20 April, 2018
In the previous week, the discussion focused on the spiritual gifts.
In this last session, the question was What is the glory of the church?
2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so
until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, who the Lord
will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
This letter to the church of Thessalonians contains a strong message about the end times.
In chapter 2, a lawless one is described as rising in power and saying that he is God.
This will happen first before the day of the Lord's coming and all the believers will still be on earth and should be alert, knowing this lawless one or 'Antichrist' ( 1 John 4:3) will make all these claims.
After the 3.5 years of the lawless one claiming he is God and tried to fool everyone,
Jesus will overthrow him and destroy him (verse 8) with the brightness of His coming (the rapture)
The first time Jesus returns in the clouds is the rapture.
Matthew 24:30, Luke 17:34, 1 Corinthians 15:52,
Jesus will send angels to gather His people. 1 will be taken and the other left.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
17. ... we who are still alive ... will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
After the rapture the Holy Spirit will be taken away and there will be a 3.5 year period of tribulation and persecution before the second coming and final judgement of Satan. Note that it will be almost impossible for anyone to turn to the Lord during the persecution period because its the Holy Spirit who convicts us and births something of the spirit in us, but the Holy Spirit won't be present.
The glory of the church is that we are the bride that Jesus is coming back for. We will be taken up
to dwell with the Lord and don't need to endure the period of tribulation.
We should seek the presence of God in our lives.
As a church we must:
1. have a biblical foundation (God's Word). Keep checking that what we are hearing aligns with the Word of God.
2. preach the message of redemption (born of water and of spirit)
3. lift up Christ. Be careful not to lift up ministries, pastors, leaders or other things more than Christ.
What can we do to help the church which is the body of Christ?
1. Be regular in our attendance. Hebrews 10:25
CH U R CH You are present in the center of church 😃
2. Be ready to be used by God. Make ourselves available.
3. Be reverent in our attention. Romans 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind
4. Be Godly in conduct. God wants to see His character reflected in us. Resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7)
Titus 2:11-12 (NIV) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'NO' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled upright and godly lives in this present age...
5. As a church, strive to reach sinners with the gospel.