Tuesday, August 11, 2015

1 Thessalonians 2 - Verse by Verse Bible Study

1 Thessalonians 2 - Verse by Verse Bible Study
July 15, 2015

1 Thessalonians 2, the Bible reads in verse number 1, "For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain, but even after that, we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention." Now in this verse number 2, we see right away one of the great themes of the Book of 1 and 2 Thessalonians that comes up over and over again. That is the affliction, the tribulation, the persecutions that God's people endure. This is one of the things that comes up over and over again in these books. In verse 2, there, it says, "Even after that, we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated," it says, "As ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention." Three times in this verse he's emphasizing the opposition, the fighting, the battles, the fact that people are attacking them and entreating them shamefully and so forth. This is something that comes up over and over again in these books.

Like I said, when we were going over chapter 1, these books, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, have a lot to do with the End Times, Bible prophecy. In fact, every single chapter brings up the Second Coming of Christ in some way. Just look at 1:10. It says, "And await for His Son from Heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." It talks about waiting for Jesus to come from Heaven. Look at the last 2 verses of chapter 2. "For what is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming for you're our glory and joy." Look at the last verse of chapter 3, "To the end, He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." Last verse chapter 1, last verses of chapter 2, last verse of chapter 3, then, of course, we know there's a huge section in chapter 4, a huge section in chapter 5, that have all to do with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians is the same way, so these books are very heavy on Bible prophecy.

Isn't it interesting that the books that have a lot to do with Bible prophecy also have a lot of admonitions about the suffering we're going to go through, about the affliction we're going to go through, about the tribulations that we're going to endure as believers. This is not a coincidence because the Bible clearly teaches that before Jesus Christ comes in the clouds, we're going to go through tribulation. We're going to go through affliction. We're going to be persecuted unlike any other generation of believers. That's why, in this book, we have these admonitions about the fact that there are going be enemies, there's going to be opposition. Watch what he gives them as advice here. He says in verse 1, "For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you that it was not in vain, but even after that we'd suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi. We were bold." What is He saying there? He's saying the fact that they were persecuted did not cause them to back down and water down the message and say, "Hey, wait a minute. We better be careful. We're being persecuted. We're going to prison here. We need to water down the message a little bit because people just can't handle it."

No, it says even after they'd suffered, even after they'd been shamefully entreated, they were still bold. Where does the boldness come from? It says, "We were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention." All the contention and fighting did not stop them from preaching the gospel. Now when it says here, "Bold in our God," this makes me think of Acts 4:31, when it talks about the disciples being filled with the Holy Ghost. It says, "When they had prayed, the place where they had assembled together was shaken." It says, "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spake the word of God with boldness." According to the Bible, the evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost is the speaking the word of God with boldness and here we see them bold in their God. The fullness of the Holy Spirit gave them the boldness to keep preaching even when it wasn't popular, even when they're being attacked and persecuted.

Look at verse number 3. It says, "For our exhortation," talking about their preaching, "For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile, but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts." Now he's saying God has trusted us with the gospel. In 2 Corinthians 5, it says that, "Unto us was committed the ministry of reconciliation." God has given us a great responsibility, a great task to perform. He's committed unto us the oracles of God. In the Old Testament, He committed unto Israel the oracles of God, Romans 3. In the New Testament, this ministry of reconciliation, God's word, the gospel, has been committed unto us as believers, it's been committed unto us as Gentiles, that we're going to preach the gospel of God. We don't want to betray God's trust here. He's trusting us. Imagine trusting someone, say, "I'm trusting you to get this job done," and then they just don't show up. Think about that. If you're not preaching the gospel, if you're not a soul-winner, if you're not getting out there and talking to the lost and preaching God's word to every creature, then God has trusted you and you're letting Him down.

If you're saved, you have the gospel. You've been trusted to carry out the mission. He said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick and to give it light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before man that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in Heaven." The Bible says, "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, whom the God of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel should shine in." Don't let God down. He's trusting you. He's entrusted us with the gospel. Now He's trusted us, of course, to preach the gospel, but not only that, He's trusting us to preach it right. The temptation is there to water down the message or to give a sugar-coated version. Paul's addressing that here. He's saying all this affliction came upon us, we suffered, we were shamefully entreated, but we did not change the message.

It says in verse number 5, "For neither at any time used we flattering words." What are flattering words? Telling people what they want to hear. You can see how this is a great End Times book because here we are in the End Times and the Bible said the time will come when they will turn away their ears from the truth. They won't endure sound doctrine. They'll turn away their ears from the truth and be turned unto fables. We see that happening, so he says we're trying to please God, not man. God is the one who's entrusted us the gospel. We're trying to please God, not man. He says, "We didn't use flattering words at any time." At any time, never. He's saying we never just told people what they wanted to hear, just preached a positive sermon because we knew that it would be popular and that it would fly well. He says, "Neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness. God is witness." You'll notice that the preachers who preach the most flattering words are the ones with that cloak of covetousness also.

