Standing Firm (2 Thessalonians 2)
Today, we conclude our message series on Spiritual Warfare. Next week, we begin a new message series called “Basic Training.” If you and I are to engage in spiritual warfare, we need Basic Training as soldiers in the Lord’s army. Invite a friend to our new Basic Training series beginning next week.
Our message today is entitled “Standing Firm.” The Bible teaches that spiritual warfare will intensify as the return of Jesus Christ draws nearer. Although, there have certainly been instances of difficult spiritual warfare down through the centuries, I believe that it is safe to say that world-wide, we are currently in the most intense spiritual warfare in the history of the world.
Today, as never before, the world is connected into a common culture via the communication channels of the internet. The spread of both good and evil through the networks of the world occurs at light speed. The opportunity to influence myriads of people now is available to anyone with a message to send, whether for God or for Satan. So, what can we expect regarding Spiritual Warfare in the last days? I just want to remind you that the Bible teaches that the last days are the time from Jesus’ resurrection until His return, so we are now currently living in the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1 (NIV) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
Terrible times means troublesome, hard and violent times. So, no the last days will not bring in a state of paradise and peace on earth, until Jesus Himself returns. These terrible times will mean times of increasing spiritual warfare for those who are alert and following their commander in chief, Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 3:2-5a (NIV) People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power.
This is a description of what the majority of people will be like increasingly in the last days. There are 18 descriptions of unbelievers in the last days, let’s just look at a few. People will be lovers of themselves, that’s really the essence of sin, isn’t it, being self-centered rather than God-centered.
The Greek word for the phrase “without love” means “lacking normal human affection” particular with respect to parents with children. Abortion is an example of mothers killing rather than loving their unborn child. Finally, they are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. How should we respond?
2 Timothy 3:5b (NIV) Have nothing to do with them.
People that have the characteristics we’ve described are dangerous to be around, for their presence is tempting and corrupting. Their sin must not be affirmed, but opposed. But you may say, aren’t we supposed to witness to them? Let’s look at another couple of verses a little early in the book.
2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NIV) Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
There are those that oppose us as believers that we must gently instruct, with the aim of repentance and being saved. So there are two kinds of people, some we gently instruct, as there is hope of repentance, while others are so hardened in sin, that we have nothing to do with them directly.
Today, we are going to look at a passage from 2 Thessalonians 2 to learn more about Standing Firm in the last days.
Spiritual Warfare Message Series
- Detecting the Deceiver (2 Corinthians 11:2-15)
- Facing Temptation (Matthew 4:1-11)
- The Serpent's Strategy (Genesis 3:1-7)
- The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-19)
- The War Within (James 4)
- Defeating the Destroyer (Mark 5)
- Overcoming Our Accuser (Revelation 12)
- Surviving Satan's Attacks (Job 1)
- Standing Firm (2 Thessalonians 2)