Summary: The truth is, sometimes committed Christians stumble and fall into sin. The Bible reads like a Who’s Who of spiritual failures. Abraham was a liar; Moses was a murderer; David committed adultery and murder; Peter denied the Lord three times.
This is the 28th message in this series called “Finding Hope in a Hopeless World.” As we come to the end of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, let’s review what we’ve learned. The main theme of these two letters is that Jesus Christ is coming soon, and we need to stay ready to meet Him. Some troublemakers had stirred up the church by claiming Jesus had already come. Paul refuted that, and in the process introduced us to Satan’s Superman, the Antichrist. Paul stressed that because Jesus is coming, you don’t quit your job and wait on a hill. Instead, you need to roll up your sleeves and work hard. He said if a man won’t work he wouldn’t eat.
We sometimes think these churches that received letters from Paul were perfect congregations. No. In fact, the reason Paul usually wrote to churches was to correct some problems. All churches have problems. I used to quote a little poem about a perfect church that says, “I think that I shall never see; A church that’s all it ought to be; A Church that has no empty pews; Whose Pastor never has the blues; A church whose deacons always deke; and none is proud, but all are meek. Where gossips never peddle lies or make complaints or criticize; Where all are always sweet and kind; And all to other’s faults are blind. Such perfect churches there may be; But none of them are known to me. But still we’ll work, and pray and plan; and ask God to make His church the best He can.”
Paul concluded his second letter with some strong advice about the need to warn certain Christians. I’m calling it “God’s Early Warning System.”
The day after Christmas in 2004 began normally for thousands of villagers and vacationers on the Indian Ocean. But deep beneath ocean off the coast Sumatra, a 9.1 earthquake occurred. That’s the third largest earthquake ever recorded by a seismograph. The massive shift of the seabed triggered a series of tsunamis. These tsunamis raced toward the shores of fourteen nations. In deep water, they could barely be detected. But when the tsunamis arrived on shallow beaches, they rose to a height of 100 feet and flattened much of the seashore in their path.
Sadly, 230,000 people died from these deadly tsunamis. Most of them had no warning. The earthquake occurred 90 minutes to two hours before the waves hit the shores. What if they could have been warned in time to flee to higher ground?
Since that time the global maritime community has installed thousands of early warning sensors in the most earthquake prone areas of the globe. If the same scenario occurred to today, the seabed sensor would notify a nearby buoy, which would send the signal to a satellite. From the satellite, the info is sent to the officials who post the warning to news outlets and on the internet. This early warning system is designed to save lives.
We’re all familiar with weather warning systems. When a hurricane or tornado appears to be approaching a community, the National Weather Service will issue a warning for residents to evacuate or to take cover. Early warning systems save lives.