Summary: End Times 3 / Saints Triumphant(C) - God chose you to be saved, therefore: We stand firm in God’s teachings, and; we can pray with faithful confidence.
GOD CHOSE YOU TO BE SAVED
November 19, 2006
END TIME 3 / SAINTS TRIUMPHANT
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ:
As you heard these words of our text, you probably already picked up the feeling of encouragement. You probably already noted the fact that Paul asked for prayer and praise for these believers. There is a reason why these are encouraging and prayerful words. This is Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians and he had to address some things that were misunderstood in the first letter. What was misunderstood in the first letter was Judgment Day. Paul wrote that the Judgment Day of the Lord’s return was close at hand. Some felt it was so close that they quit working and sat back waiting for the Lord to return. Paul had to write to them and remind them it wasn’t quite that close.
There would be signs that would precede the coming of the Lord on Judgment Day. Some of those signs would be the fact that there would be wickedness and evil in the world. Some of the signs would be the fact that there would lawless men. There would come the anti-christ and those who would try and lead astray believers in the church. Then the words of our text begin. Paul had given them the warning. Now Paul needs to encourage them and remind them that even though these things would happen and even though the church of God before the end of time would decrease rather than increase, (true believers would even be hard to find) God would not forget them or forsake them. Paul was truly recalling the very words of Jesus himself. When Jesus was with his disciples, before he left them, he said to watch for his coming again. He said: "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible" (Matthew 24:24). Jesus warns, yes, in the last day there will be those who seem to be Christ or prophets who try to deceive God’s elect.
Near the beginning of our text we have those words: God chose you to be saved. That is the comfort and encouragement that is ours no matter what happens in this world. No matter how many attacks come against the Christian church, whether by men in the world or whether by Satan himself, God has still chosen you to be saved. We are going to use these words of Paul as our theme:
GOD CHOSE YOU TO BE SAVED.
I. We stand firm in God’s teachings,
II. We pray with faithful confidence.
I. WE STAND FIRM IN GOD’S TEACHINGS
Paul, of course, is not present with the believers. He is separated from them. Because he is away from them, his communication with them is by letter. Paul writes this letter to them to encourage them. Paul writes to these believers thankful that they are believers. Verse 13: "But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord." Paul realized that he was not alone. There were believers in many different areas and even in some of the places he had visited where churches were started. So Paul was thankful for brothers loved by the Lord. He goes on to describe their life of faith. "Brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying (meaning to set apart as sacred or holy) work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth." Imagine that! Paul was reminding them that they did not go out of their way to find God. They did not go out of their way to choose to be believers, but God chose them to be saved. These believers are now loved by the Lord. Paul tells them how they are saved--by the work of the Holy Spirit: who led them and guided them into the truth. This truth is found solely in God’s word. God chose them, set them apart as sacred or holy. The Holy Spirit poured out faith in their hearts through the living, enduring, and true word of God.
Where did that word of God come from? Paul writes: "He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is through the preaching that Paul had done. It was through the gospel message: that Christ had been raised from the dead that they were saved. You have to remember also that this generation was the first generation following the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In a sense, this was almost a new teaching--of Christ who rose from the dead. Before this time and up to the time that Christ came, lived, died and rose again, people looked ahead to when he would be born. Now Christ had been born, lived, suffered and died and rose again. This was the message that Paul proclaimed. This was the power of God’s word that worked faith in the hearts of these believers at Thessalonica. Paul was thankful for them. Paul reminded them not to give up that faith. God loved them and called them and made them holy by the Holy Spirit.