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The Power Of Delusion



"11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.  
14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We would like to welcome all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been prompted to join us today. We are glad to have you here! I do not believe it was coincidence or mistake. I believe that Almighty God Himself, has brought you here.
Being a Christian, is not always easy, is it? We are expected to behave in a way better than that which is expected of others. Many of the actions that are accepted, approved and even celebrated of for non-believers, will be certainly be held against anyone professing to be a Christian. This is especially if you happen to be a minister or a leader in the church. 
I realize that I am that you anything new. We all know our actions often do not measure up. We all know the damage it can do to our witness. I could stand here and recite a long list of do's and don’ts. However, I believe that you have likely would have heard them all before. I also believe that this suggests to us all to do a better job as Christians, as were are Christ’s representatives to the world. Perhaps, we should all be wearing a brightly colored T-shirt, with the words "I represent Jesus Christ, imprinted of them in neon letters. Maybe that would encourage all to be more mindful or our words and actions..
The deception which causes man’s perishing is the result of their refusal to love the truth of God's Word, to accept it, and obey it. Their own sinful, immoral choices brings about their condemnation. In spite of the power and pull of the saving truth of the Gospel, unbelievers, continue to refuse it. To love the truth indicates true acceptance and adherence to it. The truth of God contrasts with the lies of the man of sin. The consequence of believing and loving the truth is salvation, both initial salvation and in continuing sanctification. One’s responses to God’s truth, His Word, must be a matter of the heart, love, rather than simply of the head and the foolish wisdom of men. Therefore, they come under the full influence of Antichrist, and they are not saved.
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the great privilege we have in studying the Word You have for us today. Thank You for calling us to the gospel to gain the glory of our Lord Jesus. Father, we love Your Word. We treasure Your truth. Lord, we pray that You would open up the hearts of the unbeliever, that they would come to the realities of the truth. Life apart from Your saving grace, through Christ, they are damned. Thank You for telling us, who believe how it is all going to end, that we would share the message of the Gospel, the truth, with urgency, and with the real love and grace of Christ.. Burden our hearts with a burning desire to bring the lost to the foot of the cross.

Father, we ask that You would accept our worship of you today, as thanks and gratitude for all that You have bestowed upon us, for the precious gift of forgiveness of sins and salvation. Lord, we offer up our thanks to You, that have no fear of the future, for You have so graciously laid it our for us in Your Word, and revealed it to us in clarity.
In Christ's precious name 

Today's Message: The Power Of Delusion
Before we begin, on our continuing journey through the second Book of Thessalonians, I just thought I'd share with you something that many of my preacher friends have said recently. They told me, in so many words, that they would never, ever preach from the pulpit, most of the messages that I have preached on in recent weeks, because they would lose most of their church. While I pray that wouldn't happen here, when we come to the Word of God, I am called to preach the whole counsel, therefore, I  preach every verse and so we will be studying this passage today. So, if anyone should become offended, I would suggest that you state your complaint with God Himself. I did not write the Bible, I only teach the passages contained in it, as it is the Word of God.

The condemnation of God is seen as a just consequence of our choice to reject the truth and to find pleasure in unrighteousness. Our choices and behavior have a lasting consequence, if we have not received forgiveness through Jesus Christ. And, if not, whether in the present or, on the day of judgement, payment is demanded. In the deepest sense, this life is the time in which we decide what we choose. Whether we want to choose to follow Jesus, or follow along the path of the Lawless One. While the choice is not always that clear. Sometimes, we simply choose not to choose.. Sometimes the decision is one of compromise or procrastination, that is simply a subtle rejection of the truth.
May I just say from the outset that whenever you look at some of these wonderful, rich doctrines, especially the doctrine of unconditional sovereign election, many of us are left speechless; we can never fully understand what God is up to in His plan of redemption. There has been and I suppose, will always be, this inscrutable mystery, between God's Sovereignty and man's responsibility and what we want to be very careful not to do is somehow twist or manipulate the Scripture to make it sound more appealing to the hearer, in order to make palatable, but the challenge is rather to preach whatever it is that God has chosen to set before me, in all of its glory and fullness. 
That said, this has been a rather difficult few weeks or even few months, hasn't it? There has been so many things happening in our nation, as well as around the world. Every time you turn on the television, or pick up the news paper, or magazine, you're just kind of overwhelmed with the wickedness that's going on and there has just been so many things and so what a wonderful opportunity we have to come together and share in God's Word. We are so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to do what we are commanded to do and that is to keep seeking the things above, where our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is!
So, open your Bibles with me, if you would to II Thessalonians as I read to your from our text, verses 11-14. Rather, than listen to my words, listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say. II Thessalonians 2:11-14.
I believe this is a beautiful capstone on the monument of God's promises that Paul has revealed to them, he exhorts them now concerning the kind of proper heart attitude that they should have given all of their suffering, given their persecution, given the fact that they have been elected, they have been chosen by God. We're going to look at that today.

