II Thessalonians 1: 3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. 11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 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.
The first several hundred years of the church was very troubled. What they suffered was tough. Much of it was due to the Roman Empire. Prophecy says that in the last days the Roman Empire would be revived. We are seeing a uniting now. Never before in history has it been like it is now. People are very connected. The internet has done that. Nations and people are in a position that a one-world government could take hold. It’s not been achievable until now. Technology is a great benefit. Without it I’d not be speaking and preaching today. However, the devil uses it on a grand scale. What we already know frightens us; it’s hard telling what we don’t know. Everything is setting up for the Antichrist. When Jesus comes it will be in a split second, like a thief in the night. The church age will come to an end. The Antichrist will appear. The Christian must be ready for Christ to return. The world is ready for the Antichrist. Nothing else needs to happen before the Lord comes.
Conditions of churches at the time of Jesus’ coming are 1 of 3. 1) Lukewarm—once on fire but now lukewarm. We see it everywhere. We must stay on top of our spiritual life so that we don’t find ourselves in that state. 2) Counterfeit—they hold a Bible. They believe there is a God who only does good; there is no hell. Man can know God in any way he wants whether through Buddha, Mohammad or others because all roads lead to heaven. This teaching is everywhere. It’s the church that the world wants, but it is no church at all. It’s like taking Monopoly money to pay for groceries. It won’t work. The store won’t accept it and neither will God. 3) Faithful—this church is faithful to the gospel and the Lord. Born again believers are doing their best to profess Christ and live by what the scripture says.
This faithful church is the troubled church. The counterfeit church is not troubled. They meditate or group-talk it all away. The lukewarm is rich and increased with goods in need of nothing including the Lord. Without the Lord we have no church. The real church seems to have everything going wrong. The church at Thessalonica tried to be faithful, but they had troubles without and within. They had physical ailments, suffering and pressures. Those without wanted to go by the Law or by Old Testament ways or blend in the Roman religions with Christianity. Thessalonica just wanted to be faithful and got troubles and persecutions. Paul talked of all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure. This wasn’t a perfect church, but they were trying to be faithful to God. Look at the challenges to the church today. We’re challenged on every hand—physical, emotional, family problems. The devil is putting his finger on God’s people.
Paul sent the invitation to you who are troubled rest with us. I’m thankful there is a place to rest. There is no juniper tree for a Christian, no place to wish for death. The Lord is coming on his time schedule. Don’t worry about that. We can’t sit down except under the tree of Calvary. Look at these verses. Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned many more times than troubles and tribulations. If we stay true to God, we can rest.
When I was studying these words jumped out at me: to you who are troubled rest with us. It was telling me that it’s time not to be anxious. It’s time to rest and trust God. Bear the burdens but don’t worry about the rest because the Lord is coming soon. I can’t do a thing about the state of this world but be a witness and light for the Lord. Only Jesus can set things straight. The Lord wants us to shine our light so others will turn to him. Paul said we can rest and leave the rest to God. Be faithful to the cause of Christ. When the end does come, we’ll be in glory. That’s worth hanging in there for.
Verse 4 speaks of their patience and faith. We don’t fizzle out. We don’t give up. We keep on waiting on Jesus. We keep following him. Jesus will show up one of these days. The Antichrist can’t be revealed until we’re gone. The Holy Spirit will hold the Antichrist back until the rapture. When the church goes, so does the Holy Spirit. Those who are left behind will face the judgment of God. Verses 8 and 9 state in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. The lukewarm and counterfeit won’t make it. Only the true church will go to be with the Lord.
Verse 10 tells us when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. When the Lord looks into our eyes we’ll know he recognizes us. We’ll be with him, in his kingdom. We’ll no longer be on the devil’s turf. Lord help us to do what verse 12 says: 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.
Paul invites us to rest. He asks why we’re so troubled and tells us not to be. There remains for us a rest. I’m ready for one.