Summary: What encouragement does God's judgment bring to me to live my faith despite the world's opposition? Parts: A. The world opposes your faith. B. God's judgment encourages your faith.

Text: 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

Theme: Face the World Confident of God's Judgment

A. The world opposes your faith

B. God's judgment encourages your faith

Season: End Times 2: Last Judgment

Date: November 7, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit focuses our eyes on our returning Savior who comes to judge the living and the dead is 2 Thessalonians 1.

"[This is] evidence of God's just judgment so that you are deemed worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer -- if indeed it is just on God's part to give back trouble to those who trouble you and rest along with us to you who are troubled, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire, giving retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They're the ones who pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the face of the Lord and away from the glory of his strength, when he shall come glorified among his saints and marveled at among all who believe, for our testimony to you in connection with that day has been believed." (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

A. The world opposes your faith

1. What opposition did the Christians in Thessalonica endure and how did they face it?

Thessalonica was in northern Greece. The Apostle Paul first arrived there on his second missionary journey, probably around the year 50. He came there from Philippi where he and his coworker Silas had been imprisoned overnight for driving out a demon from a slave girl. The jailer of Philippi and his household were brought to faith through it all.

When Paul and Silas were released they headed for Thessalonica, what kind of reception would they receive there? For three Sabbaths Paul went to the synagogue in Thessalonica and showed from the Scriptures that the Christ had to suffer and die and then rise from the dead. He preached, "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ" (Acts 17:3 NIV). Some of the Jews believed and a large number of God-fearing Greeks did as well. But the remaining Jews became jealous. They rounded up a mob and went to the house of Jason, where Paul and Silas were staying. When they couldn't find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the town magistrates. They accused them of defying Caesar by proclaiming Jesus as king. Jason and the others had to post bond.

That night the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea, the next town. The Bereans were of more noble character. They eagerly believed Paul's message and daily searched the Scriptures to see that what Paul said was God's truth. But when unbelieving Jews in Thessalonica heard about this, they went to Berea to stir up trouble against Paul. Yes, dear friends, the opposition against the gospel in Thessalonica was that fanatical.

Can you imagine what the Thessalonian Christians must have faced? The intimidation, trumped up charges, mob violence, The loss of business and social standing. Fear for their families and their future. How tempting to hide their faith or give up on it entirely! Why face the world if it causes such loss? Was their church dying a dying church?

Not at all. Listen to verses 3 and 4 right before the text today as Paul writes this second letter to the Thessalonian Christians. "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. Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecution and trials you are enduring" (2 Thessalonians 1:3, 4 NIV). The faced they world and all its hatred and persecution. They faced it with perseverance and faith. That perseverance and faith in the midst of world's persecution and trials -- that, dear friends, is the evidence Paul refers to in the opening words of the text. That's the evidence of God's just judgment. They faced the world confident of God's judgment.

2. What opposition from the world do you face as you live your Christian faith?

How well are you facing the world? Compared to the Thessalonians, we have it good, maybe too good. "But Pastor how can you say it's too good. We just had a sea-change election that showed how unhappy people are with they way things are going. You don't know my troubles, my pains. How can things be too good?"

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