Memphis Belle

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1st Thessalonians 1:1-10
1st Thessalonians 2:1-20
1st Thessalonians 3:1-13
1st Thessalonians 4:13-18
1st Thessalonians 4:16-18
1st Thessalonians 5:1-28

 

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1st Thessalonians 3:1-13

 

“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; and sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:  that no man should be moved by these afflictions:  for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.  For verily, when we were with you we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.  For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.  But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:  therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:  for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.  For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?  Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.  And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:  to the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” 

 

Paul Explains Why He Sent Timothy Back To Check On Them

 

“We’re in chapter 3, Paul back in chapter 2, verses 17-20 said “But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.  Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.  For what is our hope, or joy,  or crown of rejoicing?  Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?  For ye are our glory and joy.”  Paul says, ‘We’re not in this for ourselves,’ as he said in another place, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”  He said, ‘We’re here labouring, you’re the fruit of our labour, and you’re our joy, you’re our crown.  We long to come and see you, we were removed from you prematurely, the trouble that started in Thessalonica, after about three Sabbaths driven out of town, and then going to Berea, and then to Athens.’  And Paul said, ‘We longed to come back,’ but there was some type of warfare, he said ‘Satan hindered us, but we’re longing for you,’ there’s no chapter break [in the Greek], chapter 3, verse 1, “Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;” ‘We couldn’t stand it any longer, so we thought it good to be left at Athens alone.’  “and sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:” (verses 1-2)  So Paul goes to Berea, and then after ministering to the Bereans, leaves there after certain came from Thessalonica, stirred up trouble there too, and when Paul comes to Athens alone, he sends word that he wants Silas and Timothy to come and join him in Athens.  And evidently at Athens he sends Timothy back to Thessalonica, worrying about these brand-new Christians, three weeks old in the Lord.  He had ministered to them, and the church was born.  And at some time it seems, some period in Athens there, it seems he sent Silas back there to Macedonia.  And then when Paul was finished in Athens and he goes on to Corinth, where this letter seems to be written from, then they (Silas and Timothy) will both come and join him in Corinth again, Timothy bringing word of the health of the Thessalonian church, and of some of it’s needs.  And Silas bringing word to Paul from the area of Macedonia.  So, Paul said, ‘We couldn’t stand it, I thought it best to be left at Athens alone, so we sent Timothy to you.’  Because, no doubt, if Satan had tried to forbid Paul or deter him from coming, to hinder, you know then that the enemy was working in the church there in Thessalonica.  He tells us this is a church where the Word of God sounded out from them into the entire area.  This was a church that had a huge impact on the area they were in.  So you know that it was a church that was under warfare.  And Paul said ‘We could no longer forbear,’ he’s going to use the same word down in verse 5, “For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.”  And it’s an interesting word, in Classical Greek it means to stop something from leaking, you would put pitch on the outside of a ship or waterproof a roof on a house, it was “forbear” meant to stop the leaking.  When Paul said, ‘When we could no longer stop the leaking, we, when it was constantly dribbling on our hearts, when we tried to stand up, we couldn’t stand it anymore, thinking of you, concerned about you, praying for you.  We thought it best to send Timothy back to you to re-affirm the things that we taught, to make sure you didn’t hear any lie from the enemy.  We had concern for you that you wouldn’t see us again, because we were out of there.  So we sent Timothy our brother and minister of God, our fellowlabourer in the Gospel of Christ, to establish you, to comfort you concerning your faith.’

 

Paul’s Afflictions, Christians Outside The United States Suffer As He Did

 

“That no man should be moved by these afflictions:  for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” (verse 3)  Now, Paul didn’t want them to be moved, it seems, by the things he was going through.  You remember in Acts chapter 9, when the Lord appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, and then he sends this man Ananias to him and says ‘This is a chosen vessel, he’s a man that I’m going to send to the Gentiles, and I’m going to show him what great things he must suffer for my names sake.’  And Paul having accepted that, suffering as a way of life and ministry.  I think, many Christians around the world, because of the conditions they live in, suffering is a part of life.  And it makes them long for the coming of the Lord, and look forward to the Kingdom where there’s no tears, no sorrow.  It’s only in America where suffering is almost foreign to us.  When we face difficulty, we think ‘Lord, where’s your love, how could you let this happen, you’re on the throne, this should never happen.’  Well, no, no, 90 percent of the world today, as you watch the news, are in horrendous circumstances.  And of course it’s a different warfare there, it’s believing though the simple things we take for granted are not there, believing in those circumstances, whether it’s war, famine, or difficult times, that God loves us in these circumstances.  Here, no doubt, it’s a warfare of devotion, because we have so many distractions, we have so many things to appeal to our flesh, it’s a different kind of warfare here.  And certainly that is one for our heart and our devotions.  But Paul says, ‘We didn’t want anybody to be moved by the afflictions you see in our lives, we were appointed to this, we didn’t want anybody telling you, ‘Well yeah, if he were God’s man, this wouldn’t be happening, things never work out for him, the guy’s always floating around in the water, getting whipped or beat,’  “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.” (verse 4)  ‘This is something that we made plain to you.’ 

 

Paul Worried Satan Was Stirring Things Up In Thessalonica

 

“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.” (verse 5)  Now he had said that the Word of God had gone out from among them.  But he was concerned that the enemy was going to hinder that, also, as he had tried to hinder them from coming.  Jesus, when he tells the parable of the sower, tells us that the Word of God is like seed.  And that there’s life, there’s power within it, and it’s sown onto a human heart and into a human heart.  But in part of that parable he says immediately the evil one comes and steals it away, so that it doesn’t bear fruit.  And he says, ‘We were concerned that the Word that we had sown there, that our labour had been in vain.  We had sown the Word of God, we had laboured there, we came there beaten, with the marks of our persecution on us from Philippi, and we laboured there for three weeks, but were driven out.  We were concerned that that labour had been in vain.  So I couldn’t stand it, I sent Timothy to know your faith, to know that you were standing,’  “lest by any means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.”  And the enemy knows how to tempt us, too.  Remember he can only be at one place at one time.  But he’s got lots of minions under him that, most of us in this room, all of us in this room I’m assuming don’t need to say ‘Satan made me do it,’ because he’s got more important things to do than hang around with you, no offense.  He’s bothering the President, he’s bothering Billy Graham, he’s bothering Saddam Hussein, he’s out there where he can get the most bang for his buck, I’m sure.  But there is warfare, and that’s real.  Interesting in Job chapter 1, when God says to Satan, ‘Have you observed my servant Job?’ that is ‘Have you scrutinized him?’ and the enemy does that.  I don’t believe he knows our thoughts, because if he knew our thoughts, then he could shoot a thought right back in, a fiery dart, we’d loose our mind in no time.  If we were constantly having a Vulcan mind-meld with the enemy [laughter] we’d be in deep trouble.  So he doesn’t know our thoughts, as the Lord does.  But I do believe he watches us.  If he sees you in front of the pornographic magazine stand or the Internet, he knows where your weakness is.  If he sees you stopping in a bar on the way home getting half pickled, he knows where your weakness is.  If he sees you loosing your temper and taking a swing at people, he knows what fire to feed, and there is warfare.  Paul says ‘We want to make sure our labour was not in vain.’ 

 

Paul Is Encouraged By The News Timothy Brings Back

 

“But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:  therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:” (verse 6-7) now Paul said ‘When he [Timothy] came back, he told us your faith was still vibrant, your love for one another was still alive, and not only that, but that you longed to see us, we were afraid you were offended when we left, that the enemy was sowing some sort of discord there.  But we heard that you longed to see us, as we do also long to see you, therefore brethren, we were comforted, when we heard the attitude of your heart, and we knew where you were when all of this difficulty…we were comforted, knowing what an impact this church had had.’  “For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” (verse 8)  And Paul’s just saying what a joy it was to hear this.  Now look at verse 9, “For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;”  Now, you know, Paul says, and I can imagine for some reason being somewhere, being kept away, not being able to be here, and thinking ‘What’s going on at the church?  I hope things are going ok, that they’re not getting off the Word of God, I hope they’re not going to the right or left, veering after one extreme or another, I hope there isn’t anything aberrant creeping in, I hope that there’s still fruit, I hope people are getting saved,’  And then hearing, ‘Things are going great!  The church is flourishing, they’re growing, the Holy Spirit is still at work in a wonderful way.’  Just what a great comfort and encouragement that would be.  Because Paul says, ‘You know what, what greater joy, I can’t tell you how much joy it was to be there and see your faces and labour among you.’  And I will never be able to tell you, and I’m sure the pastors and people on the staff here will never be able to tell you what a privilege it has been, what a joy it is to serve here, how much we appreciate your sacred trust, that you come, and you look at the likes of us, and come back, and contribute, and serve, what a joy, what a privilege, what an honor.  And I can hear that. 

 

Paul Was A Man Of Prayer

 

“For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?” (verses 9-10)  Paul said he was praying night and day for two things here, he mentions “that we might see your face,” and he had talked about that,  “and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith” ‘you know, there are areas where you still need to grow, we want to assist in that, be part of that.’  Ah, prayer, you know it’s interesting as you read Paul’s epistles, Paul was undoubtedly a man of prayer.  Everywhere he says, “praying without ceasing, praying for you night and day, we don’t cease to give thanks for you…”  You read, he was saying this to all of these churches.  And what an undervalued thing prayer has become, I believe, to so many.  And what an incredible thing, to be able to come to the God of heaven and earth, in the name of Jesus, and to lift that name before his throne, and in that, God being justified to interfere with human government and natural law, in the name of Jesus, before his glory.  And no one is restricted from doing that, it’s God’s will that all should come to repentance (cf. 2nd Peter 3:9), that all men should be saved.  There isn’t anything unfair about it.  Because God longs for all men to come to the knowledge of the truth.  But for those of us who come, we have that access, that we can bow our hearts, and in a second, faster than that, be in the holiest place in all of the universe, in the presence of Almighty God, by the merit of what Christ has accomplished on our behalf.  That means when Steve takes a trip to Nepal, in the morning, before you go to work, as he gets somewhere, settle your heart before the Lord, and go there.  Say, ‘Lord, I don’t know where they’re at right now, but as they’re starting these medical clinics, be with them, give them favour with the government.  Lord, as they’re showing the movie [maybe a copy of the Jesus Film] we pray that you would give them a great harvest, that people would come and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Lord, as the churches are being planted, be with them.’  Then you can go from there to Chechnya, this is all before you leave for work, pray for Dave L., ‘Lord, these are difficult situations in Chechnya, see the tension in the world, and Bill D., Lord, you see him out there, crazy out there, all the stuff he does, be with him, keep a hedge about him, Lord, Josh and Marisa, over in there in the Ukraine, Lord be with them, give them wisdom, keep your hedge about them, and your angels,’ and we can go to all of those places, and get up, finish our coffee and go to work.  Prayer, what a remarkable thing.  A lot of people talk about intercession.  I have probably only known two or three people in my life that I would genuinely consider intercessors, and I was glad they prayed for me.  And if you are an intercessor, and you pray for me, please let me know, you can just write me a note, or just stop by and say ‘Hey, by the way, I think that’s my gift and I pray for you without ceasing.’  That would be a blessing, I’d go home saying ‘Oh Lord, thank you, my life, what a blessing to know somebody’s out there, Lord, listen to that person.’  But Paul, is a man of prayer.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prayer/mueller.htm]

 

 

Paul’s Prayer Goes In Two Directions

 

