the times seem to be advancing rapidly. One of them that is growing in popularity is the deception that Christians will have to go through the Tribulation of the last day. More and more young, zealous preachers are rejecting the hope of the coming of Christ to rapture us away from that Tribulation and embracing the doctrine that Christians will endure those days and that Christ will not rapture us until the end of the Tribulation Period. Paul urged the believer not to let any man deceive them into believing it. That means the doctrine of Christians going through the Tribulation is a lie. The doctrines of:
·       pre-wrath
·       mid-Tribulation, or
·       post-Tribulation

are not different slants on the same truth. It is a deception. It is a lie. It most be warned against.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's More Than That

2 Thessalonians 1:12 KJV
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the apostle prayed for these believers, he prayed that the name of Christ would be glorified in them. He wanted their lives to be a testimony to the majesty, love, grace and power of the Lord. He wanted them to be lighthouses together, guiding the lost to Christ.

He also prayed they their own names would be glorified in Christ. He wanted them to be more than greasy tools that God used; he wanted to see them uplifted, changed, sanctified and molded into the glorious image of Jesus.

The Christian life is about serving the Lord and others but it is about more than that. The Christian life is about being joint heirs with Christ, about being the sons of God. The Christian life is about putting off the deeds of the flesh and putting on the new man which is after Christ.

Salvation is more than being forgiven of sin; it is about being made priests and kings.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The SCOTUS Ruling on Same Sex Marriage

1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 KJV
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

The Christian world is fairly reeling over the Supreme Court's recent ruling over same sex marriage. Many are prophesying the next wave of persecution. Some are mourning the death of our nation. A few are pointing to the imminent coming of Jesus Christ. I am reminded that our Anabaptist forefathers preached that Christians should be wary of every government and focus instead on obedience to Jesus Christ.

Paul addressed the passage for our consideration to a group of believers who also saw the darkness of the days in which they lived and gave them these words of counsel:
Be sober
Don't get crazy, fearful or panic. Level headed people handle difficult situations much better than those who lose their minds over difficult situations.

Don’t get angry
God has not appointed us to wrath. There will come a time when God Himself will pour out His wrath. Ours is to reach out to attempt to rescue them, not to “help God” judge them.

Practice faith, love and hope
In other words, fight our fight with spiritual weapons. The weapons of our warfare are still not carnal and they are still mighty.

Comfort one another
There will be casualties and wounded in any warfare, even spiritual ones. Comfort each other when needed.

Edify one another
Build up believers.
·       Encourage them
·       Equip them
·       Strengthen pray for, preach to and teach them
It is difficult to say just where all of this will lead.
·       Perhaps to the coming of Christ
·       Perhaps to a wave of persecution
·       Perhaps to a return true Christian experience
What we can know is that nothing has happened to change God's plan.
·       Stay true
·       Stay faithful and

·       Stay in the battle for the Bible