Summary: A call to faithfulness and fruitfulness while waiting for Christ’s return; an overview of 2 Thessalonians.
What To Do ‘Til Jesus Comes
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Introduction: A university student was seen with a large "K" printed on his T- shirt. When someone asked him what the "K" stood for, he said, "Confused." "But," the questioner replied, "you don’t spell "confused" with a "K." The student answered, "You don’t know how confused I am."
Confusion is a good word to summarize our next book in our journey through the New Testament—2 Thessalonians. This little book was written to a group of young Christians who were struggling with some serious confusion regarding the Second Coming and the end of history. 1 and 2 Thessalonians were probably among the first books written by Paul the apostle and missionary. He had planted the church amidst controversy and opposition. He was forced to leave the city after only a few weeks. He leaves with great concern for the new believers. He sends Timothy back to find out how they were doing. Paul’s sidekick returns with a good report and also some questions. 1 Thessalonians responds to that report.
A few months later, Paul again receives word of some confusion among these young Christians. 2 Thessalonians is the response to this second report. Our Bible translations organize the book into three logical chapters. Each chapter provides an answer to our questions about “what to do ‘til Jesus comes.
Chapter 1: Until Jesus comes, between now and then, followers of Christ must persevere in the face of persecution. Such an admonition is needed. It is easy to fall prey to the idea that the Christian life is supposed to be a refuge from all the hard stuff of life. What hard stuff is left will be taken care of when Christ returns. Our task in the mean time is to try to skate through as easily as possible, always looking for the path of least resistance. Nothing could be further from the truth!
We are called to persevere. Perseverance is more than just surviving. It is thriving even in the midst of hard times, not just wishfully hoping that they don’t come. Jesus warned his disciples, “In this world, you will have persecution.” Paul insisted that “all who are faithful will be persecuted.”
How do we persevere in the face of hard times, thrive rather than just survive. First, by continuing to grow in faith. Faith is not a static thing. You have it and that’s it! Faith is a living, growing relationship with God. Faith is either growing or shrinking. It cannot remain the same. Can we say of our faith what Paul said of those in this book? “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more …”
Second, we persevere by increasing in love for one another. That’s the rest of the verse I just read, “the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” We are not in this alone. We need each other. Our love for one another, our dependence on each other in fellowship, keeps us strong and protects from Satan’s worst. Alone we are vulnerable. Together we are stronger. Together in Christ, we are invincible.