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Summary: Pain ends suffering for Saints at their physical death, but only begins for those who have not obeyed the Gospel and have not FEARED GOD.

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PERFECT JUSTICE and SUFFERING SAINTS: 2 Thess. 1: 1-12

Listen to this statement: Christianity is NOT a self-help religion. It is NOT a self-improvement course on improving your own self-righteousness. The Reality of Christianity is this: You have failed to meet God’s Perfect Standard of Holiness if you have ever committed ONE SINGLE SIN. (“All have fallen short of the Glory of God.”) You CANNOT GET UP and TRY AGAIN. You’re dead, done, finished because your eternal SENTENCE to pay for sin is everlasting HELL.

(We looked last week at the fact that Jesus Himself taught the truth about Hell, and the reason He came was to make a way for YOU to enter His Heaven and not GO TO HELL. Many religions say that there isn’t a Hell, but Jesus never said that. Now think of this: If you trust other people who say there ISN’T a Hell and they are wrong, you may very well GO to Hell. If you trust Jesus as only way to avoid Hell and there IS a Hell, you have gained eternity. If Jesus is wrong and there IS NOT a Hell, you haven’t lost anything.)

Christ provides Your only HOPE to be saved: He comes to earth to give the PERFECT SACRIFICE for Sin. In order to BE the perfect sacrifice He had to LIVE the perfect life, unblemished, and die a sinner’s death in the sinner’s place. That is exactly what He did: The Proof? The Resurrection and Ascension back into Heaven. That is why Salvation is only found in the GOSPEL of God’s GRACE in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

"The focus of the Bible is not the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer. The gospel frees us from ourselves. It announces that this whole thing is about Jesus and dependent on Jesus. The good news is the declaration of his victory for us, not our "victorious Christian life." The gospel asserts that God's final word over a Christian has already been spoken: "Paid in full." (Reconciliation and justification) Tullian Tchividjian

Today we look at 2 Thessalonians1: “Paul, Silas and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (The ONLY place that we can find true grace and peace is from God the Father THROUGH the Lord Jesus.), 3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.”

Local Church Boast

What strange REASONS Paul gives TO “BOAST” ABOUT A LOCAL CHURCH. It isn’t the praise team or the pastor. It’s not the building or the facility. It’s not location or how many people come to a given function. Not on exteriors! The Number one reason to boast about a church is: Your faith in the Lord Jesus, individually and corporately (within the local and universal body) of Christ is growing. That is central: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

Secondly, Paul boasts about a Church body in which the love that you have for each other is increasing, and both of these signs are in the context of persecutions and trials which you are enduring. Love that is not from God within the Body of Christ will turn hostile when it is tested. False Love will disappear when put to the test. True spiritual love will IMPROVE when tested. Remember Jesus’ command for the Body of Christ from the beginning: Love one another as I have loved you. That takes ACTION!

SUFFERING SAINTS

Verse 5 “All this is evidence (their steadfastness and growth through tough times are PROOF) that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.” This is explaining the Righteous Judgment of God upon Believers (that is, Saints) which will bring growth during Trials.

From everything that we have studied in the past 2 months, how are you considered or counted “WORTHY” or acceptable of salvation? You ARE NEVER WORTHY in and of yourself; we have nothing to contribute to our salvation. It is only by God’s Grace alone, by the gift of Faith alone, through God’s Word alone, through CHRIST ALONE! “Counted Worthy” in this sense doesn’t refer legalistically to a moral quality. You’ve already been granted forgiveness and life eternal by grace! We are totally UN-worthy of God’s Grace: We are sinners who NEED IT and we receive it; “just as I am without one plea but that thy blood was shed for me.” Jesus’ life and death, HIS SUFFERING make us “worthy” to enter the Kingdom of God!

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