The Fundamentals of Our Faith;
What We Believe Sermon Series
“We Believe in Jesus”
We must continue to affirm the uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ. For he is unique in his incarnation (the one and only God-man), unique in his atonement (only he has died for the sins of the world), and unique in his resurrection (only he has conquered death). And since in no other person but Jesus of Nazareth did God first become human (in his birth), then bear our sins (in his death), and then triumph over death (in his resurrection), he is uniquely competent to save sinners. Nobody else possesses his qualifications.
So we may talk about Alexander the Great, Charles the Great and Napoleon the Great, but not Jesus the Great. He is not the Great—he is the Only. There is nobody like him. He has no rival and no successor.
“Jesus is the second member of the trinity, and is described to us as the Son of God, who existed before the creation of the world, participated in creation, and became a human (Jesus of Nazareth), was given birth by a virgin, coming to earth to do the will of God the Father. He lived without sin, died for our sins, was bodily resurrected, ascended into heaven and will come again someday to judge sin and establish permanent righteousness on earth.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-5 “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”
This passage says, “according to the Scriptures” – there is prophecy after prophecy that predicted Jesus’ arrival, and with very specific detail show Him to have fulfilled them. Some biblical scholars hold that there are close to 300 prophecies of the Messiah in the Bible. In we pull only eight and “The prospect that anyone would satisfy those eight prophecies was just 1 in 1017. In Science Speaks, he described it like this:
“Let us try to visualize this chance. If you mark one of ten tickets, and place all of the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Suppose that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state.
“Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom.”
As God in eternity, He existed before taking on human flesh and becoming human, yet He did not give up any of His divinity – yet he took on being human completely. He was fully God and fully man at the same time. One God, three persons.
In Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Remember last week we said that God is immutable (unchanging) – So Jesus as God does not change. Jesus did not cease to be God when he took on “the form of a servant,” so he was fully human (he grew tired, slept, was thirsty and hungry, expressed emotions, etc.) yet fully God at the same time.
The theological term we use here is kenosis or “emptied himself,” so this involves a voluntary nonuse of his divinity – Nonuse does not mean subtraction. For example, there are things that as the God-Man Jesus chose not to know (when He was coming back, parousia).
Also, there is apart of his kenosis that involves covering Jesus’ preincarnate glory. If we go to the transfiguration of Jesus in Mark 9:2-8 “And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.
But while fully God, Jesus was also fully man. “If Jesus had not been a man, he could not have died in our place and paid the penalty that was due to us.” Hebrews 2:16-17 says, “For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest pin the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
Propitiation; “the sacrifice that is an acceptable substitute for us.” The root meaning of this word is “to make the face of someone sweet or pleasant,” There has been an offense, what then is required to make things right again. We have offended God due to our sin, what must be done to propitiate the relationship? Justice demands death, the penalty for our sin is death. “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect” Jesus had to be fully man, so that He could settle the offense of sin against God.
The Virgin Birth
Jesus became human in a very special way. His birth was a result of a miraculous conception. “In the womb of the virgin Mary, Jesus was supernaturally conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35 tells us what happened, “And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” Jesus did not have an earthly biological father, Mary conceived as a virgin.
Why is the virgin birth important?
1) “It shows that salvation ultimately must come from the Lord.” Salvation will never have come from human self-effort, God had to step in and do something.
2) “It makes possible Christ’s true humanity without inherited sin.” Everyone inherits a corrupted sin nature from Adam, but because Jesus did not have a human father that was somehow interrupted. What About Mary’s inherited sin nature? Luke 1:35 “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” In some miraculous way, the Holy Spirit kept the sin nature from passing on the Jesus.
3) “The virgin birth made possible the uniting of full deity and full humanity in one person. This was the means God used to send his Son (John 3:16; Galatians 4:4) into the world as a man.”
Savior of the World
Jesus lived a sinless life, “He had to be sinless or else His death on our behalf would have been worthless. Since ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23), meaning eternal spiritual and physical death, if Jesus had sinned He would Himself have suffered eternal separation and physical death. His death on the cross, then, could have done nothing for us. But because He was sinless, He did not deserve to die; and because He was God, His death could count for ours.”
“Adam served as our representative in the Garden of Eden, and through his disobedience God counted us guilty as well. In a similar way, Jesus was our representative and obeyed for us where Adam had disobeyed and failed.”
