Summary: Should doubt about my salvation be the basis for fear of the 2nd coming?
Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house not a creature was praying - not one in the house
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with babe on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there arose such a clatter
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here
With light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!
The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the names of every saved man…
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "It’s not here" my head hung in shame
The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above
With those who were ready He rose without sound
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees… but it was too late
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight
Oh, if only I’d been ready, been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear
The coming of Jesus is now drawing near
There is only one life - and when comes the last call
We’ll find that the Bible was true after all.
APPLY: There are Christians who fear that this poem will apply to them. People who are afraid they’ve not lived good enough lives, not been quite faithful enough, or maybe, just maybe, they’ve committed the unforgivable sin.
I. The people at Thessalonica were afraid - maybe Jesus had come & they’d missed him.
II Thess. 2:1-2 tells us: “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.”
These Thessalonican Christians were suffering from a degree of uncertainty about their salvation.
ILLUS: A friend of mine named Gary was approached by a preacher from a denominational church whose goal was to convert Gary to his congregation. The preacher asked: “if you died today are you sure you’d make it to heaven?”
Gary wasn’t sure… (and it bothered him)
That preacher proceded to cite Gary’s uncertainty as proof that he was not saved. To that preacher, if you didn’t believe your salvation was eternally secure, you weren’t a Christian.
It’s interesting… Paul didn’t say that to the Thessalonians. Instead, Paul taught that the central issue of salvation wasn’t what you felt. It was what you thought. It was your attitude toward the truth.
II Thess. 2: 10 says (about the condemned) " They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”
By contrast: II Thess. 2:13 tells the believers there: “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” It was their belief in the truth that saved them… not their feelings of “savedness.”
Those who were loved by God were those who believed the truth. Those who were perishing would do so because they refused to love the truth. That was the dividing line between those accepted by and rejected by God.
II. Now, I’ll get back to that… but 1st we should address the question: Who was this "Lawless One"/ "Man of Lawlessness?" If I don’t address that question, there’ll be people bothered by that issue all through the sermon, and so I’m going to clear this question right at the very start so we’re not distracted.
…SO, who is this "man of lawlessness?" Well, I’m here to tell you right now… I DON’T KNOW.
Some have speculated: that he was the Roman conqueror Titus who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A. D. (20 yrs after this letter was written). Titus did enter into the Tabernacle, and later (as Emperor) he was considered a god.