When we go through tough situations, Satan takes the opportunity to throw his fiery darts. He tempts us to entertain our worst fears and anxieties so that, if we do not guard our hearts with God's Word of Truth, we risk becoming unglued. Things were no different for the Thessalonian Christians. Satan was using false teachers to sow seeds of doubt and despair as they suffered persecution in order to undermine their faith in Christ.
Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17. Because the circumstances in Thessalonica in the first century were so dire for believers, when they received news from false teachers that Jesus had already returned, they believed the report and were devastated. They had rightly placed their hope in Jesus, knowing that He would one day set right everything that had gone wrong. But then, doubt began to grow in their hearts.
When we go through tough situations, Satan takes the opportunity to throw his fiery darts.
So in 2 Thessalonians, Paul exhorted these believers "not to become easily unsettled or alarmed" by the false teachings that had been attributed to him (2:2). He assured them as they suffered affliction for their faith that Jesus had not forgotten them. At the same time, he also warned them that before Jesus returns, things will get much worse. He wrote, "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed" (v. 3).
For the last two thousand years, Satan has been trying to thwart God's salvific work in the world. He aims to frustrate God's plans by unleashing his hatred toward the church to keep us from the joy of redemption in Christ—to keep us from worshiping God in the Spirit and in Truth. And his final, desperate push will be through "the man of lawlessness"—the Antichrist (v. 3).
You would think that Paul's message to expect even more desperate circumstances at the end times would have caused the Thessalonians even greater despair. But Paul was in fact assuring them—and us—that all who belong to Jesus will be able to stand firm, even during that difficult hour. For, Christ promised us: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28).
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your amazing promises that carry me through every trial. Thank You that no one can snatch me from Your hand. May I find strength in You and bring glory to Your name. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon Until Christ Returns: Living Confidently in Turbulent Times, Part 2: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW