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1 Thessalonians 2:17 – 3:13

1 Thessalonians 2:173:13 17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. 18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy. 3 Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, 3 that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4 For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. 5 For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you— 7 therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith? 11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

We see the fourth reason for Paul writing the letter to the church at Thessalonica. Paul wanted to express his joy in their faith. Look at verse one of chapter three where the love Paul had for the church and the absence from them became unbearable. Paul longed to go to see the church because of the affliction they were facing. We see in verse 18 of chapter two that Satan was hindering Paul from returning. So Paul and Barnabas sent Timothy again as an encouragement to the church. A side note this was the last time Timothy was sent by Paul to a church. Timothy has gone and returned with good news that the church had continued to grow in the faith and love. Paul is overwhelmed by joy because of their faith. Walking this journey of faith in the time of Paul is the same thing as it is today. We walk this journey of faith by only one means and that is by the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. What does that actually mean? So I am a Christian – now I sit back and let the Holy Spirit do everything. No! We must in order to live to the fullest for Jesus Christ we need to learn all we can about our Lord, we need to pray “night and day” as Paul did, we need to surrender ourselves (die to self) to the lord. A Life of Faith is a life filled with seeking Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit striving to be just like Him. Living for Christ in our world today is not an easy life, as Jesus said the world will hate us because the world first hated Him, but a rewarding and eternal life of joy and hope. Live today as you know what eternity will bring. Pastor Tom

Titus 2:11-14

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works

God’s Grace incarnate in Jesus Christ has been given to all men and women (this is not universal salvation) “all men is used here as just “men”. The gift of salvation is offered to anyone but those who choose to accept that gift is small. Paul as our author then goes on to says that once this salvation is accepted a child of God through the power of the Holy Spirit can deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. How is this possible because we are “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”. Look at our world today, the ungodliness, the lure of the world, the paths of unrighteousness, and the false truth so wide spread among this generation. As a child of Jesus Christ, my heart aches for the way this world has gone but there is hope and security in the truth that one day Jesus Christ will return and take me home. Through the Cross of Calvary Jesus redeemed us and purified us as His own people. Thank You Jesus Pastor Tom

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape

This is a reference from Paul about the end of time that when Jesus Christ returns to judge this world, no one will escape. We see in Philippians 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, that one day every human being that has ever lived will stand before Jesus. Praise the Lord though all of the children of God will not be at that judgment but will already be in heaven for all eternity. Prepare ourselves for that day either proclaim the name of Jesus now or you will proclaim the name of Jesus then but at that time you will have to pay for your sins. Pastor Tom

2 Samuel 7:12-13

2 Samuel 7:12-13 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

This was a word from God given to Nathan the Prophet for King David. God is letting David know that his son Solomon would be the one chosen by God to build God’s temple.  God would set up Solomon’s kingdom. David wanted to build that temple but God chose Solomon. The underlying truth here is that through the line of David would eventually come the Messiah Jesus Christ, who would then establish the throne of the kingdom for all eternity by His death on the cross. Pastor Tom

Genesis 15:12-18

Genesis 15:12-18 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” 17 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 18 On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—

The covenant God made with Abraham was that Abraham’s descendants would be given a promised land and that His descendants would be as numerous as the star in the sky. Yet, in that journey the people of Israel will be put under the control of the Egyptian people put into bondage and slavery and after 400 plus years God would delver them from that bondage. We also know from Exodus that Egypt was judged severely for their disobedience to God through Moses, who was demanding the Egyptians let the Israelites leaves.  The lesson here today is that when God makes a covenant it is irreversible but many times as human beings we struggle with the way and the time God uses to fulfill that promise. Even after the Israelite people left Egypt they were delayed entering the Promised Land for another 40 years because of their disobedience to God. As a child of God our obedience is commanded but that obedience is not a chore or a burden but a joy and an assurance that God is in control and walking this path of life with us through His indwelling Holy Spirit. It gives us such peace to know that no matter what happens in life or what may come my way, that God is there. Pastor Tom

Ephesians 1:13-14

Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Our Heavenly Father’s own Spirit was given to mankind after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven. The part I love in these verses is the one small word “SEALED” which gives us four wonderful truths about our Salvation. First is security, as all who truly trust in Jesus Christ are secured for all eternity and nothing can take that away Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Second is authenticity, that being sealed is from God Himself. Third is ownership, in being a child of God we are under the ownership of Jesus Christ, so when God looks at us through Jesus Christ we are seen as sinless. Fourth is authority, we are under the authority of Jesus Christ and all that He has for us to do we can be reassured that He is in control and what ever He asks is the best for us. I have learned over the years that my salvation is the most awesome way to worship God, thanking Him for my eternal security. Pastor Tom

Psalm 19:7-10

Psalm 19:7-10 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

We sometimes look upon the Law of God as a negative, actually there is nothing wrong with the Law. The issue here is that as human beings we are unable to keep the Law of God. Praise God, that through His Son Jesus Christ we are not held accountable for breaking the law because Jesus paid the ransom for us. As children of God we see “the statutes of the Lord are right”, which means the commandments of God are absolutely perfect for us in living our lives here on earth. “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever” simply put is that the judgments of the Lord are perfect in judging the sins of this world, but again as children of His we need not worry because the judgment will never come our way it was put on the cross with Jesus. In keeping with our theme that there is nothing in this world more important than Jesus, look at verse ten. Yes Jesus Christ is to be desired more than gold, more than health, more than any other thing. Jesus is all that matters, share Jesus today with someone who does not know Him. What a friend He could be to that person. Pastor Tom

