I have been slowly making my way through 1 and 2 Thessalonians using the devotions in Ligonier ministries Table Talk magazine. (By the way, Ligonier is a trusted Bible-teaching ministry started by Dr. R. C. Sproul who has now gone to be with the Lord and during this time of trial they have made all their video teaching series free online at https://www.ligonier.org/ If you get bored, check it out. There’s lots of good stuff there.) But making my way through 2 Thessalonians, I came to chapter 2:1-2, which says... 2 Thessalonians 2:1–2 NASB95 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. That’s the New American Standard translation, but the King James and English Standard Version have it as follows... 2 Thessalonians 2:1–2 KJV 1900 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 2 Thessalonians 2:1–2 ESV Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 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. The Lord knows what we need and when we need it. He knew that I needed to hear 2 Thessalonians 2:2 this morning, “…we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed...” The Thessalonians were apparently shaken because someone had (erroneously) taught them that the Day of the Lord had come (i.e., the Day of Judgment). If the Day of Judgment had come, they were concerned about what had happened to those brothers and sisters in Christ who had died. If they had died before the return of Jesus, before He could judge the nations in righteousness, then had those dead saints missed out on Heaven? Paul, the human author of 2 Thessalonians, will go on to teach them the truth but first he says, “(Do not) be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed” or “(Do not) be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed.” Let’s focus on that for a moment. During this time of trial, there are lots of people saying, “This is the end.” There are also lots of people acting like its the end. If you watch the news all day or constantly refresh you Facebook feed, you might be even come to believe that this is the end. But what does the Word of God say? “(Do not) be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed.” Brothers and sisters, even if this were the end, we know Him who is the Beginning and the End! We know Him who rules and reigns through trial and tribulation! We know Him who will cause us to endure to the end, through the end, and into the eternal glory of Heaven! So, let our minds not be quickly shaken! Let us not be quickly alarmed! Let us be informed? Yes! Let us take precautions? Certainly! But let us trust the Lord Jesus most of all! Turn off the news. Go to your Bible. Go to prayer. Go outside. Go to your neighbor. And do not be quickly shaken or alarmed.
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We know the importance of belief when it comes to following Jesus. Jesus said to some unbelieving Pharisees, “…unless you believe that I am (i.e., the Christ) you will perish in your sins,” (John 8:24). But maybe we’ve come to the place from time to time where we’ve had to pray, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24). Or we’ve had to pray like the apostles, “Lord, increase our faith,” (Luke 17:6). Maybe we’ve even wondered if we believe at all or had any faith at all. How we can know if we’ve truly trusted Jesus or not? The answer is fruit.
How we can know if we’ve truly trusted Jesus or not? The answer is fruit.
Luke 6:43–45 (ESV) “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
If you want to see the fruit of faith in Jesus in the context of Luke 6, just go back to the beginning of Jesus’ sermon (v. 20) and read up to this point, and you’ll see the fruit that he's talking about. But other passages in the NT speak about the good spiritual fruit that we must bear as followers of Jesus.
Romans 6:22 says that the fruit we bear leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Romans 7:4 says we belong to Jesus, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
Galatians 5:22-23 says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Ephesians 5:9 tells us to walk as children of life for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.
Philippians 1:11 says that we are to be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Colossians 1:10 commands us to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Hebrews 12:11 says that God lovingly disciplines us so that later our lives will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Hebrews 13:15 (ESV) Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
Remember the words of Jesus, “…for out of the abundance (i.e., the overflow) of the heart the mouth speaks,” (Luke 6:45b).
What fills your heart to overflowing? You may say, “How can I know what fills my heart to overflowing?” The answer is in what comes out of your mouth.
Every now and again my daughter, Lydia, will bring me a cup of water. She does this because she’s on Team Cheryl, my wife, and they’ve conspired together to get me to drink more water. (I, however, remain firmly committed to Team Dr. Pepper!)
Lydia will bring me a big cup filled almost to capacity. As she journeys from refrigerator to recliner, some of the water spills out. She can’t help it. The cup is big and full and the water just sloshes out. Our hearts work the same way.
Whatever they are full of will spill out. We can’t help it.
Whatever they are full of will spill out. We can’t help it.
If our hearts are full of children or grandchildren, then everyone we meet will get to hear about our babies.
If they are full of football, then everyone we meet will get to hear about football.
If our hearts are full of politics, then everyone we talk with will get to hear about those callous conservatives or delusional democrats.
If our hearts are full of entertainment, then everyone we talk with will get the latest on the popular TV show, movie, musical artist, or celebrity in general.