His prayer is in two directions here, one is ‘that I might see your face,’ that’s looking back at everything he’s said so far, ‘Satan’s hindered us, we want to come, can no longer forbear, we sent Timothy, and when we finally received word from him, we were assured Satan hadn’t hindered the word we started there, the tempter hadn’t led you away, that your faith was strong, your love was strong, and that you were longing to see us,’ and that was a wonderful thing, and Paul is praying for that, night and day, ‘that we might see your face, we’ve heard a good report, we want to come and see your face again,’ that’s looking back.  The second half of this prayer now, looks forward, and he’s going to tell us the prayer.  So the second half is, ‘that we might have opportunity to perfect, or complete that which is lacking in you, we want to come and minister among you to see you come to a greater level of maturity.’  Verses 11-13 give us then the prayer that Paul is talking about here, praying in those directions.  Verses 11-13, “Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.” ‘that God would direct us unto you,’ that’s the first part.  Verses 12 and 13 give us the second half of the prayer.  And that, verse 11, looks forward to the things that Paul says, you know these things still need to be completed in your life, you need to grow in these areas, “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:  to the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”  Now that doesn’t say that he make you sinless. Judicially he’s already done that, he’s pronounced that upon us, imputed that righteousness to us.  But for us to be unblameable in holiness, that speaks of our continued communion with him, that we would walk in the light as he is in the light.  And if we walk in the light, John tells us, that the blood of Christ, the tenses are, continually cleanses us from all sin.  If we’re walking in the light, that means if we do something stupid, we say ‘Lord,’ right there, ‘I shouldn’t have done that, you’re right, you’re right, Lord.  Forgive me.’  That’s walking in the light.  “Anything that doth make manifest”  Paul says, “is light”, for us to realize we’ve done something wrong or something stupid or something selfish, that’s evidence that the Holy Ghost is there shining God’s light on us.  So walking in the light is walking in fellowship with him.  Walking in darkness, deliberately turning away, is what breaks that fellowship.  Not that he’s not our Father, but he can’t fellowship with us in darkness.  [There are two types of sanctification, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/1st%20Corinthians.htm]

 

Any Man Who Has This Hope Purifies Himself

 

So Paul says, “to the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all the saints.”  I love the verse there, and at the end of the chapter he talks about the 2nd coming of Christ, and the Lord coming “with all the saints.”   There’s a big difference between the Lord coming with, and the Lord coming for.  So, the Lord coming with his saints, I’m glad that that’s us, coming with him.  Now, there are those again who talk about the 2nd coming of Christ and say that it’s not important.  ‘Come on, let’s talk about something else, let’s get to the orthodoxy, what about blood atonement, and the resurrection, the virgin birth?’  Yeah, all of those things are important, but how can we ever say that the 2nd coming of Christ is not central in orthodoxy?  “As often as you break this bread and drink this cup you do show forth the Lord’s death until he comes.”  It’s part of us taking the Lord’s Supper together.  There are more verses in the New Testament about the 2nd coming of Christ than anything else you’re going to point out to me.  There are about seven specific references to the new birth, there are about 80 references to baptisms, of water and spirit, there are over 300 references to the 2nd coming of Christ in the New Testament, it’s about 1 out of 10 verses.  It’s by far the broadest subject in the New Testament.  And I’ll tell you why.  If I am leaving, and I love my bride as much as Christ loves his, and I don’t, I’m growing, but he loves his Bride more perfectly than I love mine.  He loves his children more perfectly than I love mine.  ‘And I’m leaving [talking of Christ leaving his Bride behind on earth until his return], and I’m leaving them in a hostile world, an environment where the enemy has influence.  But what I have secured for them is so incredible and so tremendous, and I know that one day when we stand face to face together, we’re going to realize that all of their toil, all of their sorrow, all their difficulties doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, compared to what I have prepared for them.  I’m going to talk to them a lot about that, because I love them that much.  It will be the central thing on my heart, coming to get my Bride, and carry her across the threshold.’  And this church was three weeks old, three weeks.  The 2nd coming of Christ, the fact that they had been saved from the wrath to come, the deception, the antichrist, these things that Paul had spoken to them about and now will write to them about, and it was central in that faith of the early Church, the return of Christ.  It has, I believe, a direct effect upon our evangelism.  If we believe Christ is coming, and you look at the news and you look at the world, you realize he could come at any time.  We should be a little more burdened for the people we work with, and for our relatives, to get the truth to them.  Secondly, in our purity…how can we believe Christ is coming at any moment, the immanency of his return, which is what the New Testament teaches, and be sitting in a bar somewhere, drinking, getting drunk, or in an X-rated movie, or treating our wife or our husband like a doormat?  How can we, if we believe that he can come at any moment?  It is a great motivation for purity.  “Any man who has this hope purifies himself, even as he is pure.”  And I think it’s a great priority setter.  What really is important?  Look at the news, look around, Christ is coming, what really is important?  Really?  Is it the most important thing we can imagine to get a boat?  I have nothing against that, I know there’s people here, ‘Peter was a boat-person, he’s in heaven, his name is written on the foundation,’ …I’m just saying, priority-wise, it should effect us, as we prioritize things, time, resources, communication, with our wife, and our kids and our family.  The coming of Christ, and it’s in that context now he begins to move into the things that he would like to see them continue to develop in their lives, “Furthermore…”

 

1st Thessalonians 4:1-12

 

“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.  For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:  that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:  that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter:  because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.  For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.  He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.  But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you:  for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.  And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia:  but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”

 

Living To Please God

 

