Summary: When you are not well grounded, you are easily tossed to and fro.

End Time Confusion

(2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)

1. Ever since the days of the early Church, there have been False Teachings about the Coming of the Lord. Let me list just a few Deceptions.

• In A.D.135, a man named Montanus proclaimed that the New Jerusalem would soon descend from heaven to earth and land in what is now Turkey. He was wrong.

• About 100 years after that, a historian named Hippolytus records that a Bishop convinced his followers to sell all their possessions and follow him into the wilderness because the Lord was on His way. He was wrong, and his followers were left homeless and hungry.

• Skip ahead to the year 999. St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was filled with people weeping and trembling. They were sure the thousand-year-mark would be the time. Eventually they went on home to their usual routines.

• During all the Middle Ages, there were many groups who taught End Time Doctrines. Many of them set dates and caused a lot of confusion. Some taught that the Puritans were setting up the “New Jerusalem” on American soil and would usher in the Millennium.

• In 19th Century America, there was a surge of interest in the Second Coming. In fact, that’s when a farmer named William Miller taught that Christ would secretly snatch away believers before the public coming. (This is now called the Rapture.) Miller predicted the Rapture would occur on March 21, 1842. He revised the date to April 3, 1843, and over 3,500 followers jammed the Boston Advent Temple. The next day, he lost some followers, but he continued to set dates.

• You’ve heard of some of the groups that grew out of the teachings of the Millerites. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and 7th day Adventists trace their roots back to Miller.

• Hal Lindsey taught that Christ would come within 40 years of the time Israel became a nation in 1948. The forty years was up in 1988.

• Recently Jack Van Impe (a TV evangelist) said he believed Christ would come back between 2008 and 2013. [Source K. Edward Skidmore, Sermon Central, edited]

2. The Bible’s teaching about End Time events is tricky in spots; as a result, some people prefer not to study it all. They do not see its relevance.

3. But the Scriptures are filled with information about the End Times. And 2 Timothy 3:16-17 assures us that all Scripture is inspired and profitable to bring us to spiritual maturity.

4. So if we do not study end time prophecy, we can be sure we will have areas of spiritual deficiency.

5. Other Christians are afraid of prophecy because they have seen people go off the deep end. But the question is this: Do people go off the deep end because they study prophecy, or do people with unhealthy perspectives gravitate toward prophecy because they are looking for something to go off the deep end with? Did prophecy make them weird, or did they become obsessed with prophecy because they were first weird? I think the latter.

6. So we need to let God set our agenda, not be reactionary to the abuses around us.

7. But End Time events can be breeding grounds for heresy. This is nothing new -- this was a problem even in the first century!

Main Idea: When you are not well grounded, you are easily tossed to and fro.

I. False Teaching UNSETTLES the Biblically Unlearned (1-2)

A. About the Second COMING of Jesus (1)

o A few (not most) rabbis believed in two Messiahs…

o Christians understand one Messiah, two comings of the one Messiah

o The Day of the Lord here refers to the Tribulation, a period of 7 horrid years on earth, culminating with the Battle of Armageddon

B. They had apparently become ALARMED (2)

1. Through false PROPHECY

• someone claimed to receive a message from God to this effect

2. Through a bogus REPORT

• someone either claimed that Paul was teaching that the Day of the Lord had come or that the Antichrist had risen to power (Rumor)

3. Through a forged LETTER

• someone went through great effort to compose a letter and sign Paul’s name to it

o Notice in 3:7 that Paul began signing his letters to authenticate them

C. EXPECT to encounter much false teaching. Be neither gullible nor naïve.

When you are not well grounded, you are easily tossed to and fro.

II. The Way to Recognize False Teaching is to Be Fluent with the TRUTH (3-4)

John Stott comments, "Loyalty to apostolic teaching, now permanently enshrined in the New Testament, is still the test of truth and the shield against error."

A. The REBELLION must first occur (3a)

o The word translated "rebellion" is made up of two words, meaning to stand away from; some have taken this as the rapture, but the word itself is not used this way in Greek…

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