But if our hearts are filled to overflowing with love for Jesus, then everyone we come into contact with will get Jesus spilled on them! We won’t be able to help it! He has made our hearts big and full, and his praise is just going to come sloshing out of our mouth!
Think for a moment, what do you talk about most?
Whatever that is, that is what your heart is full of.
Out of the abundance of your heart your mouth speaks.
Through Jesus, then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that acknowledge his Name!
You’ll notice that in Luke 6:45 Jesus not only emphasizes the heart that must be changed if we are to bear good spiritual fruit, he also mentions treasure.
Luke 6:45 [ESV] The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
The heart that has been changed by Jesus; the heart that produces good spiritual fruit is a heart that treasures Jesus above all else.
Forrest Fenn is an art dealer and author in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but his biggest claim to fame is the treasure (an estimated $2 million dollars in gold nuggets, rare coins, jewelry, and gemstones) that he supposedly hid in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe.
In 2011 Fenn wrote a self-published memoir called, The Thrill of the Chase, and included in it a poem that he said contained clues to the treasure's location, but so far no one has reported the treasure found, although four people have died searching for it.
Randy went missing while hunting for the treasure in January 2016. His body was discovered in July that year.
Jeff was found dead in Yellowstone National Park. His wife told park authorities that he was searching for Fenn’s treasure when she first reported him missing.
Paris was a pastor from Grand Junction, Colorado. His body was found 5-7 miles from where he parked his car to search for the treasure.
Eric moved to Colorado in 2016 to search for the treasure. He was last seen alive rafting on the Arkansas river; the raft overturned and Eric’s body was found in July 2017.
Here we have all these men dying (as so many others have) for temporary treasure; treasure that would have disappeared like straw in the wind even had they found it. But Jesus is an eternal treasure; and what’s more, he is an eternal treasure that died for us!
Jesus is an eternal treasure; and what’s more, he is an eternal treasure that died for us!
Besides Jesus, Solomon was the wisest person to ever live. And he may have been one of the wealthiest as well. But listen to what Solomon says about all his temporary, earthly treasure...
Ecclesiastes 2:8–9 [ESV] I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.
Ecclesiastes 2:11 [ESV] Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Solomon knew what many people will be astonished to discover when they die—earthly treasure means nothing when you’re facing eternity.
Everyone of us is facing eternity. It may not feel like that to you if you’re feeling good. Maybe you’re in the prime of life, a long way from having to think about frequent doctor visits and multiple medications. For some of you, however, frequent doctor visits and multiple medications have become facts of life. You understand better than most that eternity might only be one missed heartbeat away.
But the truth is, life could be over for any one of us in the blink of an eye. Marathoners die of heart attacks. People in their 20’s and 30’s die of strokes. Children have go to sleep never to awaken. Your life is a vapor that will vanish in an instant and then comes the judgment! And at the judgment, what will matter most is your treasure!
Your life is a vapor that will vanish in an instant and then comes the judgment! And at the judgment, what will matter most is your treasure!
You know, James talks about this in James 5.
He mentions the rich and how they should weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon them because they’ve stored up for themselves the wrong treasure. He says in light of the eternal judgment of Jesus, their riches have rotted and their garments are moth-eaten. Their gold and silver have corroded. They have laid up treasure in the last days, but it is the treasure of greed, fraud, luxury, and self-indulgence (James 5:1-4). James said they have only fattened their hearts for the day of slaughter, the day of judgment at the coming of the Lord Jesus (James 5:5).
If your heart treasures the wrong treasure, you won’t produce good spiritual fruit and you’ll end up in hell.
In Luke 12:33-34, Jesus says...
Luke 12:33–34 [ESV] Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Where is your heart? Is it with Jesus in heaven? Or is it here on earth?
In Luke 18, we have the record of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking about eternal life. Jesus laid out the commandments related to the love of neighbor and the young man said, “All these I have kept from my youth,” (Luke 18:21).
Jesus knew, however, that the rich young ruler didn’t have a neighbor problem, but a treasure problem. Jesus said, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me,” (Luke 18:22).
And there it was—the moment of judgment. Would the rich young ruler trade the temporary treasure of earth for the eternal treasure of Jesus? Or would he cling to a treasure that would fail him in eternity?
Luke 18:23 gives the answer...
Luke 18:23 [ESV] But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
Jesus is the treasure of heaven. All those whose hearts have been changed by Jesus treasure him above all else! And because we treasure Jesus the treasure of heaven, we store up treasure in heaven, which is also known as bearing good spiritual fruit.
Are you bearing good spiritual fruit?
If not, perhaps your heart hasn’t been changed by Jesus.
Or perhaps something has replaced Jesus as the treasure of your heart.
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