“Furthermore” and it’s built on that, this prayer that they would be blameless and established when Christ comes, “furthermore, then, we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” (verse 1)  Look, you’ve received us, you’re not under the Law, what this is all about is pleasing him.  Shouldn’t be a problem, when you’re in love with someone, men, married men.  Go back to when you were engaged.  Try J.  [laughter]  You combed your hair, you bought deodorant, you washed whoever’s car you had before you went to impress the person you were picking up.  I know there’s a lot of deception then, ‘Oh I keep my car clean all the time.’  Take her to a nice French restaurant, ‘Oh, I’m here all the time,’ you’ve never been there in your life, you don’t know whether the menu’s upside down or right-side up.  You know, there was no…and your friends were saying about you, ‘He’s in love, we’re never gonna see him again,’ well, see, because when there’s genuine separation, it’s not separation from, it’s separation unto.  You know, God wants us to live a separate life.  Well, the problem is, some Christians, they want to know what they can get away with, and still get in.  [Oh, ‘I’m just going into the bar for one beer,’ The bar itself is a bad enough atmosphere, let alone having a beer in one.]  That’s what they think when they think of separation.  You know, ‘can I still drink a little bit?’  You know drunkenness is wrong.  ‘Can I just get a buzz, or pre-buzz?  When I start to feel the buzz, am I still ok there?’  [Calvary Chapel’s teach abstinence from alcohol, whereas the Bible teaches extreme moderation, and that if you can’t handle that, abstain.  Reason being, Calvary Chapels are sort of ‘hospital’ churches for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, a refuge for them, as well as a place of healing, genuine healing which God graciously provides to them.  The work of God through these Calvary Chapels is quiet and phenomenal in these areas and not to be scoffed at.]  ‘And yeah, my girlfriend and I are, ah, you know, not married, but how far can we go?  And I know, Uncle Sam and all those taxes, but how little do I have to report?, and can I do this, and it grows, it’s natural, so I should be able to smoke it,’ you know, look, I mean [laughter], what you’re saying is ‘How close can I get to the edge without falling off, I want to get into the Kingdom, but you know,’ something’s wrong.  You don’t do that when you’re in love with somebody, you don’t do that when you’re in love, it’s no cost.  Because it isn’t separation from, it’s separated unto.  And if all you’re doing is looking at what you don’t get to do anymore, you haven’t seen Christ yet.  You haven’t seen him in his glory and his power, you haven’t seen him with the nail marks on his hand, and his face brutalized, you haven’t sat at the cross long enough, and seen the unimaginable monstrosity nailed to those wooden beams, and the incalculatable amount of God’s love demonstrated there for you.  If you live as a Christian trying to see how much you can get away with and still get in, and for you Jesus is only “fire insurance,” you haven’t got the whole picture.  That’s what Paul says, now Paul’s not condemning them, Paul wants to see them complete.  He wants to see them grow.  And look, you’re not going to see God’s love, and you’re not going to continue on “under the Law” by someone pounding on your head, you have to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  [The law is only a spiritual mirror we use to see where we need to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s a tool.  Through God’s Holy Spirit, we should be flying far higher above the actual law, not being under it, but over it, beyond it.]  And Paul says ‘We want you to go on as you should walk, to please God, to please him.’  You know, to me, it’s a great thing to hang my head down on the pillow at night, and say, ‘Did pretty good today, didn’t we Lord.  You were God, I knew that when I woke up, and I’m your trainee, but we did alright, didn’t we?  I mean, you can come tonight, if you want to, while I’m sleeping.  I’ve got nothing to hide, I’m holding nothing back, my pillow feels great, my bed feels greater right now, I’m gonna roll over Lord, I’m going to close my eyes and zoom off, and if I wake up, and the first thing I see is your throne and your glory, that’s fine with me.’  Wonderful to live that way, to please him.  He’s Lord and Saviour.  Paul says, ‘you know, we want to see you continue to grow, that you might walk to please him, and in that, you might abound more and more.’ 

 

Holiness Is A Direction We Go In

 

“For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.”  ‘It wasn’t the Law, we instructed you in Christ, we gave you commandments by the Lord Jesus,’  “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:” (verses 2-3)  now he used the word “holiness” back there in his prayer.  And he’s going to use it four or five times in these next few verses, sometimes it’s translated “sanctification”, sometimes it’s translated “holiness”…and he’s making a real point, holiness, you know, is something we’ve lost tract of.  It isn’t a legalistic idea, it’s not something that came out of the ‘holiness Pentecostal movement’, it’s not something that was just applicable to the Puritan age.  Holiness, what is it in your life?  If God asks for it, do you know what it is, what it means?  Because it has something to do with boundaries [exactly what the law of God is all about too.  The Old Testament Laws of God are like the outer boundary markers, marking actions, the edge of the precipice.  The spiritual laws of God, Christ, mark the inner boundaries, bringing our obedience to the thought level, every thought into the obedience of Christ, as Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 10:3-6], it has something to do with separation.  And I believe more than anything it has to do with direction.  We should all be comforted by, you know Spurgeon said, “Yes, I’m not what I should be, but I’m not what I used to be, and I’m not what I’m going to be.”  That speaks of direction.  God is holy.  What that means, simply, is he is separate in an unimaginable way.  And all that exists is God, and that which is not God.  All that exists is the Creator, and the creation.  There’s the Creator, and everything else that ain’t the Creator, everything else is the creation.  There’s God, and there’s that which is not God.  That makes him holy, that separates him.  If our lives are towards him, and we’re growing in grace and the knowledge of Christ, we’re being conformed into the image of his Son, we’re moving toward him in our life, that’s holiness.  That speaks of a boundary, that’s separation, that’s growing.  If we turn away from him then we’re in rebellion, and in sin.  [Sin, by the way, is defined by the apostle John as the transgression of the law, 1st John 3:4.]  Now we’ve turned away, that’s not holiness.  It speaks of a direction, that we’re growing in grace, that our lives are toward Christ, in difficult circumstances, when we’re tempted, that our lives are toward Christ.  And he’s separate.  And if we’re growing toward him, that process is taking place.  As far as he is concerned in relationship to the finished work of Christ, it’s done, it is finished.  He’s not finished, it is.  We’re justified, sanctified and glorified, because he’s the One who was, and is, and is to come.  Because he is the one who was, we’re justified, because he is the one who is, we’re sanctified, because he’s the one he is to come, we’re glorified.  He can look at us as being completed from all three places.  He’s the God who calls things that are not as though they were.  But in the practical day-to-day life here, his Holy Spirit and his Word are fast at work in our hearts, and they beckon us constantly that we should be growing, that our lives should be toward him.  When we get angry, when we’re tempted to be selfish, when we’re fighting, when we’re doing things that we know we shouldn’t do, that in all of those things his Holy Spirit is working in our lives, aiming us, being our compass, and we’re saying ‘I agree Lord, forgive me.  I see that, I know it’s wrong,’ we’re walking in the Light, we’re moving towards him.  That’s holiness.  And it doesn’t get any more practical than that for us.  But when we turn away, to the world, to its standards, to its morals, to its ethics, to its pleasures, then our lives are not characterized by holiness, then we’re not growing, we’re in deliberate and willful sin, where we are where we should not be. 

