Letters | 2 Thessalonians 2 | Counterfeit

Letters | 2 Thessalonians 2 | Counterfeit
Lee Reams

Letters Teaching Series | 2 Thessalonians | Chapter 2 | Counterfeit |  LINK TO TEACHING PDF  

CHAPTER 2 LESSON | COUNTERFEIT

INTRODUCTION | Question | Have you ever been deceived by a business or a person

Money counterfeit detection

Train Employees to Identify Counterfeit Money

The detective said business owners should train their employees to examine all bills they receive, $10 and higher. If they believe they are given a phony bill, call the police.

Small business owners need to be aware of the many ways to detect counterfeit money. The Secret Service offers a downloadable PDF called Know Your Money that points out key features to look at to determine if a bill is real or fake. The secret service and U.S. Treasury also offer these suggestions:

• Hold a bill up to a light and look for a holograph of the face image on the bill. Both images should match. If the $100 bill has been bleached, the hologram will display an image of Abraham Lincoln, who appears on the $5 bills, instead of Benjamin Franklin.

• Looking at the bill through a light will also reveal a thin vertical strip containing text that spells out the bill’s denomination.

• Color-shifting ink: If you hold the new series bill (except the $5 note) and tilt it back and forth, please observe the numeral in the lower right hand corner as its color shifts from green to black and back.

• Watermark: Hold the bill up to a light to view the watermark in an unprinted space to the right of the portrait. The watermark can be seen from both sides of the bill since it is not printed on the bill but is imbedded in the paper.

• Security Thread: Hold he bill a light to view the security thread. You will see a thin imbedded strip running from top to bottom on the face of a banknote. In the $10 and $50 the security strip is located to the right of the portrait, and in the $5, $20 and $100, it is located just to the left of the portrait.

• Ultraviolet Glow: If the bill is held up to an ultraviolet light, the $5 bill glows blue; the $10 bill glows orange, the $20 bill glows green, the $50 bill glows yellow, and the $100 bill glows red – if they are authentic!

• Microprinting: There are minute microprinting on the security threads: the $5 bill has “USA FIVE” written on the thread; the $10 bill has “USA TEN” written on the thread; the $20 bill has “USA TWENTY” written on the thread; the $50 bill has “USA 50” written on the thread; and the $100 bill has the words “USA 100” written on the security thread. Microprinting can be found around the portrait as well as on the security threads.

• Fine Line Printing Patterns: Very fine lines have been added behind the portrait and on the reverse side scene to make it harder to reproduce.

  • Comparison: Compare the feel and texture of the paper with other bills you know are authentic.

READ | Back Story | We now find the Thessalonians church in a struggle for the truth about Jesus Christ 2nd coming. Apparently Bible scholars believe that there was a letter being circulated which stated that Jesus has come back and the Church was then living in the tribulation…they had missed the second coming of Jesus. Paul’s addresses this false statement with the truth. They has not missed it but they needed to know what was going to happen before Jesus did come back.

READ | TEXT | 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 NLT

Events prior to the Lord’s Second Coming

1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? 6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.

9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

Believers Should Stand Firm

13 As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. 14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15 With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.

I. KNOWING ISN’T ALWAYS BELIEVING | God requires that we put to test those who teach us

COMMENTARY | How Can You Tell if a Teaching is Sound or Rotten?

This morning, I preached on Matthew 7:15-20, where Jesus warns us, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.”

Question: “What does it mean to test the spirits?”

Answer: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

In this verse believers are commanded to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” This same command is echoed in other parts of Scripture as well. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 we find Paul exhorting the Christians to not “despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”

These two passages are just a few of the many that warn Christians to test the message that people or spirits proclaim. This is true in all situations but most importantly when a person or spirit is claiming to speak for God. Christians are to be discerning hearers and readers of all messages. The reason for the admonition to “test the spirits” or “test all things” is that there are “many false prophets” or “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that try to lead Christians astray. Sadly, there are many people who claim to speak for God who are presenting a false gospel that is powerless to save. Such errant teaching leaves people with a false hope of salvation and, in a way, inoculates them from the true message. People who are deceived into thinking everything is fine will be more resistant to the truth.

Second Corinthians 11:13-15 warns us that “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” So the reason for testing the spirits, for testing all religious teaching, is to see if it is truly from God or if it is a lie from Satan and his servants.

The test is to compare what is being taught with the clear teaching of the Bible. The Bible alone is the Word of God; it alone is inspired and inerrant. Therefore, the way to test the spirits is to see if what is being taught is in line with the clear teaching of Scripture. In Acts 17:10-11 the Berean Jews were commended because, after they heard the teachings of Paul and Silas, they “examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” The Bereans were called “noble” for doing so.

Testing the spirits means that one must know how to “examine the Scriptures.” Rather than accept every teaching, discerning Christians diligently study the Scriptures. Then they know what the Bible says and therefore can “test all things and hold fast to what is true.” In order to do this, a Christian must “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The Word of God is to be “a lamp” and “a light” to our path (Psalm 119:105). We must let its light shine on the teachings and doctrines of the day; the Bible alone is the standard by which all truth must be judged. https://www.gotquestions.org/test-the-spirits.html

II. CLARITY | IN ORDER TO SPOT A COUNTERFEIT YOU NEED TO KNOW THE ORIGINAL

The Bible itself reveals those doctrines that are essential to the Christian faith.  They are 1) the Deity of Christ, 2) Salvation by Grace, 3) Resurrection of Christ, 4) the gospel, and 5) monotheism.  These are the doctrines the Bible says are necessary.  Though there are many other important doctrines, these five are the ones that are declared by Scripture to be essential (I call them primary essentials since the Bible declares them as essential).  A non-regenerate person (i.e., Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness, atheist, Muslim), will deny one or more of these essential doctrines.   Please note that there are other derivative doctrines of scripture that become necessary also and the Trinity being one.

