On July 8, 1971 Coca-Cola aired for the very first time one of the most iconic commercial every produced. The youth of the world gather on a hillside and sing, “in perfect harmony” I might add, about wanting to buy the world a home… fully furnished with love. If only we had listened in 1971 to the desperate plea of the youth to grow honey bees, we may not find the honey bee on the brink of extinction today! The commercial ends with Coca-Cola’s most famous slogan,”It’s the real thing”, and adds the line, “what the world wants today.”
I didn’t originally intend to talk about Coca-Cola, but I got sucked-in doing a Google search for: “spotting the real thing.” You may be asking, what in the world does this have to do with 2 Thessalonians 2? I’m glad you asked.
Chapter 2 of 2 Thessalonians serves as the main body of Paul’s letter. After we get through the greeting and encouragements, Paul begins to land on the point of the whole letter. We find the main point in the first verse:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (NLT) 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.
Using our inductive reasoning skills we can speculate that the body of the letter to the church will include clearing up confusion regarding the Second Coming. If you thought this too, congratulations, you’re correct!
However, Paul does something a little different. Instead of restating the facts he’s already shared, Paul talks to the church about the warning signs that will occur in the world first.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NLT) 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.
Paul gives the church the warning signs of what to look for in order to indicate the ushering in of the “antichrist:”
- Great rebellion against God
- The man of lawlessness (antichrist) is revealed
- He will exalt himself
- Defy everything that people call God and every object of worship
- He will sit in the temple of God and claim he is God.
So basically at this point, Paul says to the church, listen, I know things are crazy and you’re experiencing a ton of persecution. I also know you’ve been concerned about where your loved ones go when they die. Let me explain what happens to your loved ones, and also reassure sure that Jesus won’t return until these things happen.
The Real, Real Thing
As I was thinking about what Paul was sharing with these young Christians, and I started to think, what would I share? Then it hit me! I would take the same approach as the FBI.
When the FBI trains counterfeit specialists, they don’t have them study all the counterfeit bills in circulation. Instead, the specialists spend all their time studying the real thing. Because they spend so much time studying the real thing, it’s much easier to spot the fake.
This is what I would do! I would tell the church, yes, you do need to know the warning signs, but don’t spend your time looking for the fake, instead, study the real thing so much you’ll spot the fake from miles away.
Let me ask you this: How well do you know the real thing? Meaning, how well do you know what Jesus looks like? Would you recognize if God showed up among you?
I believe the commercial’s right, It is “the real thing the world wants today.” They get plenty exposer to the fake, maybe it’s time to show the world the real, real thing.