 

About Moral And Ethical Impurity

 

This is the will of God, verse 3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:” (verses 3-4)  Now he’s going to talk about moral impurity and ethical impurity, in job and work relating to other human beings.  And they’re linked together.  Thessalonica was steeped in Roman tradition.  When the Roman Republic had existed for hundreds of years before this, it was called the Roman Republic, and it was the seeds of the Roman Empire.  They say for over 300 years, in the Roman Republic there was not a single divorce recorded.  But as it becomes the Roman Empire, and it embraces so many of the cultures in the area, the left-over Grecian culture and so forth, a Roman man said he had a legal wife to bear and rear his legal children, he had a mistress for pleasure, and he had a concubine to take care of his physical needs.  So it was almost accepted that every man would have a mistress, a concubine, and a legal wife.  And in the temple worship so much of the idolatry was sexual.  [And it wasn’t much better in the Jewish Temple.]  Jesus, when he deals with the religious leaders, he said ‘Anybody who divorces his wife except for the cause of fornication,’ he didn’t use the word for adultery, he uses the word “fornication” there.  Now the legalistic side of the Church has taken that and said that even includes engagement.  Look, Jesus was saying ‘Any sexual activity outside of marriage, whatever form it form it takes,’ that’s why he used that word, because an adult Jew of his day thought it was only adultery to have sex with another married Jewish female [and that opened up doors of promiscuous opportunity for the Jewish male of Jesus’ day, all sanctioned by the Temple and religious establishment in Jerusalem].  They didn’t think that is was adultery to see a prostitute, or have a concubine, that that was not adultery.  So Jesus says, ‘Any sexual activity outside of marriage is what we’re dealing with here.’  And he uses the same word here.  Look, we live in a society just like Rome, that it’s so widely accepted, there’s so many aberrant things that are taking place that are now crying to be called “normal,” asking for our tolerance.  Which is a ruse, because they don’t want tolerance, they want endorsement.  And I can’t give that.  Tolerance is what they already got.  God created the sexual relationship, he understands it, he designed it to be pleasurable, he understands everything about it, and says ‘this is to be inside of marriage.’  It’s a glue, it’s a wonderful, powerful force inside of a marriage.  Outside of that, it’s destructive.  Outside of that it’s destructive, because if you are sexually active before you get married, I’ll have a couple sit in my office that are dating, and listen to them argue.  And after awhile I realize ‘They sound like married people,’ they’re having marital problems.  Of course, first I think ‘Well, if she’s such a problem, get rid of her, there’s a lot of fish in the sea, what’s the problem here?’  But then you listen, and see how bound they are to each other, and you realize they sound just like married people, and I say, ‘You guys are in sexual sin, aren’t you?’  ‘oh, yup, oh yeah, yeah, we are…’ you know.  Well, there are some terrible things that have happened there, because you’re not male just by biology, you’re male by spirit [i.e. the spirit-in-man, cf. 1st Corinthians 2:9-13], by emotion.  You’re not female just by biology, you are by spirit [the same spirit-in-man in the male, and the spirit-in-man within the female intertwines together when they are sexually active], by wiring [this spirit-wiring], by your makeup.  And you are meant to be put back with Adam.  Not with every Adam on the planet, but with the Adam that’s for you [talking to all you ladies, of course].  There’s something of completeness there that binds, that produces health, produces an umbrella for children that’s healthy and good, to be enjoyed.  And God is there blessing it, and wants it enjoyed.  Outside of marriage, it’s a perversion.  See, our society is so far gone, ‘this is regular old normal sex.’  No it’s not, it’s not normal, it’s a perversion, because it’s using something that has an intention to be used for something else.  And you girls, some guy tells you ‘I love you, lets go to bed.’  No, he’s saying ‘I lust you, and I love me, let’s go to bed.’  He don’t love you.  Jesus says the best thing for you is to wait.  The best way to honour that woman or that guy, it to wait.  That that’s true love.  And that’s what should happen.  Because if you go to bed before your get married, after you get married, there’s going to be a role reversal, where all of a sudden the wife wants to take control of everything, because she knows there wasn’t enough between Jesus and this guy before we got hitched, so when he comes home late from work now, how do I know what he’s doing?  And you just undermined something that’s supposed to start out a particular way, and God says ‘If you honour me I’ll honour you.’  If it starts out the right way, there’s enough changes that need to go on for a man and a woman to be made one.  Now look, I’m not saying there’s not forgiveness.  I’m not saying that God can’t remove penalties.   I’m saying what the Scripture tells us, that we have to agree with God, and say ‘This is right, and this is wrong.’  Then repentance can happen the way it should happen, and there can be change.

 

What Is This ‘Possessing Your Vessel’ All About?