See, God talks about putting on the cloak of zeal in the Old Testament. We're talking about the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6. There's an Old Testament passage in Isaiah about the whole armor of God and he talks about putting on zeal like a cloak. What we ought to be cloaked with is zeal, where we're excited and we're passionate about preaching the gospel, getting people saved, doing something great for God, but there are those who put on a cloak of covetousness. They'll say the flattering words, they'll preach what people want to hear, why? For filthy lucre's sake. The Bible says, "Preaching things which they ought not," why? For filthy lucre's sake. There's big money in preaching what people want. Just ask Joel Osteen. I don't think he's having financial problems right now. He's doing great financially. Why? Because he's constantly using flattering words and he puts on covetousness like a cloak. We can go through all these TV preachers and the preachers that the world will lift up, just like the world will always lift up false prophets. True prophets of God are always hated of this world.

He says, in verse number 6, "Nor of men sought we glory." We weren't trying to get money by preaching want people want to hear, flattering them because of our covetousness. We're not seeking glory of men. We don't want to be lifted up and praised by politicians or on television or just loved of the city council members and governor and the congressmen. He said, "No, we do not seek glory of men, nor of men sought we glory. Neither of you, nor yet of others when we might have been burdensome as the apostles of Christ, but we were gentle among you even as a nurse cherisheth her children." He's saying we might have been burdensome as the apostles of Christ. He's saying being an apostle of Christ is a pretty big position, that's a pretty high status. We could've thrown our weight around, as it were, and been burdensome, but he said, "We never did that." Why? Because we're not looking for the glory that comes from man. We're looking for the glory that comes from God. Says, "We were gentle among you even as a nurse cherisheth her children," so being affectionately desirous of you.

"We were willing to have imparted unto you not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls because you were dear unto us," saying we actually cared about people enough to preach the truth to them, not just tell them what they want to hear for our own popularity and self-aggrandizement. He said, "For you remember, brethren, our labor and travail, for laboring night and day because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God." The words labor and travail are words that are in the Bible often associated with childbirth, a woman being in travail. Today, we use the term a woman being in labor all the time. Why? Because obviously, giving birth to a child's hard work. It's painful, so he's using this strong language about how hard they worked. He's saying we worked night and day, laboring, travailing. We preached unto you the gospel of God. Why? Because preaching the gospel is really hard work.

I remember one time, we had a young guy who came and visit our church. He had never really done a lot of soul winning, but he'd grown up on a farm, so he was no stranger to hard work. He did bunch of days of soul winning with us. He got up and said, "Look, I grew up on a farm and I know what hard work is," but he said, "Soul winning is strenuous, hard work." It doesn't seem like it would be, just walking up and down the street, walking up the stairs, talking to people, opening your Bible, showing them how to be saved, preaching the gospel to the lost door to door. It doesn't seem like it would be hard work, but it really is hard work because it's a strain mentally, spiritually. It's like where Jesus felt that virtue had gone out of Him. That's how you feel after you go soul winning. You feel drained.

Paul says, "We labored, we travailed night and day preaching unto you the gospel of God." He says, "Ye are witnesses and God also how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe as ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you as a father doth his children that you would walk worthy of God who hath called you unto His Kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing because when ye receive the word of God which He heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." That's a key point that he makes here when he says, "When you receive the word of God, which you heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

You see, God's word, the Bible, is what we're talking about. The word of God here in my hand, this book, it's not man's word. It's the word of God. A lot of people will try to say, "Oh, the Bible's written by men." Who wrote the ... I was just talking to somebody a few days ago that was a Hindu. It's like, "Well who wrote the Bible?" God wrote the Bible. What in the world? God wrote the Bible? God did write the Bible. You say, "Well, you know, who physically wrote it?" That's not relevant. Whenever people ask who physically wrote it out, I always say, "Well, this one was printed by a machine, you know, nobody has handwriting like that." That's not really the issue is it? What machine did this come off of or whose pen was used? No. The real issue is who the author is and the author is God, regardless of who wrote it down.

It's like with the book of Romans. We would all consider the book of Romans to be written by Paul humanly speaking. It's called the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, but when you get in chapter 16, it says, "I, Tertius, who wrote this Epistle, salutes you in the Lord." Now wait a minute. Tertius wrote? We need to change it, right, the Epistle of Tertius to the Romans. No, because the fact that Tertius was physically holding the pen and marking it down really isn't relevant is it? Because it was Paul who was speaking the words to his secretary, to his scribe, Tertius, who wrote down the words. Even more than that, it was God who gave the words to Paul, so it went from God to Paul to Tertius to you, then it was translated into English. You say, "Well, you know, it's a copy of a copy." No, no, no. It's God's word. This is what God said.

