Today's Chapter: 2 Thessalonians 1
FAITH, HOPE & LOVE: Paul opens this second letter in almost the same exact manner he did with the first: by acknowledging how their faith, hope and love is producing tangible results that inspire other communities of Christians. Verse 3-4 contains a useful test you can apply to yourself:
Is your faith growing?
Is the love you have for fellow Christians increasing?
Is the hope that comes from your faith and love building up strong perseverance for the trials to come?
BECAUSE GOD SAID SO: We live in a society that places great value on individual accomplishment. There are both good and bad aspects to that, but one of the downsides is we apply that same mindset to our salvation, as if we are worthy of God's kingdom because of what we've done. Absolutely not. Verse 5 makes it clear that the only reason you are counted worthy is because His judgment is right. This should be a tremendous comfort to you: it does not depend upon your effort, but rather on God's mercy (Romans 9).
PAYBACK TIME: Since we recently finished Revelation, we've read the details regarding the final judgment (even if we didn't always understand them!), so we can keep those in mind that what Paul writes in v6 is true:
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.
It often doesn't seem like God even cares about the troubles in this world, but 2 Thessalonians 1 is a strong reminder that He does, and the day is coming when He makes it right. Aren't you glad you read it today?
IS HELL AN OXYMORON? If you've ever been told to 'act naturally' in anticipation of a event that caused you to be nervous, you know what an oxymoron is. You're either 'acting' or 'being natural,' so how can you do two things that are mutually exclusive? Paul seems use an oxymoron to describe hell: that it's everlasting destruction (v9). How can something that's been destroyed last forever? Yet we must understand that hell is both everlasting and full destruction. The Bible actually tells us very little about heaven and hell, an v9 is an example of why we get so few details: if we can't even wrap our heads around the broad generalities of them, how could we ever handle the details?
SERMON IN A VERSE: There's enough material packed into v11 to preach an entire sermon:
God will make you worthy
of His calling
By His power
He will fulfill
Your good desires
and your works of faith
So that Christ may be glorified in you
And that you may be glorified in Him
according to His grace
Don't you wish that all sermons were that short?
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is your Father (v1) who is perfectly just (v9)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God aligns your faith and desires with His calling and power (v11)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: