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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
April 18, 2021
Relief & Retribution
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
We are glad you are here today whether you are inside where the music is being played or outside where I am preaching. Praise the Lord for His kindness to us in providing us another Sunday without rain. It is a little cool, but quite tolerable. The forecast last week was for rain in the morning, but it did not come until late afternoon. Perhaps we should plan on being outside unless it is actually raining, and then accommodating people in the various rooms available inside or in their cars if it starts. Our desire is to maximize live attendance for corporate worship and fellowship, so we are glad to make the extra effort to provide a way for that to happen for those of you who have been under restrictions that have kept you from joining us inside during the Winter.
Turn in your Bible to 2 Thessalonians 1. We are going to be examining verses 5-10 this morning, but I want to read through the entire chapter so that we will have a proper context for our study.
1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; 4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a lot in this passage which is why it will take a total of three weeks for me to preach through it, though there is actually more that could be said in regards to the subjects Paul brings up in it. It is a chapter that is very encouraging for some, very disturbing to others and would extremely frightening to most if they were aware of it.
As we will see in our study today, those who do not know God and obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ should be very scared for what their future will be if they do not repent. This same passage is very encouraging to those who see that God has judged them worthy to enter into His kingdom. At the same time, it is also very disturbing because it is dealing with the reality of persecution that was experienced by the Thessalonians, and from what Jesus and the apostles have said, we know that persecution of the godly is normal, so we should expect it and be prepared for it ourselves. Christians in America have generally had only minor persecution until recently, so the thought of it becoming like what occurs in other nations is disturbing, and understandably so. One of the reasons Paul commends the Thessalonians is to encourage them in their godly response to what was happening to them lest they become disturbed by the affliction and suffering to the point that they would lose heart. Paul assures them that God is still at work and He is paying close attention to what they were experiencing. Paul is encouraging them in the midst of a time and situation that was difficult and disturbing.
It has been my endeavor to do the same over the last year, but in conversations I have had with eight different men this week, it would appear that I have not succeeded as I have desired for a variety of reasons. I was even told that some do not pay attention to the introductions to my sermons lately because they consider them too political. That is disturbing to me since my introductions are often the presentation of the problem for which the Scriptures that will be examined that day are the solution. I believe the model for preaching needs to be much closer to what the prophets and apostles did with applied encouragements, exhortations and admonitions than theological lectures. Current circumstances should not be ignored.
There was a consensus that one major reason for my failure is related to simple fatigue about what has been happening in our society. People want a break from it, and so it becomes very wearisome to hear about what is happening again in a sermon. For that I apologize since that indicates to me that I have not successfully communicated the hope we have in God regardless of whatever the circumstances are in the present or will be in the future. Laments are proper, but they need to be balanced with hope and joy. I can work harder at being more encouraging and less depressing, though I cannot change what is happening in our nation. I can tell you that while there are many reasons we should be aware of what is happening, it is also okay to take a break and turn off the news. Even in the military the troops are rotated so that there can be some rest and relaxation (R&R) from the fatigue of battle before going back into it.
Another reason is related to my own preference to deal directly with what I believe are clear issues of truth and morality including politicians that intrude with their wickedness into areas that do not belong to them. Since part of the strategy of Satan is to remove God’s absolutes and make everything a matter of opinion, then everything becomes political as the effort is made to sway the people and those in positions of power to favor one of those opinions. This does have a direct effect on Christians since it forces both theological declarations and statements of truth into the political realm and also pushes Christians into political involvement when simply declaring and defending what God has said. This is especially true in democratic and republican systems of government since convincing a majority of a particular opinion will in turn result in what laws are enacted.
A simple example of this would be God’s many declarations about the value of human life, that a baby in the womb in fully human, and His prohibitions against murder. The push by society and politicians to legalize and promote abortion and euthanasia has made it political to declare what God has said about the right to life. This same principle can be applied to a host of issues in which the rebellion of sinful man results in moving theological issues and their applications into the realm of politics.
One helpful suggestion given to me was that I would not seem as political if I did not mention the particular politicians involved. I am sure I can do better with that, but at the same time, I have to be mindful of the directness of the prophets, Jesus & the apostles in their warnings to and about wicked nations and leaders. I will strive to find a better balance.