 

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:  that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” (verses 2-3)  Now, there’s a couple different opinions about what in the world that is talking about, “that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel”.  Some grammarists say the word “possess” there is often translated “acquire”, and they’re saying ‘It’s every one of you should know how to acquire his own vessel,’ that it’s speaking about getting a wife.  Sorry girls, I know you want to be more than a vessel.  It’s not as bad as Samson, you know Samson said, ‘If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have figured out my riddle,’ so at least you’re not a heifer, you’re a vessel.  [laughter]  What they say [the grammarists] is it says in 1st Peter, the wife is the weaker vessel.  Now take note, the wife is the weaker vessel.  Which means the husband is also a vessel, and he’s also weak.  That’s what the grammar implies, the wife is the weaker vessel, which mans the husband is also a vessel, he’s a weak vessel, but she’s the weaker of the two weak vessels.  Paul, when he was saved, the Lord said to Ananias ‘He is a chosen vessel.’  So, it’s either talking about that we should know how to find our partner in life, and then to spend our life with that person, or it’s talking about “this earthen vessel”, that we should know how to control our own fleshly appetites.  Now both of those are true, so it doesn’t matter which position you take, because they’re both true.  There are some scholars that want to go and make it something that would be contradicting the whole holiness that a ten-year-old could see here that God is asking us to embrace.  But, “that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” [he’s patting his chest] this is a vessel, I’m inside of it.  It’s really a spacesuit, and I really have nothing to do with Hawaiian shirts, I’m just inside of this spacesuit.  And I’ve done so many weddings and so many people go on vacations, that I get so many free Hawaiian shirts, I’m going to wear those for the rest of my life now, I have no choice.  And I don’t mind, nothing wrong with a free Hawaiian shirt.  But the point is, I’m inside of here.  That’s who I am.  I’m the spiritual being that lives inside of this spacesuit.  And it’s a vessel.  I appreciate when the Old Testament calls it a carcass, that helps keep it in perspective.  We spend a lot of time on our carcasses, we spend too much time in church looking at somebody else’s carcass, ‘Glad my carcass don’t look like that carcass,’ ‘That guy should comb that carcass,’ ‘I wonder if he washed that carcass before he brought it here tonight?’  ‘Look how nice that carcass is dressed, nice [laughter],’  Don’t we put a lot of emphasis on the outward?  You know, the emphasis here [in this verse], we should know how to possess this vessel, to control it, and not let its appetites run away, but it should be sanctified, set aside for the purposes of the Lord. 

 

We’re Not To Defraud Our Brothers In Christ---How Often Does That Happen?

 

“not in the lust of concupiscence,” the continually thinking about lustful things, and being involved, never satisfied “even as the Gentiles which know not God:  that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter:  because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.” (verses 5-6)  Now he moves into some ethical things.  And look, an immoral person is not just immoral sexually.  And immoral person is immoral in business also, and they’re tied together.  An adulterer is always a liar.  Now I’m not saying if you’ve repented, the rest of your life is characterized by that.  But what I’m saying is an adulterer is someone who has lied to themselves, to do what they’re doing.  To be with somebody else’s wife or husband, an adulterer has told some kind of a lie to themselves that said, ‘I can’t be happy without this person,’ they make up all this stuff.  And because of the desire of the heart, it makes a convert of the mind, so an adulterer has already believed a bigger lie, so a lesser lie in business is never much for someone to step over.  Someone who goes to bed with a young girl whose a virgin, you’ve stolen something from her.  You’ve stolen something already.  You’re a thief, so that immorality just floods over into business, and how we do other things, and how we relate to people in that world also.  And look, we all have that traitor that lives within.  I mean, there is something in the world that appeals to us, that’s why we need the power of the Holy Spirit, that’s why we need to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul says here, “that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter:  because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.”  Someone whose been mistreated or treated wrongly, particularly when the person who has treated you wrongly, you know, if you hire a Christian businessman, you do that because in doing it you’re thinking ‘Well, at least this is somebody I can trust.’  I feel terrible when I hear someone say “Never hire a Christian businessman,” because what they’re saying is ‘I tried that, and I really got the business, because I did that believing their price would be fair, and I can trust them, and they raked me over the coals!’  So, we shouldn’t give anybody that impression.  You should never defraud your brother in anything, ‘because that the Lord is the avenger of all such those who have been taken advantage of, as we also have forewarned you and we have testified.’  “For God hath not called us to uncleanness, but unto holiness.” (verse 7)  God has called us to separation, to himself.  You know, look, he loves us more than I love my wife.  I don’t want my wife to be immoral.  I want her holy, in that sense, separated unto me.  When we got married, she pledged me her trough, never knew what that was, but I know it’s important.  I just know I want her trough [laughter].  It’s fidelity, you know, in a relationship.  How can you trust the closest person to you, out doing what’s not right.  And the Lord loves us more than we love our spouses or our children.  “For God hath not called us to uncleanness, but unto holiness” separated to himself, because he loves us. 

 

‘Don’t Blame Me If You Don’t Like This Advice, It’s Not Mine, But God’s Advice’

 

“He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.” (verse 8)  In other words, ‘If you don’t want to listen to all this, ‘Oh man, I can’t believe my friend brought me to church tonight, he knew I’m living with my girlfriend, this Bible-thumper is bugging me, I can’t wait to get outa here, oh man, business, it’s dog eat dog out there, you don’t do that you’re not gonna survive, get me outa here.’  Look, it says here, ‘He therefore that despises [this advice] doesn’t despise men, but God, who hath also given us the Holy Spirit.’  Over in verse 2 he says, ‘You knew what commandments we gave you, the Lord Jesus,’ Paul says, ‘This is not my opinion, this is from the Lord.’  And you know, the Lord doesn’t need to bust anybody, it isn’t like God’s up in heaven saying ‘Got you!’ because he could smoke you if he wanted to.  You ever hear of spontaneous human combustion?  Ripley’s believe it or not, if he wanted to, you’d just, right now, flames! Just a puff of blue smoke and that funny smell.  [that smell’s not funny to Fire Fighters]  So he’s not just, you know, God’s not up there, the big Thou Shalt Not who lives in the sky and is shooting down lightning bolts, making a sinner dance.  No, God’s nailed to a wooden cross, taking your place, taking all the eternal punishment that you deserve, so that he can put his arms around you and call you his son or his daughter, and set your life aside, and provide for you in this life, and in the life to come, a life that is incomparable to the lives that unsaved people are gonna live, even if they’ve got a million bucks in the bank.  He loves you, he’s got a plan for your life, in this world, and in the world to come.  And he wants holiness because he knows the closer you are to him, the safer you are, the more you’re going to flourish, the more you’re going to realize what you were made for. 

