2Thessalonians Reminders to the Church
Introduction & Background • Written by Paul, probably in response to something that happened to lead the congregation astray • 2nd letter repeats many of the same themes, but with further explanation… • Different outcomes for believers and non-believers • Praise for perseverance through troubles • Warnings not to be idle or lazy in spreading the gospel and working in general • Requesting prayers on his own behalf • Day of the Lord is immanent
Background continued • Either they didn’t get it the first time, or something had interfered • Chapter 2 verses 1-2 shows why Paul chooses to write again and go into much greater depth regarding eschatology • Shows also the dangerous nature of Paul trying to communicate doctrine to these churches. • Paul spends time in every epistle trying to validate who he is, details that prove he is the same guy who was with them, etc.
Chapter 1 • Verse 3 • We must always thank God for what you are doing: • Faith is flourishing • Love for one another is increasing • Verse 4 • We boast ourselves to other churches: • Because of your endurance in faith through all the afflictions and persecutions
Similar Greeting • Compare to 1 Thessalonians: • Work produced by faith • Labor prompted by Love • Endurance inspired by Hope in Christ • They are clearly doing exactly what Paul had instructed them to do, prayed for them to do, and had hoped they would continue to do.
Two outcomes from one truth • Verse 5 • It is evidence of God’s righteousness that two things will be true • Again, we have a comparison to 1 Thessalonians: • Day of the Lord presents two very different realities that are both true: • Results for the children of the night • Results for the children of the day
Outcomes Those who are unrighteous: • Verse 6: Pay back trouble to those who trouble you • Verse 8: Punish those who do not know God • Verse 8: Punish those who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ • Verse 9: Everlasting Destruction • Verse 9: Shut off from the presence of the Lord and His majesty • The “know” here is not simply to be aware of…but to recognize and truly understand. • The “obeying the gospel”… • What is the gospel?
Outcomes Those who are righteous: • Verse 6: Give relief to those who are troubled • Verse 6: Give relief to us as well • Verse 9: Abiding in the presence and power of God forever • God is Just in all things…there is no whimsy or partiality to His choices or judgment…His enemies will get what they deserve, His children will get what they have been set aside for.
The main purpose of the Day • These results take place when: • This will happen when the Lord is “revealed” as described in verse 7 • The purpose is not the punishment part • Verse 10: He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marveled at by all those who believe. • Hell was not intended for us, but we eagerly rush towards it if we do not “obey the gospel”
Assurance • Paul points out that the Thessalonians need not be worried about their spiritual condition…which of the two results awaits them. • End of verse 10 • He wants them to rest assured so that instead of being worried about it, they will continue on with their business of doing the Lord’s work and growing in relationship to Him.
A different view on the Day of the Lord • 1st Thessalonians focuses on the nearness of the coming of the Lord • In order to encourage in the face of adversity • In order to spur on action in light of the time being short • In order to highlight the importance of spreading the Gospel while it is still possible Chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians involves being alert and hardworking because the Day of the Lord could come at any moment
Different outlook on that day • Apparently, the Thessalonians seemed to think that they had missed it already. • This may have been the nature of the forgery mentioned in Chapter 2 • The Eschatology focus in 2 Thessalonians involves proof that they did not miss it, and a slightly different focus… • Paul is not necessarily saying that the church is definitely going to miss the tribulation, or a portion of it. • Instead, he seems to be saying, “look…if you had missed it, you would be seeing all these other things, and you aren’t…so you didn’t miss it.” Keep working at it…don’t let anyone discourage you…it is not so near that your work is done!
Next Week • 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 • Day of the Lord a little more in depth • The Man of Lawlessness