Temple Baptist Church - 2-26-2017
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
A. I want to look at verse 12 for a few minutes tonight as it settles the question: “Can a person have a second chance to be saved if they are ‘left behind?’”
1. Tim LaHaye wrote a series of books called “The Left Behind Series.” He believed that those who had rejected Christ prior to the Rapture of the Church would have a second chance to be saved during Jacob’s Trouble, also called the Tribulation Period. Peter S. Ruckman also taught a second chance in his literature. Both men were equally wrong!
2. These who have “fallen away” in our text are not believers. Paul admonishes the believers not to be shaken or troubled by what is happening but did not indicate that they would be a part of the “falling away.” Saved people do not apostatize!
3. Those who have fallen away have done so by having a disobedient spirit that would not accept the message of salvation. These have followed the New Age Versions of our day as the Word of God is being undermined, rejected and defamed.
B. In these verses, we find the characteristics of the end time in which we now live.
1. The Rapture of the true Church is eminent and the revelation of “that Wicked” soon to come. For “that Wicked” to find acceptance, there must be a spiritual “programing” take place.
2. We have certainly seen the effects of that programing in America as the majority have turned away from the God of the Bible and despise those who follow Christ.
C. Now, let us take a short look at how we got from “one nation under God” to “one nation without God.” It starts with a deception and ends with a delusion!
1. Self-Deception. I have often said that self-deception is the worst deception of all. Romans 1:21-22 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
a. Divine Light manifested. John 1:9-10 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. (Every man is accountable for the light that God gives him. No man is born an atheistic, it is “learned behavior.” In all nations, men worship. In every nation, their false worship is a result of rejecting the “light” of God.)
b. Divine Light rejected. Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (19) Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. (20) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (This morning, I preached on creation by God. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament His handywork!” [Psalm 19:1-3] To look at the heavens and the earth is to see the work of a Creator, not some random act of nature.)
c. Divine Light dims. Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Some people use a rheostat or dimmer switch in some rooms. They are used to either dim or brighten the light by degrees. As men “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness,” the spiritual light that God gave to them begins to dim which opens them up to the second step: Satanic deception.)
2. Satanic Deception. Satan has deceived the world! Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
a. Satanic deception comes with rejection of Biblical truth. For them to soothe their consciences, they must do away with the knowledge of God: the Word of God. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
b. Have pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Timothy, chapter 3, says that the become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. As men turn from the truth, the give into the desires of the flesh and have pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
c. As men turn from revealed truth, their minds become blinded to the message of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
3. Sovereign Deception. Strong delusion! Just what this “strong delusion” is has been the subject of much speculation but I believe that it is made clear by its context. Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
a. It is the crossing of God’s deadline. Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
b. Its result is delusional thinking. What this delusional thinking? Deception by a false belief, delusional thinking. The ultimate rejection of truth that gives space for the ultimate acceptance of Satan’s lie. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
c. Its end is eternal damnation. Those who have heard and rejected will be given over to a mind that is reprobate, i.e., cannot be saved. The end result of sovereign deception is a complete satanic reception! 2 Thessalonians 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Conclusion: The result of the “falling away” is satanic deception that ultimately culminates in a “strong delusion” that “that Wicked” is what the lost have long awaited! Damnation is now “set in stone” for those who once knew God and chose to migrate to the “anti-God” of the end time.