The second epistle to the believers in Thessalonica addresses the concern they had about missing the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Some were teaching the Second Coming had already taken place.
The Apostle Paul assured the believers that had not happened and provided four primary signs that would let them know the Second Coming of Jesus was near:
1. The "son of perdition" will rise to power
2. False worship will proliferate under his leadership
3. Strong delusion accompanied with unrestrained wickedness will prepare the way for his rise to power
4. Spiritual apostasy will fill the church
The apostle assured the Thessalonians that he believed they would stand and not be deceived because they knew their true identity.
But we are bound to always give thanks to God for you, beloved brothers of the Lord, because God has from the beginning called you to salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief of the truth. To this He called you by our gospel, to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter (2 Thess. 2:13-15).
Strong delusion is already creeping into the church. This is not future phenomena. It is here, polluting the gospel-preaching churches of America.
This begs the question, what should the church, the believers, be doing in view of the times and seasons in which we are living?
We must be committed to the faith, once for all delivered to the church (Jude 3-4).
True disciples must know their identity as those who have been called to salvation, sanctification and the glory of Jesus Christ.
This certain knowledge and assurance will give courage and the foundation needed for standing firm in the face of political correctness, the tolerance message and apostasy that is creeping into the church.
A believer who is uncertain of their true identity will become spiritually schizophrenic or suffer spiritual amnesia.
God has assured every disciple of Jesus Christ that He has chosen them "before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love" (Eph. 1:4b).
He has redeemed them from the slave market of sin and from the kingdom of darkness through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
There are three Greek words used in the New Testament translated "redeem" or "redeemed" in English.
Lutroo means to be redeemed by paying the price or paying the ransom. Peter used this word when he said the believer has not been redeemed with earthly things like silver and gold, but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (see 1 Pet. 1:18-19).
Agorazoo means someone goes the market place to buy a slave. The apostle John used this to describe Jesus Christ's completed work of redeeming mankind from every tongue, tribe and nation to Almighty God, by His blood (see Rev. 5:9).
Exagorazoo is someone going to the slave market to buy a slave, and that slave will never go back to slavery again. This is the word used by the apostle Paul when he declared Jesus Christ has redeemed mankind from the curse to the blessings of Abraham and the promise of the Spirit by hanging on the cross (Gal. 3:13-14).
Jesus Christ, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, came to the slave market, planet Earth and Lucifer's kingdom. He came for one supreme purpose; "Yet to all who received Him, He gave the power to become sons of God, to those who believed in His name" (John 1:12).
The redeemed believe Jesus Christ. His blood washes their heart clean and their sin is never remembered again. God adopts them into His family and they become joint heirs of the kingdom of God with Jesus Christ.
The adopted child of God is declared to be just as if they had never sinned.
All records of sinful behavior are removed. Into that empty file, Almighty God deposits the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
The sinner, deserving of hell, has been made a "saint" living and serving the kingdom of God "in true righteousness and holiness" through the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit. Seated with Christ in heavenly places, they are now a king and priest to the living God.
Clothed with God's armor; strengthened with the assurance of God's love and grace; empowered by the anointing of Holy Spirit; the child of God stands without compromise in the face of a culture corrupted with the depravity of things God calls an abomination.
Filled with the assurance of their true identity they steadfastly resist the strong delusion and "the lie."
That is the church that will stand victorious in the last days.
Dr. F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others, and currently serves as lead pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett - Foundational, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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