Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.
For I know the plans I have for you”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
In vs. 3-5 we read that their faith was flourishing, there love for one another was increasing, and that they were persevering in their trials, troubles, and tribulations. They were suffering and counted worthy of the Kingdom because of it. In other words, they were staying the course! They were overcoming, conquering, and remaining steadfast in their faith.
Their, and our, sufferings do not earn us a place in the Kingdom. Nevertheless, God is just, and the persecuted will have peace (fulfillment, wholeness, security, harmony, and well being) and the persecutors will be punished. We stay the course knowing God is just.
We live in a moral universe; the consequences for evil cannot be the same as those of righteousness. This is not a spirit of retaliation; it is the understanding of the fact that God is just. We share the same hope as the Thessalonians and Paul, Silas, and Timothy. Our hope is Jesus Christ. He is the way, it is in the enabling power of His Spirit that we reach our destination, which is glorification in Heaven.
The end of 7 and verse 8 are all one thought or sentence… “vengeance” (a wrong or criminal act – judgment). This is the inflicting of full justice on the criminal, the wrong doer, the sinner—nothing more, nothing less. You reap what you sow… the Holy Spirit in Galatians tells us that God’s judgment is going to fall and when it does it will fall on those who do not know God (1 John 4:8 and Matthew 7:21-23).
And on those who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, if you are following Christ, being obedient to the Word, you will end up with Christ. If you are following the World, you will end up where those of the world will end up: Hell. In Hell, there will be the gnashing of teeth, in Hell there is eternal darkness, in Hell the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.
But the horror of all this will not be so much the eternal destruction of verse 9 but the fact that human beings created by God, in the image of God, for God, and for whom God was Crucified, should spend eternity without God, forever banished from His presence, His Power, and without hope of salvation from that eternal darkness, unquenchable fire, where their maggot of punishment is forever consuming their flesh.
The decision of heaven or Hell is yours. God has made it plain. You can easily know His will, open your bible, read what He says; love your neighbor, love one another as Christ loves you, choose right over wrong, be obedient to the Word because that is following Christ. It’s up to you where you will end up and that is determined by the steps you take each day.
On this journey called life we each make choices. Those choices, to obey or disobey, to be kind or unkind, to love or not to love, to forgive or not to forgive, to believe or not believe, pave the road to heaven or hell. If you have accepted the forgiveness and new life found in Christ then you must stay the course until the end. Christ and His church should be what defines your walk and who you are, not your job, hobbies, or anything else.
Those that do stay the course, that do not stray from the Truth, as the Holy Spirit tells us in James, are those who believe till the end, either theirs or “That Day”, when Christ is revealed.
Vs. 10 tells us of those who believed the message of Paul, Silas, and Timothy, the saints or His holy people, those, who through the sanctifying power of the Spirit, have committed themselves to Christ, believing what we are told in Colossians 3:4, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Then the saints will glorify Him and believers will marvel at what He has done to get them there, at the Grace lavished on them, the grace that brought them to their goal, having been conformed into the image of God’s Son through, by, and because of their love for God.
God has a plan for you, plans for your well-being, He will use all things to the good of those that love Him; every trial, trouble, and tribulation to conform you into the image of His Son, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance (Romans 8:28-29 and 2 Peter 3:9)
Stay the course! God is with you, God is for you, and God will strengthen you. Listen to what the Lord our God says to his people to those that belong to Him:
Further Reading: Galatians 6:7-10, Colossians 3:1-11, Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 25:14-30 (30), Matthew 10:28, Matthew 13:50, John 3:16-18, Mark 9:43-48, Revelation 21:8, Revelation 1:4-7, Revelation 2:18-28 (25), 1 John 4:7-21, 1 John 5:3-5, Philippians 4:13, Mark 9:23-24
- Are you following Christ or something else?
- Are you staying the course in the midst of your trials, troubles, and tribulations?