There is a parallel between Jesus’ temptation (Luke 4:1-13) and the time of testing for Adam and Eve in the garden (Gen. 2:15-3:7). Paul also discusses this parallel between Adam and Christ in Romans 5:18-19 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for fall men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” This is why Paul calls Jesus the “last Adam.” There are no other Saviors coming, He is the ultimate and final sacrifice.
Humanity is separated from God because of sin, and unless one believes in Jesus, committing your life to Him, he or she will be separated from God forever. John 1:1, 12 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, the gave the right to become children of God,”
His Teachings Were Astonishing
Jesus taught us, that nothing is more important than your soul, and what you do with it. Matthew 16:26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Our greatest need is to do something about our sin – we need to be saved. Through Jesus we see that God is willing, because of His love for us, to give His one and only Son to be the payment that is required for our sin.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus came to this reality (remember God is transcendent) and suffered as a man and died, so that His creation may be rid of sin.
Before we move on from Jesus’ teaching, I think it is helpful to look at a quote from C.S. Lewis,
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Jesus claimed deity for Himself in a way quite clear to His listeners. He said on one occasion, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). His decisive expression of deity led to his crucifixion” John 19:7 “The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”
The high priest expressly asked Jesus in Matthew 26:63-65 “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need?” In His claiming to be the Son of God, he said he had the authority to forgive sin, that He would come in future judgment, and that He had the authority to raise the dad.
His Actions Were Miraculous
To prove He was who He said He was, he did miracles. “Jesus performed miracles not to amaze or entertain people. He healed people out of a sense of compassion. He wept before raising Lazarus from the dead. Also, He performed miracles in order to help people believe what He was saying. For example, He claimed to be the light of the world, and then gave sight to a blind man. He claimed to be the bread of life, and He fed five thousand people with a few loaves. He claimed to the resurrection and the life, and He raised Lazarus from the dead.”
“Jesus demonstrated for all to see and hear the attributes which belong to God alone. He claimed omnipotence (all power) with the words, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). During His life He demonstrated power over nature by stilling the stormy waves (Mark 4:39) and turning water into wine (John 2:7-11).”
His Continued Ministry For Humanity
When Jesus ascended into heaven He sat down at the right hand of the Father, indicating that His earthly task was completed successfully. Now, He intercedes for us in prayer. Romans 8:34 “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
Also, Romans 8:24 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Do You Know This Jesus Today? Have you accepted His gift of His life as a substitute for your sin – His sinless life for yours? He wants you to give your life to him today – won’t you do it.
 The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling by John R. W. Stott Copyright (c) 2010 by John R. W. Stott. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com
 Max Anders, New Christian’s Handbook, Everything New Believers Need to Know (Nashville, Tennessee; Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999) 24.
 Shortly after Jesus’ death some claimed that Jesus did not truly have a human body; He only seemed human. That was rejected at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. (Anders, 25)
 Grudem, 236.
 George Arthur Buttrick, Dictionary Editor, The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, An Illustrated Encyclopedia (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1962) 920.
 Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine, Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing, 1999) 230.
 Grudem, 230.
 Anders, 28.
 Grudem, 235.
 Paul Little, Know What You Believe, A Practical Discussion of the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Cook Communications, 1999) 42.
 Anders, 42.
 Little, 43.
The Fundamentals of Our Faith;
What We Believe Sermon Series
“We Believe in God”
At the conclusion of our worship service today I am going to stick around in the sanctuary for about 10-15 minutes to answer any questions that you may have regarding the topic of God and “what we believe” on that subject.
Why have a sermon series on beliefs and doctrine? Because the church is united or divided over what it believes. Unity promotes love among a church, and it is much easier to understand the mission and direction of the church when there is unity behind beliefs.
There are some beliefs that we should part ways over, and there are some doctrines that while important are not worth leaving fellowship over. Not all doctrine is the same and of the same importance, so where do we draw the line on when to leave a denomination, or a church, or is this the right church for me to join? Your first question should not be about a children’s or student ministry, but “what does this church hold to as being doctrine?”