 

God’s Love Is Obvious Within A Real Church

 

“He therefore that despiseth [these things], despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given us his holy Spirit.  But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you:  for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”  He’s saying, ‘Look,’ to these Thessalonians, ‘the word has gone out about the love you have one for another, you yourselves are taught of God to love one another.’  And that’s so obvious to me, when we’re going to have a Communion service, one of the things I love is when we pray backstage, I can just listen to the buzz out here, just a thousand voices just chattering, and there’s love in that.  I don’t hear anybody strangling anybody, I don’t hear anybody pounding on each other, beating each other.  You know, I have four kids, and it’s hard to have four kids in the van, at one time.  ‘Stop hitting him!’ you know, you’re trying to drive the car, ‘Stop doing that!’  He looked at me!’  Oh, he should die for that J.  ‘Make them stop humming, they’re humming, they’re driving me crazy, they’re humming,’ and here we are, we’re gathered with thousands of people, and I don’t hear you having fights before the service.  “ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”  What a remarkable thing.  Look around.  You can sit here and pick out the people you would not have hung around with before you were saved,  [laughter] for lots of different reasons.  Look at this room.  I mean you knew you were called before you were saved, and you know there’s a lot of people here that were not in your classification of whatever “call” was, you would not have hung around with.  I mean, there’s cool people, and square people, and old people and young people, hairy people, bald people, hit people, head people, Black people, White people, different races, different cultures, different ages.  There’s nowhere else in the world where this group of people gets together, there’s no other club, no other fraternity [except within the Body of Christ].  Paul said, ‘I don’t have to write to you guys about this, because you yourselves are taught of God to love one another.’  It’s so important, it’s so wonderful. 

 

We Are To Increase More And More---In God’s Agape-love

 

“And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia:  but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;” (verse 10) growing in grace and the knowledge of Christ, love, you know.  I can’t imagine anything in the final analysis that honours Christ more than agape-love, [to read more about what that is, see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm], being able to turn the other cheek.  If you’re growing in love you’re not going to take someone else’s sexuality away from them before marriage, you’re not going to take someone else’s wife or husband, you’re not going to defraud somebody in business [and look, a close friend of mine gave up on the Church because what he thought were believers defrauded him in business, and he became a devout atheist.  Those individuals have blood on their hands, the very blood of Jesus Christ, who bought my friend].  If you’re growing in love [God’s agape-love] you’re not going to live selfishly, you’re going to live other-centered.  If you’re growing in God’s love, you’re going to live sacrificially.  He says ‘I know you have this love, we see it, we want you to grow in it more and more.’

 

The Best Counselor Is The Best Listener

 

“And that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,” (verse 11)  I study to make noise.  Study to be quiet, you know, some people have to do that.  There are people, and you know, if I say to this person ‘How you doing?’ I need to have an extra hour on my schedule.  And sometimes it’s love to say ‘How you doing?  You know, the best counselor is the best listener.  And sometimes somebody just needs to tell you, they need to tell somebody, and it’s important.  [There’s a whole subject, book written on Effective Listening, I think it’s out of print, but it’s really awesome, but I’ve lost the title.  But there are books out there on it.  Most people are not effective or good listeners by nature.]  But studying to be quiet, means to be study to be restful, to be quiet in your spirit, that you know what the Word of God says, you have the unction of the Holy Spirit in your life, you’re not always stressed and running around, worried and chewing your fingernails, ‘uh, wanta go to church with me, hope we don’t get killed in a car accident, hope the terrorists don’t kill us, you wanta come to church with me?’  ‘Ah, no thanks, ah, no thanks,’ study to be quiet, peaceful, restful, to know the Word of God, to let the peace of God rule in your hearts. 

 

‘If A Man Won’t Work, He Shouldn’t Eat’

 

“and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;”  Now that’s past tense, “as we commanded you;” so there must have been some type of an attitude there in Thessalonica that Paul had to deal with.  In the second letter he says “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”  ‘If you don’t work, you don’t eat.’  I’m not condemning anybody here whose looking for a job.  Because looking for a job is work.  But I know Christians who sit at home and say ‘If God wants me to get a job, the phone will ring.’  [laughter]  ‘I pray all day, when God wants me to get a job, the phone will ring.’  Well try this, ‘When God wants me to eat, something will float out of the refrigerator.’  Let’s apply this, ‘When God wants me to clean, it’ll rain,’ you know, apply that to life.  You don’t do that, when you want a sandwich you get up, you walk to the refrigerator, you get out the rye bread, you get out the turkey-ham and the cheese and mayonnaise and tomato and you make yourself a sandwich.  You don’t sit there and say, ‘When God wants me to eat it’ll float out of the refrigerator.’  You’re laughing, because you know people that do that.  ‘I’m trusting the Lord,’ no you’re not.  If you were trusting the Lord you’d get off your rear-end and put an application in and go look for a job, that’s trusting the Lord, because he told you to do it.  That’s trusting the Lord.  ‘for you remember that when we were with you, this we commanded you that if any man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat.’  “For we hear that there be some that walk among you, disorderly, working not at all,” they’re busybodies, “now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and they eat their own bread.”  So Paul, it seems he has to reaffirm this again in his second letter.  ‘Study to be quiet, do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded,’ “that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” (verse 12) ‘That you might walk honestly toward those that are without.’  You know, the Church has enough of a reputation, that is a shame, for begging.  The Church has got enough of a reputation, you turn on the television, you see those televangelists begging for money.  It’s sad, when I see the begathons and I see what goes on.  You know, ‘Jesus is filing chapter 11, he’s been a bad steward over his finances, he running the whole kingdom into the ground, again, he didn’t know where the Stock Market was gonna go, he didn’t check with Greenespan, and if you guys don’t give the whole thing’s sunk.’  You know, it makes me sick.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, he started all of this, without radio, without publications, without printing presses, without television.  Imagine that, Christianity without television, without telephones, without fax machines, without computers, with the Holy Ghost, with the Holy Ghost, 120 people filled with the Holy Ghost (cf. Acts 2:1-47).  Work, there isn’t anything less sacred about working than about preaching, being in some type of public ministry.  We draw those lines, God doesn’t.  Both are sacred.  Marriage is sacred, not just standing in the pulpit.  Parenting is sacred.  Earning a living is sacred.  Jesus worked for 30 years in a carpentry shop, only had three years of public ministry.  For 30 years he was obscure, nobody knew, step-son of a carpenter, came to be baptized, the voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am already well pleased”, never preached a sermon, never done a miracle.  The Father had fellowship with him every day in the carpenter shop.  Work, it gives us the means to give, it means to bless others.  If you eek a living out of this world, there’s some dignity and integrity in that, and it’s a good thing, it’s a good thing. 

