NO REST FOR THE WICKED
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
The suffering we may endure for our faith is evidence of righteousness, and that contrary to what some believe, judgment awaits all who reject God and His gospel.
When your hopes have been dashed and smashed to pieces what do you do? Most times we give up. We say, “What is the use? Jesus is coming soon I can quit my job; I can quit trying to lead people to Jesus. He is going to come and all this just won’t matter any more. God forbid that we feel this way and worse practyice these feelings.
The church at Thessalonica was praised by Paul for their faith and love. The last verse of 1 Corinthians 13 mentions faith, hope, and love. Why did Paul not admire them for their hope? They had lost hope. They had quit their jobs saying, ‘ What’s the use?’ Some false teachers were telling them they were already in the ‘Tribulation’. Kind of sounds like some today who tell us, “The Lord has already come and all prophecy has been fulfilled”. What a terrible thought that would be. There is certainly no hope in that. Of the faith and love of the Thessalonian church they had plenty, but hope had been lost in the persecution they were experiencing, and because of false teaching. When you hope is taken away there is just not much left worth living for. Paul is writing to reestablish hope in them.
Sometimes hope is dashed when we look and see evil prospering. God will have His day on the evil, wicked of the world. They will not be able to stand the judgment.
We need not lose hope. The very evidence of our endurance in the midst of persecution is evidence of God’s righteous judgment. He gives endurance to those who are His – He strengthens us to persevere to the end.
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess 1:1-2 (KJV).
This introduction is very similar as the first letter, if not identical, therefore, not too much need for commentary, except to say Paul was very high on the grace of God. he depended on it. His life, our lives must depend on God’s grace for eternity.
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: 2 Thess 1:3-4 (KJV).
Paul has noticed something missing at Thessalonica – hope. They were quitting, just giving up. The persecution they were experiencing even affected their work. Those who owned a business were being shunned because of their faith [we would call it a boycott].
It does seem somewhat odd that Paul is encouraged by their ‘growing faith’, yet they seem to be without hope. Maybe Paul sees their faith growing because of their lack of hope. It seems that that may be possible. It is in times of hopelessness that our faith can grow, and since these people were bearing much persecution due to their faith, that they just might be losing hope yet growing in their faith in God; learning to trust Him more; without seeing any way of an out. The apostle to the Gentiles is thankful for them, and that word has gotten out to the other churches of their growing faith.
In this time of trial in their lives they were clinging together in the love of Christ. What joy this must have brought to Paul and the other churches hearing of these things.
They needed hope. Hope is the life-blood of progress. People who have hope can accomplish about anything. The only hope for mankind is faith in Jesus through whom God gave the gift of salvation – eternal life. If we understand hope; hope is the motivation of faith and love.
People who are without hope – especially a church that is without hope is dead or dying. We preach and teach that Jesus is coming soon, but where is our hope. If we had hope, would we not be telling everyone to get ready? Understand, our hope – “The Blessed Hope” – is not wishful thinking which has no substance. Faith is the substance of our hope (Heb. 11:1). God said it, I believe it, so that settles it. It is settled whether I believe it or not. Our hope as Christians is backed up with what God has said.
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: 2 Thess 1:5 (KJV).
God uses persecution to build us and make us stronger in faith and to root out those without faith. Those who endure the persecutions because of their faith show the ‘righteous judgment of God’, and those who do not persevere show it as well. God truly know those who are His.
Many complain about trials and persecutions in their lives, but does an athlete complain about running tell his legs ache, lifting weights until his arms hurt. If a mountain climber doe not hurt he probably has not climber a mountain for a while. We can think, ‘Well these people voluntarily do that’. Amen! Do we as the people of God not choose to suffer for our faith as well? We chose Jesus. We are called to suffer with Him. Suffering with Him we are raised with Him. If we are to be strong in faith let’s face the weights, the running, and the mountains for the glory of our God, Savior, Lord and Righteousness.
Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 2 Thess 1:6 (KJV).
Those who fall away are many times the very ones who will cause the faithful trouble. There are some who seem to remain fiathful to the church, but never endure any persecution, because they live outside the church like everyone else. They are trouble to the church, in the church whether they actually lift a finger against her or not. It is a righteous act of God to cause them trouble. Sometimes even to the point of causing them to leave a church in order that He may cleanse her.
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 2 Thess 1:7 (KJV).
While the rest of the world will be suffering from God’s judgment the Church will be at rest.During that period of seven years we will be in the presence of our Lord and Savior enjoying His glory. In the Revelation of Jesus Christ there is a phrase which is used throughout John’s writing. It is the phrase, “…That dwell upon the earth”. It is used three times in the Revelation – 3:10; 11:10; and 13:8, and every time it is dealing especially of those who are not the people of God. They are rather, mockers, liars, and haters of God and His righteousness, and haters of God’s people.
Where will you be when He comes?
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; 2 Thess 1:8-9 (KJV).
In Hebrews 10:31 it is written, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 12:29 also says, “For our God is a consuming fire”.
Just as surely as Jesus is coming for His Church, He is coming also to take vengeance on the unbelieving – those who obey not the gospel. Many cannot see a loving God doing this. This loving God made a way possible for unholy men to become holy, and the unbelieving spit in His face, stomp His blood under foot and say, “I don’t need that, God is love, he won’t cast me into Hell”. If this holy, loving God will not cast unbelievers into Hell, then, His Word is not trustworthy, there is no salvation, and there awaits nothing but damnation for us all. PERIOD.
Notice the forms of judgment mentioned: Flaming fire, Vengeance, Punishment, Everlasting Destruction, Separation from the Presence , and Glory of His Power.
I am so thankful for the death, burial, resurrection and promise of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the only hope for mankind. It is your only hope.
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. 2 Thess 1:10 (KJV).
What glory that will be when He is glorified in us. What is that glory? That others believe. Others believe because we share our testimony of faith in Christ, and because to this they will be saved. Because of this Christ will be glorified, in all the earth. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.
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. 2 Thess 1:11-12 (KJV).
Hope can often be restored by letting people know you are praying for them, and how you are praying for them.
How was Paul praying? 1.) That God would count you worthy of this calling; 2.) Fulfill the good pleasure of His goodness; 3.) The work of faith with power; 4.) That Jesus’s name be glorified in you; 5.) You in Him; 6.) According to His grace; 7.) Fulfilled through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It is a necessity that we pray. It is a part of our calling to pray for one another and to pray for God’s glory. He will be glorified.
We can rest in the grace of God, that He will deliver us from the wrath to come on all the earth, if we are in Christ. We have that hope in Christ. If our lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors die in unbelief there will be no rest for them. After Jesus comes it is over.