Gavin Ortland in his book, Finding the Right Hills to Die On gives four major categories that I think will be helpful for us as we negotiate through the various Christian beliefs over the next few weeks:
- First-rank doctrines are essential to the gospel itself. An example would be, the Trinity.
- Second-rank doctrines are urgent for the health and practice of the church such that they frequently cause Christians to separate at the level of local church, denomination, and/or ministry. An example would be mode of baptism.
- Third-rank doctrines are important to Christian theology, but not enough to justify separation or division among Christians. An example would be the millennium.
- Fourth-rank doctrines are unimportant to our gospel witness and ministry collaboration. An example would be, how many angels are there?
So we, are going to cover doctrines that are mainly at the first-rank level, and some second rank-level.
Our topic today is God, next week is Jesus. The only way to accurately understand anything about God is for Him to reveal Himself to us. God has revealed Himself to us in two ways; His Word and in Nature (which includes our conscience). Romans 1:20 “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”
How Do We Know God Exists?
First, the Bible assumes God’s existence and therefore does not seek to prove His existence. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created . . .” But, we can briefly cover some arguments”
Universal Religion. Everywhere you go on the planet, throughout human history, mankind has worshiped something and created a belief system. There is a instinctive recognition that something is bigger than they are. However, for mankind to get the religion right, God has to step in and reveal some things about Himself.
Cosmological Argument. Hebrews 3:4 “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” Everything has an origin, a beginning, so does the universe and all of creation. There must be an original source.
Teleological Argument. “order and useful arrangement in a system imply intelligence and purpose in the organizing cause.” Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above1 proclaims his handiwork.” If one finds a gold pocket watch in the forest, they assume that there is a maker of the watch.
What Is God Like?
We are going to break down the characteristics of God into two categories: those which He shares with humanity, and those which He does not share with humanity.
Ways We Are Like God
God is Holy – the word holy means set apart from sin to righteousness. It is God’s righteous nature that defines sin. God does not sin, therefore anything like God is not sin. He does not live up to a standard, He is the standard of right and wrong, sin and righteousness.
We have the ability to be like God in the way in which we choose to live our lives, but that holy living is only possible through our relationship with Christ. 1 Peter 1:16 “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
God is Loving – God’s love is displayed in all His works from the beginning of the Old Testament to the end of the New Testament. The New Testament uses three different words for love. One is a brotherly love, one is a romantic love, and the word for love used to describe God is agape.
An agape love, “is the exercise of one’s will for the good of another. God has committed his will for the good of humanity.” 1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” God is love was ultimately expressed and personified in the life of Jesus, and especially in his three year ministry.
God is Just – Justice is when we apply consequences to a person’s actions according to a fixed standard, without regard to favoritism, or any other intervening thing. Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Since all have sinned the wages of sin is death, it is justice for people to be judged because they have sinned.
God is Merciful – this is a characteristic of God that guides Him to provide a way of escape when we deserve judgement. We deserve to die, but God sent Jesus to earth to die for us. God’s justice and His mercy combine to provide a way to be saved from the consequences of our sin.
Titus 3:5-7 “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
God is Good – God’s goodness means that, in the end, all will be well, even though some things between now and then may be difficult. Deuteronomy 8:16 “who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.” When we understand God infinitely more intelligent and powerful than us – it would be terrifying if He were evil, or corrupt. Imagine spending eternity with God if he were not good.
God is Spirit – God has revealed Himself to humanity as being a person, with personality, emotions, etc. John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Even though we cannot see God the Father, the part of us that is spirit can communicate with His spirit.
Ways We Are Not Like God
God is Eternal – Timeless, God never had a beginning, and will never have end. He has always existed. Psalm 90:2 “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
God is Immutable – God is unchanging; He has and will never change. He can never be wiser, more holy, more just, more merciful, more truthful – not less. His paths and purposes do not change. James wrote He is, “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
Malachi 3:6 “For I the LORD do not change;” Often times it feels like God may be for us in a moment, and then against us in another. But remember, God does not change, and it is often we who have changed in our relationship with God.
In the book of Jonah, The Bible speaks of God “changing His mind.” God was aware of the city’s sin and sent a prophet to tell the city of Ninevah that they needed to turn from their sins or they were going to be destroyed. God saw how they repented, and “He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened (Jonah 3:10). It was not God who changed, the people repented.
