How to revive the suffering: Encouragement from the future
3rd May 2020

How to revive the suffering: Encouragement from the future

Passage: 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

2 Cor. 4:16-17

Present sufferings produce glory in the future that far outweighs our momentary afflictions of the present.

Last Sunday, we began our journey to discover these glory weights that help us endure the God-ordained trials of life. The first one from your past is the evidence of God's election. The fact that you have persevered in love and faith and that this has happened amid your sufferings is evidence of God's grace in you.

And you know that the Lord will complete the work He began in you.

In vv5-10, Paul places a second glory weight on top of this first one.

The second one is from your future.

The problem behind the letter:

  • The doctrinal error that came in: 2 Thess. 2:1-2
    • Misunderstanding or misrepresentation of Paul's teaching on the Day of the Lord
      • The Day of the Lord = Judgment on unbelievers and salvation for believers
        • So why are we still suffering?

Now, Paul will correct the error in chapter two, but he wants to encourage the believers first. They may grow weary in their perseverance. And so, he shows them that their current sufferings are working a glorious future for them.

V5: Read verse

What is a plain indication?

  • V4 = Their perseverance and faith amidst all their persecutions and afflictions they were suffering.

Which judgment is this?

  • Vv6-8 Paul's mind is on the second coming of Christ
  • Matt 25:31-33

So, their perseverance and faith amidst their sufferings was a plain indication of God's righteous judgment that will occur when Jesus comes

What is the verdict of that judgment?

  • V5b That they will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God for which they are suffering.

Now, here's a glory weight from your future to place on top of the one from your past.

Your perseverance in the faith is evidence that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God

And notice something, your election in the past and your salvation in the future are tied to your sufferings in the present. I want to examine this relationship with you, but it's important first to see what will happen when Christ returns. We will come over this passage again next week and explore this relationship in detail.

So, here is the substance of your future glory.

Here is what's going to happen when God comes to judge the world.

V6-10: Paul says: Read verses 6-7a

  • The words "to repay" are significant
    • They tell us that the Lord is coming back to settle accounts

On the one hand, He is coming for retribution (v6, 8)

  • Paul says this to all of God's children
    • Everyone who's been deprived of justice
    • Everyone who has suffered for the faith
    • He says it to everyone who's been grieved by the onslaughts of Satan
    • And who has endured the tyrannies of the curse
      • The greatest of these is death – 1 Cor. 15:26; Rev. 20:14

Now while Paul says this to encourage believers (and we must find comfort in these words) yet we must not wish this on anyone!! God's retribution is nothing less than eternal hell.

Matt. 13:40-42

40 "So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.

41 "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,

42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Instead – Rom 12:14-21

Paul describes these stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness as: Read Verse 8

  • Those who do not know God = Those who are not "in Christ."
    • Knowing God is more than a formal acquaintance or connection to the church
    • Rom 6:3-4; Jn. 6:53-56; 1 Cor. 6:9-11
  • Those who do not obey the Gospel = Those who do not live by faith
  • John 6:28-29; Gal. 2:20

Read verse 9

On the one hand, God is coming for retribution

He is coming to take vengeance on your behalf

On the other hand, He is coming to bring relief: Read verse v7a

  • When will this happen? Read verse 7b, 10

Reversal of roles in that day:

  • Psalm 73:1-6, 12-14: In Psalm 73 the Psalmist laments his sufferings when he compares his life with those who don't serve God
    • Psalm 73:16-20, 24 But then God gives him an insight – there will be a reversal of roles when he comes for judgment                                               Luke 16:19-25, Jesus employs this reversal in his parable of the Rich man and Lazarus to teach the disciples a lesson.

You may suffer now, but your suffering will turn into joy.

  • You are fighting the good fight against sin in your life.
  • You are standing for the truth of the Gospel in a Christ denying world.
  • You are suffering the consequences of the curse
  • Death and frustration

While these are heavy to bear, look on the glory weights God has given you

His election means He will bring you safely through

His coming means He will settle all accounts and relieve you of those trials

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