1 Thess. Lesson 3, Dangers from your Own Countrymen :: By Sean Gooding

Chapter 2:10-20

“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 13, For this reason, we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus.

“For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, 16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost. 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.”

Over the past few weeks, we have seen stark changes to the political and relationship landscape here in North America. As one of my dear friends put it, “Who would have imagined that we would be seeing the rise of communism in America in our lifetime?” He is right, and the fruit of this terrible philosophy is death, lots of death to those that stand for the truth and freedom. The Gospel, however, is still unchanged, and people’s need for the Gospel is unchanged. Jesus is still in charge, and the plan for the New Millennium is moving forward unabated. It is more and more important that we, God’s children, keep our focus on the promises and plans that the Lord has for us in His word, His Holy Bible. This is the only security that we have.

As we continue our look in Thessalonians, I pray that you are growing in Jesus and allowing Him to change you as the Holy Spirit forms Christ in us. Paul is encouraging this church to endure, last time we looked at the Gospel, and it is that Gospel that is the very foundation of all we have in Jesus. It does not need to be redone, redefined, or repackaged. It needs to be shared over and over again; Jesus is the only name whereby we must be saved. Don’t get off track, don’t get off message, and don’t get into arguments; state the truth in love and let the Holy Spirit do His work.

Today, we will look more into this letter, and we will see that one of the things that are associated with the Gospel is danger. We have been, well, at least I have been, spoiled here in North America to have been able to serve the Lord in relative comfort and without much risk to me, my family, or the life that I live, and I live a very good one. But that, it would appear, is changing right before our eyes. At times, I feel like a guy stuck on a train track; the train is coming, and I can’t get off. Maybe you feel the same way as well.

Let us take a look at Paul’s words to this church.

  • Walk Worthy of the Lord, verse 12

Paul did not say to walk worthy if the circumstances are good and things are going your way. No, simply walk worthy of the Lord. The idea is this: what does your walk in this life say to others about how God is to you, and who He is in your life? The Lord is Holy; we should be. The Lord kind; we should be. The Lord is loving; we should be. The Lord is merciful; we should be. The Lord was, at times, brutally honest; we should be as well, at times. The Lord was faithful; we should be. On and on we can go, but you can see the picture clearly. Jesus put it this way: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

No matter the circumstances, even when no one but God is looking, do what is right. In the time that Paul was speaking, the Roman government was still in charge, and they were a pagan government. They did not like Christians, and somewhere in the middle of the first century, Christianity would become illegal. Yet, these Thessalonians were called to walk, to live worthy of Jesus. We are now living in a time when Christianity in North America is coming under attack more and more. There are restrictions on free speech and on what we can say about certain people and actions. If one would be technical, there are some parts of the Bible that would be deemed as hate speech.

Do not let the way that you are treated determine how you live. Seek the Word of God, love the Word of God, read the Word of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to control you. God is still in control, and I know that it does not feel that way often, but He is.

The 4th Commandment tells us not to take the name of the Lord in vain. A few years ago, listening to a Jewish man talk about this, a better rendering should have been ‘don’t carry the name of the Lord in vain.’ Don’t use the name of the Lord to do evil and to do harm. This does not mean that you cannot stand for your rights as a citizen. Paul did; he was the first to point out that he was a Roman citizen when his rights as a citizen were impeded. But he did so with respect for the authority and in a godly way. But he stood nonetheless. We need to find these ways in our modern time, or our children will never know the freedoms that we all too often take for granted.

  • Danger from our Countrymen, verse 14

I heard the Gospel freely as a child. I was saved as a young man via a Billy Graham-style crusade in my little Barbados. My mom was saved at a Billy Graham crusade many, many moons ago. Just a few years ago, I was part of a Franklin Graham crusade here in Toronto that saw the Gospel preached freely to thousands and thousands. The very church that I grew up in was started by the BIMI mission out of the US. I have countless friends that are missionaries all over the world, men and their wives most often, who left the US and went to parts far and wide to freely share the Gospel.

What I am trying to show you is that the Gospel has been freely exported from the US to the world for decades going back to when my mom was saved as a young lady in Barbados. She is about to turn 88 in a month. Yet, here we are, and the Gospel is under attack in the US. The free speech that fostered the growth and expansion of the Gospel is being taken away, and the very Bible that we hold dear is hated.

Paul told the people in Thessalonica that, like him, like Jesus, they would face dangers from their own countrymen. The very people that they loved – that they would pray for and endeavor to share the Gospel with – would be their mortal enemies. We should understand that today even more.

There are people, and the number is growing, that hate Christianity, hate the values of family and love that we hold to. Hate the fact that we refuse to budge on the fact that Jesus is the only way. We refuse to tolerate other religious beliefs as valid; we love the people but cannot condone or agree with their beliefs.

Today, someone pointed out that a ‘Faith Center’ was being built in Europe, and I had not heard of it. I did a bit of research and came across an article from February 2021. In it, the author said that on May 27th this year, there was a ceremony to lay a foundational stone in Berlin to a place called ‘The House of One,’ the fruit of TEN (10) years of planning to build a faith worship center for Muslims, Jews and Christians to worship together. The price tag is 47 billion Euros. Wow, that is a lot of money! But more importantly, how can Muslims and Jews worship the same God? How can Christians and Muslims worship together? The answer is that true Christians cannot. Thus, we will be the enemy. We will be the enemy of tolerance and the enemy of peace, and on and on.

Our own countrymen will be our greatest enemies; we are seeing that right now. The vaxxed versus the unvaxxed, two classes. One is for the people, they say, and the other is a danger to the people. The world is being conditioned to seeing the non-conformers as dangerous. We who defy the new One-World Religion will be the enemy. God help us. In verse 16 above, Paul tells us that they were forbidden to preach the Gospel, and we will be too one day. That day is coming sooner than you think. Can you imagine the greatest exporter of the Gospel in the last century, the USA, making the Gospel illegal? Once again, God help us.

  • Satan hinders our face-to-face fellowship, verse 18

Man, this hit me. I have dear brothers and sisters in the US that I love dearly, and we have not had the privilege of face-to-face fellowship for 2 years or more. We have had limited face-to-face time here as well, even among our churches. We are just getting back to that, and I am sure that they will find a way to stop us once again. Satan hates the fellowship of true Christians. We talk about Jesus, we love one another, and we encourage one another to overcome the obstacles and trials of life. We pray for each other and carry each other, and we are able to comfort one another with a hug, or a hand on the back, or just to sit in silence and hope together.

Jesus warns us in Hebrews 10:25 not to “forsake the assembling of ourselves together,” but He adds, “the more we see the day approaching.”

The Last Day, that day is in front of us. We see the One-World Religion HQ being built, the global laws that affect all people. Once free countries are locked down, and the unrest is loud and being heard. Sooner rather than later, the crackdown will come, and these voices will be silenced. The framework for a global vaccine is the foundation for the Mark that is coming. A mark that can be traced and followed to where you are, know with whom you associate, and allow or deny you access to places. Satan is working hard to bring about his last stand against Jesus. We are seeing it; we have front row seats, and we can have confidence that God is in control. He told us what would be happening, and it is.

Look up; our redemption is very, very close. Sadly, a lot of Christians are not blind per se but have a cloudy vision.

Do you know Jesus as your Saviour? Today is the day, that day to be saved. We can see the end clearer than any generation before us, and the time to take advantage of the Gospel is now.

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding

Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

P.S. I will be away on vacation next week, and there won’t be any Bible study sent out.

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