Some people wrongly suggest that the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath and anger, while the New Testament portrays God in Christ as love and gentleness. The God of the OT repeatedly had mercy on the Israelites and saved them from their own perversions.
This same God in Jesus wept over Jerusalem because the people killed the prophets and would not turn to the Lord (Matt. 23:37). Jesus taught often about heaven, hell, and eternal judgement – God’s justice and love are knit together throughout the entire Bible.
God is Transcendent yet Immanent – God is above and separate from the rest of creation. He is self-existing, he needs nothing. He has life in himself, and is the source of all life. He created gravity, but it does not affect Him – he is above creation and it’s laws. While He does not choose to alter then very often, He can if He desires (i.e. miracles).
While God is separate from creation, He is still close to it. We see again and again in the Bible where God desires to have a relationship with humanity. Isa. 57:15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
But he is not so close to creation, that He is in it (pantheism) or indistinguishable from the universe. He has also revealed Himself to us as a loving Father, and we are His precious children. Therefore, communication is also possible, and we are told that God desires to talk with His children.
Each of the three characteristics begins with the word “omni,” meaning unlimited.
God is Omnipresent – He is everywhere at the same time. There is no where a person can go to escape Him, but also, no matter where you go, he is there with you. Psalm 139:7-10 “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
God is Omniscient – God knows everything, both actual and possible.
God is Omnipotent – all powerful. God can do anything He chooses to do. Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” The omnipotence of God has self-imposed intrinsic limitations. He is limited by His moral character. So, while nothing is impossible with God, Hebrews 6:18 tells us that “it is impossible for God to lie.”
His omnipotence applies to inherent possibilities, not inherent impossibilities. If someone were to ask, “Is it possible for God to make anything too heavy for Himself to lift? If not, how can we say He is omnipotent?”
From God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience – He created what we see and understand as all that exists. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” We are not told how He did it, only that the creation that we experience is from Him.
Theologians use the term ex nihilo, based on two words; ex, out of, and nihilo, nothing – God created all that exists from nothing. It did not exist, and then it existed as a result of God desiring it to be. From creation itself, we can see that as a Creator, God has immense intelligence, and unimaginable power. We cannot even grasp the size of the cosmos, let alone the specifics of how it came to be, or fully understand how it works.
We can also see, based on creation, that God is capable of holding it all together. From the smallest particle, to whole galaxies we are dependent on His grace and benevolence.
God is Triune – The word trinity does not appear in the Bible, but when we look at the Bible in its entirety this fact is inescapable. At Jesus’ baptism we see all three members of the trinity, Mark 1:10 “And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
The Son of God appearing as the Savior of the world, the Father sends His Son, and the Holy Spirit guiding people to respond to Jesus as the Savior – all three present and active. God is one in his essential being, but his divine essence exists in three persons.
Why should we hold to and defend a proper doctrine of God (the first and second rank doctrines?) Because without them the gospel is either vulnerable or incomplete. Without a sound and accurate doctrine, we don’t understand our need for salvation. nor do we have a means of salvation.
Our theology and biblical doctrine also act as a filter that catches false teachings, anti-biblical worldviews, so if he are not rooted in these things, Ephesians 4:14 “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Without a solid understanding of what the Bible teaches, we are exposed to every false teaching that the world throws at us.
 Gavin Ortlund, Finding the Right Hills to Die On, The Case for Theological Triage (Wheaton, Illinois; Crossway Publishing, 2020) 19.
 Henry Clarence Thiessen, Lectures In Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979) 27.
 Max Anders, New Christian’s Handbook, Everything New Believers Need to Know (Nashville, Tennessee; Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999) 1.
 Paul E. Little, Know What You Believe, A Practical Discussion of the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Cook Comminications, 1999) 25.
2 Thessalonians Sermon Series:
Return of the King
“Don’t Be Deceived”
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Isaiah 55:10-13 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
What are we to make of a thorn becoming a cypress, and a brier becoming a myrtle? If I go out in my backyard and water the thorns, I get bigger thorns, but not God’s Word. The purpose of God’s Word is that it is transformational – it turns thorns into cypresses, turning a sinner to a saint. It is God’s Word that we base our lives upon, but what if we get it wrong? What if our understanding is skewed? How does that affect our lives? What if our doctrine is untrue?
