Leave the crowd behind
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. (2Thess. 2:9-17 NKJ)
Good day Saints,
Last week my wife and I took a little holiday on the shores of Lake Erie, one of the “Great Lakes” in Ontario. It was my desire to do a little fishing out of my canoe, especially since I heard the migrating walleye were schooling in the area of Leamington where we were staying. Now Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, so it is very unpredictable when the winds pick up. It can rapidly go from a calm, peaceful place to a raging sea within a few minutes. I have fished it many times over the years in the relative safety of a fairly stable fishing vessel with a motor. I have never fished it alone in a canoe. I know from experience that to find the fish, you have to go a long way out into the lake, which means a long difficult ride back to shore if the wind and the waves start their chaotic dance. Anyways, I was anxious to get out and catch fish, but had to wait till the third day of our holiday since the water was pretty rough. Finally, the day came – beautiful sunny morning, a light breeze - today was the day…to catch fish!
I loaded my canoe on my car and headed to the beach to start my fishing adventure. My excitement was short lived as I realized that the prized walleye had journeyed further out into the lake on their western migration towards Niagara Falls. Fisherman tried fishing where they previously fished, but after a few minutes of failure, headed to deeper water, further from land – about 2 miles out into the deep blue yonder. I did paddle to where they were previously fishing, hoping to get that straggling walleye that was still in recess when the school resumed. By now I had been out an hour and a half or so, a lot of paddling for this aging body. I had to make a decision to follow the crowd and paddle far away from shore or stay within the security of being able to see the shore and quickly paddle to it if the unpredictable wind picked up. I chose the latter. And within a short span of time the wind did indeed pick up. Soon there were waves to negotiate, and decisions to be made. I started to head back in to shore and abandon my search for the cherished fish.
I cannot help but see a parallel of my life experience to the precious word of God that is before us today. And here it is in a nutshell – follow the crowd into certain danger or choose to live in the comfort of right decisions, that don’t always make life fun and exciting, but certainly guarantee a great future. The way I see it, the world is heading in a bad direction – following its lusts and desires, far away from the safety and comfort of the presence of God. They have exchanged the truth for a lie, and believe that a life of sin, sensuality and disobedience is better than following the manual for life that God has laid out for us in His word. Our text reveals that Satan causes a great deception which the masses will choose. People will abandon the safety of life with God and choose to follow the masses into “pleasure in unrighteousness” (vs.12). We all have a choice of what path we are going to walk, and what lifestyle we will live. Will I live for God or for the world?
More and more people seem to be embracing the lies of the world, even leaving the Christian faith to do so. Are drunkenness, immorality, fornication, idolatry – all things that will keep us out of heaven (Eph. 5:5) – really worth pursuing? Is it wise to put myself in danger, following the crowd to get that temporary reward, risking losing my eternal reward? Our text today clearly reveals two groups of people. First, those who follow the deceptive lies of Satan and fall for the delusion, thus being “condemned” and missing the salvation of the Lord. The second group are the “chosen”, the “sanctified”, “the called”, “the obtainers of glory”, the saved! Saved and unsaved because of choices – choosing Jesus or choosing to satisfy personal desires.
But ultimately, according to verse 13, I chose Jesus because God chose me! As I find myself in the raging sea that is humanity, with boats going further and further away from God, I find myself alone in a canoe, paddling with great effort against the blowing winds of errant teaching, and the waves of deception, while the masses head out into the dangerous deeper waters to satisfy their own personal appetites, not realizing that the further out into the deep they go, the further away from God they are. The deception is strong! The temptation is stronger, leading to sin and death.
I see my Master, the captain of my ship, the One who chose me, on the shoreline calling me by name, “Michael, Come Home…it’s dangerous out there!” I hear His voice and return to Him. When I get to shore, I find He has caught a whole bunch of fish that He has already prepared for supper (See John 21:1-14). We commune and have great fellowship, and I realize at that moment that although there is a cost, I would rather be with Jesus than have all that the world has to offer. Although I may be alone in my canoe, going in the opposite direction of the crowd, Jesus is in my canoe with me…because He chose me, and allowed me to choose Him. I will “stand fast and hold to the teachings I was taught”…. It is the best place be to be!
Have a blessed week!
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