Saturday, August 06, 2016


Fwd: 2 Thessalonians and the apostasy

 1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,1  2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness2  is revealed, the son of destruction,3  4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits4  to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Ἐρωτῶμεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡμῶν ἐπισυναγωγῆς ἐπ' αὐτόν, 2 εἰς τὸ μὴ ταχέως σαλευθῆναι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς ⸀μηδὲ θροεῖσθαι μήτε διὰ πνεύματος μήτε διὰ λόγου μήτε δι' ἐπιστολῆς ὡς δι' ἡμῶν, ὡς ὅτι ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ ⸀κυρίου. 3 μή τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον· ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ⸀ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, 4 ὁ ἀντικείμενος καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενος ἐπὶ πάντα λεγόμενον θεὸν ἢ σέβασμα, ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ ⸀θεοῦ καθίσαι ἀποδεικνύντα ἑαυτὸν ὅτι ἔστιν θεός. 5 οὐ μνημονεύετε ὅτι ἔτι ὢν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ταῦτα ἔλεγον ὑμῖν; 6 καὶ νῦν τὸ κατέχον οἴδατε, εἰς τὸ ἀποκαλυφθῆναι αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ⸀ἑαυτοῦ καιρῷ· 7 τὸ γὰρ μυστήριον ἤδη ἐνεργεῖται τῆς ἀνομίας· μόνον ὁ κατέχων ἄρτι ἕως ἐκ μέσου γένηται. 8 καὶ τότε ἀποκαλυφθήσεται ὁ ἄνομος, ὃν ὁ κύριος ⸀Ἰησοῦς ⸀ἀνελεῖ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ καὶ καταργήσει τῇ ἐπιφανείᾳ τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ, 9 οὗ ἐστιν ἡ παρουσία κατ' ἐνέργειαν τοῦ Σατανᾶ ἐν πάσῃ δυνάμει καὶ σημείοις καὶ τέρασιν ψεύδους 10 καὶ ἐν πάσῃ ἀπάτῃ ⸀ἀδικίας τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις, ἀνθ' ὧν τὴν ἀγάπην τῆς ἀληθείας οὐκ ἐδέξαντο εἰς τὸ σωθῆναι αὐτούς· 11 καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ⸀πέμπει αὐτοῖς ὁ θεὸς ἐνέργειαν πλάνης εἰς τὸ πιστεῦσαι αὐτοὺς τῷ ψεύδει, 12 ἵνα κριθῶσιν ⸀πάντες οἱ μὴ πιστεύσαντες τῇ ἀληθείᾳ ἀλλὰ εὐδοκήσαντες ⸀τῇ ἀδικίᾳ.
 13 Ἡμεῖς δὲ ὀφείλομεν εὐχαριστεῖν τῷ θεῷ πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν, ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ κυρίου, ὅτι εἵλατο ὑμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ⸀ἀπαρχὴν εἰς σωτηρίαν ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος καὶ πίστει ἀληθείας, 14 εἰς ⸀ὃ ἐκάλεσεν ὑμᾶς διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἡμῶν, εἰς περιποίησιν δόξης τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. 15 ἄρα οὖν, ἀδελφοί, στήκετε, καὶ κρατεῖτε τὰς παραδόσεις ἃς ἐδιδάχθητε εἴτε διὰ λόγου εἴτε δι' ἐπιστολῆς ἡμῶν.
 16 Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς καὶ ⸀θεὸς ⸀ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν, ὁ ἀγαπήσας ἡμᾶς καὶ δοὺς παράκλησιν αἰωνίαν καὶ ἐλπίδα ἀγαθὴν ἐν χάριτι, 17 παρακαλέσαι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας καὶ ⸀στηρίξαι ἐν παντὶ ⸂ἔργῳ καὶ λόγῳ⸃ ἀγαθῷ.

A word meaning is often determined by its context.
There has been debate about the meaning of apostasia in verse 3.  ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ⸀ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας,

The root of the word is apo .. from... stasia  stand .. or stand away from.
Apostasia sounds like our English word "Apostasy".
Some see it as indicating the rapture.. when believers are seized away.
This is a possible meaning, as there are similar uses of the word elsewhere in the New Testament.
Stand away from....
Elsewhere in this passage a similar word derived from the same basic root is used.

