Part of the Advent Reading is in 2 Thessalonians. Today’s reading in 2 Thess. 2:1-12.
The question here is this: Why is deception so easy?
Paul writes encouragement to the Thessalonians because he wants them to know what is truth. He lets them know they don’t have to be so easily conned in this game of, “Here comes Messiah.”
I can certainly understand that in Paul’s day. Christianity is new.
But here we are a couple of thousand years into this game, and people are still conned. Confusion is still possible. People still buy into lies. People still follow fake power.
The enemy still lurks and plans and schemes. And we still battle deception. While I know we still battle deception, I am somewhat baffled as to why it is so easy to deceive some people.
“…they have refused to love the truth that would have allowed them to be saved.” (2 Thess. 2:10, CEB)
Sometimes… well, many times… we love what we want to hear rather than love truth. This may be our problem.
May our eyes truly be glued to the God of all truth, to the One who IS truth, this Advent season.
There are so many myths to bust about how we view our sanitized versions of Christmas. The perfect Mary and Joseph. The clean straw. All that good stuff.
We want our “meek and mild” Jesus.
But Advent is a time to be reminded of Jesus coming again. And when he comes, it’s not so “quiet.”
3 Our God is coming;
he won’t keep quiet.A devouring fire is before him;
a storm rages all around him. (Ps. 50:3, CEB)
Sleep in “heavenly peace” thinking about that one… 😉
My last post had the text from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The last sentence is one that intrigues me.
When we talk about Christ coming again, and then use this passage, it’s not usually in a comforting way.
It’s usually to SCARE one another.
“You better watch what you’re doing… JESUS IS COMING BACK!”
How do we find “comfort” or “encouragement” in the words of Christ coming back, especially in world that brought us “A Thief in the Night” and the “Left Behind” series?
Are we truly encouraged by Christ coming back? (And not some creepy, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket and I can’t wait to get out of here” kind of way.)
We need to long for home. A home we’ve never seen.
We need to long for a place we’ve never been, but know it’s the place we belong. We need to long for One we’ve never seen face to face, but we know he is longing to see us.
We need to get tired of being so easily satisfied with the junk of this world.
It’s time to encourage each other with the thoughts of HOME.
Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.
We say at communion:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ is coming again.
And then we live like we don’t think that very often. He is coming back… someday.
But Advent calls out to us. He IS coming back!
13 Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about people who have died[d] so that you won’t mourn like others who don’t have any hope.14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose, so we also believe that God will bring with him those who have died in Jesus. 15 What we are saying is a message from the Lord: we who are alive and still around at the Lord’s coming definitely won’t go ahead of those who have died. 16 This is because the Lord himself will come down from heaven with the signal of a shout by the head angel and a blast on God’s trumpet. First, those who are dead in Christ will rise. 17 Then, we who are living and still around will be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet with the Lord in the air. That way we will always be with the Lord. 18 So encourage each other with these words. (I Thess. 4:13-18, CEB)
Encourage one another. It’s not about scaring one another.
Christ IS coming back! I want you ready! I want myself ready. We call on each other to be vigilant.
He IS coming again!
Our hearts are being prepared for Advent.
December 2 is the first Sunday. You can follow along in daily Advent readings HERE.
I also have a separate Advent 2012 tab on this blog where I will post my Advent thoughts.
This is a season of longing. Our focus this year is the longing for Christ’s return. It’s the focus of Advent every year, but this will be more intentional in our ministry at Heights Church this year. We need the longing for home stirred within us. Advent is that special time where we can have that happen.
But we have to choose. We have to move past the hype of the season. We have to come aside with much more discipline. Our ears need to be opened.
The challenge we always have before us as believers is to follow the “church calendar” more than the civic calendar. Or, as I like to call it, we need to hear the rhythm of heaven more readily. For two thousand years the Church has had a steady base note. In the “cutting edge” circles of Pentecostals and Charismatics and other evangelical movements, we’ve ignored those rhythms.
But Pentecostals have a sense of the Second Coming. It may be skewed in some ways, but there is an overall sense of the need to be ready for the coming of Christ. We need that reminder… especially in the busyness of a season that tries to draw our attention to one of the huge gods in our culture: materialism.
We need this longing for home.
4 Make your ways known to me, Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth—teach it to me—
because you are the God who saves me.
I put my hope in you all day long. (Psalm 25:4-5, CEB)
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be? You must live holy and godly lives, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming day of God. Because of that day, the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. (2 Peter 3:11-13, CEB)
The admonition is for the reader to hasten the day.
How DO you hasten that day?