2 Corinthians 2:14

2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place

We see three awesome truths about the Apostle Paul, as he is praying and thinking about the troubles in the Corinthian church. First, Paul gives thanks for being led by Jesus Christ’s sovereign grace and mercy. Second, that no matter what may happen to him in ministry being led by Jesus will give him a victory in Christ in all circumstances. Third, Paul counted it all joy and a privilege to serve Jesus Christ. Yesterday I made the statement that the only thing that matter is Jesus Christ, well here are the three outcomes of living that kind of life. Pastor Tom

John 14:15-17

John 14:15-17 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you

To love Jesus is inseparable from our obedience to Him, which is the outcome of our Salvation which come from God through Jesus Christ. Jesus ascended into heaven and when He left He said He would sent the Comforter the Holy Spirit. As a child of God we can not walk this world and stay true to our faith in Jesus Christ without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we come to know Jesus Christ through repentance and forgiveness we receive 100% of the Holy Spirit at that time. Praise the Lord, that as we live this life, we are assured that our strength and our security is found in the Holy Spirit. As I live this life each and everyday, especially as I get older, I am more and more convinced that Jesus is truly “ALL THAT MATTERS”. There is nothing on this earth (which will all pass away) that is more important than Jesus Christ. Pastor Tom

1 Corinthians 15:55-57

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This passage is a quote from Isaiah 25:8 where the Apostle Paul is expounding upon his last thought found in verses 51-54 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” The law of God pointed out the sin that everyone will have to pay for in the final judgment. Jesus Christ went to the Cross to pay that price for us. Paul sums it up in verse 57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Know this is where we say “Yes” God truly is a God of love, because He offers us a way out of our sin through His Son Jesus Christ.Pastor Tom

1 John 3:4-6

1 John 3:4-6 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

This passage does not say that as Christians we will not sin! What this passage tells us is that as a child of God we hate sin as it is contrary to God. As we live our lives in obedience to Jesus Christ we strive to flee from sin. Christians, when sin enter their lives will be miserable because they will know that sin will drive them from Jesus, the One they strive to love. Before Christianity we have a conscience that tells us right from wrong but it is flawed because it is controlled by our society, our families, and our friends which are all flawed by the sin nature. Once we are a child of God, we become a new creation under the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit promised to all God’s children. When we are faced with sin, there is only one thing to do run to the Cross into the arms of your Savior. Pastor Tom

1 John 3:1-3

1 John 3:1-3 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

What hope this passage gives to us as we realize that God bestowed His love on us (Jesus Christ) then through the Holy Spirit  gives us a way to become a child of God. Lynnda and I were talking last evening that this world truly looks at those who are true children of God as outcasts, (we see this more and more in our society) we are aliens, and strange in the way we live our lives as a new creation in Jesus Christ. As the world turns it’s back on Jesus Christ, we will see more and more hatred, intolerance, and laws that will go against anyone willing to stand for Jesus Christ. Christian professional; health care, teachers, psychologist, etc. will be denied entrance into professional organizations, denied positions, etc. because of their stand for God. That is where  verses 2&3 give us the hope and the assurance that we are in the molding period of the Holy Spirit working in our lives to prepare us for the time when Jesus Christ returns that we will become like Him. I truly do not know what that will look like but to be very honest it will be awesome. Transformed in the twinkling of an eye, all His children will be giving a glorified body and will instantaneously meet Jesus in the air transported to Heaven. Thank You Jesus for our Salvation. Pastor Tom

Colossians 2:13-15

Colossians 2:13-15 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

“Dead in your trespasses”! Wow, we are so dead in sin, this world, the flesh, and the devil that there is absolutely no way to respond to spiritual truth. But again Wow, Jesus has made me alive in Him, forgiving me of “ALL” my sins, erasing my debt of sin that I would have had to pay for, and I am so grateful that Jesus nailed to the cross! All of my sins were nailed to the Cross of Calvary as Jesus paid my sin debt to God. This is open to anyone that realizes their sin nature and that they can do nothing to come before God in hopes of forgiveness. God knows that but in His love for us and in order to have the penalty of sin paid for He sent His son Jesus Christ. Each and every day I am more and more convinced that Jesus is everything, there is nothing more important than Him. Pastor Tom

1 John 4:1-3

1 John 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.

In the early church we saw that false teachers were already present in the society. Today, even more false teachers have filled this world with false teaching which has led many astray from the Truth of Scripture. How do we know if it is a false teacher or not; ask the question of who Jesus is? If they can not answer ‘Jesus Christ is God incarnate, He came in the flesh born of a virgin as the Savior of this world’ then they do not know the truth. Jesus Christ came for one reason and one reason only and that is to die on the Cross of Calvary for the sins of this world. Jesus then rose again in victory over death (which then gives to those who believe on Him victory over death) and then we will never have to fear death because we will spend eternity in heaven. So watch out for those who do not claim the Truth about Jesus for if they do not claim Jesus is God incarnate run from them for they are of the evil one. How is the best way to avoid these false teachers; first is to know Jesus Christ as your Savior for without that Truth you will not be able to see the false teacher, second as a child of Jesus Christ spend time with Him in scripture and in prayer knowing the real truth so when the false raises its ugly head you will know, and third listen to fellow believers and join together as united brethren in Jesus. All that matter is Jesus. Pastor Tom

James 4:7

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Submit literally means “to line up under” a term used for soldiers as they submit to their commanding officers. In scripture we also see it as submission to earthly authority, or submission to the church’s authority, or from a Biblical perspective submission that Jesus had to his parents. For human beings James uses this idea for the willful and conscious submission to God. We are told in Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” What a wonderful security that we then can know that if we are in submission to the Lord, Satan must flee as he is a defeat enemy. All human people are either under God’s authority or under Satan authority for we are told there is absolutely no middle ground. Which authority are you under? Pastor Tom