Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 29 Nov 2015
3 Let not anyone deceive you by any means. For that Day shall not come unless there first comes a falling away, and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition,
4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself forth, that he is God.
5 Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?
6 And now you know what holds back, for him to be revealed in his own time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already working, only he is now holding back until it comes out of the midst.
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming,
9 whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved.
When Paul had been in Thessalonica he had explained to them at length about the antichrist. Last time we said that we do not know the time of his revelation. But there are certain signs that it’s close to him being revealed, and the Word of God tells us what it will be like.
We also read in Rev 13:6-8
6 And it opened its mouth in blasphemy toward God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, and those dwelling in Heaven.
7 And it was given to it to war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given to it over every tribe and tongue and nation.
8 And all dwelling on the earth will worship it, those whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world.
It is very dangerous if your name is not written in the Book of Life. Then it goes on to say, let everyone who has an ear, hear.
Then from Rev 13:13-18
13 And it does great wonders, so that it makes fire come down from the heaven onto the earth in the sight of men.
14 And it deceives those dwelling on the earth, because of the miracles which were given to it to do before the beast, saying to those dwelling on the earth that they should make an image to the beast who had the wound by a sword and lived.
15 And there was given to it to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might both speak, and might cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
16 And it causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark on their right hand, or in their foreheads,
17 even that not any might buy or sell except those having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of its name.
18 Here is the wisdom. Let him having reason count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. And its number is six hundred and sixty-six.
Here we read that the mark of the beast would be put on the right hand and forehead. There are those who put tattoos on their skin, which is bad. But this mark will not be exactly like that. For there are those who already have the mark, but it’s under their skin on their right hand or forehead. If you do not agree to carry the mark, you will not be able to buy or sell. It will be a very difficult time. If you cannot stand now when it is easy, how will you stand when the antichrist reigns with his mark. Pray that God would help you, for Christianity is not something to be played with. You must take is seriously. People fail for small things, maybe falling for a book with pornography. Or they access the internet and watch pornography on it, while they call themselves Christians. If you are born again, but are bound by pornography, you are bound with the chains of hell and need prayer for deliverance.
We’ve heard how when the antichrist comes he will come with all kinds of blasphemies, blaspheming God and heaven. If you cannot stand now, how will you stand in that day?
It also says that its number is the number of a man, six hundred and sixty six. And it says that all people will bow before him. One is astonished that someone can actually worship satan!
Satan also comes as an angel of light. He comes to you with something attractive.
There are those that say the mark on your hand or forehead will be the ultimate form of security. Everything about you, your bank details, your medical history, etc., is all hidden away on your body and always available. Instead of carrying a credit card with you that can be lost or stolen, you simply need to swipe your hand. Satan doesn’t come with horns or a forked tail, but as an angel of light. Satan is at his most dangerous when he comes with the Bible. He doesn’t come to you with a prostitute, but the Bible, like he did with Jesus. Of course if you’re still weak spiritually he will come to you with blatant sins. But if you’re growing up spiritually he comes to you with the Bible, like the many cults that use the Bible to deceive people. No wonder Paul said to the Corinthians that he was afraid of them being deceived, like the snake deceived Eve (2Cor 11:3).
3:1 Know this also, that in the last days grievous times will be at hand.
2 For men will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
To love money is very dangerous, even for preachers. When Nicolas Bhengu was still alive he warned us that the problem with preachers is that they loved money. Money is not the sin, but to love money is a sin. For no one can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money. Pastor Bhengu spoke about a man who was a great preacher and servant of God, until another congregation came and offered him a much bigger salary and church, and that was the end of him. He packed up and went after the money, no longer listening to the voice of God.
You cannot serve God and money. Your heart must be totally surrendered to God (Matt 6:24).
