Disrupters and Their Disruptions

Disrupters and Their Disruptions

11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer. 2 Thessalonians 3:11-15

Paul carries this concept of idleness through a series of verses in this chapter so obviously it was important.

With so much to do in life, how could we possibly be idle, and why would we be disruptive?

People have different agendas, desires, and visions within the Christian body. Not all of them are wrong, but they often compete against each other. Throw in selfishness and pride, and you have the recipe for trouble and confusion. Then, when some don’t get their own way, they throw temper tantrums and make it a point to cause trouble.

I saw it first hand once and was astonished at the lengths people went to try to oust a pastor. They even used the term “starve him out,” meaning they would see to it that his paycheck was withheld so he’d get the point and leave the church. It never came to that but I was always puzzled by the lengths this small cabal went to get rid of a shepherd within God’s church. There was no sin, immorality, or doctrinal issues that I was aware of for them to have such bitterness, but they wouldn’t let up.

Many reading this have seen this kind of behavior also.

Sadly, it happens all too often.

There’s a big difference between disagreeing with where leadership is going and causing a commotion. Obviously, these situations are not as clear cut as we’d like to see them, but there is no place for disruptive actions against viable Christian ministries. Fortunately, God does see all and will judge accordingly, including that person who walks away rather than disrupt.

All that to say this, be on the lookout for disrupters within the church. Run from them as the Bible says. If there’s a “check” in your spirit about something someone’s said or done, it’s there for a reason. Ask God to reveal why the “check” is there.

And that goes for anything in life.

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Not Everyone Has Faith

Not Everyone Has Faith

2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. 2 Thessalonians 3:2

It may seem like an obvious statement “for not everyone has faith” but perhaps not the new believers in Thessalonika. As new believers we tend to be very idealistic. It goes something like this. The gospel was so simple, everyone should believe. Why doesn’t everyone believe? It’s so obviously the truth.

But Paul knew better. Beaten, imprisoned, ridiculed, and mocked, he knew a different world, one that had wicked and evil people in it. He knew some of the inner depths of mankind because he lived it first as a perpetrator and second as one on the receiving end. Paul knew what people were capable of.

There’s not a day goes by where we hear of unimaginable atrocities against fellow humans. It doesn’t quite impact us unless it happens to us to someone we know, but it still stuns us. I end up saying, “What is wrong with people?”

Well, we all know the answer to that – sin. And for some, they commit a lot more heinous acts than a lifting a wallet or gossiping.

So for us, we also pray against evil people and what they do to others.

Unfortunately as long we’re here on Earth, we’ll have sin and evil people, but we can certainly pray that we’ll be delivered from them. Often people who commit these evil and heinous acts just need to be exposed and punished. As long as they commit these acts without the light of truth shed on them, they’ll continue.

Pray that God will expose much evil men and women in this world.

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Be Careful of the Deceiver

Be Careful of the Deceiver

5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12

Paul goes to great length to describe the lawless one and how he deceives. It’s a glimpse into another world for most of us. Signs, wonders, delusion, deception, serving the lie. If we’re not careful we can convince ourselves that we would never be taken in by such outright deception, but don’t kid yourselves. Satan is a master at deceit and trickery. He’s been doing it for a long time so he knows every trick in the book, as they say.

That’s why we need to keep close to Christ and have people who will tell us if they see us going astray or are in error. Occasionally someone will write me about what I’ve written to make sure I wanted it to say what it said. In other words, the way I wrote something made someone think my doctrine was in error. Or perhaps I wrote wrongly.

For example, I referred to the Holy Spirit once as the pronoun “it” instead of “he”, and a fine lady called me out on it. This may seem like a tiny error but it could lead to someone thinking that the Holy Spirit isn’t a person, which is a grave doctrinal error, and not something to be taken lightly.

Those are the kinds of people we need to surround ourselves with.

It’s easy to be led astray, Brothers and Sisters.

I fall back on the benediction a Pastor at the post chapel in Harrogate, England ended with every Sunday: “Come close to God and He will come close to you.”

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Don’t Let Anyone Deceive You

Don’t Let Anyone Deceive You

3 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, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

Reading this text without any context you might even think that this passage is happening right now in the political world from both sides of the political spectrum.

But it’s not. Of course this passage needs to be considered with, at the very least, both books of Daniel and Revelation, and even then, there are no guarantees of who this man of lawlessness is, where he came from, or anything like that.

For our purposes, I think the main point of this passage portion are the first words, “don’t let anyone deceive you in any way.” It’s perhaps important not only in this context but in life in general.

Under the right circumstances, all of us can be deceived. Hundreds of thousands of people young and old, rich and poor are scammed out of money every day.

So, too, in the spiritual world, many will come to deceive us.

As in the business world, if it sounds too good to be true, it just might be – the exception, of course, is salvation itself.

As the day of His appearing approaches, we need to be on our guard against false teachers and those who would rob us of joy, holy living, hope, and of course, money. Be careful about flocking to someone for “special” teaching or teaching you won’t find anywhere else in the world (as the teacher would say). Don’t disregard red flags of doctrine or extra-biblical revelations. Test them.

Above all, as Proverbs 24:3 teaches, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. That also implies that you don’t want to poison or pollute it.

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His Grace

His Grace

25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 1 Thessalonians 5:25-28

Paul concludes his first letter by asking for prayer. He wasn’t shy about asking because he knew the power behind it: God himself.

Then he ends this letter with a short blessing: the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Boy do we ever need God’s grace.

What is it exactly? We understand its sister (Mercy) more easily. But grace is a bit harder to define.

Webster defines grace as “courteous goodwill.” Many Christians have made it an acronym: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.

I like the phrase “unmerited favor.” We don’t deserve it but he gives it nonetheless.

Think about your day and things you say and do. Have you ever wanted to retract what you just said only a split second after it left your tongue? How many times a day could I answer this!

We don’t deserve salvation, but He gave it freely.
We don’t deserve internal peace, but that comes from a clean conscience and free salvation.
We don’t deserve to have our names written in the eternal book of life, going back to the first point, but He did so anyway.

What are some of the unmerited favor gifts have you received lately?

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen!

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