Now you say, "Well, it's in another language." Here's the thing about God's word. Here's what separates the Bible from all the other so-called holy books in the world. The Bible is amazing and powerful in every language. Doesn't matter whether the Bible's in English, Spanish, German, Chinese, whatever. It is powerful in all languages. God's word has the same power. When you read the Bible in English, when you're reading a King James Bible, you don't think to yourself, oh, this is obviously just a translation from some other language. It reads like it was written originally in English. Why? Because it's so powerful. It loses nothing. It's the same thing if you're reading in Spanish, if you're reading German. See, this is what separates the Bible from the other false scriptures of this world because when you look at the Koran, can it be translated into all languages and have power? No, because even the most devout Muslim will tell you, "Hey, it's only good in Arabic." When you try to talk to them about the English, you know what the Muslims will say? "Oh, well, you know, you can't read it in English. You lose it in English."

Then the same thing you talk to the Hindus. You want to talk about their Hindu scriptures of the Rigveda, the Upanishads. It's like, "No, no. It's got to be in the original Sanskrit, you know, to have its real effect." Then you talk to people about other religions and they pull that out of, "Well, it's only good in the original language." You know what? That's what's unique about the Bible because the Bible is God's word and God is not limited to one language. God's word loses nothing when you preach it in Spanish or if you preach it in Chinese or German. It doesn't lose the power. The power is still there, if it's translated properly, which, in our English Bible, it is translated right, thank God.

God's word is what the Bible ... It's not man's word, it's not written by man. It's not of any ... The Bible says no Scripture, no prophecy of the Scriptures in any private interpretation, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. It's not even really accurate to say, "Well, who wrote the Bible?" It's who spoke the word of God. The answer is that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Where's the proof that it's really God's word? You know where the proof is? In the pudding. Read the Bible and every page is filled with power. Read the book of Proverbs and tell me that that is not the greatest wisdom that is on this planet. Every verse of the Bible is powerful, every chapter, every page of the Bible is just amazing, so no other book is like it. To even compare these other so-called scriptures, whether it's the Koran, the Book of Mormon, none of it can even hold a candle to the Bible. There's no comparison.

We need to understand that when we're hearing God's word in the form of the Bible, we shouldn't receive it as the word of men where we're taking it with a grain of salt. We need to receive it as it is in truth the word of God, which effectually worketh in us that believe. That's the proof of God's word, the effectual working of God's word, the power of God's word, the effect of God's word, that's how we know that the Bible's true, not because of some history book or some fossil record or some scientific argument. No, I know the Bible's true because of the power of God's word. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The Bible says in verse 14, and this is the evidence, because he says, "For ye, brethren," and for there means because. He's saying the word of God effectually worketh in you that believe and here's how it works in you that believe because you, brethren, "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God, which in Judea are in Christ Jesus, for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews."

He's saying here that the Thessalonians are following the example of some churches that had been around a little bit longer. They're looking to the churches of Judea that are in Christ Jesus as a pattern and an example since these churches in Thessalonica are a little newer, they're followers of the churches that are in Judea in Christ Jesus. They have something in common because the Thessalonians had suffered similar things of their own countrymen as the churches in Judea had suffered from the Jews. The Jews were persecuting the Christians in Judea. The Thessalonians were persecuting Christians in Thessalonica. It says, "For ye, brethren," verse 14, "Became followers of the churches of God, which in Judea are in Christ Jesus for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus." Who killed the Lord Jesus?

Congregation: The Jews.

Pastor Anderson: The Jews. He's saying they suffered of the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets and have persecuted us and they please not God and are contrary to all men. Not only do the Jews not please God, the Bible says the Jews are also contrary to all men. Now let me ask you this. Does this ring true when we look at the world that we live in, the history of the Jews from this time that the book of 1 Thessalonians was written until now? Is it true that the Jews have been contrary to all men in the sense that they have really had a beef with many nations under Heaven? If you look at the historical record, for example, there was a book that had a list of all of the places that the Jews had been just exiled from, thrown out of, where there was a legal decree that said we are throwing out all Jews from around 1000 AD until the 20th century. It was 47 times an official pronouncement had come from a government that said we are kicking out all Jews. Now that's pretty amazing, isn't it, to stop and think about that. We're not just talking about just one place, hey, it was just Germany or something. No, it was England, it was Spain, Italy, France, all over the place, all different places that they'd been where they'd been exiled and thrown out.

You have to ask yourself why are they? The Bible says here that they're contrary to all men. Then it makes sense that you see them in a variety of places all over the world being thrown out. Now why are they being thrown out? You don't throw out people you like, you throw out people that you don't like, okay, so somebody didn't like the Jews for whatever reason. I think anybody would have to agree with that. Even the most pro-Israel, pro-Jewish, foaming-at-the-mouth Zionist would have to admit that the Jews have been persecuted and hated in just about every country that they've lived in throughout history. The question is why, if they're such wonderful people? Now, of course, what they're going to tell you is, "Oh, we're God's chosen people. That's why we're suffering. That's why everybody's against us." Now Jesus Christ said, "You shall be hated of all men." He said, "You shall be hated of all nations," and then oh, that's the Jews. He says, "For my namesake." You know what name that is? Jesus, so when Jesus said, "You'll be hated of all nations. You'll be hated of all men," there's one little part that we need to remember. "For my namesake." Is that talking about the Jews? No way because the Jews are not hated for His name because they don't claim the name of Jesus. They reject the name of Jesus.