Finally, pray that God will give me wisdom to understand and communicate what He wants to be taught. To be blunt, I preach to please God, not you, lest I fail at God’s calling upon my life and I become an ear tickler such as Paul warns about in 2 Timothy 4:3. I believe I am responsible to God to prepare this church and anyone that will listen for what is coming in the future. While I do not and cannot know when the events God has promised will come in the future will actually arrive, I am responsible to strive to recognize the signs of the times (Matthew 16:2). That is why I have already preached through 1 Thessalonians and Habakkuk and have started the current series in 2 Thessalonians. Each book adds something to being prepared to stand firm with a secure faith regardless of changes in our society, God’s judgment upon it, and persecution that will come upon us because we follow God and not the world. As Jesus said in John 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
The church at Thessalonica was young, yet amazing in its maturity to be a model church for others. As I pointed in our study of Paul’s first letter to them, this was due to three primary factors. First, they had genuine conversion in turning from their pagan idols to serve the living and true God (1:9). Second, they not only received the gospel from Paul and his missionary companions, but they also followed their example (1:6; 2:14). Third, they were born in adversity which is used by God to mature people quickly even as explained in James 1:2-4. The trials of life test the faith which produces endurance which results in maturity lacking nothing. (See Sermons on 1 Thessalonians)
God was fulfilling in the Thessalonians the very thing for which Paul and his co-laborers, Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy went there to do. Though they were not there, God was answering their prayers so that the faith of the Thessalonians had increased exceedingly and their love for one toward another existed in abundance. This placed upon the missionaries a moral obligation, willingly fulfilled, to give thanks to God for the work He had already accomplished (vs. 3). The missionaries would speak proudly of the Thessalonians to other churches for their standing firm in the faith while enduring persecution and affliction (vs. 4). That endurance is the main thought carried into verse 5 which is where I want to pick up our study again this morning. (See: Salutation & Thanksgiving)
God’s Righteous Judgment of the Suffering – 2 Thessalonians 1:5
I covered verse 5 last week since their endurance in suffering for the kingdom of heaven is the culminating point of verses 3-4, but it is also the introduction to God’s righteous judgment that will extend through verse 10.
The main thought in verse 5 is that the Thessalonians were suffering on behalf of the kingdom of God. The idea of suffering is not pleasant in any way, shape or form, especially since the word used (pavscw / paschō) includes the idea of pain which could be either physical, mental / emotional anguish, or both. Before you retreat from the fatigue of a passage that is once again talking about persecution, affliction and suffering or from just the desire to avoid it, you need to carefully look at what Paul is saying in this passage because it offers the hope that is needed to be able to endure. What Paul states here is what will prepare you for the reality of when it comes. You cannot prevent its arrival by either avoiding thinking about it or by denying what is already happening. You prepare for it by understanding God’s view of it and provision for you while being thankful for every day it is not present whether delayed or a temporary reprieve.
The thought flowing through this verse extends from the endurance pointed out in verse 4. They were enduring persecution and affliction which was causing suffering. This enduring, ajnevcomai / anechomai, is “to receive, take up, bear and endure.” It is responding in patient godliness instead of either reacting in anger and lashing out or running away to hide. The only way to do that is to be mature enough in your walk with Christ to see God’s hand in whatever you experience in life. It comes with understanding the reality of Romans 8:28 in the Christian life – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” That is a statement of fact about God’s character, actions and sovereignty and not a Christian cliche. This is a precious truth that we can hold fast too, not some trite remark. It is a precious truth that enables the Christian to endure when suffering because it brings God back into the picture to gain an understanding of what is happening behind the scene even when the circumstances are those of trials and tribulations both of which will result in maturity if we will walk with God through them.
There are several points Paul makes in this verse that bring understanding and encouragement to the Christian. Notice first at the end of the verse that they were suffering for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. That is a critical point because suffering for suffering’s sake is no reward though the idea of reward for suffering is common in cults and false religions. Some of these groups can only be described as sadistic or masochistic. People who flail, beat or cut themselves in the attempt to remove their sin by causing their own suffering. Or people who have it within their means to relieve the suffering of others, but do nothing or even make it worse in the belief it will help that person achieve heaven.
As pointed out in 1 Peter 2:19-20, there is no credit or honor for being steadfast and bearing up when you are beaten in punishment for your own sin. That is just human stubbornness and you are receiving what you have earned. However, there is honor when bearing up while suffering unjustly for doing what is right before God. This is a truth repeated over and over throughout the Scriptures. 1 Peter 3:12 states that “even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.” 1 Peter 4:13 adds, “if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” Jesus said in Matthew 5:10–12, 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” All those passages and many more would apply to the Thessalonians for they were suffering because of their relationship to the kingdom of God.
