THE STORY OF THE EARLY CHURCH
Verses preaching the "Gospel of Jesus"
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39.1 CHRIST WILL JUDGE EVERYONE WHEN HE RETURNS
2 Thessalonians 1:7b-12 - ...... This judgment (on those who attacked the Thessalonian Christians) will issue eventually in the final denouement (outcome or result) of Christ's personal coming from Heaven with the angels of his power. It will bring full justice in dazzling flame upon those who have refused to know God or to obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Their punishment will be eternal exclusion from the radiance of the face of the Lord, and the glorious majesty of power. But to those whom he has made holy his coming will mean splendour unimaginable. It will be a breath-taking wonder to all who believe - including you, for you have believed the message that we have given you.
In view of this great prospect, we pray for you constantly, that God will think you worthy of this calling, and that he will effect in you all his goodness desires to do, and that your faith makes possible. We pray that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may become more glorious through you, and that you may share something of his glory - all through the grace of our God and Jesus Christ the Lord.
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39.2 THE ANTI-CHRIST OF SATAN MUST APPEAR BEFORE THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 - Now we do implore you, by the very certainty of Christ's coming and of our meeting him together, to keep your heads and not be thrown off balance by any prediction or message or letter purporting to come from us (... Paul is perhaps referring to a forged letter), and saying that the day of Christ is almost here. Don't let anyone deceive you by any means whatsoever. That day will not come before there arises a definite rejection of God and the appearance of the lawless man (... the anti-christ, the man of sin, who is under the control of Satan). He is the product of all that leads to death, and he sets himself up in opposition to every religion. He himself takes his seat in the temple of God, to show that he really claims to be God.
I expect you remember now how I (Paul) talked about this when I was with you (in Thessalonica). You will probably also remember how I used to talk about a "restraining power" which would operate until the time should come for the emergence of this man (the anti-christ). Evil is already insidiously at work but its activities are restricted until what I have called the "restraining power" (of God) is removed. When that happens the lawless man will be plainly seen - though the truth of the Lord Jesus spells his doom, and the radiance of the coming of the Lord Jesus will be his utter destruction. The lawless man is produced by the spirit of evil and armed with all the force, wonders and signs that falsehood can devise. To those involved in this dying world he will come with evil's undiluted power to deceive, for they have refused to love the truth which could have saved them. God sends upon them, therefore, the full force of evil's delusion, so that they put their faith in an utter fraud and meet the inevitable judgment of all who have refused to believe the truth and who have made evil their play-fellow.
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39.3 PAUL'S ENCOURAGEMENT TO STAND FIRM
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 - But we can thank God continually for you, brothers, whom the Lord loves. He has chosen you from the beginning to save you, to make you holy by the work of his Spirit and your own belief in the truth. It was his call that you followed when we preached the Gospel to you, and he has set before you the prospect of sharing the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So stand firm, and hold on! Be loyal to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or in writings.
May the Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father (who has loved us and given us unending encouragement and unfailing hope by his grace) inspire you with courage and confidence in every good thing you say or do.
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- After his first recorded visit to Corinth, and his two letters to the Thessalonians, Paul returned via Jerusalem to Syrian Antioch. From there, he set out on his Third Missionary Journey:
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J.B.Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition, published by HarperCollins, is presented here with the kind permission of Mrs Vera Phillips and the J.B.Phillips estate
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