It is mystery as to how iniquity progresses. But the Spirit abides in the Church of Christ. We are the restraining force in this world. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-7)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11422
6:30 PM on 2/18/2018
How much happens when we live by faith and love. We live in the Spirit of God. Short End Times message. I always say its short! It is important that we would realize the nature of the world we live, and God allows evil to run its course.
Here’s a principle in Jn 14. Christ is at the Last Supper and saying I won’t speak much more to you, vs. 30. I’m going to stop speaking. This is what he said. How far does evil go? How much can it make progress? I think in the beginning we had Abel and Cain and Cain killed his brother and there was a contest. Christ said it was murder from the devil and after he killed him, he built a city and he wasn’t killed for killing his brother. He left the presence of God and built a city. Christ was on the earth. Did evil increase at the time of Noah? It seemed it did. Demons were cast into Tartarus. The demonic power was diminished in some measure. Evil after the flood was not as intense as before the flood. There are degrees of evil. When Jesus was here, he said regarding his next phase in his ministry, I’m not going to talk much with you.
Jn 14:30 evil came with amazing power and force to kill him. He was raised up and far above all principality and power. He is highly exalted above every name and name that is named. Now he is the head of the Body, us. We are the force in the world that does not connect with the evil. We are opposed to it. In our new nature and in the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ, there is no place for that. Yes, we have a sin nature. Yes, we could backslide and become part of it, but as we are feasting at the devil’s table, there is something gnawing inside for we are grieving the Spirit. We are not satisfied at that table. And we are the church.
vs. 30. Ge. 15:16, We could draw it like a cup with iniquity dripping into this cup and it is filling 100 years, 200 years, hundreds of years and then the cup is full. God said the Jews would be in Egypt until the iniquity of the Amorites is full. When this cup is full, then it’s over for them but he gives them time. The iniquity is allowed. The evil is allowed. The evil happens in this world and God allows it to happen.
Rev. 2:20+, this is not a good pastor. She is the pastor of the church in Thyatira and her name is Jezebel. She is a teaching pastor, and she’s seducing my servants to commit fornication and to eat things offered to idols.
vs. 21. I gave her space to repent of her fornication. How much time does God give evil people or sinful people, people with difficulties and trouble. How much time does he give us? The Amorites their iniquity wasn’t full so the Jews would be staying in Egypt 400 years and then the iniquity is full. Then he said you can go.
The American Indians were here and then the Europeans came. How many thousands of years were the nomadic Indians here? What was their culture like and civilization? Not to justify any iniquity, but to say that missionaries came and many stories not heard about or read in public school at all or in a popular way, but you can find them. Marcus Whitman and the missionaries that went up to Canada. Fantastic stories about people murdering and killing and coming to humility and getting saved.
God gives time. God gives time. Here comes our short message. We are in time now and this world has a time and there is light and salt and there is love. There is care and outreach and prayer and a testimony and a message. Though imperfect yet we are here and yet we are one day going to leave.
2 Thes. 2:1 this morning we spoke about the Rapture and the church is going to leave.
vs. 1-12. We have a number of important words in this portion. The Thessalonian church is told we will be gathered up to meet Christ. It is called the HARPAZO or snatching away. This world will …it cannot happen now because we are here. We are not to be deceived into believing this Rapture would happen and we would go through the Tribulation period but instead it will happen before the Tribulation period and in God’s timing. We are here because of the plan of God in teaching and training us. Learning to love and to be here in Christ’ stead. We are here in his place.
vs. 4. The man of sin will be revealed. This is the Antichrist. I want to make an interesting point I never heard before. Here is the Rapture and here is the cross. So we have 2,000 years. The devil does not know when Christ will return but it is promised. The devil though he is a liar and the world is entirely detached from the reality of God yet he is living in his understanding and he is able to deceive the whole world but doesn’t know when Christ will return. The world of evil is like a thread with antichrists in every period. Nimrod, Cain, the antichrists through history. The Antichrist that will be coming is needing to be prepared. The devil has people that are available and on many levels with different abilities. Of course a recent, prominent one was Hitler and his mindset. He was prepared as an antichrist but Jesus didn’t take the Church then. The Church is here. That antichrist fulfilled a purpose but he wasn’t the Antichrist.
The one prophesied in Rev. 13 is going to happen. The devil doesn’t know actually when that will happen. When it happens, he will have greater power and the devil will be able to empower him. These are some of the comparisons: Christ worked miracles; the Antichrist works miracles. Christ appears in the millennial temple; the Antichrist sits in the Tribulation temple.
Christ is God; the Antichrist claims to be God. Christ is the Lion of Judah; the Antichrist has a mouth like a lion in Rev 13:2.
Christ makes a peace covenant with Israel, the New Covenant and Antichrist makes a peace covenant with Israel but it’s a false peace, Dan. 9:27. Christ causes men to worship God; the Antichrist causes men to worship Satan. Christ followers are sealed with the H.S. and on our forehead it is written the name of God.
Rev. 14:1. The Antichrist seals on their forehead and on their right hand his number. Christ has a worthy name; the Antichrist has a blasphemous name. Names. Many names. Christ is married to a virtuous bride; the Antichrist is married to a vile prostitute. Christ is crowned with many crowns; the Antichrist is crowned with ten crowns. Christ is the King of Kings; the Antichrist is called The King. Christ sits on a throne, and the Antichrist sits on a throne on the earth in the temple in Israel half way through the Tribulation.
Christ has a sharp sword from his mouth; the Antichrist has a bow in his hand in Rev 6:2. Christ rides on a white horse; the Antichrist rides on a white horse. Christ has an army; the Antichrist has an army.
Christ had a violent death; the Antichrist has a violent death, Rev. 13:3.
Christ is raised from the dead; the Antichrist is raised from the dead, Rev. 13:3 and 14.
