Events prior to the Lord’s Second Coming
2 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.
5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? 6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.
Believers Should Stand Firm
13 As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. 14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.
Let me share a story I heard years ago.
There was a man, let’s call him Bill. Now Bill was known to be a thief but was very clever. At least three times a week, we would come to cross the border on his bicycle with a sack of grain, or a sack of flour or a sack of something each time on his shoulder. The border guards knew he was smuggling something so each time they thoroughly searched him including his sack of goods. And each time they came up with nothing. They just couldn’t figure it out.
After several years of this, one of the border guards who had recently retired, saw Bill uptown and approached him. He said to Bill “listen, I know you were smuggling something, I’m retired now. I promise to never say anything if you tell me what you were smuggling” Bill said “ok, if you promise not to tell. I was smuggling bicycles”
Paul addressed the Thessalonians about a rumor that was circulating that the day of the Lords return had begun. Paul says don’t get distracted by rumors and people claiming this and people claiming that about the end times. Paul said I already told you how it was going to happen. Don’t get distracted by false teachers and false claims. Don’t divert your attention from what’s right in front of you. Just like the border guards where distracted by Bill’s clever ploy to divert their attention to the sack of grain, they couldn’t see the obvious. False teachers will do the same, divert our attention from what the Word actually says to some very spiritual sounding revelation that can get us excited or very nervous. Paul reminds us to stand firm. Remember what the scriptures actually say and don’t begin to believe for a minute that it will be any different than that.
A couple questions to ask ourselves today:
How well do we actually know the scriptures? Would I recognize a false claim if I heard it?
If I hear a claim about the Lord’s return, do I actually turn to the scriptures to see if this lines up?
Am I focusing on what’s in front of me, which is my life and what I’m called to do for the kingdom, or am I too distracted looking for signs or worrying that I missed it.
Lord, give us all discernment to know when we have heard a false claim. Help us to stay focused on our mission and not be distracted by flashy words. Help us to hold strong to the Truth. In Jesus name, amen.