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Desperate Times, Deceit, and the Day of the Lord

September 5, 2006

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

Genuine spiritual experience depends upon deep knowledge of the Word of God. As God reveals the truth of His Word, and our minds apprehend truth, we find ourselves changing. We experience faith, love, joy, peace, etc. All the Bible study we do as believers, all the thinking and pressing into the Word, are not ends in themselves. We do it so that we are changed. We do it for life, for the feeling, the willing, and the doing. Knowledge exists for the sake of love. Knowledge of God produces glory to God. So, howís it going with you and Jesus?

We are not redeemed from persecution. The church at Thessalonica was suffering. In 2 Thessalonians 1.5 Paul says their suffering is the sign of Godís righteous judgment. By this suffering, Christians are being made worthy for the Kingdom of God. God is after holiness, not harm. Those who are afflicting, Paul says, will become afflicted at the Lordís coming. (v. 6) Evil will not always prosper. Christians being afflicted now will be given rest and joy when the Lord comes. Walk, Paul says, in faith with patience.

As believers, we must run the race with patience. We must wait for Godís timing and do things Godís way. Paul uses objective truth about the ways of God to help during a crisis of faith. Paul helps people cope in their hearts and bodies with the miseries of whatever they are suffering by telling them the meaning of suffering and about outcomes. Paul uses truth to solve practical emotional problems. Doctrine affects life.

Paul tells the Thessalonians that though thereís upheaval all around, donít be quickly shaken or excited or get thrown off balance. Stay calm and steady and thinking clearly. Donít be alarmed. Crises come and will come, just as Jesus said. (Mark 13.7) Circumstances sometimes cause us to feel helpless and hopeless. At these times we are tempted to misuse spiritual power, our position in Christ, and the promises of God. We are tempted just as Jesus was tempted by Satan to turn to another source for satisfaction, for destiny, for sustenance. (Luke 4) Our times may be desperate, but we must wait for Godís timing to deliver us and walk Godís way, even the way of the Cross. This takes humility. (Philippians 2)

Let no one deceive you in any way, Paul goes on to say in verses 2 and 3 of 2 Thessalonians 1. Deceit is at the root of mental and emotional disturbances. When deceit takes root, we are shaken from our senses, lose our balance, feel alarmed, and make poor decisions. We fall prey to the enemy, who wants us to kill the Creator and take His place, who wants us to worship and serve him, and seek him for our destiny.

Truth dislodges deceit. In this case the deceit was that the Thessalonians believed that the day of the Lord had already come.

      1. The day hasnít come because first the rebellion or apostasy has to happen.
      2. The day hasnít come because first the man of lawlessness has to be revealed. (2 Thessalonians 2.3)

The day of the Lord will be a day of destruction when Jesus will slay the man of lawlessness with the breath of His mouth and destroy him with the brightness of His coming (presence). Yes, thereís tribulation, but during all this tribulation, the man of sin and the apostasy have to take place before the day of the Lord.

Who is this Man (human) of sin?

      1. He embodies lawlessness, rebellion against Godís law.
      2. His destiny is destruction. Heís a son of perdition.
      3. He opposes God and all objects of worship except himself.
      4. He exalts himself and puts himself forward as God.
      5. He takes his seat in the temple of God (which could be us, the Church, or possibly a temple in Jerusalem). 1 Cor. 3.16, 2 Cor. 6.16, Eph. 2.21
      6. He will be a world leader, quite possibly a church world leader.
      7. He is now being restrained, but he has an appointed time. His time is appointed by God and it is short. (Acts 1.7)
      8. Soon after he appears, Jesus slays and destroys him. His doom is sure.
      9. This person is not Satan, but comes in the energy and power of Satan with supernatural signs and wonders. Signs and wonders are not to be the ground of our faith. Signs point to something. They are not to be our criterion of truth.
      10. This guy has some OT background, e.g., Daniel 7.8, 20; Daniel 8.4, 11; Daniel ll.31-40.

And then there is this apostasy. It means a falling away from the truth by those who once held it. (Matthew 24.10-13) People will fall way and betray one another and hate one another. False prophets will rise up and lead people off into error. Lawlessness will multiply like a growing cancer and the love of many will grow cold.

Paul says the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Apostates refuse to love the truth. They do not welcome a love for the truth. They wonít receive a love for the truth.

And whatís the bottom line? Itís an issue of loving. Itís not intellectual. Itís visceral. What do you love? Donít say you love God or love Jesus if you donít love truth or if you practice lawlessness or if you delight in evil. Jesus is truth. Jesus delights in Godís laws and ways. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth. (1 Corinthians 13.6)

In the times of great apostasy, people perish because they will not receive a love for the truth. They refuse to love the truth. They desire lawlessness. They delight in evil. They follow signs and wonders that appeal to natural desires, the desires of the flesh. These self-same things are going on today in the Body of Christ, but we are to be warned. We are to wake up. We are to watch and be sober.

In these perilous times, we must establish our hearts with a deeper desire for God. We must ask God for the grace to receive a love for truth, a love for the gospel of grace in Christ Jesus, a love for lawfulness, and a true love for God and the people of God.

There are those who give and those who receive. L. comes to Craighouse to receive ministry. Looking into her hollow eyes of anger, her sadness, her flat affect, we hope to be able to give her tangible help to stay on her medications, care for her daughter, grow in Christ, and find Christian fellowship at Craighouse. She is not a resource. She is an outreach. She is just one of many. To minister to people like L. we need others, like you, to give. Will you?

Thank you, as you help us speak the truth in love around the world.

In His Name, by His grace,

Mary Craig

P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org for more articles to help you in your faith. Order from our catalog section using PayPal. Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays, grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270. Send in your prayer requests. Mary Craig Ministries, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Federal ID 65-0429517. Be blessed! We love you.

Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
But you continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of,
Knowing of whom you have learned them. 2 Timothy 3.12-14


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