In 2011, a Christian broadcaster drew national attention when he publicly predicted that Christians would be raptured—taken up to be with the Lord—on May 21, 2011. While most Christian believers were not surprised when May twenty-first came and went and Christ did not come, a few were left wondering. False teachers so alarmed and confused the early church in Thessalonica on this very issue that Paul had to teach them about the second coming of Christ.
- How can you determine when a Christian leader is teaching false doctrine?
READ THE WORD: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (ESV)
2:1 Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be easily shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God.
- How did the Thessalonians respond to the teaching that Jesus had already returned?
- How did Paul help the Thessalonians learn to counter the false teachings they had received?
- What events did Paul tell them would occur before Christ returns?How will we know the truth and be able to identify false teachings?
- How does knowing the truth about the return of Christ help you handle situations that could potentially shake your faith?
RESPOND TO GOD
False prophets abound today, just as they did in Thessalonica, so Paul’s advice to the early church is still relevant. As it happened then, some teachers are still misleading believers because they sprinkle bits of biblical truth among falsehood. How will we know the truth when confronted with false doctrine? As Christians, we must study the Word of God so that we can discern fact from fiction. We cannot know if we are being taught doctrine that is not biblical unless we know the Bible ourselves. Like the early Thessalonians, we too can be shaken and confused by false teachings. God’s Word is the only solution to being led astray.
- Pray that you would have a heart and desire to study and know biblical truth.