Encouragement in the Middle of Increased Persecution
Mark Balmer - Sunday, August 11th 2019 - 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10
- How would you define a “healthy church”?
2 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Romans 12:5 (NLT) so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
2 Thessalonians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The only way to experience God’s peace is experience God’s grace FIRST
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
- Satan’s favorite tools are depression, discouragement, and loss of hope
- Encourage = to inspire courage, confidence and hope.
- All of us NEED and LOVE to be encouraged
Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching
- Hearing and reading the Word grows our faith
Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
- Obeying the Word grows our faith
James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
- Facing trials, testing and troubles grows our faith
James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
1 Peter 4:8 (NLT) Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
- In this healthy church there was 1) love for God, 2) love for the leaders, 3) love for other believers, and 4) love for unbelievers.
2 Thessalonians 1:4 Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
- Verse 4 applies to all evangelical churches including CCM today
- Christian Post- May 2018: 4 Countries in Asia Pass Laws Banning Religious Conversions (banning a person sharing their faith publicly, i.e. evangelism)
2 Thessalonians 1:5 All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
- Remember that a Christ Follower (CF) is ONLY made worthy by God’s grace.
Romans 8:17 (NLT) (A) And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. (B) But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.
- Healthy CFs are to live with an eternal perspective
Colossians 3:1-2 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. 2 Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Matthew 25:46 "Then they (who reject God) will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
2 Thessalonians 1:9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
- Hell is a fixed place; there is no escape, no purgatory, and no 2nd chances
2 Thessalonians 1:10 (NLT) When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Live here now and then live there forever
Matthew 5:11-12 (NLT) “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven…
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
All Bible references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted. NLT = New Living Translation.