Morning Cloud

July 5, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Wrath Has Come Upon Them Today

“hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins.  But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.”

1 Thessalonians 2:16 

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Eternal Life

      Evil men have always opposed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes, that opposition comes from religious leaders, even supposedly Christian religious leaders, who do not want anyone contradicting their heretical teaching.  They would prefer for men to live in spiritual darkness, rather than live in the glorious light of forgiveness of sins by faith in Jesus Christ.

       In 1 Thessalonians 2:16, Paul reminds the Thessalonians that their own countrymen opposed the preaching of the Gospel to them.  As Jews, living in Thessalonica, they also tried to stop the ministry team from going to the Gentiles, after the Jews refused the Gospel.  Paul reminds the Thessalonians and us today that sinful men hate Jesus, and killed Him, and will do everything they can to hinder the preaching of the Gospel.  Paul and the Jews knew that the Gospel was the power of God for salvation, but the wicked Jews rejected the message of Jesus.  Remember, however, that Paul was a Jew, and some Jews would receive the Gospel and be saved.  In fact, thousands of Jews received Jesus by faith for the forgiveness of sins under Peter’s preaching at Pentecost (for example, Acts 4:4).

       Jesus taught the wrath of God abides upon every man who does not obey the Son of God, Jesus Christ (John 3:36, page 1659).  Paul points out that every person hindering the message of salvation fills up the measure of their sins.  God measures sins.  He knows the bad acts of each man, and will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, Jesus Christ the righteous (Acts 17:31).  When we see people hindering our work of spreading the Gospel, we should always recall the words of Paul to the Thessalonians, and know that God sees our opponents filling up the measure of their sins.  But God is not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance, by receiving the gift of eternal life from Jesus, by faith alone  (2 Peter 3:9).

    So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we know that opponents will always try to stop us from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are in Christ today because Christ overcame the opposition and sent someone to share the Gospel with each one of us.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we recognize that the opponents of the Gospel fill up the measure of their sins, and the wrath of God abides upon them.  Yet, God loves them too, because Paul himself was a chief opponent of the Gospel before Jesus turned Him to salvation.

     ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we do not expect to encounter opposition, or fail to recognize that Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). 

Application for Today

        Today, I will see people opposing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I will remind my friends that those opponents are filling up the measure of their sins, and wrath has come upon them to the utmost.  Together, we will stand and proclaim Christ, knowing Christ has overcome all opposition.  As you encounter opposition to the Gospel today, what will you be thinking?

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As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
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