Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

Encouraging Christians
2 Thes. 2:13-17

13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. NAS

Introduction
Just as there were specific elements in the character of the Antichrist (vv. 10­12), so there are characteristics of the saved. In light of the Lawless One we need to be encouraged by the Righteous One. He who is the Rose of Sharon, who is all together Lovely.
 
 

1.    Encouraging Christians to Look at their . . PAST. v 13-14


13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ

Introduction
Paul focuses on God and the Christians in his thoughts related to the past. Thanks to God and for the believer.

A.    Encouraged to Look at the Past. . Choice of God. v 13
        But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

        1.    Chosen . . From. "from the beginning"
                a.    The beginning of eternity.

        2.    Chosen . . For. "for salvation"
                a.    God has chosen.
                b.    Holy Spirit Sanctifies.
                c.    Jesus Saves.

        3.    Chosen . . Through. "through sanctification"
                a.    Set apart for Salvation.
                b.    The conviction of the Spirit.

Illustration
On a prayer List I belong to Dick Armey the Majority Leader of the House of Representative was a focus person for prayer Friday.

This group sends a different person every day. The person is supposed to be one of the 365 most influential people in the world. The information about Dick Armey was that he got saved in 1956. He said I finally gave in to the conviction of God.

        4.    Chosen . . By. "by the Spirit"
        5.    Chosen . . In. "faith in the truth"

Illustration
Dr. James Kennedy is of the Calvinistic Theological Position. As a young minister he went to preach a revival meeting. As the pastor and he made some visits he judged the people were not of the "elect" because they did not make a commitment after his presentation.

The pastor then took over and lead many of these people to the Lord. James Kennedy had a world changing experience during that week because out of it he started what has become known as Evangelism Explosion". You see Faith is man's response.

B.    Encouraged to Look at the Past. . Call of God.v 14
        "And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ

        1.    Called Through . . The Gospel. "Our or my Gospel
                a.    Only one Gospel ( "the", "my", or "our")
        2.    Called That . . May Gain the . . Glory
                a.    The Glory of our Lord Jesus

Illustration THE CALL of GOD?
IN THE NEWS USA TODAY reported November 12, 1999, a strange incident at a funeral in western Poland. Mourners were gathered around a burial site nearby, when a mobile phone began ringing from inside a nearby grave.

Many of the startled mourners fled; one woman fainted. Apparently, the phone had been accidentally buried with its owner the previous day. Note: How do you think they will react when the final trumpet sounds?

Application

How are you responding to the call of God?
 
 


2.    Encouraging Christians to Look at their . . Present. v 15


15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

Introduction
This week I played golf at Adobe Creek Golf course in Petalume California. I wore my Mark McGwire Tee shirt so I could rub it in to the San Francisco Giants Fans and the other Trustee who was a Texas Ranger Fan. The Golf Course told me you can't play golf here with out a shirt that has a collar I was insulted. I had to take off my McGwire Shirt or not play.

They loaned me a pull over shirt with a collar. But it kind of ticked me off. Then I thought "this club has standards and rules. I can play by their rules or not play golf. I also thought do I respect someone else who stands for something? The sad part of this is that it seems the group that is least willing to stand up today is the Church. We want problems to just go away so we don't have to make a stand. The Bible tells us to stand.

A.    Encouraged In the Present to Stand Firm On the . . Spoken Word. v 15 a

        1.    Today we need to Stand for Some Old Traditions.
        2.    We may not have chapter and verse but a Tradition.
        3.    Why is the tradition there?
        4.    Are we wiser than our Fore Fathers?

Illustration
The old time preachers use to regularly call smoking sin. They were made fun of by almost everyone. This week the Supreme court in Florida granted a mufti billion dollar judgment against the tobacco companies. Have we surpassed the Old Time Preachers? I think in a few ways we might be catching up with them.
 

B.    Encouraged In the Present to Stand Firm On the . . Written Word. v 15 b

        1.    Today we need to Stand for Sexual Purity
        2.    Today we need to Stand for Righteous Appearance.
        3.    Today we need to Stand for God's Word.

Illustration
I lead a person to the Lord 2 years ago and this person said "I may not become a member of your church. You know as a child I grew up in ____________ church and I might go there.

