The Rise of Evil and the Return of Christ

These 12 verses are likely the most difficult part of 1-2 Thessalonians. The meaning of the details here is not easily understood, and in the midst of things that are certain and clear, there are some things that are ambiguous and have produced more than a few different points of view.

The text is about the rise of evil in the world and the return of Christ. Paul writes to reassure and admonish the church in Thessalonica. And God has preserved this for us to establish us in our faith in the midst of a world that seems to move further away from God’s ways, and where we may find ourselves facing persecution for our faith in Christ.

Throughout human history evil has been present, but just before Christ comes, there will be an escalation of it in the world. There will be a rebellion against God and His ways in societies and in the church. Ultimately, a person will appear who embodies that evil rebellion against God. He will demand total allegiance as God and deceive many in the world by doing miraculous things. And then Christ will return and destroy evil and put it away forever.

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Daniel 7, 9; Matthew 24:23-27; Mark 13; 1 John 2:18-19; Revelations 12-14; 1 Timothy 4; 2 Timothy 3

The Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord seems to be a fundamental teaching for believers. Jesus Himself spoke of it as “the coming of the Son of Man.” The Apostles of Christ taught the early church about it, Peter wrote of it in 2 Peter 3, John wrote about it in Revelation, and Paul writes about it here.

Notice that in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul has to inform the believers about what would happen to the dead in Christ at His return. But in 5:1-11 he says they are already “fully aware” about the Day of the Lord.

So, why was it so important? Because the Day of the Lord was then, and is now, the goal all of history is rushing toward! Paul knows that what the Thessalonians believe about the Day of the Lord should inform how they live. So he describes what it is, and how they should live in light of it’s coming.

The big idea for the message is this: The coming Day of the Lord is a call to spiritual sobriety today.

The Day of the Lord is certain, sudden, and brings inescapable destruction. Therefore we should remember our identity, walk in sobriety, anticipate our destiny, and participate in community.

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-9; Luke 17:26-27; Revelation 6:15-17; Luke 21:34

Generosity and Hypocrisy in the Church

Have you ever heard someone say, “I wish the Church would just get back to the way it was in the book of Acts!” If you have, you may be speaking with someone who’s never read the text for this sermon.

There are two stories in this text. One is a picture of radical, gospel driven generosity. The other is a picture of ugly, satanically inspired hypocrisy that ends in swift and severe judgement.

The overall theme is the unity of the church: how it’s established, experienced, and endangered. In the end, we learn there are three things we all need to apply.

Scripture: Acts 4:32-5:11; Matthew 10:8; John 13:35; Luke 12:32-34

Judgment and Deliverance

Failure to obey God’s ways of justice and righteousness can result in judgment. We see this truth in Genesis 19 where God, in His holiness justice, destroys a city on account of great outcry of evil.

Scripture: Genesis 19:1-29

God’s Grace In Judgment

When you think of the word “judgment” does grace, mercy, or love come to your mind? Probably not! But in Genesis 11 God shows His grace to sinners by preventing them from doing what their heart desires. If God didn’t care for us He’d let us do whatever we want, but God is a good parent and He loves His kids.

Scripture: Genesis 11