The Doctrine You Hold (vv. 1-3a)
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way.
In the ESV is says, “we ask you” and is later in the verse, but in the Greek it says more empathetically, “we beg you” and it is first thing in the sentence. This is a vital matter, it is vitally important that they not be shaken or alarmed.
The new church had been taught falsely that “the day of the Lord has come” or is present. The Day of the Lord is a “fearful period of divine judgment” described at the end of 1 Thessalonians. It is the period of time predicted in the Scripture when God will deal directly with human sin, and “it includes the tribulation time preceding the second advent of Christ as well as the whole millennial reign of Christ. It will culminate in the judgment of the great white throne. The Day of the Lord is therefore an extended period of time lasting over one thousand years.”
They were confusing the difficulty they were experiencing with what was supposed to happen after Christ’s return and rapture of the church.
Why is it such a big deal if they believe this? What is the danger of them believing this false belief? To begin with, some within the church believed that they had missed Jesus’ return. Paul was clear in his first letter to the church would meet Christ in the air, and that the dead in Christ would be raised first. Paul was addressing their concerns about their loved ones and what happens to them, this false belief causes that fear to return.
Jesus evens deals with false teachings in Matthew 24:4-8 “And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” In this chapter Jesus goes on to outline what will happen at the end of time.
Another danger of false teachings is that they lead us to have fears and concerns that are not real. No one wants to be left behind.
Paul says, if you are claiming that God has revealed this to you, someone claiming a new revelation, then you are wrong “by a spirit,” or someone else has told this to you, then you are wrong, “or a spoken word,” and Paul flatly denies that he had written them a letter teaching this, “a letter seeming to be from us” or a forgery.
“Let no one deceive you in any way.” – the word for deceive here means an intentional purposeful deceit. Why is doctrine important?
Correct doctrine is important because it addresses the difficulties in our lives with truth. Having false answers to life’s hard questions is of no value, it doesn’t help you. A life based on a lie is foolishness. Paul even said, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only (if Jesus were not raised), we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:10). Holding to the truth anchors us in the storms of life.
First Things First (vv. 3b-5)
For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
The church could not be experiencing “the Day of the Lord” because certain things have to happen first, Paul says, “For that day will not come, unless . . .”
There will be what Paul calls “the rebellion” – this is a worldwide “anti-God” movement. “This Greek word apostasia is transliterated into English as “apostasy.” It is also called “falling away.” It is used in classical Greek for revolt or rebellion. It seems to refer to a growing rebellion against God by unsaved men. It is as though Satan will push all his forces into one last despairing effort.
During this time a figure “the man of lawlessness” will emerge embodying everything opposed to God, and he will proclaim “himself to be God.”
“This individual “opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped.” His direct and determined opposition to the true God will be a leading feature on the continuing “rebellion.” It will be especially marked by the removal of the symbolic articles from the Jerusalem temple. The man of lawlessness will occupy the holy precincts in order to accept and even demand worship that is due God alone. This evidently is a Jewish temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem in the future.”
“The man of lawlessness” designates a false prophet, probably to be identified with the second beast of Revelation 13. His primary function will be to preside over the religious apostasy in cooperation with the beast of the sea (Rev. 13:1 ff.) who leads political opposition to God. Paul wrote these things as if they were going to happen in the future, so the Day of the Lord had not arrived while he was writing the church. 
“It is important to note, in this connection, that just like the apostasy will not be merely passive but active (not merely falling away from but also a rebellion against God and His Christ), so also the man of lawlessness will be an active and aggressive transgressor. He is not called “lawless” because he never heard God’s law, but because he openly defies it!”
Then Paul says, “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?” (like in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) Paul had been with them for about three weeks before he had to leave them. In that time he worked, probably making tents or the fabric tents were made of, and the church people had to work.
So in the late afternoons and evening Paul, Silas, and Timothy would gather the church together and teach them. One of their core teachings was the end times (eschatology). He also expects them to remember his teachings on these topics because later he doesn’t go back over the material for later readers (v. 6)
Studying doctrine is important because we don’t always get it the first go around.