15 ἄρα οὖν, ἀδελφοί, στήκετε, καὶ κρατεῖτε τὰς παραδόσεις ἃς ἐδιδάχθητε εἴτε διὰ λόγου εἴτε δι' ἐπιστολῆς ἡμῶν.

16 Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς καὶ ⸀θεὸς ⸀ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν, ὁ ἀγαπήσας ἡμᾶς καὶ δοὺς παράκλησιν αἰωνίαν καὶ ἐλπίδα ἀγαθὴν ἐν χάριτι, 17 παρακαλέσαι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας καὶ ⸀στηρίξαι ἐν παντὶ ⸂ἔργῳ καὶ λόγῳ⸃ ἀγαθῷ.

Similar concepts of stengthening flow over into chapter 3 πιστὸς δέ ἐστιν ὁ κύριος, ὃς στηρίξει ὑμᾶς καὶ φυλάξει ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ. 4 πεποίθαμεν δὲ ἐν κυρίῳ ἐφ' ὑμᾶς, ὅτι ἃ ⸀παραγγέλλομεν καὶ ποιεῖτε καὶ ποιήσετε. 5 ὁ δὲ κύριος κατευθύναι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας εἰς τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ εἰς τὴν ὑπομονὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

it appears that Paul's central idea is the believers are chosen, and their election is proven by their continuing to stand in the truth of the gospel and in the love of God. satan opposes these two things. In fact, during the last time the one who establishes beliebvers in the truth and restrains Satan will be taken away.  Then the antichrist will be revealed, and those in the world will be deceived and follow on in his lies, deceived through his miracles, and through God's judgement on them allowing them to be decieved.

καὶ νῦν τὸ κατέχον οἴδατε, εἰς τὸ ἀποκαλυφθῆναι αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ⸀ἑαυτοῦ καιρῷ·

At a particular point in time, before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, before satan is revealed, sitting himself in the temple of God proclaiming himself to be God,  the Restrainer (I would say from the repeated reference to the Holy Spirit throughout this passage that the Person referred to is the Holy Spirit) will be taken away (apostasia verese 3), and then everything else will proceeed from bad to worse as satan gains power, until the return of the Lord Jesus in glory to destroy him and those who followed him in oppressing Christians ( 2 Thess 1:8-10).

One day the Holy Spirit's influence on the world will be removed.
People will joyfully and willingly follow Satan.
The Lord Jesus will return and dedstroy Satan and his works.
Given that reference is made in 2:1-3 of  1 Thessalonians , and rapture of the believers in 1 Thess 4 and 5, I would assume that the removal of the Holy Spirit from the world is at the same time that believers are removed from the world at the rapture, when the Lored Jesus returns for His Church, true believers.
Then the Antichrist will be revealed and reign on earth for a period of time (maybe 7 years of the book of Revelation).
Then the Lord Jesus Christ will return to destroy satan and His works.



For me to live is Christ

Phil 1:21 For me to live is Christ

. 21 ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος. 22 εἰ δὲ τὸ ζῆν ἐν σαρκί, τοῦτό μοι καρπὸς ἔργου — καὶ τί αἱρήσομαι οὐ γνωρίζω· 23 συνέχομαι δὲ ἐκ τῶν δύο, τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων εἰς τὸ ἀναλῦσαι καὶ σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι, πολλῷ γὰρ μᾶλλον κρεῖσσον, 24 τὸ δὲ ἐπιμένειν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ ἀναγκαιότερον δι' ὑμᾶς.

20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,

Ephesians 3:14-21

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

[I pray that]you, being rooted and firmly established in love,  18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth [of God's love],  19 and to know the Messiah's love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.


There are many distractions in life.

I saw a sign on the side of the road the other day. It said "report illegal mobile phone use", and then it had a phone number to ring.  I almost rang it! 

Quite a number of times driving up Richmond road I wind up behind a lady putting her make up on in the car as she is driving.  Now I put a camera in the front… and when they look in their revision mirror I smile and point at the camera. I must figure out how to turn it on one day.