Notice as well in this verse that it is this perseverance and faith in the midst of persecution and afflictions and endurance while suffering for God’s kingdom that is the evidence, the proof, ( e[ndeigma / endiegma) that God in His righteous judgment has reckoned them to be worthy of His kingdom. I pointed out last week that the tense here is passive reinforcing the point that it is not their suffering that has made them worthy to be in heaven, but that their perseverance, faith and endurance while suffering persecution and affliction is the demonstration, the evidence, of God’s working in their lives and reckoning them worthy of His kingdom.
I also pointed out last week that though the connotation of judgment is often that it is a synonym for condemnation since it is often used in a context of the judgment of sin, the word used (krivsiV / krisis) simply refers to a legal decision by a judge whether for or against. A judgment distinguishes and divides such as in John 3:19-21 in which Jesus says, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world,” and then continues on to explain that those who are evil will hate the Light and stay away from it while those who “practice the truth come to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
God’s righteous judgment of the Thessalonians is that they were worthy of His kingdom as evidence by their response to the circumstances in which they were in. Their lives matched true repentance with behavior only possible when the will is yielded to the Holy Spirit in seeking the glory of God instead of self interest. In verse 6, God’s righteous judgment is seen in His condemnation of those that were afflicting the Thessalonians.
God’s Righteous Judgment of the Persecutors – 2 Thess. 1:6
For after all it is [only] just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you.” The word translated “just” here is the same as the word translated “righteous” in verse 5. The word (divkaioV / diakaios) refers to what is in accordance with what God requires. The virtue of righteousness can only be properly measured in terms of God’s commands. Someone who is truly righteous will follow the principles, precepts and commands of God. He will do what God says he should do and refrain from what God says he should not do. The same is true with justice for it can only be properly defined in terms of adherence to God’s commands. God’s judgments are righteous because they are according to His own character and decrees. God’s actions of punishment of the unrighteous are just for the same reason. They are in complete agreement with His own character and decrees. It would be unjust of God not to follow through to do what He has said.
This verse is a declaration of the righteousness of God for it is just with Him to repay, to give back those who have afflicted the Thessalonians with the very thing they have done. To repay is to “return in kind” with the context defining what recompense is being returned. Both Romans 12:19 and Hebrews 10:30 use the same word in quoting God stating “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” which comes from Deuteronomy 32:25. Vengeance is the return of harm for harm, just retribution for the initial unjust harm done. The seriousness of the affliction suffered by the Thessalonians will be seen in verses 8-9 when we look at the retribution God brings upon those who did the afflicting.
This is a comfort to those unjustly afflicted because there is always a sense of wondering when if ever justice will be carried out. In the world there can never be a confidence of that. Though I was raised in a time and place in which patriotism included the idea that the American way of life included the pursuit of truth, liberty and justice for all, I recall when that idealism hit the brick wall of reality. I was in my twenties sitting in a court room watching the trial of a man that had started to come to the Bible study I was teaching because he got in trouble with the law. Though I had plenty of evidence before this, it was then that I finally realized that even a well designed system is filled with sinful people who have many reasons to pursue something other than truth and a fair application of the law. Both the defense lawyer and the prosecuting attorney want to win the case, so it is a game of skill in getting evidence either presented or excluded and manipulating the jury to get a favorable decision. The judge has his own biases and can have a lot of pressure either politically or socially for a case to end a particular way. It is right to pursue justice, but don’t be surprised if it is not actually carried out. The guilty can be exonerated and the innocent can be condemned.
There is comfort in knowing that in God’s court there will be absolute justice for there is no partiality with God and He knows all the information about both the case and the law. The Thessalonians had suffered at the hands of wicked people and had no expectation that they would receive justice in courts run by pagans. They would have been encouraged to know that God would carry out justice on those that persecuted and afflicted them. Though they might not see justice in this life, they could be confident God would carry out justice in the future.
A caution needs to be added here because though this promise of affliction upon those afflicting them would have been comforting and encouraging, it was not something for which they would wish or take joy in. Proverbs 24:17-18 states, 17 “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Or the Lord will see it and be displeased, And turn His anger away from him.” Job recognized this same truth saying in 31:29-30, 29 “Have I rejoiced at the extinction of my enemy, Or exulted when evil befell him? 30 “No, I have not allowed my mouth to sin By asking for his life in a curse.” That would be contrary to the nature of love which “does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, and does not rejoice in unrighteousness” (1 Cor. 13:5-6). Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). While there will be satisfaction when God’s righteous judgment is carried out in justice that condemns the wicked, we should also be grieved that the sinner did not repent and believe in Christ. We want justice, but even more so we want our enemies transformed by the power of Christ to become new creations in Him – brothers or sisters in Christ. God’s justice is upheld in Christ who paid the price for sin with His own life so that the wicked could receive mercy and forgiveness in Him and become righteous.
