Summary: This sermon looks at the coming return of Jesus asking the question is it good news or bad news. Of course that depends on what side of the fence you are on. But either way this sermon tells us what’s coming to a town near you.
2Thes:1:8-10. Good news or bad news?
• Have any of you been confronted with a “good news, bad news” situation lately? I heard about a man who got a call from his doctor. The doctor said, “Your test results are in, and I’ve got good news and bad news for you.” The man said, “Okay --- give me the good news first.” The doctor said. “The good news is: your test results indicate you have 3 days to live.” “That’s the good news?” the guy exclaimed. “For heaven’s sake, what’s the bad news?” Well,” said the doctor, “The bad news is: I forgot to call you yesterday.”
In today’s sermon I have good news, bad news situation for you. The good news is that Jesus is returning the bad news is also Jesus is returning. What about for you is His return good news or bad news? I suppose that will depend on what side of the fence your on.
The letter to the Thessalonians is taken up with the backdrop of the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ as the Thessalonians were hearing 2The2:2 unsettling reports. They had questions for Paul and so throughout the two letters Paul affirms the events to take place upon the Lords return in so doing he answers the questions which are being debated in the Church, his answers are by no means exhaustive about the last times but it does help to fill in some gaps.
The questions were:
• Have those who died missed his return? 1 Thes 4:13-18 in regard the dead and the living.
• When will Jesus come back? 1Thes 5:1 -3 Date and time.
• What will happen to us and those who persecute us on his return? 2Thes 1: 8-10 The believer and Non.
• What can we look for to take place? 2Thes .2:3 - 4 Man of Lawlessness 8- 10 And the conquest of Christ.
The purpose of this letter is to encourage these Christians to stand firm despite the rumours they have heard and despite the persecution they face. Paul calls them to live upright holy lives, to hold to the apostles teaching, while they wait for the return of Christ.
Background: Thessalonica was a capital city in the Roman province of Macedonia, with a thriving harbour, with a Roman trade route which went right through Thessalonica connecting Rome to the Orient all of which made Thessalonica wealthy and culturally diverse, It was a free city and exempt from many exemptions that Rome placed upon other cities. It also had 50 miles SW Mount Olympus the epicentre of the gods and idol worship. - because of this climate Thessalonica was a city full of idolatry and cultural practices which challenged Christianity.
Yet despite this the gospel had took root and was turning Thessalonica upside down as people were coming to Christ.
• Is it Good news or Bad news?
1. Until his return we will face troubles. 1-4.
When people heard the gospel they were turning to the living God 1Thes 1: 9. This transformation wasn’t going unnoticed and there will always be some backlash when God is at work in a person’s life. These Thessalonians were facing persecution and trials as a result of their new found faith v 4.
These new converts would have been entrenched from childhood in all types of spirituality from Judaism to idol worship yet they had turned to the living God and as a result they would have been made outcasts in their families, friends and society at large, they faced constant persecution and trials. Look at the circumstances in which the gospel came it was in an environment of persecution Acts 17:1-8 Paul ,Silas Jason and others in a short space of time had caused a riot in the city with their message.So Paul and Silas went into hiding.
It reminds me of our Lord who said to his disciples. Jhn 16: 33” In this world you will have trouble.” None of us are immune from troubles: Consider those places in the world today like Pakistan, India Afghanistan where people come to faith from Hindi and Muslim families they will face constants threats of death even from their own families. Consider those 24 South Korean Christians well 19 who are currently being held hostage two have already been killed.It might not be as serious for us today in Britain but none the less we too will face troubles in many forms as a result of our faith.
Because the faith is in contradiction to this worlds values: You might experience it with your family or friends who give you the cold shoulder because of your faith in Christ. You might experience it through ill health issues. You might experience it in the work place or school, where you have difficulty standing up for your faith, as you face the taunts of your colleges, you may fail to fit in, because of your Christian values... THE WORDS OF Jesus come to mind once again in the upper room when he said John 14:1 “ do not let your heart be troubled”.....