Christ is coming again, and the Antichrist is coming in Rev 17:8. Christ reigns for a thousand years worldwide; the Antichrist reigns for 3.5 years worldwide. Christ is part of the holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Antichrist is part of a trinity: Satan, Antichrist, and False Prophet. Makes you think. How far can evil go? What kind of world are we living in? Most of us lived in the corner of Maple and Oak Street with warm milk and cookies going to bed at night as a child, maybe with a mom and dad, two parents. Many of us went to school and lived a normal, happy life. That’s such a gift in an evil world. We have a Christian culture. We have an idea about work and education and being very moral. Now we are talking about something intensely spiritual. Christ came and said I’m not going to talk much anymore. Evil is coming powerfully. Other times he said I will be crucified by evil. The Son of God. The true nature of this world. We are here to understand that this evil that is coming cannot come while we are here.
It’s written here in 2 Thes 2:4, Paul must have had rap sessions about the coming of the Antichrist. It was the Roman Empire and there were antichrist Caesars. There were difficult times ahead for the Church and the Church needed to be prepared.
vs. 6. He will be revealed in his time but there is that which is holding it back. “Withholdeth” is a restraining that is happening. Evil cannot have its way in the degree that it wants to have. The mystery of iniquity is already working. We have seen it. It’s more and more obvious, to me it is. It’s more in our face. There is more anxiety, restlessness, misunderstanding, lack of real healthy dialogue but not being accused or blamed or labeled. Intercourse in discussion and connection with people. A strange thing that is happening. We could say the mystery of iniquity which is a loaded statement. Why would Judas who saw the dead raised, saw the food multiplied; who saw Christ’s nature, who understood him as kind, firm, determined, focused – why would Judas not become a follower though he followed? The mystery of iniquity. Why sometimes I might wake up one morning or walking down the street one day and have a crazy idea of doing the total opposite of what I’ve been doing all my life. Mystery of iniquity. How could Lucifer being so beautiful and wise in heaven get the idea that I’m done, I’m out of here. I am God. How could he think? The mystery of iniquity. It’s unexplainable, irrational work of evil amongst men. Why would a man murder or steal or destroy? Why would a man take his life? Why would these strange things, this working of evil, a notion or projection of some kind. Or maybe deep seated matrix of thoughts wrapped up in iniquity. It’s a mystery and it’s working. When God is so good and gave us strawberries and whales. He gave us time and is patient and kind. God is so amazing and yet not to love him. The mystery of iniquity. He’s on a cross on our behalf and I don’t care and I’m blinded to it and indifferent. The mystery of iniquity is working.
vs. 7. “He who now lets.”
Donald Gray Barnhouse summarized this: “What is keeping the Antichrist from putting in his appearance on the world stage? You are. You and every other member of the Body of Christ on earth. The presence of the Church of Jesus Christ is the restraining force that refuses to allow the man of lawlessness to be revealed. True. It is the Holy Spirit who is the real restrainer.
But as both 1 Cor. 3 and chapter 6 teach, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer. The believer’s body is the temple of the Spirit. Put all believers together then with the Holy Spirit indwelling each of us you have a formidable restraining force.
Chuck Swindoll said “when the church is gathered together, taken up to be with Christ in the air, the salt and light will be withdrawn. Then every vestige of goodness will decay, every remnant of truth unravel. It is at that time when the man of lawlessness will take center stage, like cages in a zoo suddenly opened. So it will be when the restrainer is taken out of the way and lawlessness runs wild and rampant in the streets. Ours is a day of grace in which sin to a large degree is restrained. It is a day when God does not deal directly with human sin. However, there will come a time when he will step on the scene to deal definitively with sin and that will be a time of great destruction. However, the H.S. return to heaven will not be a complete withdrawal from the earth but a reversed Pentecost of sorts. His activity will be like it was in the Old Testament. When the Church is removed at the Rapture, the Holy Spirit goes with the Church in so far as his restraining power is concerned. His work in this age of grace will be ended. Henceforth during the Great Tribulation, the H.S. will still be here on earth of course for how can you get rid of God. But he will not be indwelling believers as he does now. Rather, he will revert to his O.T. ministry of coming upon special people.”
Do you know what this means restraining. Who now is holding back the evil is you and I, the Church. When we are raptured, when we are taken away, then comes this Antichrist who is being prepared. If Christ is coming soon, then that Antichrist is prepared, groomed. He doesn’t have that place until the Church is taken. When the Church is taken, he is empowered. First 3 l/2 years of peace with the Jews, he solves their problem, sits in the temple and becomes as God. He gets to as close to it as possible by sitting in the temple and by being the deceiver of the whole world by his lying wonders and his false prophet who is a man also functioning in that capacity being used to demonstrate the powers of the Antichrist. At the end of the 3.5 years, there is no fooling around. Jesus comes back. By the breath of his mouth, by his presence his enemies are destroyed. The kingdom of God he has written on his thigh and his nature. He brings the kingdom of God on the earth. That will be an amazing day. God allows evil and here there will be an outpouring, a manifestation of it out of the abyss. Demons will come out of the abyss. Deception will be all over the world but there will still be a work of grace. He anoints 144,000 Jewish men preaching and teaching in this second half. God will still be able to save. They cannot take the mark of the beast and many other aspects to it.
That’s enough for tonight. If we are here with a mission and vision and a purpose to hold back the evil. We are here to pray and move mountains and see people touched with the Gospel. To see Bible studies in the Ukraine. To be blessed of God by faith.
We are here for this as the Church that conquers. The devil is licking his chops. He wants us gone. While we are here, he will do his best to apostatize, to infect, and to do his work but we are so thankful by God’s grace we can be Spirit-filled, wise people living in a difficult time.
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