The Relief of the Saints at Jesus’ Return – 2 Thessalonians 1:7
Paul points out a second source of comfort to the Thessalonians in verse 7, “and [to give] relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.”
The word translated “relief” here (a[nesiV / anesis) has a basic meaning of “relaxing of tension” and here refers to the rest that comes when the affliction ceases. When does that occur? The text is specific. This relief comes “when the Jesus Christ shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angles.” When does that happen?
There is a lot debate in the commentaries about the timing of the Lord’s revelation – ajpokavluyiV / apokalupsis, often transliterated as apocalypse. I think there is enough in the text to tie this to the rapture Paul had already described for them 1 Thessalonians 4. The point of verse 7 here is the relief from persecution, affliction and suffering that will come at the Lord’s revelation from heaven, and it is at the rapture that the saints will be “with the Lord” and no longer subject to the tribulations of this life (1 Thess. 4:17). Second, this is a reference to a universal relief for all Christians since Paul specifically point out that it brings relief to them as well. Third, it is obvious that the Lord will be is revealed when He descends from heaven and attention is called to it by the shout of the archangel and the trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16). This is immediately followed by the rapture. Fourth, though 1 Thess. 4:16 only specifically mentions the archangel, that does not mean there are not more present since the trumpet of God is also being blown, and an archangel is a mighty angel. Both God’s glory and angels are commonly associated with “flaming fire” in the Scriptures, so there is no surprise with it being part of the revelation of Jesus from heaven. Fifth, the rapture is followed by God’s wrath coming upon the wicked which Paul brings up in verses 8-9. Believers are not destined for that wrath but are instead rescued from it (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9). Sixth, this is directly tied to the Lord’s coming and His glorification in verse 10. The Lord’s revelation of Himself – His apocalypse – encompasses all of these things. There are many more technical arguments that can be made that this refers to what Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 4, but these six points are sufficient.
God’s Retribution on the Disobedient – 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
Verses 8-9 are an expansion of verse 6 describing God’s righteous judgment in afflicting the wicked who afflicted the righteous. 8“dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
Retribution (ejkdivkhsiV / ekdikāsis) is also translated as vengeance. In this context it is to punish on the basis of what is rightly deserved. The punishment itself is described in verse 9 while the basis for it is further explained in this verse. There are two groups Paul points out here by their distinguishing characteristics.
The first are “those who do not know God.” This is a reference to the pagan Gentiles. In pursuit of their false religion they afflicted the Christians. Remember, Paul had specifically pointed out in 1 Thessalonians that the believers there were suffering at the hands of their own countrymen (1 Thess. 2:14). This is common throughout the world. This week a third state in India under control of the Hindu party just enacted laws that will be used to punish Christians who evangelize others. It is becoming more common here as secularism seeks to suppress Christianity. Those who do not know God have always persecuted those who do. Hellenized Jews would also fit this category since they rejected the true God in favor of paganism.
The second group are “those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” This specifically refers to the Jews that rejected the message that Jesus is the Messiah. They knew about the true God through the Law and prophets, but like their forefathers, they rejected actually following God in favor of their own man-made traditions. Gentile converts to Judaism, often referred to as “God fearers,” that rejected Jesus as the Messiah would also fit into this group.
Note here also that the problem with this second group is failure to obey the gospel? What does that mean? In brief it refers to failure to believe the good news of Jesus Christ and follow Him. The gospel encompasses belief in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and if the truth about Him is believed – that He is God in human flesh that lives a sinless life and died as the payment for man’s sin, and then rising from the dead on the third day proving all of His claims and promises are true – then His commands will also be obeyed. It is illogical and contradictory to claim to believe in Jesus and refuse to obey Him.
What will be the punishment? God’s righteous judgment upon both groups (which encompasses all sinners) will be a just sentence of condemnation with a two-fold punishment. The first is eternal destruction. The second is eternal separation from God and His glory.