What makes more sense is to look at this passage, which says that the Jews killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets and have persecuted us and they please not God and are contrary to all men. That makes more sense. That's what the Bible teaches. Now you don't hear this verse preached a lot. In fact, you hear very little preaching out of the book of 1 Thessalonians anyway, unless it's just the famous Rapture passage, but there's all this other teaching that needs to be taken into account. You can't just isolate one Scripture and just preach on that all the time. We need to go through every verse of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. We're finding all this other information that helps reveal truths about the End Times that we're living in. The Bible says here that they please not God and are contrary to all men. Then it says, "Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved." This casts a little bit of light on part of the reason why they're contrary to all men.

Now there are various reasons why. You say, "Oh, you're an antisemitic preacher." "You're a racist." They'll try to play that antisemitism card, which is to accuse you of being racial, which this has nothing to do with race. You see, over the last 2000 years, everyone has been so mixed and mingled. We knew the Jews left Palestine brown and they came back white, so there must've been some serious mixing going on while they were in Europe for a couple thousand years, the Ashkenazis. Basically, during that time, a lot of the people who were of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob converted to Christianity. Over the course of 2000 years, when they're living in all these countries, they heard the gospel. They heard the gospel over and over again in different generations and many of them, over the years, converted to Christianity. Then guess what? They stopped being Jews because being Jewish is not an ethnicity, a race. No, it's an ideology, it's a religion. That's why in Esther 8:9, it talks about how many of the people became Jews for the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. If being Jewish was just an ethnicity, just a race, then how could you become a Jew? You can't really change your ethnicity, can you?

When we talk about the Jews today, what we're looking at is people who have chosen a false religion, chosen a wicked antichrist religion because the Bible says, "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He's antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son." They've chosen that, so all throughout history, many of the Jews ended up getting saved, converting to Christianity, and then they just assimilated with the local population because they stopped caring about their genealogy because they got a New Testament that said avoid genealogies and they assimilated in. What do we have left today that's a person who's still a Jewish person? Basically, somebody who's just been hanging on to their rejection of Jesus Christ for just generations and centuries. People who have just embraced an ideology that is built around the love of money, okay. You say, "Well, why are the Jews contrary to all men?" Because we know that throughout history, they've been known for banking. They've been known for charging interest and usury and doing predatory lending. That's one of the reasons why they've been contrary to all men.

Then the other reason is that they've been hateful toward Christianity, which is right here in this passage, where it says that they persecuted the prophets, they persecuted us, meaning Christians. They killed Jesus and then it also that they're forbidding us as Christians to speak to the Gentiles, verse 16, "That they might be saved to fill up their sins alway for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." If you go to your typical prophecy conference today, you go to your typical church where they're preaching on End Times prophecy, you know what they're going to tell you? Oh, the Jews are under God's blessing. Look how God's blessing them over there in Israel. God brought them back to the land and God's got a special blessing on them. When they go to battle against their enemies, God's right there fighting with them and protecting them. Is that what the Bible teaches about people who reject Jesus and persecute the prophets? Is that what it says, that they are under God's blessing? No, it says the opposite. It says the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

Now this shouldn't surprise us at all because the Bible says, "He that believeth on the Son," they believe God the Father. No, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." See, anyone who doesn't believe on Jesus Christ has God's wrath abiding on them, but not everybody has God's wrath abiding upon them to the uttermost. This is a more extreme wrath of God, right? This isn't just your typical wrath of God because you're not saved. Oh, no. The Bible says the wrath of God is come upon them to the uttermost. Now there's a passage that's really similar to this over in Matthew 23. Flip over to Matthew 23. Matthew 23, the thing that right away stands out in 1 Thessalonians 2 is where it says to fill up their sins alway.

That reminds you of something that you may have read over in Matthew 23 that's worded in a very similar way and it's talking to the same group of people, the Pharisees. You see, today's Judaism, today's rabbinic Judaism is the religion of the Pharisees. They will even tell you that. If you talk to those who practice Judaism today, they will tell you that they are practicing the religion of the Pharisees. In fact, there's a famous Pharisee in the Bible named Gamaliel. He was the one who taught the Apostle Paul back before Paul got saved back when his name was Saul of Tarsus. He was taught at the feet of Gamaliel. Gamaliel is one of the authors of the Talmud. He is considered one of their great prophets of, or not prophets, but their great thinkers of Judaism, who laid out a lot of what's in the Talmud. He's a Pharisee. They'll flat out tell you that rabbinic Judaism is the religion of the Pharisees.

