Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.
This is, as far as I know, the last sermon from chapter 3. We have looked at how Paul, Silas, and Timothy had arrived in Thessalonica, their being accused of turning the world upside down with their teaching of the Gospel, their hasty departure from there, and of how Timothy was sent back to encourage and teach. Paul also told them of how he is encouraged by their faith and love and how they are an example to believers in throughout Macedonia.
All these things he reminds them of. But now we see a change of direction from the past to the future. First, he prays for being able to return to them. Second, he prays for their love to overflow for one another and for others so that God may make their hearts blameless at Jesus’s return.
We are called to love. I have to say that I have heard great reports from those that were our guests, they feel welcomed and loved when they visit with us here… And we are called to that, but not just here, we are called to love our neighbor. Paul’s prayer covers the neighbor thing with “others” …
We are to love so God the Father can make our hearts blameless in holiness at the Lord’s coming. We are to be holy unto the Lord. Paul’s prayer was that the Lord would strengthen the church in Thessalonica in everyday holiness. But what is everyday or practical holiness? Understand our holiness is not the holiness of God. He is Holy, Holy, Holy, or completely Holy. His holiness is part of what makes Him God, it is a part of His otherness that defies our comprehension.
The short answer for our holiness is being God’s in every aspect of our lives. It is living the surrendered life, being Holy by doing works of faith out of love from a believing heart. Holiness is not legalism, legalism is works done to stay within the Law out of fear of punishment. Holiness is living out the life of Christ (Love) empowered by the presence of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Peter 1:13-25).
Our holiness is found in God’s love for us, it is faith in God because of love, it is willingness to do His will out of that same love, it is being dedicated to God – set apart for His use in this world. We have got to understand, that as God’s Word tells us in Hebrews, we have to be holy, because without holiness you and I will not see the Lord!
When we are in Christ we are walking in the Love of God and are being obedient out of God’s love for us. Remember, we love because He first loved us, and when God’s love is manifested in our lives we love one another, “If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us.”
Jesus warned us that in the last days, as “lawlessness” increases, “the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). This is the apostasy, the falling away, seen today as a lack of love in the church (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)! In a world that is hostile to Christ and His Church, one in which we are surrounded with temptations to idolatry and given to hardness of heart, we can only sustain a holy life through our being secure in God’s love of us, having a passionate love for God and living out that love with our neighbors, faith working through Love (Galatians 5:6).
You are already Holy by virtue of being in Christ. At the moment of justification you were made holy but you are also being made Holy, sanctified/cleansed, as you walk with Christ, working out your salvation as we are told in Philippians 2, in holiness. John Wesley said that sanctification is being perfected in love, from self-centered to God centered Romans 6:11-12.
And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. Holiness is the consistent living out of God’s love now, with one another, and others!
Let’s get some things straight about Christ’s return so there is no confusion. We will just go according to what God tells us in His word and not what men teach now. No man knows when He will return (Mark 13:32). Therefore we must all be ready (Matthew 24:44). Revelation 1:7 tells us that every eye will see Him and in Matthew 24:27, “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:31 tells us that there will be a loud trumpet call, so this is not done in secret.
In John 6:39, 40, 44, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Who is being raised up? All that the Father gave the Son, all believers who have eternal life, all those who have been drawn by the Father to the Son. So Christians, Christ followers, Believers. When will they be raised up? On the Last Day, Judgment Day, The Day of the Lord! Jesus said “Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to repay each person according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:12-13). On that day, the last day, He will separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares (see Matthew 13 & 25).
Romans 2:6 also declares that God will give to each person according to what he has done. Your fate is in your own hands. The end of your soul’s journey will either be heaven or hell. Matthew 25:46 pretty much tells us that we will end up with whom we follow.
First, we must choose where we will be by accepting or rejecting the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, that choice must be made while we are still living. After death, there will no longer be a choice, our fate is to stand before the throne of God, where all that we have done good and bad will be laid out. Will you stand blameless because of the holiness that came out of and because of the Love of God. Or will love of self have prevailed and you will be cast into the lake of fire, into eternal darkness, where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. Eternal destruction awaits all who reject the Love of God not only by their words but especially by their actions or lack thereof.
Are you ready, are you walking in holiness knowing God’s love or does the world hold your attention, time, and focus? Are you Properly honoring God’s love?
- Does your life overflow with God’s love? What does God’s love motivate you to do? Where will you spend eternity?