 

Read Ahead, About The 2nd Coming of Christ

 

I encourage you to read ahead, as we come now to verse 13, Paul doesn’t say ‘I would not have you be ignorant brethren,’ you have to look where the comas are there, ‘I would not have you be ignorant brethren, concerning those that are asleep, that you sorrow not as others who have no hope.  If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so we believe those who are asleep God will bring with him, as we say unto you by the word of the Lord.’  And you read through the passage and it talks about resurrection, but it is the catching away of the Church, to heaven.  And I look forward to that.  I am not a post-tribulationist, a mid-tribulationist, a three-quarter tribulationist, I’m a pre-tribulationist.  If you’re going to be disappointed with that, you’re going to be disappointed with that.  I’m not willing to negotiate.  I was a post-tribulationist for a long time.  And if Jesus doesn’t come [for the Church] until the end of the tribulation, I’ll become one again.  [Pastor Joe is very honest in his theology, as we all must be willing to be.  And he is no doctrinal slouch either.]  But if I’m right, you’ll be wrong forever.  [Actually, only in a technical way.  Regardless of whether a pre, mid, or post-tribulation Rapture is correct, every single believer alive who has the Holy Spirit, or dies in the faith, will all be in the 1st resurrection to immortality, regardless of interpretive belief, and after that event, it doesn’t matter either, because we’re all in God’s Kingdom, at the Sea of Glass for the Wedding of the Lamb, and then we all as resurrected, immortal beings, come back to earth with our Bride Groom, the Lamb of God, to take over rulership of planet earth forever and ever (cf. 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1st Corinthians 15:49-54; Revelation 19:7-21; Zechariah 14:1-15).]  I believe we have little concept of what that time period will be like.  If we think the Church will be here [on earth after the First Seal is opened in Revelation 6], we have not studied, we have no idea of the spiritual forces that will be released, again, the level of deception, the angels that have fallen, that have been bound and have been reserved to the day of judgment.  The post-Rapture world is going to be a very strange place.  And imagine the powers that will be there, Islam, Judaism, and [false] Christianity are going to come under one roof.  Are you watching the news today, do you see anything or anybody that could possibly make that happen, bring about a one-world religion?  Nothing we see, but after the Church [the real Body of Christ] is gone, it’s gonna happen.  Miracles, signs and wonders to such a level, that the movers and shakers, all the conspirators, will fall under The Conspiracy, you know I hear so much about the Builderburgers, and the…and the Trilateral Commission, and the Aluminati.  Well let me tell you something, there’s a much greater conspiracy, and that is what started in the Garden of Eden, in fact it started before the world was formed and the Lamb was slain.  And I know the whole conspiracy, even the conspirators are going to get conspirated, and wonder after the Beast, whose name is not written in the Book of Life.  So, read ahead, we’ll really start to come to some remarkable things.  If we’re still here next week, if the Rapture doesn’t happen before next Wednesday, we’ll look at it next Wednesday.  If it does happen, snap!  you’ll know.  And if you come and we’re all gone, we tried to tell you, [applause] you can still get saved, help yourself to the tape library, bookstore, ah.  Listen, Jesus Christ is coming, are you ready to meet him?  If Jesus Christ came tonight, where would that leave you?  The Bible says he’s coming for his Church, for his Bride, because the things that are going to come on the world are so horrible that they’re unimaginable.  If you have done any studying, you see Hiroshima or Nagasaki, the atomic bombs that went off there, imagine one megaton, 50 times Hiroshima, one Trident sub with 22 tubes [20 tubes, sorry Joe, I’m a subsailor J], each of those 22 missiles, with ten independently targeted warheads, each warhead ten-megatons, 500 times Nagasaki, each head.  One submarine, 40 times the detonating power of all of the munitions detonated in World War II by every side, the Japanese, the Germans, the French, the Italians, the Americans, the British, by every side, one sub, 40 times [and we have a bunch of Ohio class Boomers, FBM’s, Russia has an equivalent number, France has a couple, Great Britain has 4 or 5 Boomers, China has a couple, with more on the way.  Even after the fall of the Berlin Wall, this world is an armed camp, waiting for some crazy to set it off.  That will be World War III, which the Bible calls the Great Tribulation].  [transcript of a connective expository sermon given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links:

 

What is intercessory prayer all about?  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prayer/mueller.htm

 

What are the two forms of sanctification?  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/1st%20Corinthians.htm

 

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