What did Jesus say about the Pharisees? He preached pretty hard against the Pharisees. He called them a lot of names and so forth. Look what the Bible says in Matthew 23:13. It says, "But woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men, for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." Suffer there means allow. He saying you don't go in yourself and you don't allow other people to go in. Now isn't that exactly what it said over in 1 Thessalonians 2 when it said that they're forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway, for the wrath has come upon them to the uttermost? What are they doing here? Neither are they themselves entering into Heaven, but he says they're also shutting up the Kingdom of Heaven against man and not allowing other people, trying to hinder other people from being saved. Now that sounds pretty satanic to me. It's one thing not to get saved, but then it's another thing to actively try to stop people from getting saved, to actively fight against the gospel of Jesus Christ and try to hinder it. That's a pretty scary thing. That's why he says, "Woe unto you," meaning God's going to deal with you harshly.

Now I don't have time to go through all the different woe unto yous in Matthew 23 because he just rips and rips and rips throughout this whole passage. Let's just jump forward to verse number 29, where it says, "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you build the tombs of the prophets and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous and say if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witness unto yourselves that you're the children of them which killed the prophets." Now look at the next phrase. "Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers." Isn't that similar to what he said over in 1 Thessalonians 2, that they are filling up their sins alway, for the wrath of God has come upon them to the uttermost? Here he says, "Fill up then the measure of your fathers, you serpents, you generation of vipers. How can ye escape the damnation of Hell? Wherefore, behold thy sin unto you prophets and wise men and scribes and some of them ye shall kill and crucify and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city."

Now if somebody preached like this today, they'd be accused of being an antisemite, wouldn't they? "You're antisemitic." Now look. This has nothing to do with race. When Jesus says, "You're the children of those who killed the prophets," you know what He's saying? You're the same kind of people. You're following in their footsteps spiritually. It's not about race. It's not written in their DNA to just have this instinct. "I just want to go kill me some prophets because it's in my blood." That's not what Jesus is teaching here. He's saying you are the children of those who killed the prophets. You're following their footsteps. That's why when they claimed Abraham's our father, He said if Abraham were your father, you would do the works of Abraham. See, they're not of Abraham. They might physically be of Abraham, emphasis on the word might, but He says here, "You're the children of those who killed the prophets."

It's not about ... Wait, you know what? I'll prove it to you that this isn't about race. This whole race card, like, "Oh, you're against Obama? You must hate black people," even though Obama is white, but they'll say, "Hey, you know, you must hate black people." It's just a decoy to get you off the real issue, which is the predatory money lending or to get you off the real issue, which is the blasphemy and hatred of Jesus. They want to get you off the religion and just get you on race to try to just cloud the issue and shut up any opposition because nobody wants to be known as a racist, so then everybody just keeps quiet about preaching against this awful religion of Judaism. People have no problem preaching against Islam. They should preach against Islam. Preach against Catholicism, preach against Hinduism, preach against Buddhism, but we also need to preach against Judaism. Today, we've been Judaized. Most of our churches today call themselves Judeo-Christian and they start talking about Yeshua and Yahweh and hock phlegm and Shalom and Shabbat and all this stuff. They go through all this Hebrew and Jewish ritual even to the point where they'll even call their leaders, sometimes, rabbis, even though they claim to be following Christ.

Look at the Bible. You're in chapter 23. Look at verse 8. "But be not ye called rabbi, for one is your master, even Christ and all your brethren." Here Jesus specifically says don't be called rabbi, so when somebody is so Judaized to the point where they're calling people rabbi, they're not even following Jesus anymore. Now they're just following Judaism. Listen, there are people who are actually Jews who pretend to be Christians. They're actually Jews and they're not really Christians. It's real. It's true. You think John Hagee is really a believer in Jesus Christ?

Congregation: No.

Pastor Anderson: No. That's why he sits there and says, "Hey, the Jews don't need Jesus." He says the Jews are going to Heaven without Jesus. See, he's following the false religion of Judaism. He's a crypto Jew that basically hides what he really believes and hides what he really is. Don't try to make this about some ethnicity. There's no ethnic difference between the Jews and everybody else in this world. You look at these blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jews, there's nothing ethnically different from them and anybody else from Poland or anybody else from Sweden, for crying out loud. We're all of one blood anyway according to the Bible. The Bible says God's made all nations of one blood.

Just to prove to you that it has nothing to do with ethnicity, look down at your Bible. Look at the next verse. After he says, in verse 32, "Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers, you serpents, you generation of vipers. How can you escape the damnation of Hell," watch this, "Wherefore behold thy sin unto you prophets and wise men and scribes and some of them ye shall kill and crucify and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city." Watch this verse 35, "That upon you may come all the righteous bloodshed upon the earth. From the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you all these things shall come upon this generation." Now you say, "Well, Pastor Anderson, you're being a little hard on Judaism, coming down a little hard on the rabbis. You're preaching pretty hard against the Jews tonight, Pastor Anderson. What's your problem?"

