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2 Thessalonians

2:9-17

  

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

 

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (ESV)

 

When Satan Attacks

Friday of Pentecost 5

3 July 2015

We are tempted to despair when we feel Satan attacking us and our churches, as we do these days. We wonder when he stirs up conflict among Christians why we can't all just get along. But His attacks on the church and her people are the highest compliment he can possibly pay. He wouldn't bother to attack the church if she weren't faithful to her Lord's teaching. The United States would never consider attacking, say Belize, in a war of conquest, because Belize, as nice as it is, has nothing that the United States would want to own. Satan wants to overthrow the divine truth whenever and wherever he can. The church where the truth is proclaimed he will always attack.

 

Two of God's junior angels were being assigned to keep watch over two churches. Their angelic supervisor took them to see where they were being assigned by God. When they came to the first church there they saw one lazy-looking devil, who was reclining on the steeple of the church. This was where one of the angels was assigned. The supervising angel led them on to the second church and when they arrived there the two junior angels were surprised to see the whole exterior of the church seething with devils all howling and hammering on the building. The junior angel assigned to this church lamented to his supervisor: "Oh, why have I been assigned this church rather than the other? This church seems to have some pretty big problems. Look at all those demons attacking it." The supervising angel smiled at him and said, "You have it all wrong. This church faithfully proclaims Christ as the only Savior from sin and is constantly preaching our Master's truth. The other church is lazy and preaches what people want to hear, rather than the Master's truth. Our enemy doesn't have much to do there. Your brother angel has his work cut out for him there."

 

Satan's attacks against the truth should lead us to be more bold in sharing it, confident that in the end God obtains the victory. Let us not be misled by false belief to be one of those churches where the devil doesn't have much to do. Much of our presently decayed cultural situation is due to the inability of the churches to confess the faith and defend that confession. In many places churches simply capitulated to another cultural entirely: the culture of paganism. Let us envy those whom Satan attacks because they continue to confess the divine truth and never despair when he attacks us for the same. Let us depend on the Lord who promises that the gates of hell shall never prevail against His church.

 

Martin Luther

 

"We must not despair amid the ragings of Satan and of the world against which our churches pray. The churches themselves are satisfied with an insignificant and small gift. But I hope that when God hears our small and narrowly defined prayers, He will not only defend our doctrine but will also disseminate it and, in addition, will bring about marvelous things through it, so that the papists, however boastful they may now be, will be brought to nothing. Thus the prayers of the church will destroy the Turk, and we will find out that God gives greater things than we were able to ask for, and even to understand."


Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, 17.22
 
Prayer

Lord God, our spirits faint, our hearts are desolate, and we have nowhere to turn but to You. Deliver us from Satan, sin, death, and despair, and let Your good Spirit bring us out of all our troubles; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

For the gift of rain, that the Lord would break the drought in California

 

For Lloyd Wittenmyer, who is hospitalized for pneumonia, that the giver of life and breath would bring him healing

 

For those who will be traveling during the Fourth of July weekend, that the Lord Jesus would keep them in His magnanimous care

Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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