February 5, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship
Have you ever noticed many churches seem to base their model of how to “do church” on the cruise ship model? “Visit us and try our five different restaurants, 30 different stores, and we will put a folded towel rabbit on your seat before you arrive….” But has anybody considered if the cruise ship model was ever the biblical model for how church is to be done? Or does God’s plan for His church require more of a battleship model? Join us Sunday as we enter 2nd Thessalonians chapter 1 and consider the biblical model outlined by Paul for doing church right as we consider “Cruise Ship or Battleship?”
Word On Worship – February 5, 2012 Download / Print
2 Thessalonians 1:4-5
“Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.”
One major theme in our study of 2 Thessalonians will be the subject of eschatology — a fancy seminary word that means “things to come” or as many of us would see it, prophecy. When I came to Christ, eschatology was a huge fascination for me. How God has revealed the last days and how that affects believers was the type of thing that would get me to tune in and show up for the seminar. And then as I matured in my faith and started looking around at other good Bible teachers and the discussion people were engaging in, I was shocked to see that the subject was generally used as a target practice to throw stones at people that had a different biblical view than the one being presented.
But I have to say after my study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, I have found that almost every topic Paul has addressed is related to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He relates persecution of the saints, sanctification and holy living to the return of Jesus Christ. The Second Coming is more than just prophetic speculation. Our study in these letters of Paul has reminded me to keep my eyes looking forward to the return of Christ. The writer of Hebrews speaks of the race that we run, and reminds us that we have many witnesses and we may be witnesses ourselves if the Lord tarries His return, because the finish line is the return of Jesus Christ.
The goal remains the same: being found faithful when Jesus returns. So prophecy and the return of Jesus Christ remains a vital issue in our spiritual lives. Not all the nit picking and petty arguments about minor details and nuance. The return of our Lord is the motivation we need to live holy lives today (1 John 3:3) and the disciple we need to run our race well (1 Corinthians 9:24). We need a prophetic mind set which allows us to evaluate every decision we make today in the light of what Jesus would say to us about our actions as well as our motives upon His return.
My prayer for us as a church is for the Lord to show us how everything we are going through, especially the struggles and hardships of this life, relate to the return of our Savior. Jesus never promised us clear and easy sailing if we decided to follow Him. In fact, He promised His disciples quite the opposite. Opposition and hardship does not mean God has forsaken us, but that He will use the oppression we face to prove His righteousness and confirm our worthiness to be counted as the children of God.