Look, I could never preach as hard as Jesus did. Look, you don't hear me trying to blame the death of Abel on the Jews. That's what Jesus said. Jesus preached so hard against the Jews. He said, "Hey, you're responsible for the death of Abel." You say, "Well, how is that possible?" That's what He said. Look at it. Is everybody see this? "That upon you may come all the righteous bloodshed upon the earth." He's blaming them for all of it. "From the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar." Now let me ask you something. Was Cain Jewish? No because there was no such thing as being Jewish. The word Jew is never even used until 2 Kings 16. This is something a lot of people fail to grasp, that the word Jew is never used until 2 Kings 16. The reason it's used so late is because it's used after the split between the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, so it's the Southern Kingdom of Judah, where the people became known as Jews. Not the tribe of Judah, but the Southern Kingdom of Judah, which included a few different tribes.

The Northern Kingdom of Israel, they were not known as Jews. In fact, if you look up the first time the word Jew is ever mentioned, Israel is fighting against the Jews, so they're obviously not the same there because the Northern Kingdom was called Israel and the Southern Kingdom was called Judah. It talks about Israel and Syria teamed up fighting the Jews. Look it up, 2 Kings 16. That's what it's about. Obviously, we know that Cain was not Jewish. Cain was not a Hebrew. Hebrews are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is way before that. You say, "well, then how in the world could Jesus blame the death of Abel on the Jews? It doesn't make any sense." Here's why. It's the same reason why He's saying your the children of the ones who killed the prophets and you're not the children of Abraham because this has nothing to do with an ethnicity. That's what I'm trying to get across to you tonight. It's not about ethnicity. You know what it's about? It's about who their spiritual father is and their spiritual father is Cain. He said, "Think not to say within yourselves we have Abraham to our father. For I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

God doesn't care what nationality you are. Red, yellow, black, white, it's not important to Him. What matters is who are you a spiritual descendant of because the Bible says they which are of faith, they are the children of Abraham. See, if you have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you're a child of Abraham tonight. Don't let these people get you thinking that going to some wall somewhere and going like this, that makes you a child of Abraham. Abraham never did this in his whole life. Never. He never did that once. Say, "How do you know?" I just know. There's no way he did that. [inaudible 00:39:00] because that isn't normal, that's why. That's not taught in the Bible. This whole funny hat and everything that they do, that's not what makes them a child of Abraham. Yet Christians all over America, Baptists all over America are saying, "Hey, the Jews are God's chosen people." Hey, no, the elect are those who believe on Jesus Christ. Read the New Testament. "Oh, but let me show you in the Old Testament." Get in the New Testament. The Old Testament has been replaced with the New Testament.

The problem is that people today are so hung up on ethnicity. Then it's ridiculous. Then when you show people the New Testament teaching hey, the Jews are not really God's chosen people, it's us as believers, then they'll come up with some stupid theory about how white people are the real Jews. Have you heard this theory? Oh, the real Jews went to England. The Anglo Saxons, so white people. Then they just instead of being a Jew supremacist, then they become a white supremacist. Then another group will say, "No, no, no, no. The real Jews went down to Africa and it's those that are black." This is where you have the black Hebrew Israelites. "We're the chosen people and you white people are Edomites or Kenites," or whatever they try to call you. You got white people saying, "We're the chosen race." You got black people saying, "We're the chosen race." You got the Jews saying, "We're the chosen people." No, it's people who believe in Christ and ethnicity means nothing. We're all of one blood.

People are so brainwashed they can't get past that. They can't get through that. They see this where Jesus is blaming the Jews. He's blaming the death of Abel on the Jews. They're just looking at it like this doesn't make any sense. You know what? It makes perfect sense when you got off race and get off ethnicity and just realize that we're talking about a spiritual lineage here, a false, wicked religion. Cain was of a wicked religion because if you think about it, Cain brought an offering unto the Lord other than that which God asked for. He was supposed to bring of the lamb, of the blood of the lamb, the fat of the flock, but instead, what did he bring? Fruits and vegetables, so he brought of his own works, his own produce. He brought something that he had fashioned from his own understanding instead of what God had told him to do. They that worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth. In fact, all false prophets, in 2 Peter 2, when we are warned of false prophets, it says, "Woe unto them for they've gone in the way of Cain." Cain is the poster child for bad prophets.

Then it says that they ran greedily after the air of Balaam for reward and are perished in the gainsaying of Korah. God says here's the spiritual lineage, Cain, Balaam, Korah, and then the false prophets of today. When Jesus looked at the Pharisees, the Jews, the rabbinic Jews, He said to them, "You are filling up the measure of your fathers. You are true unto your fathers," by basically, killing Jesus Himself. He said, "Your fathers killed the prophets. Your spiritual father, Cain, all the way back to the very beginning of the Bible, killed Abel." He says, "All the bloodshed," let's read it one more time, "That upon you," verse 35, "May come all the righteous bloodshed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar." I like that because not only does it go chronologically from Abel to Zacharias, it's like from A to Z. You killed all the prophets from Abel to Zacharias, if you were to put them in alphabetical order. I thought that was funny. It says that it would all come upon you whom ye slew. You say, "Well, we didn't do it." Yeah, but you're the same type of people who did it. You're the spiritual sons and daughters of those who did it. In a few days here you're going to be screaming, "Crucify Him," and killing the Son of God Himself.