"For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Verses 11-12 relay the consequences for rejecting the truth. Verse 11 states that the rejection of the love of truth progresses to delusion and then to believing "the lie." "For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false"

How easily we have come to believe that evil is good, that darkness is light, that might makes right, that hate is love. Believing the "lies" of the deceiver, is the final stage of the triumph of evil.

God desires that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth . But when people refuse to focus on the truth, He lets them pursue and experience the consequences of falsehood. God in fact, begins this judgment brought on by their rebellion and subjects them to the powerful delusion, "energeian planēs," in the Greek, which comes from choosing error over truth. When they choose to believe the lie, God sends them the delusion that is built into their choices. This powerful judgment from God is justified by the unbelievers’ decision to refuse the truth. "The lie" is the claim that the man of lawlessness is God. This lie they will believe and bow down and worship before him. This worshiping of the beast is the eventual result of one’s refusal to believe God’s Word of truth.

And, we know that the purpose of God's action is to execute justice. Eternal condemnation will be the fate of all who on the one hand choose to disbelieve the truth and on the other hand take pleasure in wickedness. The opposite of believing the truth is delighting in wickedness. The opposite of believing the truth is delighting in wickedness.

It is the an inner decision that leads to its moral manifestation. This consequence befalls everyone who disbelieves the Gospel. Paul’s primary concern here is of course unbelievers who will be living when the man of sin will be revealed. But these principles of God’s judgment apply in all ages and it can well be seen in the 21st century. 

Is this passage saying that those who do not believe the gospel before the man of sin is revealed and who are therefore not caught up to meet the Lord at the Rapture but still live on the earth, cannot be saved after the man of lawlessness has been revealed? Or can people who recognize but knowingly reject the truth of the Gospel before the Rapture be saved after the Rapture takes place? This "powerful delusion" which we find in verse 11, that God will bring on these individuals in particular suggests that few then living on the earth will be saved after the Rapture. This seems to be a special judgment from God that will occur at this one time in history. The many saints which the Book of Revelation indicates will be living on the earth during the Tribulation which are saved after the Rapture, in Revelation chapter 7:4, seem to be mostly Jewish.

Verse12 tells us a second consequence of their disbelief. "in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."

As I have said before, I believe that this have been so encouraging, so instructive to those early saints who were enduring such enormous persecution.  I also believe, that in order to better grasp what is going on here, we need to place ourselves in the sandals of those early Thessalonian believers. Bear in mind that because of their faith in Christ, they were now being persecuted. Some of them had lost family members that had been beaten and even murdered. They were hated. They were mocked. Some had lost their job. 

I'd like you to imagine, just for a brief moment, what that would be like. Your family hates you and wants nothing to do with you. Most of your friends no longer want nothing to do with you. Perhaps now you are homeless or you have a small place to live, however, you have no way of feeding your hungry children. You're feeling hopeless. And whenever we get in those types of situations, it's easy to begin to doubt the faithfulness of God and the goodness of God and even the word of God, and to begin to wonder, "God, have you somehow forsaken me?"

So, having understood all of this, in verse 13, the Apostle Paul writes "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth." Paul tells them, "No, God has not forsaken you. You are eternally secure in Jesus Christ." Here Paul describes our obligation to offer our thanks for the work of God in the lives of believers. 

Verse 14 "It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." God uses to bring about salvation in individuals is the work of His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit draws people to Christ. Those who truly belief in Christ are then indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Then He teaches and leads believers into sanctification or Christ-likeness as we believe and obey God’s truth. It is through the sharing of the gospel that God calls people to salvation as verse 14 so clearly indicates.

These Thessalonians were such a source of gratitude to Paul and he felt a strong obligation to thank God for them continually. Prolonged observation of the Thessalonian’s love and life revealed that God had saved them and was saving them. So, Paul tells them they were his brothers and sisters in the faith, loved by the Lord even though despised and persecuted by their godless neighbors.

Beloved, I know that some of you are struggling but rather than to focus on that, I want you to rejoice! I'd like to draw your attention the the fact that you are beloved by the Lord. You are loved by him. And do you know how you know? Because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation. And, most importantly, because in His Word, God says it!

Listen, as I read. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." We have all heard the words of John 3:16, now, I'd like to challenge you to believe it, with all certainty, God loves you! And at any time, you begin to doubt this truth, I'd like you to tell yourselves, "For God so loved the world, —that's means me— that He gave His only begotten Son, — and because I believe in Him—that whoever believes in Him —I—shall not perish, but have eternal life."

And, we know that in Revelation 13:8-9 it says "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear."

In Ephesians 1:4, Paul tells us " just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love." Now, I don't know about any of you, but whenever, I am feeling down, I remind myself of the truths in that wonderful verse. God, having known me, before the foundation of the earth, knowing all the mistakes , all the bad choices and decisions I would make after I was born, God still chose me! Wow, that is an astonishing truth! I have to be honest here, I find that hard to wrap my head around, because even I, wouldn't have chosen me, yet God, in His grace and mercy did! And guess what? He chose you too! So, we must not allow ourselves to be deceived into letting Satan convince us that He doesn't.

