1: "And now, brothers and sisters, let us tell you about the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered together to meet Him." - In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians he wrote to address the growing concerns that Christ would never return. Now they have shifted towards the idea that Christ would appear at any second. This letter is an attempt to bring a sense of balance to this issue.
2: "Please don't be so easily shaken and troubled by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Even if they claim to have had a vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us, don't believe them." - No one knows the timing of Christ's return except Christ Himself.
3: "Don't be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed--the one who brings destruction." - Paul is not trying to provide a list of specific events for us to look for leading up to the return of Christ. The purpose of this letter is to remind us that God is control and all we need to concern ourselves with is remaining steadfast in our faith in Him.
13: "As for us, we always thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation, a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and by your belief in the truth." - Salvation is based on our belief in Christ. Through that belief and through a constant focus on God, the Holy Spirit will teach and guide us through the process of sanctification where we are remade into the image of Christ.
15: "With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on everything we taught you both in person and by letter." - A constant focus on the truth of the Gospel will carry us through any hardship or challenge we may face in life.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you worry about the future?
Have you found yourself listening to those who "claim to have had a vision, a revelation, or a letter" foretelling or describing the end of the world? Does it appear that evil is ruling the day and the only hope left is for Christ's return? Do you recognize that these types of feelings have been with mankind since the beginning of time? Are your fears any more severe than those of the Thessalonians who were being sought out and persecuted for their belief in Christ? Does Paul's letter remind you that God is in control of all things and that your worries and fears are misplaced?
Are you being fooled? Does it matter if we are in the last days before Christ's return or if it is still 2000 years away? How would you live your life differently today if Christ were to return tomorrow? Would you be more focused on God's truth and spending more time studying His Word? Would you be getting ready, perhaps focusing on the needs of loved ones or friends? Would you share the Good News to as many people as you could? Shouldn't you always live this way? Can't you see that regardless of what tomorrow brings your focus must be on God today?
What truths are you keeping in mind? Do you remember how God reached into your life and lifted you out of the pit of despair and hopelessness? Do you recall the first time you felt His love pouring down like rain into your heart? Have you forgotten the time you first came to realize the true meaning of Grace? Have you lost your focus on the Cross and how you have been made right with God by the forgiveness of your sins? Do you recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, mind, and soul? Do you need to remember anything else in order to remain firm in your faith or to be strengthened and comforted by His love? Promises of the Gospel:
As we face struggles in life and as we look out into a world filled with war, poverty, destruction, and hate, our hearts fill with worry and anxiety. At times it is easy to give into the feelings of hopelessness that are always knocking at the door of our hearts. In times like these, when nothing makes sense and fear rules the day, it becomes almost too easy to give up and start hoping for the end of world to occur. How else are we to explain things when everything we see seems so dark and evil? Paul's letter reminds us that our hope and strength lies in the love of God. No matter what we face in life, as long as we remember what He has already done for us then we can continue working at building His kingdom in the lives we meet everyday. Evil may rule the day but God rules eternity. He is in control and His timing is perfect. Paul warns us against listening to false prophecy and predictions of doom. Instead, we are to remember the Gospel, keep our focus always on the truth of God, and to stand firm in our faith.