Summary: It’s a dark world. We Christians are told to live as salt and light. How can we do that each day...live as people of faith?
THE PASTOR’S POINTS
sermon ministry of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
a fellowship of faith, family and friendships
February 8, 2004
Questions can test your faith. A little girl was talking to her grandmother. She asked, "Grandma, how old are you?"
The grandmother replied, "Now dear, you shouldn’t ask people that question. Most grown-ups don’t like to tell their age."
The following day, the girl had another question. "Grandma, how much do you weigh?"
Once again the grandmother replied, "Oh, honey, you shouldn’t ask grown-ups how much they weigh. It isn’t polite."
The next day the little girl was back with a big smile on her face. She said, "Grandma, I know how old you are, you’re sixty-two. And you weigh 140 pounds."
The grandmother was a bit surprised and said, "My goodness, how do you know?" The girl smiled and said, "You left your driver’s license on the table, and I read it."
Grandmother said, "Oh, so that’s how you found out.
The girl said, "That’s right, and I also saw on your driver’s license that you flunked sex." 
Confusion is big in the land. Our mental state is always up for debate. The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re okay, then it’s you. 
The believers at Thessalonica found themselves confused over Jesus’ return. In our text tonight Paul gives them some explanation to help calm their worries, then an exhortation to help them stand firm in their faith. After all, it is difficult to stand firm when your faith is faltering. As we explore what Paul said we will find several ways to get our faith into action so our standing firm will "firm-up".
I. Let your Faith INFORM your Reason
1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not 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. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (NIV)
The believers at Thessalonica were familiar with Old Testament prophecies about the Day of the Lord. Amos told the particularly scary parts:
Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD!
Why do you long for the day of the LORD?
That day will be darkness, not light. Amos 5:18 (NIV)
On the other hand they had heard Paul talk about the Good Shepherd coming back for His sheep, and an eternal state of happiness. There was increasing pressure and persecution in Thessalonica, and some of the brothers felt like they must have slept right through the rapture and now they were going through the tribulation. They were worried and upset! (I would be also!).
When it comes to our first inclination, most of us do the opposite of what Scripture teaches.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Scripture teaches us to let our faith in the Lord govern our decisions. We tend to let our "reason" (common sense) take over. That always causes spiritual fizzle of faith. That had happened in Thessalonica, and it happens today. Back then there were folks who looked around at the persecution and tough times and reasoned that the great tribulation was at hand. Rumors flew like chicken at a Baptist homecoming.
Today rumors are just as damaging.
" Let a little whisper fly about the married man and his cute new secretary…just watch the trust disappear in a marriage.
" Let the rumor mill about layoffs at the plant get going and watch morale go down the tubes.
" Let the complainers and gossipers pull-apart church leadership and watch the unity of that church be destroyed.
Jesus had told the apostles (Mt 24-25) the truth about the last times. He said there would be wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famine and more. The apostles had passed that information along to the churches. Unfortunately there were those who wanted to question and doubt everything Jesus had clearly said. These are also predicted in Jude:
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Jude 1:17-23 (NIV)