 II Timothy 1:9 says God "who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

Allow me to share with you another one, in Titus in chapter 1, verses 1 and 2, Paul begins by speaking of himself as an "a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago." Once again, before time began. This is just amazing. I mean, your mind starts to swirl around when you start thinking of this. To think that before He even created us, God knew us. He set his love upon us in an effort to one day, at a time of His choosing, draw us unto Himself, to save us, to transform us, so that we could reflect His glory. I just really find it difficult to grasp the reality of that.

You know, I have often heard the Gospel, presented in such a way as to make it appear that God has really done all that he can do and now He's really helpless, the rest is up to you and He's hoping that we will do all that we can to get a person to make a decision for Christ, and God holds out the gift of salvation but the sinner must receive it. Election really has nothing to do with that. 

We've all heard the analogy of, the poor sinner is flailing out there in the water and we're throwing them this life preserver of the Gospel and now it's up to you to grab hold of it and take it, but what we will see from Scripture is the reality is that person is not flailing in the water, that person is a spiritual corpse. He is just unable to do anything unless God gives him life. And so this is where the battle lies are drawn. 
But you see many people today, you know, they will say, "You know, Jesus has done his part, now the rest is up to you," and essentially God has nothing to do with it from that point on. You know the ones, then they begin citing John 1:12, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God," However, they seem to just ignore the rest of the verse and on into verse 13, which explains how that reception is made possible. "...even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

This is why I have said time and time again, context is everything in understanding the Bible. And, many Christians and non-Christians alike, tend to pull out a single verse to confront someone with a particular situation. We've all heard it, Matthew chapter 7 "Judge not lest you be judged" Or Romans 8:1 "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  Usually, when they're trying to excuse a "less than godly behavior."

In Colossians 2:13, "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions," 

Now, I will use John 6 as one passage to help you better understand this. I know that many of you recall that in John 6, Jesus was in the process of utterly destroying the Jews' whole system of works righteousness with what would be considered today, as the Five Points of Calvinism, when really they are just biblical New Testament concepts. By the way, what Jesus did in John 6 was so offensive, what He taught was so completely offensive that according to verse 66, " As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.." So clearly, this has been controversial from the beginning.

And, of course you know that in verse 67-70 Jesus turned to then twelve and asked "..You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."  Jesus answered them, "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?"

Now, if you will recall the context there in John 6, the multitude, especially the Jews, wanted another sign. "Do something else miraculous and then maybe we'll believe in you." In verse 36, "But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe." There is the doctrine of total depravity, total inability. They saw Jesus, they saw all of the things he did and yet they are so dead in their sin that it was impossible for them to understand who He was and to humbly submit to His Gospel message and we see this throughout Scripture that no one seeks for God, no one desires God until God does something to grant new birth and give them the gift of faith.

So, if we go on to verse 37, Jesus says, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." And what do you have here? You have unconditional election and irresistible grace. We know that God the Father chose a bride for His Son according to the kind intention of his uninfluenced will, and left unto himself, man is unable, he's even unwilling to seek God unless God does something, unless God takes the initiative, and then when God calls His elect unto salvation, they no longer resist the grace of God but rather they voluntarily, they freely, they joyfully respond by the power of the Spirit's work of regeneration that creates within them a renewed will, a renewed mind, a renewed heart and so on.

Then, we see in verses 38-39, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day." So, that brings us to the question, what was the will of the Father who sent Jesus?  He sent Him to actually, not potentially but actually, atone for the sins of all those whom the Father had given Him in eternity past; all those that had been chosen by God. And, in verse 40, Jesus adds "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

I do not believe there is any other way to look at this but biblically. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ came down from heaven, and actually, not potentially, satisfied the wrath of God toward his people by taking their judgment upon himself. He actually redeemed them. He actually reconciled specific persons to God through His death. He actually, bore my sins and yours, personally in His own body on our behalf. I cannot understand why this so confusing to so many Christians. I do not believe that you can see this any other way.  As we look at Scripture, we see that man cannot and will not be saved apart from sovereign election, and repeatedly in Scripture, believers are referred to as God's elect, and if that is true, then there had to have been an election some time and we read about that earlier. "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,"

 In Closing...

The appeal is to stand firm, or in the Greek, "stēkete," in our faith and work in spite of our present situation. We are called to stand firm, hold fast with the victory Jesus Christ has already won. And our strength to stand firm comes from abiding in Holy Spirit and His Word. When we are faithful to God’s command we will be opposed by those who reject and oppose God’s Word because they prefer their own.

As Christians we are in constant danger of being swept downstream by the currents of an ungodly culture. We are vulnerable, and therefore prone to let the truths they know to influence our own lives, subsequently, allow the relationship we now enjoy with God grow cold. We must vigorously hold onto the truth that we have been taught by God’s Word.

Hold on to the truths of the Word of God. Hold on to the gospel traditions that taught you about Jesus Christ. Let no man tempt or deceive you. And, don’t be fooled by the wind and waves of doctrine that may roll by!

May it be so...

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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