When the Lord comes (II Thessalonians 1-3)

and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, II Thess. 1:7

There is a scene in the classic war movie, D-Day, that stands out in my mind as I consider Paul’s teaching in today’s text. The scene retells the story of a British special forces unit that landed behind German lines. Their mission was to take a particular bridge and hold it until relieved. The bridge would give the Allied Forces a major route into France. The special forces did take the bridge and for several hours they did hold the bridge until they were relieved.

In the ancient city of Thessalonica Paul was encouraging the church in that city to hold until relieved. Paul commended the church because they were doing the following:

  • Growing in their faith.
  • Increasing in love.
  • holding strong in the midst of persecution and afflictions (Paul’s double use of the same Greek word emphases the mental and physical suffering the church was enduring).

Paul also comforted the church with the glorious reminder of the Lord’s Second Coming.

When the Lord returns He will do no less than three things:

  1. He will grant relief to His people. On that day, all mental and physical suffering will end. On that day, our faith will be made complete.
  2. He will repay the enemies of the gospel. There will be eternal judgment, 1:8-9.
  3. He will reward His saints. All that awaits us in Heaven makes the war seem less stressful. We can hold until we are relieved.

Notice what Paul wants for the church. This was His prayer:

11. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Father, strengthen the church to hold by living out our faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. Father, strengthen the church to hold by glorifying you through sharing the gospel with our persecutors. Father, strengthen the church to hold by enduring persecution knowing this is Your call on our lives.

As things get worse in the world, the church will hold until relieved!!!

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