One young man came to Jesus, asking Him what he must do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said to him to keep the commandments, “obey your parents, don’t steal, don’t be immoral” (Matt 19:18). The young man answered that he kept it all since his childhood. Jesus looked at him and loved him, but answered him that he lacked yet one thing, to go and sell all his riches, give it to the poor and follow Jesus. The young man’s expression changed, he became sad and left, for he was rich. Then Jesus said to his disciples that it was very difficult for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. And he said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Matt 19:23-24). The disciples marvelled and said that if it was so, no one could be saved. Jesus affirmed it, but said that with God all things are possible (Matt 19:25-26).
A rich person meets with many more temptations and dangers than other people.
It’s not wrong to be wealthy. Abraham was very rich, but he didn’t worship his riches, but he worshipped God. Job too was very rich, yet he didn’t trust in his wealth but in God (Job 31:24).
Satan tempted the Lord Jesus with riches too, saying to Him that he will give all the riches of the earth to Jesus if He worshipped him, but Jesus refused (Matt 4:8-10). Jesus must be greater to you than anything else. There are many who say about the whites that they have all the riches, but the blacks do not have anything. But that’s not the full truth. There might be those who inherit a lot, but they usually waste it all away within a short time. Those that become wealthy are those who are industrious and work hard. The Bible speaks of the blessing of hard work (Prov 12:24, 13:4, 14:23, Ps 128:2, 1Thess 4:11-12 et.). The Bible also says that those who don’t work should also not eat (2Thess 3:10-12).
We read in Mal 3:8-10
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.
Maybe you are poor and go to bed hungry, and don’t realise that this curse is upon you, for you rob God of His rightful share.
William Colgate grew up in very poor circumstances. He lost his father when he was 14. He and his mother came from England. When his father died, William could no longer go to school, for his mother didn’t have enough money for him to go to school. His mother was also very sickly, and he had to help a lot in the house. He was dressed in rags and would go around from house to house asking for alms. He would look for work and would be very happy for a short, temporary job, so that he could bring back some money for his mother. Eventually he despaired because he was so hungry and couldn’t find proper work. In winter they would freeze. One day as he was looking for a job, he passed by a soap factory, and he decided to knock to ask for a job. As he went in he knelt at the back and prayed, ‘o my Jesus Christ, my mother and I cannot survive anymore, and my mother is so weak. I ask you Lord that if I go to the front entrance, help me to get work, and I promise that I will pay the tithe of whatever money I get and I will live for you.’ He got up and went to the front entrance, wiped his tears with his handkerchief, and knocked. Someone with a loud voice called for him to enter. He went in and greeted respectfully and asked for work. The man, who was the co-owner of the business, told him that he was still so young and very thin. What work would he be able to do. He told him that he would do anything, his mother was dying and they need food. The man asked him if he could scrub the floor and he answered that he could for he did it at home, for his mother was too ill to do it. William began to have a bit of hope that he would get a job. The man stood up and gave William a big bucket and scrubbing brush and cloth and showed him where he must begin. William worked as hard as he could to make the floor shine. At five he ran home to excitedly tell his mother that he found work. His mother was a believer and was very happy. He also shared with his mother how he prayed and surrendered his life to the Lord before he asked for the job. His mother reminded him not to forget his promise. After two or three weeks, the co-owner met up with a colleague at work and told him that he never met a boy who was as diligent as William. They decided to give him a raise, and made him the delivery boy. William was happy, and told his mother everything. He was also faithful in his tithing and kept his promise and gave a tenth to God of everything he received. He was also faithful in his delivery and would be finished early every day and go to the factory to ask if there was any other work. The manager was surprised, for the previous delivery boys would only return at 4 or 5 and complain about the long distances. While he was in that job as delivery boy, one of the co-owners fell ill and passed away. William had saved his money faithfully all the years he was working there and with the interest he earned, it had already become a substantial sum. He then took the money he had saved and bought the share of the business of the owner that had passed away. Later the other co-owner also fell ill and died, and again William was able to buy the remaining share of the business, so that he became the sole owner of the factory. He then changed the name of the company to ‘William Colgate and co.’, which became the producer of Colgate toothpaste. His company also produced many other products. In 1957 he passed away as a wealthy man, leaving an inheritance for his family, and having kept his promise to God all those years.
Mal 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”