Summary: End Time 2(C) / Last Judgment - Believers glorify God’s name by being thankful for God’s grace and by always praying for others.
BELIEVERS GLORIFY GOD’S NAME
November 12, 2006 - END TIME 2 / LAST JUDGMENT -
2 Thessalonians 1:1-5,11,12
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
We are almost half way through November, believe it or not. To many people November is a special month. There are lots of things that happen in November that prepares us for all the activities in December. We may think of football games, the end of the season, leaves that have fallen, and certainly thanksgiving, thankful living. Especially for you and I as believers, we realize that Thanksgiving isn’t just one Thursday in November. We realize that Thanksgiving is every day. When we come to November, it reminds us that our lives are thankful for the blessings that God has given us. Thanksgiving reminds us of appreciating what God has done for us. Thanksgiving is in our text, isn’t it? Thanksgiving is the way that we bring glory to God’s name.
In the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, "Hallowed be your name." In the explanation of that prayer in the catechism it says that God’s name is certainly holy in and by itself, but we pray that we would lead holy lives to glorify God’s name. We can’t make God’s name any holier than what it is. Our lives can glorify his name. That is what we are going to look at this morning as believers. Our life as a life of thanksgiving is a life that glorifies God’s name. In the letter that Peter wrote we find that he writes to believers in a similar situation. Here you heard how the believers of Thessalonica were being persecuted. Peter encourages the believers in his letter. We are told about their persecution, because the government did not like them. Their businesses and homes were taken away because they were believers. Yet, what does Peter write? He does not write to get even or revenge but live thankful lives glorifying God’s name. Peter writes to them and to us: "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us" (1 Peter 2:12). Not much has changed. Our world and even our nation in a sense is a pagan nation. Paul reminds us to live good lives among pagans that we may glorify God. Or theme this morning then is:
BELIEVERS GLORIFY GOD’S NAME.
I. Thankful for God’s grace;
II. Always praying for others.
I. THANKFUL FOR GOD’S GRACE
There is no mistake as this letter begins as to who wrote it and to whom it is written. Verse 1: "Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." We have Paul, Silas and Timothy. We know that Paul wrote the letter with the help of Silas and Timothy. We aren’t told how, but we do know that Silas and Timothy often delivered Paul’s letters to the churches. We know that Timothy took Paul’s first letter to the congregation at Thessalonica, and he listened for a response and reaction of the believers. When he got it, he came back to Paul. Paul realized that he needed to write another letter to the believers in Thessalonica. God founded the church in Thessalonica during Paul’s second missionary journey. This city was in northern Greece, part of that peninsula of Greece. It became a great thriving congregation. As we picture it in the northern part of Greece, we realize that for the most part the people there are going to be Gentiles and not Jewish people.
Paul continues in verse 2: "Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." He starts with this blessing, a blessing we hear quite often. Most of our sermons start with that blessing. There is a lot of meaning there. Grace -- God’s undeserved love -- is the cause of our salvation. God’s love for us caused us to be saved. Then Paul writes, "Peace." Peace is the result of eternal salvation. We remember the words of Jesus--peace that the world cannot give. Jesus gives peace to believers. God’s grace is the cause of your salvation and God’s peace is the result of God’s salvation.
The next verse: "We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more." Paul was going to be thankful for these believers. Paul’s thankfulness was not just because they were believers, but also because their faith is growing more and more. What had happened that their faith was growing more and more? It was God’s grace that worked faith in their hearts. God’s grace caused them to love God and caused them to love their fellowman. How can Paul say, "I am thankful your faith is growing more and more?" How does he know that? He can’t see into their hearts, can he? What he can see the result of faith. Paul writes, "Your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing." Paul saw their love for God in their love for one another. Paul was thankful for God’s grace, first of all, for himself. Paul was also thankful for God’s grace that was among these believers as it revealed itself in their love for others.