  1. The Deity of Christ
    1. Jesus is God in flesh (John 8:58 with Exodus 3:14). See also John 1:11410:30-3320:28Col. 2:9Phil. 2:5-8Heb. 1:8
      1. 1 John 4:2-3: “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.  This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”
        1. The above verse needs to be cross-referenced with John 1:114 (also written by John) where he states that the Word was God and the Word became flesh.
        2. 1 John 4:2-3 is saying that if you deny that Jesus is God in flesh, then you are of the spirit of Antichrist.
      2. John 8:24, “I said, therefore, to you, that you will die in your sins.  For if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”
      3. Jesus said that if you do not believe “that I am,” you will die in your sins.  In Greek I am is ‘ego eimi,’ which means ‘I am.’  These are the same words used in John 8:58, where Jesus says ” . . . before Abraham was, I am.”  He was claiming the divine title by quoting Exodus 3:14
        1. The Greek Septuagint is the Hebrew Old Testament translated into Greek and done by Jews around 250 B.C.  They translated Exodus 3:14 as ‘ego eimi’ “I AM”).
    2. Jesus is the proper object of faith 
      1. It is not simply enough to have faith.  Faith is only as valid as the person in whom you put it.  You must put your faith in the proper person.  Cults have false objects of faith (false gods); therefore, their faith is useless–no matter how sincere they are.
      2. If you put your faith in a guru, a philosopher, or a past teacher (and not Jesus) to save you from your sins on Judgment Day, then you will be in a lot of trouble no matter how sincere or strong your faith is.  You might have great faith but so what?   Faith in something false has the same effect as no faith at all.
    3. The Doctrine of the deity of Christ includes:
      1. The Trinity–There is one God who exists in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are all coeternal and of the same nature.
      2. Monotheism–There is only one God in all existence (Isaiah 43:1044:6845:51418212246:947:8).  Mormons believe that many gods exist though they serve and worship only one.  Therefore, they are polytheists which excludes them from the camp of Christianity.
    4. The Hypostatic Union–That Jesus is both God and man.
      1. The sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ–The sacrifice of Christ is completely sufficient to pay for the sins of the world, and it is only through Jesus’ sacrifice that anyone can be saved.
      2. As God–Only a perfect sacrifice to God is able to cleanse us from our sins.  This is why Jesus, who is God in flesh, died for us.
        1. He had to die for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). Only God could do that.
      3. As man–Jesus must be man to be able to be a sacrifice for man.
        1. As a man, He can be the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
    5. This means that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Way International, Islam, etc., are outside of Christianity.
  1. Salvation by Grace
    1. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9, NIV).
    2. “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” (Gal. 5:4).
      1. This verse and its context plainly teach that if you believe that you are saved by faith and works, then you are not saved at all. This is a common error in the cults.  Because they have a false Jesus, they have a false doctrine of salvation.  (Read Rom. 3-5 and Gal. 3-5).
      2. You cannot add to the work of God.  Gal. 2:21 says, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (NIV)
    3. “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” (Rom. 3:20).
      1. “However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness,” (Rom. 4:5).
      2. “Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God?  Absolutely not!  For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.” (Gal. 3:21).
    4. Salvation is not universal resurrection as Mormonism would declare.  Rather, it is the saving from God’s righteous judgment.  Furthermore, salvation, which is the forgiveness of sins, is accomplished by faith alone (Rom. 4:1-11).
    5. Roman Catholicism denies salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone.  Therefore, Roman Catholicism is outside of Christianity.
  1. The Resurrection of Christ
    1. “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Cor. 15:14).  “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:17).
    2. To deny the physical resurrection is to deny that Jesus’ work was a satisfactory offering to God the Father.   It would mean that Jesus was corrupt and needed to stay in the grave.  But, he did not stay because his sacrifice was perfect.
    3. These verses clearly state that if you say that Jesus did not rise from the dead (in the same body He died in–John 2:19-21), then your faith is useless.
    4. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Muslims deny Jesus’ physical resurrection.  Therefore, they are outside of Christianity.
  1. The Gospel
    1. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:8-9, NIV).
      1. Verses 8 and 9 here in Galatians are a self-declarative statement that you must believe the gospel.  The gospel message which in its entirety is that Jesus is God in flesh, who died for sins, rose from the dead, and freely gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe.
      2. Furthermore, it would not be possible to present the gospel properly without declaring that Jesus is God in flesh per John 1:11410:30-3320:28Col. 2:9Phil. 2:5-8Heb. 1:8.
    2. 1 Cor. 15:1-4 defines what the gospel is: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.  Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (NIV).
      1. Within these verses are the essentials: Christ is God in flesh (John 1:11410:30-3320:28Col. 2:9); Salvation is received by faith (John 1:12Rom. 10:9-10); therefore it is by grace; and the resurrection is mentioned in verse 4.  Therefore, this gospel message automatically includes the essentials.
  1. Monotheism
    1. There is only one God (Exodus 20:3Isaiah 43:1044:68)
    2. “You shall have no other gods before Me.  4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:3-6).
      1. We can see that God will visit iniquity on the descendants of those who do not follow the true and living God.
    3. Mormonism, for example, is not monotheistic.  Mormonism teaches that there are many gods but only one is worshiped.  Therefore, Mormonism is outside of Christianity.

Essential Doctrines of Christianity by Matt Slick 11/23/08

III. LIVE IT OUT

Pray: Ask God to show you how to know truth from fiction

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