GOOD CHEER!” Series: Week 2 – (Thessalonians 1:6-12)
Text: 2 Thessalonians 1:6-12 (NKJV)
“Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NLT)
Intro: The righteous judgment of God! What’s it look like? Who is going to be judge, who isn’t? We must be of good cheer, it is a worthy thing to do what needs to be done, to suffer and sacrifice and know that God is in control: It is a righteous thing. It is a lasting thing. It is a worthy thing.
Application: It is a righteous thing that God would count you worthy.
1. It is a righteous thing: vs. 6-8
“Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The purpose of judgment is to rectify injustices. The executor of judgment is Jesus Christ Himself. The believers at Thessalonica were suffering fierce persecution and all kinds of trouble at the hands of their neighbors and the local city government. Most of the citizens of Thessalonica wanted nothing to do with Christ, so they sought to stamp out His name, threatening and persecuting all who confessed Him. “But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble.” Acts 17:13 (NLT)
“And to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles.4 Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know.” 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 (NLT)
There was a need for encouragement in this text, but there was also a warning here, the unbelievers need to beware, God is going to rectify all the injustices of the world. God's judgment is going to fall upon every person who has mistreated others.
All unjust behavior will bear the terrible judgment of God; we live in the midst of an evil and an unjust people. God must judge the world, for judgment is the righteous and just thing. To judge the injustice is the very thing that must be done. This is the reason God is going to judge the world. He is just and righteous Himself; His very nature demands that all the injustices and wrongs that men have inflicted upon others be judged and punished. “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.”
(Thought From the mind of Steve) You ain’t done it right, until you tread through some thick stuff!
The executor of judgment shall be Jesus Christ Himself. He is coming to give rest to the believer as well as to judge the world. "[Heaven] is rest to the weary, freedom to the enslaved, release from sorrow, suffering, and pain, relaxation from toil, ease from noise and turmoil, the quiet heaven of peace after being tossed about in the tempestuous ocean [of this world]." P.J. Gloag
The day is coming when Jesus Christ shall rent the heavens and return to earth in judgment. He will be revealed as the Supreme Majesty and Judge of the world. His return in judgment will be with the angels of His power.
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” Matthew 16:27
“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:31
His return in judgment shall be in flaming fire. This is a reference to the brilliance and glory and holiness of His appearance and to the fact that He is coming in judgment. This will be in all the majesty and glory of God Himself—so brilliant that it will be as the flaming fire of God's pure holiness. It is a righteous thing that this must be done!
2. It is a lasting thing: vs. 8-9
“In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”
In these two verses you see the people judged and the penalty of judgment. All who do not know God, the only living and true God, shall be judged. Who are these persons? They are those who sin against natural revelation, who look at creation and fail to see God or to live by the laws that are clearly seen in nature and creation.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament (skies) shows His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
Mankind can know that God gives them life and that He cares and provides for them, and that God runs everything in an orderly and lawful way, giving purpose and meaning to life. We can look at nature and see that God is great and good; God deserves to be glorified and given thanks. Sad truth of the matter is that too many have chosen not to believe, they have rejected Him. They are the persons who are to be judged. They are the persons who do not know the living and true God, not personally—not in a personal day to day relationship.
All who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be judged. Who are these? Every person who has ever heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and rejected it, every person who has professed the gospel of Jesus Christ but does not obey the commandments of the gospel, every person who has been baptized but does not obey the commandment of the gospel, every person who has joined the church and holds a membership in the church but does not obey the commandments of the gospel.
The phrase "shall suffer punishment" means to pay the penalty. The Matthew Henry Commentary says that "they did sin's work, and must receive sin's wages” Sinners may get away with their sin and rejection of God while on earth, but they will be punished in the final analysis. And yes the punishment will be righteous. God's punishment will not be vindictive; it will be perfectly just, a punishment of retribution—a punishment that pays a person exactly what he deserves.
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' 44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' 45 Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:41-46
“Be punished with everlasting destruction” This is complete ruin and loss; to be cut off, excluded, removed, separated, extinguished, deprived, abhorred, and banished from all the good things of life. "If there is any truth in Scripture at all, this is true—that those who stubbornly refuse to submit to the gospel, and to love and obey Jesus Christ, incur at the Last Advent an infinite and irreparable loss. They pass into a night on which no morning [ever] dawns” The penalty of judgment is a lasting thing.
3. It is a worthy thing: vs. 10-12
“When He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
There will be a time of judgment and by the Grace of God an escape from judgment. The time of the judgment is set. Unbelievers are going to be judged, when Jesus Christ returns, His glory is going to be seen in His saints. The entire world will see the wonder and glory of the height of His love, the depth of His mercy, the length of His grace and the breadth of His power. Vs. 11-12 are two verses that Paul focuses on prayer for the believers. If a person is to be acceptable to God, they must approach God through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God accepts a person as worthy only if he comes in the name of Jesus Christ—believing in and trusting Jesus Christ to save him. The person who comes to God through Jesus Christ honors Christ, and any person who honors Christ is counted worthy by God. We are not worthy; we possess no righteousness of our own. But God counts and credits us with righteousness because we come to Him in the perfect righteousness of His Son. We honor God's Son and God honors anyone who honors His Son.
God must complete the work of faith in us. We age, deteriorate, die, and decay. We cannot complete anything, not permanently. We can complete something for only a few short years at most, and even then we cannot complete anything perfectly. Nothing that we do is ever perfected. If we are to be saved from judgment and given eternal life, the name of Christ must be glorified in us and us in Him. We must let Him live and move and have His being in us—every day. We must live and move and have our being in Him—every day. We must let Him be glorified in us. This is the only way to escape judgment. Trust Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Know that God is completing the work of faith in you. “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” Ephesians 4:1
Conclusion: It is a worthy thing! Be of Good Cheer: It is a righteous thing, it is a lasting thing and yes, it is a worthy thing.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20
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