Aug 8, 2021. I Thessalonians 2:17-20

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COSMIC WARFARE.  I Thessalonians 2:17-20.  8/8/2021.  #05.

I Thessalonians 2:17-20 [New King James Version]

17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. 18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

1. Untimely departure

                a. Once again Paul expresses regrets for having to leave them abruptly

                                a1. This was not by Paul’s choice

                                a2. Paul assures them of his longing for them

                b. Paul still wants to go back the see them

                                a1. Even though Paul was ejected from Thessalonians he felt that he could return to see them

                                a2. Paul wanted to finish the job he started in discipleship

2. Satanic warfare

                a. Paul made some actual attempts to return to Thessalonians but Satan hindered him

                b. There are several hindrances to ministry:

                                a1. Sin and self-will (Samson, Peter, Ahab…)

                                a2. Not seeking leading of Spirit (Romans 8:4)

                                a3. Interference of the world (1 John 2:15-16)

                                a4. Interference by our own flesh (Matthew 26:41)

                                a5. Opposition by satanic forces (Ephesians 6:11-12)

                c. Paul does not tell us how Satan interfered with him

                d. At times it is hard to discern why we face obstacles and struggles

                                a1. Sometimes, opposition is merely the normal trials of life (Matthew 5:45; I Corinthians 10:13)

                                a2. Sometimes, we resist the will of God or allow distractions to derail us (Luke 10:41)

                                a3. There are times we are opposed by demons and forces of darkness

                e. Paul was sure that Satan was hindering him

                                a1. Satan has been given certain powers and dominion (1 Peter 5:8)

                                a2. Jude 9 Even the Archangel Michael relied upon the Lord to rebuke Satan

                                a3. Luke 4 Satan directly opposed Jesus

                f. James 1:12-25 – not every temptation or opposition is from Satan, we sin most effectively on our own

                                a1. Genesis 3 we cannot blame Satan for our sin

                                a2. A spiritual person knows when Satan is blocking them and oppressing them

                g. God allows spiritual warfare to strengthen our faith (Job 1, Daniel 10, Ephesians 6, 1 Kings 19)

3. Light at the end of a dark tunnel

                a. Paul states that the battle is worth it

                                a1. Thessalonian believers are Paul’s joy and crown

                                a2. Christ’s coming motivates us to endure

                b. Philippians 4:4 Paul refused to be discouraged, for the glory, joy, and hope of God’s mercy, calling, and reward swallows up the trials and struggles of life

                c. Our hope in the returning Christ encourages us

                d. Paul did not focus on satanic opposition, but his calling and the return of Christ

Key verse: James 1:12-25

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. 19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.