He says, "Verily I say unto you all these things shall come upon this generation," verse 37. "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem. Thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings and ye would not." You didn't want to, he says. "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate, for I say unto you you shall not see Me henceforth 'til you say, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.'" Let's go back to 1 Thessalonians 2, 1 Thessalonians 2. We saw a great parallel there between 1 Thessalonians 2 and Matthew 23. Some of the same language was used about filling up their sins alway, the wrath of God coming upon them to the uttermost. You can see the wrath of Jesus in Matthew 23. You can tell He's mad. He's calling them serpents, vipers, woe unto you, you're hypocrites. I'm going to blame you for the bloodshed upon the earth all the way from Abel to Zacharias. You can see the wrath in Jesus.

We see the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 2. The reason that this is so important to Bible prophecy is that when you try to look at the Book of Revelation, people try to tell you, "Oh, the Tribulation, that's all about the Jews," because they still think the Jews, the so-called physical Jews, are God's chosen people. Then you try and show them Matthew 24 and say, "Look, Matthew 24 is teaching us about End Times prophecy." Oh, no, no, no. That's talking to the Jews. No, Matthew 23, He's talking to the Jews. Matthew 24, He's talking to believers in Christ. Because people get this issue wrong about the Jews, they get all of Bible prophecy wrong. This is the number one mistake people make when studying Bible prophecy. This is why people believe in the preacher of Rapture. It's the only reason because they take the clear verse that says that the Rapture is after the Tribulation, Matthew 24, and just say, "Ah, it's to the Jews. Ah, the elect? That's the Jews." No, the elect are not the Jews because they're not chosen. They're under God's wrath. They're going to be destroyed.

The Bible said ... You say, "Well, you hate Jews." No, I don't. I don't hate Jews because you know what? Jews are unsaved people just like anybody else and I love them and want to see them saved. You know how you're going to get them saved? By telling them the truth, not lying to them and saying, "You are the chosen people. You are going to Heaven no matter what. You don't have to believe in Jesus to be saved." The one who really hates Jews is John Hagee because every Jew he comes into contact with, he gives them a false assurance of oh, you're already saved. You don't even need Jesus, the devil that he is. Now listen. I don't hate any Jew who just unknowingly is just following this religion and is deceived by it. Now you can see the hatred that Jesus had toward the ringleaders of it, the Pharisees, where He's telling them look, you've blasphemed the Holy Ghost. You have no salvation in this world, neither in the world to come. You have no forgiveness in this world, neither in the world to come, where He's telling them, look they could not believe because God blinded their eyes. He tells them, "You're done."

Okay. Here's the thing. I've run into a lot of Jewish people who were actually receptive to the gospel. Now 99% of them are not receptive to the gospel, but sometimes, you'll run into one that is receptive and you know what? I wanted that person to get saved just as much as I want anybody else to get saved. We love the lost and want to get them saved. Many people are in the category of Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. See, truth is hate to those who hate the truth. When you start preaching hard truth like Jesus preached some hard truths in Matthew 23, if anybody preached like Jesus today, they'd call him a hate preacher and they'd call him a racist, even though what he said had nothing to do with race. Okay. That's just what people say.

Look down at your Bible there in 1 Thessalonians 2. It says, "But we brethren," verse 17, "But we brethren be taken from you for a short time, in presence not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would've come unto you, even I, Paul, once and again, but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ that is coming? For ye are our glory and joy." Now I love these verses. These are some of my favorite verses because Paul here is talking about how even though he was separated from the Thessalonians physically, he's saying his heart was still with them. He'd been really trying to get there to see them, but Satan had hindered him. I love what he says when he says, "For what is our joy or hope or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ that is coming?"

What is our joy in the presence of Jesus Christ that's coming? What are we going to be joyful about when we're in the presence of Jesus Christ? What's our hope? What's our joy? Listen to this, what is our crown of rejoicing? We often talk about the rewards that believers will earn on this earth by serving the Lord because Jesus said, "Behold, I come quickly and My reward is with Me to give every man according as his work shall be." We think of the crowns, we think of the rewards, and we think about the 24 elders up in Heaven in Revelation who cast their crowns at the feet of Jesus and say, "Thou art worthy, oh Lord," and they throw down their crowns before Him. Crowns are associated with rewards. The Bible talks about how the faithful pastors in 1 Peter 5 would receive a crown for their service. Paul says, "What is our hope?" What are we hoping for? What is our joy? What's going to give us joy at the Second Coming of Christ? What is our crown of rejoicing? He says, "It's you."

