By Kevin Shrum
Pastor, Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville
Focal Passage: I Thessalonians 2:1-12
It is a tragedy to lose any one of our five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, feel. I once asked a person, “Which of the five senses would be most difficult to lose?” Answer: Sight. We all know beautiful people who cannot see for a variety of medical reasons. Physical blindness is a sad condition.
However, spiritual blindness is not only sad, but deadly. As the old saying goes, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” The lost are described as blind (II Corinthians 4:4). Jesus called some of the religious leaders of his day “blind guides” (Matthews 23:16-22).
The text before us calls us to live life observing and looking for the signs of the times, especially as they pertain to the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In other words, we’re to live out our lives in Christ with “eyes wide open.”
Remembering, (II Thessalonians 2:1-5). We live with our eyes wide open by remembering. Paul reminds them of the truths surrounding the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 1). Why remember? Because we forget. We forget about the promises of God, causing us to lose our nerve and become unsettled by world events. They were not to be unsettled by a false “spirit,” “word,” or “letter” meant to confuse and unsettle God’s people.
The “man of lawlessness” (v. 3) must appear prior to Jesus’ return, glorifying himself as God (v. 4). This has yet to happen, but it will. This lawless one will lead a great rebellion against Jesus and God’s people, a rebellion that will eventually be put down in the final victory of Jesus Christ. These are the things we must remember.
Timing, (II Thessalonians 2:6-8). But timing is everything. When will these things take place? (Acts 1:6-8) We all want to know. The ultimate answer is above our pay grade. However, we do know that when we see the “restrainer” removed all of these things will be unleashed (II Thessalonians 2:6-7).
But what is that which restrains evil? Some say it is the Spirit of God, while others say it is the Church. It is probably a combination of both, because God’s Spirit indwells his people, the Church. When this restraining power is removed, as the old saying goes, “all hell will break loose.”
The timing of the appearance of the man of lawlessness will soon be followed by the truth that Jesus will kill him “with the spirit (breath) of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (v. 8).
Deceiving, (II Thessalonians 2:9-12). A big part of the previously described episode of evil unleashed is deception. Many things will be done — “power and signs and lying wonders” – will be done in such a way that will deceive many. In fact, they will be performed with such power that if the elect of God were not secure in Jesus they might be led astray (Matthews 24:22). But since they are secure in Jesus they, in the end, will not be deceived. They will ‘see through’ the deception.
But many will not see through the deception. Because many do not “love the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:10), God will send them a “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (v. 11). The spiritually blind will be condemned. Let us preach the gospel so that many might see and believe. B&R