We get distracted by the lights and glitters, the worries of this life, and we forget what life is all about.

We stand here face to face with one of the sublimest and greatest statements ever made, even by this mighty Apostle of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There is a sense in which anyone who faces this verse must feel that we stands on very sacred ground. This is a key verse in this epistle. In fact it should be a "key verse" in the life of every saint.  For Paul life is summed up in Christ. Christ is its inspiration, its aim, its end. To trust, love, obey, preach, follow, suffer,—all things are with and in Christ. For you and I our whole life is to be found in Christ.

Sometimes our self identity can be moulded by the events that happen in our lives.  There is a Greek story of a young baby born into a royal family of Thebes.  Sadly an oracle had been made about the child, that he would be the downfall of that family's kingdom. So the father tied the boys feet together and assigned the mother the queen to kill the child. She couldn't do it, so they threw the child out into a field so that it would be exposed to the cold and die.  Someone took the child in, and he was raised  by the King of Corinth, named him "swollen Feet" Oedipus, and he grew up to overthrow his former family.

The story of course, was typical of what occurred in those days. A child would be cast out, and sometimes, others would raise the child to sell as a slave. A book was written, how to identify a child who might survive and make a valuable sale as a slave. How would you feel were you like that? 

However, many of us grow along with our hurts that we receive in life. No life is free from hurts, rejection by parents, rejection by family, rejected love, unfaithfulness, failure in school, failure through addictions, failures through ill health. All these things hurt us deeply and mould our identity.  

But now in Christ you and I have the opportunity to have a new identity.  "For me to live is Christ!"  

I was sitting in a lonely state recently wondering if any one understood my situation or even really cared!  But, as a Christian you cannot think that way. Because now for a Christian "for me to live is Christ!!"

There is a whole new place to find your identity.  Don't get distracted from your true identity in Christ by the things in life that will disillusion you. There are so many things that can happen in your life to disillusion you. These will distract you from your true identity in Christ.

There is Something Personal Here

For to me - With this phrase, Paul is saying "I can't speak for you but I can speak for myself." Paul is being very personal. Paul's statement is similar to our common expression "As far as I am concerned" Paul was in prison and facing the prospect of death at the hands of the Roman government. Is it not true of all of us that in those "dying times" one usually thinks about the things that are most important in life. It was not difficult for Paul to explain what was of utmost importance to him. What makes your life worth living? your family? your work? your reputation? 

What is the focus of your life?

Ray Pritchard - Consider the phrase "to live is Christ." What does it mean? F. B. Meyer said that Christ is "the essence of our life…the model of our life…the aim of our life…the solace of our life…the reward of our life." Think of the prepositions that express relationship. We live in Christ … for Christ … by Christ … through Christ … and from Christ. He is the beginning, the middle and the end of life. He is truly the Alpha and Omega, the A and Z, and every letter in between. Here are three statements to ponder: A. Christ is life. B. Christ transforms life. C. Christ transcends life.

"Php 1:21 becomes a valuable test of our lives. "For to me to live is____ and to die is____." Fill in the blanks yourself. "For to me to live is money and to die is to leave it all behind." "For to me to live is fame and to die is to be forgotten." "For to me to live is power and to die is to lose it all." No, we must echo Paul's convictions if we are going to have joy in spite of circumstances, and if we are going to share in the furtherance of the gospel. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain! "No matter how you look at it, nothing can steal a man's joy if he possesses the single mind! "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Php 1:21). Maltbie Babcock, who wrote "This Is My Father's World," has said, "Life is what we are alive to." When my wife and I go shopping, I dread going to the dress department, but I often have to go because my wife enjoys looking at fabrics. If on the way to the dress section I spot the book department, I suddenly come alive! The thing that excites us and "turns us on" is the thing that really is "life" to us. Christ was his life. Christ excited him and made his life worth living."  Does Christ make your life worth living?






There is Something Practical Here   For me to live is Christ

Paul's words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ-nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life.Can you say that this is true for you?  Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ? Your business-are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self- aggrandizement and for the money? Do you do your work to get some self-identity from it, so that you feel more worthwhile? Your work will never make  you feel worthwhile; sometime you will have to retire. Sometime your work life wont mean a thing! Then what will your worth be worth?   Or is your whole life for Christ?  We sang last week "I surrender all" but have you? Is He truly the centre of your life?