Then that church had a national conference and they debated some of the stands they have taken for centuries. They ordained some people with a non-biblical life style. This person told me I am coming to your church you all stand for something.

Let me ask you what are you willing to stand for and against? If a friend or relative of your starts living in open sin; will you stand against the sin? Convictions should be stronger than friends or relatives.

Illustration

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONVICTIONS?
by Carl Gibbs

A Member of the Christian Law Association

The United States Supreme Court classifies religious beliefs as either preferences or convictions. According to the court, only convictions are given the full protection of the First Amendment.

When is a belief a preference?
A belief is a preference when, under certain circumstances, that belief can be changed. A belief may be strong and intense and still be a preference. The five circumstances noted by the court that most often cause one to change his beliefs are: peer pressure, family pressure, litigation pressure, jail pressure and death pressure.

* Peer Pressure
When the disapproval of others cause one to bend their beliefs, their beliefs are simply preferences.

* Family Pressure
It is often pressure from within a family, from a spouse, parent, or a child, that will cause one to lessen his belief. The court held that if family pressure causes one to change, that belief is merely a preference.

* Litigation Pressure
When one faces an intimidating legal battle, he often re-evaluates his beliefs. If a lawsuit changes your beliefs, they are preferences.

* Jail Pressure
Would you be willing to suffer a jail sentence for your belief? If not, your belief is just a preference.

* Death Pressure
The Ultimate test of a belief is whether of a belief is whether you would be willing to die for it, like many Christian martyrs have done throughout history. Would you be willing to die for your belief. If not, your belief is not a conviction.

When is a Belief a Conviction?
* Convictions are self determined.
The court held that if you need other people to stand with you, your belief is not a conviction. A conviction must be self determined, not influenced by what others do or by what others ask of you.

* Convictions are non-negotiable.
If you are willing to even discuss the option of dishonoring your belief your belief is not a conviction but only a preference.

* Convictions are victorious.
Victory is standing for what you believe is right, regardless of the cost. The court held that if you need earthly victory to remain true to what you believe, you do not have a conviction.

* Convictions are lifestyles.
The court held that if a man holds true to his beliefs, those beliefs will evidence themselves in a life which is consistent with those beliefs. Convictions must control a person's life.

If religious liberty in America is to be passed on to the next generation, it is critical that American believers study what the Bible teaches so they will know what they believe, live consistent lives according to what the Bible teaches and stand firmly for what the Bible teaches. Only then will the world recognize God's people to be people of conviction and find our faith sufficient to pass the test of conviction versus preference.

Application
 

What do you get when you stand for Godly principals? You get the people of God and the Peace of God.
 
 

3.    Encouraging Christians to Look at their . . Future. v 16-17


16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

Introduction
The construction of this sentence in verse 16 is unusual. Most of the time Jesus is not listed first as He is here. It says ". . . Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father. . . " Have you noticed the work of the trinity in these verses.

A.    Encouraged In the Future Stand In the . . Love of God. v 16 a
        "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us . . . "

        1.    God Loves Me is a Place to Stand.

B.    Encouraged In the Future Stand In the . . Eternal Comfort of the Lord. v 16 b
        ". . . and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, . . . "

        1.    God will give me Comfort as I stand for Him.

C.    Encouraged In the Future Stand In the . . Strength of God. v 17
        ". . . comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

        1.    God will give me strength as I Stand for Him.
        2.    God will give me strength as I Work for Him

Illustration
The snow covered the ground and three boys were playing. A man said to them, "Would you like to try a race and the winner receive a prize?"

The boys agreed and the man told them that his race was to be different. "I will go to the other side of the field," he said, "and when I give you the signal, you will start to run. The one whose footsteps are the straightest in the snow will be the winner."

The race commenced and the first boy kept looking at his feet to see if the steps were straight. The second lad kept looking at his companions to see what they were doing, but the third boy just ran on with his eyes steadfastly fixed on the man on the other side of the field.

The third boy was the winner, for his footsteps were straight in the snow. He had kept his eyes on the goal ahead of him.
 
 

Conclusion








    Encouraging Christians to Look at their PAST.

            Encouraging Christians to Look at their Present.

                  Encouraging Christians to Look at their Future.