Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2009 – 11:37
Bible Book: 2 Thessalonians / 2 Tessalonisense
Verse: 1 – 17
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5; 13-17
For centuries there have been arguing within the church between those who felt that the proclamation of the Word was the main task of the church, while others felt that it was more important to be involved in social issues. Most of us are well aware of the friction between the evangelicals and the ecumenicals some decades ago. Add to this the emergence of the proponents of the Social Gospel and, in more recent times, the harsh words flung between the evangelicals and the “post-modern” Christians. Many of these arguments are based upon a particular understanding of the Bible, some believing that the main aim of the church should be to bring people to repentance, while others believe that you cannot proclaim the gospel to hungry people. The argument is still ongoing at present.
In these times the words of 2 Thessalonians 2:16 & 17 are especially sobering, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
When reading through the gospels as well as through Acts and the rest of the New Testament, it is striking that there never seems to be any tension between preaching the gospel and helping those in need. The apostles could just as easily have said to someone, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6), as they could have said to another, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). And when a lame man is brought to Jesus, He says, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” (Luke 5:23). Jesus does both.
It is for this reason that the words in 2 Thessalonians 2:16 & 17 are so striking: Once again there seems to be no tension between the deeds and the word. Whatever is needed should be given freely. In spite of many attempts to change people’s viewpoints about AIDS, there are still many Christians who feel that it is not the task of the church to get involved with those who are suffering from this terrible disease. But then, if it is not the task of the church, whose task is it then? History has shown that whenever the world had been faced with a crisis, the church was always ready to respond, to show love, to care and to literally “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
Now that we are being faced with one of the greatest pandemics of all time, the church needs to respond in the way that Jesus would have responded.
To think about (or discuss): Who can you bless and encourage with the words of 2 Thes 2:16 &17?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)