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Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Winning Team (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming."

Watching a game go into overtime, especially during an end of the season bowl game keeps viewers and players alike tensely on edge. Watching a replay of the past sporting event where you already know the outcome, however, is much more relaxing.

Tension builds as followers of Jesus all over the world ask questions such as "Are we living in the last days?" and "Are we moving toward a one-world government/leader?".

The Thessalonian believers lived in such turbulent times and their political environment prompted them to ask similar questions. Paul addresses their fears and calms their hearts by reassuring them that the Risen One, the Lord Jesus Christ, would one day intervene "And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming."

I remember the panic in the late 1970's when a noted Christian leader prophesied of soon coming persecution on Christians. Some believers acted in fear and bought and stored a year's supply of freeze-dried food. The fear of the unknown prompts people to do strange things.

We may sometimes feel that we are living in spiritual "overtime", but we are not to allow fear to rule our hearts. We know the end is sure (and near), more importantly, we know the One who has written the last chapter. Let genuine faith in Him displace the fear that rises in your heart during troubled times and remember the Psalmist's words, "Whenever I am afraid I will trust in you" (Psalm 56:3).

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3:18
  • What will enable believers to not be deceived and to stand firm during the last days?
  • How does Paul invite or include the Thessalonian believers in his ministry?
  • Why does Paul warn the believers about idleness?
Acts 18:18-19:41
  • What role do Priscilla and Aquila serve in the ministry?
  • What is Apollos' source of authority?
  • Why does Paul question the Ephesian believers about their baptism?
  • What does this tell you about baptism?
  • What causes the name of the Lord Jesus to be held in high honor?
  • What event caused the Gospel to spread widely and powerfully?
  • Why was Demetrius so disturbed about the Way?
  • Who does God use to "calm the people down"?
  • What does this reveal about God?
Turning truth into prayer
Thank our Lord Jesus Christ for the promise of His coming and the sure defeat of the enemy.