2Th 2:1-12; You Can Miss Life and Not Even Know It.
Sunday September 17, 2023
Intro: What is deception and what does the Bible tell us about it?
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 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.
This week we’ll be focusing on vv. 10-12.
In this paragraph there are four references to deception (vv. 3, 10, 11: Let no one deceive you, all deception of wickedness, deluding influence, believe what is false).
This week we’ll be focusing on 2 things:
1. What is deception and what does the Bible tell us about it?
2. Why does God send a strong delusion to those already deceived, and does He only do so during the Tribulation period or at other times as well?
Today we start the first. Understanding deception will then help us to see why God actually sends it on some people.
What is deception and what does the Bible tell us about it?
Deception – apate = that which gives a false impression, deception, deceitfulness.
Deception is more involved than being tricked or believing what someone said on the news that was a lie.
“all deception of wickedness”
– wickedness is adikia = unrighteousness, deeds violating law and justice.
[dikia is righteousness, negative alpha]
Paul’s use of “all” would refers directly to the antichrist during the Tribulation. He is restrained now, but without restraint, antichrist and his ministers will not be restrained by any scruple from worlds or deeds calculated to deceive. Then there will be all deception of wickedness, now, to some extent, the deception is restrained.
Those who are so deceived are described in:
Vs. 10 for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved;
And in vs. 12 who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
Unrighteousness (wickedness) has many forms: immorality, tyranny, criminality, addiction, seeking glory for self, greed …
God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
“all unrighteousness” is followed by what looks like a list. These would be a part of the many forms of unrighteousness. The apply to the homeless drug addict and the respectable citizen and the rich businessman and to everyone in between. Several of these could subtly rule the life of a believer (we are warned multiple times of self-deception).
We all fall into them at times – but we confess and repent.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (adikia).
Free yourself from the lingering effects of sin.
Frequently washing your soul with confession is a clear sign that one is not deceived concerning sin.
Deceit is the false impression that any one of these (Rom 1:29-32) is at sometime good or right when they are all wrong and reject divine law.
The time is right for gossip. Why? It is good at this time to tell them what he did, and plus, I will get relief when I get it off my chest, and plus, it’ll be fun to do.
The time is right for greed and not giving. Why? Gas prices and groceries are super high right now. I’m protecting my family.
The time is right to boast right now. Why? I deserve it. I’ve had a long week and they don’t know how good I really am. It’ll be good for my self-esteem.
Make up more of these scenarios for yourself from this list.
What is deception?
God is holding back blessing from me because He doesn’t want me to enjoy what He can.
We ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and found that without God we were unable to discern the one from the other (Cain and Abel).
Satan’s first deceit to mankind was that God was holding back blessing. Satan acknowledged the reality of God but lied about Him. If you eat you’ll be like God, implying that God doesn’t want that.
The same lie has perpetuated throughout human history to all people.
What is deceit?
God’s righteousness is nothing but a bunch of restraints.
[no fun is allowed]
This righteousness of God is holing you back and holding out on you. Go to unrighteousness and you’ll have all that God has.
God has all pleasure and He doesn’t want you to have it. So put these things into your body and affect your brain to the pleasure God has been stingy with. Enjoy the illicit sex that you seek. God is most stringent here. He doesn’t want you to be like Him.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.
God has all the intellect and secrets of wisdom and He doesn’t want you to have it. He only gives you the stuff in the Bible which is old and limited, and has a lot of fairy tale stories. Learn the true knowledge that they didn’t know back then – modern science, evolution, modern political theory, true love and acceptance. You don’t even have to study hard for our intellectuality – just know a few of the insightful bits that we tell you and you’ll be a genius in no time! (just think of any modern pseudo-intellectual that you know)
God wants to judge. We want to set you free from Him. We won’t judge. We accept all.
Unable to discern good and evil without God (before the fall we were always with God) we have been lied to that God had all the good (what is acknowledged as good) but that He wasn’t sharing it. He is holding it back.
And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
So, Paul writes, “I do not allow a woman to exercise authority over a man.” (Is that God keeping women down?)
Examples of deceit in the NT:
The seduction which comes from wealth (Mat 13:22; Mar 4:19). The deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13). False doctrine (Col 2:8). Deceptive desire (Eph 4:22).
When we jump into any of these (including Rom 1:29-32) the brain releases dopamine – we get pleasure. It is short lived chemical high, and when the levels drop, we need more and if we do not get more when we want it, our brains fill with pain and anxiety. [Perhaps God isn’t holding back. Perhaps He is protecting.]
When our pleasure comes from God there is no drop off of brain chemistry for God is always present.
Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
Food / bread becomes a type of all earthly things that can enter our bodies and souls.
One of His temptations in the wilderness; Jesus is hungry and is tempted to turn stones into bread. (Is God’s message that we should all be on Keto or Atkins?)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'"
Jesus’ response gets to the heart of overcoming all deceptions.
We were not made for the good of earth’s things but God’s.
Jesus quotes Deu 8:3, which is key to our understanding.
“He humbled you and let you be hungry [is the meaning fasting?], and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”
The manna you didn’t know – you had to trust Him for type and amount. You had to be humbled so that you would know that though food is necessary it is not what life is about. Nothing in the list in Rom 1:29-32 is what life truly is. Do not be deceived.
Here is also the Sabbath. They did not collect manna on Saturday. The Sabbath is the day 7 rest for God and man as the work of creation is complete. It is shalom – completeness or fulness with God alone.
We need bread, but what is truly living is the truth. In God’s moral universe, you need truth (discerning good and evil) to prosper. God is not hiding or withholding, He is giving and that abundantly.
Real, abundant life, is in the word. Walking in truth. Not at all concerned or worried about food (manna, consider the birds, I am the bread of life; you’ll never hunger again).
The deceived say that this is not real life. That it is holding yourself back. The things of the Bible are invisible, not tangible, and therefore not real. You can have it all now.