The eternal punishment is described in many Scriptures. I pointed this out a few weeks ago. The descriptions include: “eternal fire” and “fiery hell” in Matthew 18:8-9. “The lake of fire” in Revelation 20:15, and a place where the “fire is not quenched” and “the worm does not die” in Mark 9:48. In Matthew 25:20 it is an “outer darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Revelation 20:15 also describes it as the “second death” and into it are cast the Beast, the Antichrist, Satan, the demons, death and Hades, and anyone whose “name was not found written in the book of life.” And contrary to the idea among non-Christians that they will be able to hang out in Hell with all their friends, any friend you already have there does not want you to join them. Luke 16:27-28 describes the unrighteous rich man who was in Hades waiting final judgment as begging Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers “so that they will not come into this place of torment” for he was “in agony of flame.” The second aspect of the punishment is being eternally separated from God. No matter how bad it can be on earth, we cannot imagine a condition which is completely away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power. It is a condition devoid of any virtues and without hope of anything good ever coming. It is a step beyond the final one in Romans 1:28-32 in which God gives the wicked over to depravity of mind for this will be the permanent condition. Whereas heaven is filled with goodness and virtue because God is there, this is the absolute opposite because God is not there.
When Judgment Will Happen – 2 Thessalonians 1:10
Verse 10 gives an additional indication of when this will happen. 10 “when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed– for our testimony to you was believed.”
His coming here (e[rcomai / erchomai) is His physical return which will be marked by the saints glorifying Him and marveling at Him. That again will begin at the rapture when Jesus descends from heaven to receive the saints – both those alive and remaining and those resurrected from the dead – to meet Him in the air and be with Him forever more. The Thessalonians believers will be there because they believed the witness of Paul and the missionaries about Jesus. That same hope is given to all who believe.
If you know Jesus Christ already as your Lord and Savior, then rejoice and take courage at these precious promises from our God which gives us hope that transcends any circumstance we could possibly have on this earth. Nothing can separate us from the love of God shown in Christ Jesus. Go proclaim the gospel to others that they may also believe and receive these promises.
If you do not yet know God or obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus, today is the day of salvation. You need to be serious about overcoming whatever is hindering you from believing. Talk with me or any of our leaders. We would be happy to answer your questions and show you what God has done for us in Christ and promised. Do not let any doubt for fear block you from the pursuit of truth. You do not know either how long you will live or when Christ will return.
Sermon Notes – April 18, 2021
Relief & Retribution – 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
2 Thess. 1:5-10 can be frightening or comforting
Disturbing because persecution and affliction are realities
Commendation to encourage continued godly responses in the circumstances
Purposes in preaching
Keeping it balanced
Satan’s strategy to make everything political (an opinion)
Wisdom needed to preach to please God and encourage the saints
Three reasons for quick maturity
Thankful for God’s work
God’s Righteous Judgment of the Suffering – 2 Thessalonians 1:5
Preparation for suffering
Enduring persecution & affliction which causes suffering due to God’s promises
Suffering for the right reasons
Blessed though suffering. 1 Peter 2:19-20; 3:12; 4:13; Matt. 5:10–12
Perseverance & endurance as evidence
God’s righteous judgment
God’s Righteous Judgment of the Persecutors
– 2 Thessalonians 1:6
Uncertainty of human justice
The comfort of justice
Cautions to love your enemy – Prov. 24:17-18; Job 31:29-30; Matt. 5:44
The Relief of the Saints at Jesus’ Return – 2 Thessalonians 1:7
Relief / rest –
The Lord’s revelation (apocalypse). Reasons to tie it to the rapture cf. 1 Thess. 4:15-17
God’s Retribution on the Disobedient – 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
Those who do not know God
Those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus
Failure to obey the gospel
Punishment of eternal destruction
Punishment of eternal separation from God
When Judgment Will Happen – 2 Thessalonians 1:10
KIDS KORNER – Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – count how many times the Thessalonians are mentioned. Talk with your parents about how the Thessalonians were able to deal with persecution, affliction and suffering
THINK ABOUT IT – Questions to consider in understanding the sermon and its application. Why would 2 Thessalonians 5:10 be a source of fear for some and comfort for others? Why is the passage disturbing? How can you deal with the negative realities of life without becoming overwhelmed? How prepared do you think you are for the future? How can you be prepared? What factors enabled the Thessalonians to mature quickly? What was the evidence that God judged the Thessalonians to be worthy of His kingdom? Explain. What conditions must be met before suffering can be a blessing? What is the relationship between righteous judgment and justice? Why is God just to bring vengeance upon the wicked? How is true justice a comfort to the righteous? Fear to the wicked? Why should Christians refrain from rejoicing when our enemies fall? How does the revelation of Jesus from heaven bring relief to the righteous? When will this relief come? (Support your position). What is retribution? What two groups will receive God’s retribution? Describe the punishments that will come upon them? When will this retribution against the wicked begin? Are you ready for the Lord’s return? If not, what needs to happen for you to be ready?
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