Now why does he say that, "It's you are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ that's coming. For ye are our glory and joy." Why is he saying to the church of Thessalonica, why is he saying to the church of Thessalonica, "You are our glory and joy," because of the fact that these are people that he had won to Christ. These are people that he and Silvanus and Timotheus had labored among them. Remember earlier, he said, "We preached unto you the gospel of God. We labored. Even after we suffer we kept preaching. The word of God came unto you with great power." He says, "You are our glory and joy. You're our crown of rejoicing." Why? Because when we get to Heaven, when we see the Lord Jesus Christ one day, there's going to be great rejoicing with the people that God used us to reach with the gospel. Think about that. That's an important thought. Imagine getting to Heaven and being in the presence of Jesus Christ and then being surrounded by people who would say, "You know what? I'm here because you preached the gospel. Thank you."

Obviously, Jesus gets all the praise and all the glory, but you know what? It's going to be great to rejoice with the people who got us saved, right, and the people that we got saved. It's rejoicing. Then the Bible also talks about in John 4, the fact that one person, obviously, sows and another person waters. God gives the increase. That's dealt with in other Scriptures, but in John 4, he says, "Other men have labored." Other people have gone and planted seeds. You've entered into their labors and the Bible teaches that one day, he that sowed the seed and he that watered the seed are going to rejoice together. One day, when we get to Heaven, there are going to be people that we gave the gospel to that didn't get saved, but we planted that seed. That seed germinated within them and then later, somebody else came and watered that seed and then that person got saved, eventually. Obviously, God gave the increase, but let's say, for example, I give somebody the gospel and then later, Brother Dominique went by and gave that same person the gospel. We're going to get to Heaven and be like, "Bam, we did it," because it was a team effort. We both accomplished something as a team.

Then think about how exciting it's going to be just to see the people in Heaven that were won to Christ through our efforts. That's going to be great. That's going to be huge. You know what? There's going to be some people that get there and it's like because they did no soul winning. Okay. Did I say there was going to be some people like that? Okay. The vast majority of Christians could not say what Paul is saying right here. The vast majority of Christians have never won anybody to Christ, so they're not even planting the seed, they're not even watering the seed, so they would get there and miss out on that great joy, miss out on that crown of rejoicing, miss out on that great reunion where you get together with all your co-laborers in the gospel, all the people that you worked with in soul winning and see the successes because it's sad when you give the gospel to somebody and they don't get saved. It's sad, right? It's going to be great to get to Heaven and find out that some of those people got saved later. People that you thought didn't get saved and then it turns out that later, they did get saved and you're like, "Yes, thank you Lord." It's going to be so exciting for those who are part of the team.

That should encourage you and admonish you to be a part of the team. You say, "What's the team?" The team is called the local church. The local church is the team and the game is soul winning. God's keeping the score. If we go out and work hard and the Bible says, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." That's what it's going to be one day in Heaven, bring in the sheaves with us, rejoicing in the souls that have been saved. Now a lot of people, they'll get real uncomfortable when you preach like this and say, "How dare you talk about people that you got saved. You prideful, arrogant ..." Here's the thing. They're not part of the team, so that's why they feel left out, so they're jealous. Then they start talking smack about those who are on the team, who are getting something done, who are making something happen because they're this guy, Zero the Hero.

Because they're not doing the works for God, oh, how dare you talk about, how dare Paul say, "I've become all things to all men that I might by all means save some." How dare Paul say, in Romans 11:14, "If by any means I might provoke to emulation them that are of my flesh and might save some of them." How dare Jude say, "Of some have compassion, making a difference in others. Save with fear, pulling them out of the fire." We all know Jesus is the Savior and ultimately, without Him, we can do nothing. It's the word of God that saves. It's the gospel that saves. That's the power of God unto salvation. We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God, not of us, but isn't it great to be a part of the process? You know what? If our gospel be hid, it's hid to them that are lost. You know what? People are going to be thankful that somebody came and gave them the gospel. If you win somebody to Christ, they're going to thank you for it.

I know I'm thankful to those who gave the gospel unto me. I know that you're thankful to those who gave the gospel unto you. It's going to be a rejoicing time, but there are going to be some people who miss out on it because they're the end of their spiritual family line because they got the gospel and they hid it under a bushel for their whole life. They're going to miss out on the rewards, but if you're part of the team, if you're out there in the trenches, if you're on the front lines preaching the gospel, winning the lost, this is something that you have to look forward to. I know I'm looking forward to that day of reunion, of rejoicing. Of course, we want to see Jesus. That's the greatest part about it, but we also want to see our co-laborers and we also want to see our spiritual sons and daughters that have been saved as a result of the word that we preached. It's going to be an exciting time. It's something that man, woman, boy, and girl can participate in. Anybody can open a Bible and show somebody how to be saved.

Let's bow our heads and have word of prayer. Father, we thank You so much for this great chapter, Lord, and for the implications that it has for the End Times, Lord. We are living in the last days and so we need to be hanging on every word about Tribulation, Second Coming, Scriptures about persecution, Lord. These things are upon us. Help us to be strengthened in the inward man and help us to keep the faith, Lord. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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