In these words we are surely brought face to face with the most important questions that can ever confront us - What is life? What is living? What does it mean to us? What is it all about? Is it not one of the major tragedies of life, indeed, is it not the greatest of all tragedies, that amid all our concerns about life, all our intellectual activity, all our discussions, the one thing which men and women are never concerned to face is the first and most obvious thing of all, namely life itself, and living. Not only is this a most important question in itself, but I want to go further and point out that here we stand face to face with the most thorough test we can ever encounter of our profession of the Christian faith. Because, of course, this is a word which is more or less meaningless to someone who is not a Christian. So, then, is living to us, Christ? I wonder whether we can make that statement that was made by Count Zinzendorf, the Moravian leader who helped John Wesley both before and after his conversion. He had never had the vision that Paul had on the road to Damascus, but to him, too, Christ was in the centre. Can we make his motto our own? 'I have one passion, it is he and he alone.' 'To me living is Christ.' Oh that we all might have this passion! I believe we could transform our land in a day, I believe a great revival would come, if only we had this passion. He and he alone! Let us dwell upon him; let us meditate upon him; let us ask the Holy Spirit to reveal him to us. Let us pray for it; let us spend time with it; let us absorb it; let it take the central place; let us do all we can to get to know him better, for to know him is to love him. I have one passion—it is he and he alone. 

All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
All my being's ransomed powers;
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours
Mary D James .

 How do you make this work?

There is Something Powerful  here    For me to live is Christ

Christ--The Origin of our Life.


If you had asked the Apostle just what he meant, he would probably have replied, as William Tyndale brings out in his translation, that Christ must be the origin of our life. The Day of Pentecost meant that from that moment, and onward, the Holy Spirit should bring the germ of the Christ-life, and sow it in the soil of our spirits, so that the very nature of Jesus glorified, transfigured and Divine, might be sown in the soil of our humanity, as incorruptible seed, to reproduce in endless succession the growth of the Christ-life.

The Essence of our Life.


Christ must be the essence of our life. As we reckon ourselves dead to our own selfish existence, Jesus Christ will take its place, so that we may be able to exclaim with the Apostle: "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."

The Aim of our Life.


Christ must also be the aim of our life. We desire to make Him known, loved, and revered, that His will may be done on earth as it is done in Heaven; that others may know Him as we know Him, love Him as we love Him, live for Him as we live for Him; that He may be the crowned King of men, putting down war and strife, and hastening on that glorious consummation, for which the Church prays and creation groans.

The Comfort of our Life.

 Christ must be the Comfort of our life. Amid all the storm, strife, and tumult, there is no cleft where the Christian finds safe abiding, but in the riven Rock of Ages, in the side of the pierced Christ, in the heart of the Redeemer, the doors of which always stand open, and He is evermore bidding us come to Him for rest.

The Reward of our Life. Christ must be the reward of our life.

The one reward for every Christian man is to get more of Christ; the one crown for every brow is to know Him better; the one infinite gain that comes for every labour, every tear, every act of sacrifice, is that Christ gives Himself, nearer, dearer, better than ever.


He is the Love of your Life

Paul reminds us in his prayer that he desires that believers "that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,"

The Height of His love is that it has no comparison.

The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled, And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure The saints' and angels' song.

When years of time shall pass away, And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God's love so sure, shall still endure, All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam's race— The saints' and angels' song.


Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,  Though stretched from sky to sky.

The Depth of His love is that it has no conditions

Romans 5:8

The Breadth of His love is that it reaches to even us here. It has no confining.

His love is not limited racially, nationally politically socially or in any other way. It reaches to you.

The Length of His love is that it has no conclusion


Living for Jesus who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv'ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading, and give Him my all. 


'Lord, it belongs not to my care

Whether I die or live;

To love and serve Thee is my share,

And that Thy grace must give.'


The Heidelberg catechism



What is your only comfort in life and death?


That I am not my own,  but belong with body and soul,

both in life and in death,  to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. 3

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,   and has set me free from all the power of the devil. 

He also preserves me in such a way  that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.  Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life  and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.





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