November 10, 2013
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5
We Christians need to be less gullible. Sometimes we seem to fall for anything and believe any strange or unusual idea. Some unscrupulous people recognize churches are filled with easy pickings. Some so-called financial advisors have ruined the lives of countless people by promising outlandish returns on investments. Others preach health-and-wealth gospels that turn out not to be good news at all.
Given all that, what should we do to demonstrate wisdom in every area of life?
Be Careful of False Rumors
Part of human nature is to listen to—and crave—rumors. In some situations, rumors fuel wild speculations. In times of war, for example, information can be scarce, which leads people to repeat all kinds of things that are not true.
Paul warned the church in Thessalonica it would hear all sorts of things about Christ. He asked the members “not to become easily unsettled or alarmed.” Some people were circulating the rumor that Jesus already had returned and they were left behind. Every generation has its false ideas and speculations. An editor of a Christian newspaper once complained about people who speak and write evangelastically. Truth is not elastic and does not stretch. The editor was commenting on a story circulating in some Christian media about an oil well drilling operation in Russia that went so deep it struck hell! The story claimed the tormented souls could be heard screaming.
The advent of the Internet dramatically has increased the ability to spread rumors. Now we can tell lies at the speed of electrons moving through wire. Paul was right: Be careful of any “prophecy, report or letter” claiming special or secret knowledge. Jesus showed us the gospel is not a secret. It’s an open announcement of the good news of salvation.
Be Careful of Harmful Actions
Paul wrote about “the man of lawlessness.” Biblical scholars differ about the precise meaning of that phrase, but it seems to suggest that it is a representation of everything that is anti-God. As Paul wrote, “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (v. 4).
The church is warned not to get caught up in this sort of evil, harmful action. The old proverb, “Not all that glitters is gold,” is true spiritually. Just because everyone else seems to be rushing to worship something or someone doesn’t mean we should. Be wise and evaluate everyone carefully. Don’t join in anything that will hurt others.
Be Careful to Focus on the Right Message
“Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?” Paul urged the church to remember and focus on what is true and right. Remember what you’ve been taught, He said.
I have to do spiritually what I learned to do physically. I’m learning how to hear again. I had to because for years I slowly have been losing my hearing. As a teenager, I worked in the oil fields and farms of Louisiana. The constant roar of heavy machinery damaged my ears. That damage has been chasing me for years and finally has caught up with me.
I recently got hearing aids and am now rediscovering the world. The day I got them, the technician told me that she set them on a low level and would gradually raise the level and sensitivity, yet even at that low level I began to be aware of things I had lost. Driving home from her office, I asked my wife if my turn signal always made a clicking noise. I’ve had that car three years but never had heard the turn signal. The sharp clacking of my computer keyboard is also new to me, as is the sound of a crunchy potato chip in my ears!
My loss of hearing has been gradual, taking place through the years. While I realized I cannot understand people speaking as clearly as I once did, I was not prepared for the number of things I simply had not noticed any longer. The various daily sounds I take note of now amaze and amuse me—and music—even my guitar sounds better! If I had known hearing aids would have improved my playing, I would have gotten them long ago.
God invites us to open the ears of our spirit to hear Him. Jesus often said things such as, “He who has ears, let him hear” (
Don’t believe everything you hear, but do believe the teaching of God who invites you to live with Him now and for eternity.