SanLo Community, an update for the week of June 24, 2018…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8, “The Man of Deception.” We all need to understand we live in the end times, and our time on this earth is very short. We can be here today and gone tomorrow. This ought to make us live with a sense of urgency to the gospel. We’ll be talking about the Anti-Christ, the man of deception. We live in uncertain and uneasy times. The spirit of the deceiver is among us. However, we don’t have to be discouraged or dismayed, because we believe in a sovereign God who is absolutely in control. The Anti-Christ is called the man of lawlessness. He will have no regard for the law. He will be ruthless, but he will be extremely deceptive, alluring, charismatic, popular, and he will be a positive influence in the world. What should we look out for during the end times? Paul provides them and us with two warnings and one great exhortation.
1) Be aware of false claims. (vv.1-2) Be careful of people who tell you about when Christ will be coming back. Don’t be alarmed by reports or prophesies that say Jesus is coming back on this day or that day. There is no certain date for when Christ will comeback. So never listen to a preacher or prophet claiming to know. Be aware of false claims. Paul gives them a warning command. Don't be shaken from your composure. Don’t get rocked by a false prophesy. The issue here is that some of the Thessalonians had come under some false teaching that Christ had already comeback. The rapture had happened. Christ had returned, what Paul had talked about in 1 Thessalonians 5, the day of the Lord, had already taken place. So you can imagine their confusion and unrest. Was Paul wrong? Did he misspeak? Did we miss the boat? Are we left behind? There is a cloud of uncertainty surrounding them. Paul says, don’t believe in these false claims, Christ has not yet come nor can we know for certain when He will. Don’t lose your composure. Don’t be shaken by false claims. Even Jesus said He didn’t know the hour or the time, but only the heavenly Father knows. Let no man predict when Christ will come again. Be careful of false prophesies and false claims to the second coming of Christ. Let us heed the warning of Paul to know Christ is coming back, and He’ll do so like a thief in the night. Let us be ready and be alert to false claims.
2) The second warning is be aware of the man of deception. (vv.3-5) Be aware of the Anti-Christ and be careful of his deceptive ways. Don’t be deceived by him. Do not let him overtake you and don’t succumb to his sneakiness and his guile. Be aware of the man of deception. Paul continues with his second warning about the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction. So, who is this man? Here he is the man of sin. The book of Daniel calls him “the prince who is to come,” he will be like royalty. John calls him the beast, the enemy of God in Revelation 13. We most know him as the Anti-Christ. He is not Satan himself but he is a representative of Satan, and the devil is the complete force beyond him. What do we know about him? He will be supportive of religion. He will lead people away from Christ and God. He will make Christ appear as an enemy. Verse 4 tells us he will exalt himself even as an object of worship. He will be god-like. So much so that he will take a seat in very temple of God, God’s place. He will try to replace God. Again, rather than being a picture of evil, war, death, horror, we get a sense that he will be a master of disguise. He will project himself as peaceful, religious, holy, honorable, worthy, etc…all as a mask of pure evil. But that is what deception is. That’s how Satan works. Decent appears good, appears nice and wonderful, and good to the eyes, but it is rotten, corrupt, and wicked at its core. So, Paul warns us to be careful and be aware of false claims to the second coming and to the deception of the Anti-Christ. These truths ought to cause us to live carefully over our own lives.
3) Know God will expose and execute evil. (vv.6-8) God will reveal the truth of Satan’s deception. God will destroy the man of deception, the Anti-Christ. He will stand in triumph! He will be victorious! Jesus wins in the end! We can live with great assurance and confidence to hold onto the truth, know God will expose and execute evil. God was then and is right now holding Satan back. God is saying here that He is the powerful one. God is the one who has control over Satan, not the other way around. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. God is not absent from our world even when it feels like it’s falling apart. No! We believe in the Mighty One, the Almighty God of the Universe, Jesus Christ who reigns now and forever. And in the end, Jesus will crush Satan. 8And then the lawless one (the Anti-Christ) will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of His mouth. God is going to execute and to destroy the Anti-Christ by just breathing on him! No more! Just by the breath of His mouth. The flick of His finger and bring Anti-Christ to nothing, nada, non-existence, by the appearance of His coming. Just the appearance of His face and the full weight of His glory will crush him. Jesus will just look at him – and He’ll be gone! No more! Jesus wins! That is the GLORY, THE POWER, THE STRENGTH OF OUR MIGHTY GOD.
Because Jesus wins, we don’t have surrender to sin and to Satan’s deceptive ways. Because Jesus wins, we can live free from self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and pride. Because Jesus wins, we have power to overcome sin and darkness through the working of the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus wins, we can confidently share with people this good news. Because Jesus wins, we are free from deception and falsehood so we can live triumphant lives, because we believe in a triumphant God.
Children’s Message: Thank you Forrest Yee for sharing about our favorite Disney stories, how there is always a villain. Sometimes these villians seem to be nice people but they really want to hurt others and are defiant. We need to be careful of villians in our lives, as they want to pull us away from Jesus and the truth of God. But remember that the Bible truths always stay the same and can guide you to be strong in Him.