Going Deeper 11-7-19

The second reading for Pentecost 22….

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17   As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.  Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction.  He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.  Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? …  But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.  For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.  Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

 

This reading from Scripture begins with a couple of warnings… one about a present threat, and another about a coming danger.  Yet while Paul is sounding an alarm, he encourages his readers to not “be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed.”  There are times when God’s children need to be aware of threats and dangers, but at the same time our lives are lived out of peace and hope.  Alarmists of various kinds have been harmful distractions throughout the history of God’s church.

 

Our text jumps ahead to Paul’s teaching about where our focus really needs to be and remain.  In the midst of threats and dangers, we need to keep our focus on hearing, celebrating and proclaiming the “the good news.”  Paul’s words to the Thessalonians are words for all of God’s children throughout the ages, and it is important to note the pairing of “belief” and “sanctification.”  Belief leads to salvation, and salvation leads to transformation.

 

The same truth is proclaimed in the last verse: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.”  Because of God’s love and grace, we have been gifted with eternal comfort and hope, and the outcome of this knowledge is “good work.”  Belief leads to salvation, and salvation leads to transformation.

 

Are there both present threats and coming dangers for us to consider in our time and place?  Of course.  Are we to be focused on them and alarmed by them?  No.  Our focus is on the love of God and His transforming Spirit working in and through our lives.  And our focus is on claiming and proclaiming this “good news” in the midst of it all.

 

With You in Him,


Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."