What You Love Determines Your Destiny (vv. 6-12)
6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
When Paul says, “And you know what is restraining him now,” he is referring to a previous time when he taught the church on this topic, but since we were not present for that lesson, we don’t know what he is talking about. There is someone “restraining him [the lawless one] now so that he may be revealed in his time”
There are different ways to interpret this passage; 1) This is the work of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost (Acts 2) the Holy Spirit entered into the church and empowered them to do the work of the church, and continues to empower and guide the church in its’ work. But at this point in history, the Holy Spirit is still working.
2) It may be a change in government. Now, government restrains and tempers individuals from seizing worldwide power. Something will happen that will remove this restraint and they are then able to seize control of the entire world, and the government established will be powerless to stop him.
With regard to these verses, Augustine says, “[Paul] was unwilling to make an explicit statement, because he said that they [the Thessalonians] knew [what he was referring to]. And thus we, who don’t know what they knew, desire to understand what the apostle referred to, but even with hard work are not able, especially as his meaning is made still more obscure by what he adds [i.e., vv. 7-8a]. Augustine is basically saying, I don’t know what he is talking about.”
Those that have “fallen away” during this time are given a strong delusion from God so that they keep on believing the lies. God hardens their hearts. “When Pharaoh hardens Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 7:14; 8:15, 32; 9:7), God hardens Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 9:12).
In Exodus 8:15 God sent the plague of the frogs, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.” Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Exodus 14:8 “And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly.”
There is a season when you have a choice to harden your heart toward the things of God, but there will be a day (and it is up the Lord when that is) when God will remove that option – he will permanently harden the direction you have chosen.
“because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” Who believes a lie they know to be false? Those that “had pleasure in unrighteousness.” “The love of the truth or the gospel is in contrast to the lying and deceit of Christ’s enemies. They believed them rather than Christ (John 8:44-47).” You can only be saved by committing yourself to him who is truth. Truth brought salvation; falsehood, lies, and deception resulted in eternal separation from God.
Then, God will give them over to their own deliberate choice to reject the truth of the gospel and their love of unrighteousness. “God’s actions are a response to, not the cause of, their actions.”
Romans 1:24-25 says, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” God is giving them up to their ultimate choice. “The beginning of sin is to forsake God; the end of sin is to be God forsaken.”
The sad part of this teaching from Paul is that the great “rebellion” will be from the churches. There will be people who claim to be Christians, go to church, go through the motions, but when times get difficult, and there is an option to turn from Christ to the Anti-Christ they will leave in huge numbers – only a small remnant will remain.
Why is doctrine important? It guides us to the truth which ends in eternal life, and keeps us from lies which leads to eternal separation. True doctrine is the engineer sitting in the Engine of the train that pulls us to our ultimate destination. What you believe is incredibly important; it is worth the time to sit down and figure out what you believe – because your doctrine directs your actions. Your decisions determine your destiny.
"Doctrine is the engineer sitting in the Engine of the train that pulls us to our ultimate destination." pic.twitter.com/eM9138DfXA
— DrewBoswell (@DrewBoswell) March 20, 2022
Satan will use the same lie at the end of time that he used at the beginning of time, Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” You determine what is good and what is evil, you determine what is true and what is a lie – not the Creator, not God. If someone follows this lie, and loves sin more than the gospel then Paul says, “in order that all may be condemned.” In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve had the freedom and nobility of choice – we choose to follow God in truth, or follow Satan and his lies. And for a season here on earth we have a chance to follow Christ, accept His gospel, and live for God. Do you know Him? It’s still your choice.
 Clifton J. Allen, The Broadman Bible Commentary, Volume 11 (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Publishing, 1971) 290.
 John F. Walvood, The Thessalonian Epistles (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Dunham Publication, 1968) 116.
 Walvood, 117.
 Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ’s coming occurred on October 1, 1914, but was invisible rather than public and involved a change of location in heaven (Holmes, 237).
 The Expositor’s Bible, Volume 11 (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1955)326.
 Allen, 291.
 Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 11 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing, 1978) 322. See also, Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:31 (cf. Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14).
 Rev. 13:11 ff; 16;13; 19:20; 20:10.
 Gaebelein, 323.
 William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary, Exposition of 1 &2 Thessalonians (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Book House, 1987) 170.
 Michael Holmes, The NIV Application Commentary, 1 & @ Thessalonians (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing, 1998) 234.
 Hendriksen, 186
 Holmes, 236.
 Allen, 294.