Saturday, June 26, 2010

Second Thessalonians - Chapter 3


This week we are wrapping up our study of Second Thessalonians. Thus, we need to decide on what to study next. Given that we're in the summer season and many of us are away from church for a week or two on vacation or other travels I'd like to propose we stay in the New Testament and study some of the shorter letters which are easily covered in a week or two. This way anyone who misses a week or two will not feel lost returning in the middle of a larger multi-month study. Please bring your ideas with you to Sunday School tomorrow morning.

Now, let's proceed with wrapping up Second Thessalonians.

I. Introduction

A. A Request for Prayer and a Prayer for Them
B. A Charge to Discipline the Disorderly
C. Concluding Remarks

II. A Request for Prayer and a Prayer for Them

A. First Paul requests the Thessalonians pray for him and his work
1. Asks that they pray for God to facilitate the rapid and wide dissemination of the Gospel
2. Asks that they pray for Paul's deliverance from his enemies.
a. Dr. Constable believes Paul was referencing unbelieving Jews who were causing him difficulty in Corinth.
3. Imagine how the Thessalonians must have felt when they read that their leader was asking for them to pray for him!
4. Important to note Paul was not asking selfishly for prayers about wordly things. He was asking for prayers that God might intervene to help him further advance his ministry.
a. Read James 4:2 - James gives powerful instruction on how and what to pray for and that God wants us to pray and ask.
B. After expressing confidence in them he then prays that they might have a greater appreciation of God's love for them and the patience/steadfastness of Christ

III. A Charge to Discipline the Disorderly

A. Passage is mostly about how to treat "disorderly" christians. However, Paul does briefly address the offenders in v12.
B. Issue is about congregants who had stopped working and had begun living on the generosity of the other members.
C. Paul reminds them that he himself worked while he was among them specifically for the purpose of giving them an example to imitate.
D. Clearly this was a topic that had been discussed previously.
1. Paul mentions that he taught them about this while he was among them
2. Also wrote about same topic in his first letter (see First Thessalonians 4:11) - gently encouraging them.
E. Clearly some had not gotten the hint and now stronger, more direct language was needed.
F. Why had some of the congregants stopped working?
1. Believed Lord's return was imminent. Instead of believing the Lord COULD come soon, they had come to believe He WOULD come soon.
2. In anticipation of this event they had become excited and quit their jobs
G. Paul provides direct instruction to the offenders, in effect saying, "Calm yourself down and get back to work and provide for yourselves."
H. Paul also provides instruction on how to "discipline" those who do not heed his words.
1. Basically he tells them to shun them and in this way they will be shamed into admitting the error of their ways and will fall in line with God's teaching.
2. Also tells them to continue to love them as brothers not to treat them as enemies.

IV. Concluding Remarks

A. Another prayer for the Thessalonians
B. A confirmation of his authorship (he writes these sentences in his own handwriting instead of through a scribe)
C. Final benediction


(1) Notes on Second Thessalonians, 2010 Edition, Dr. Thomas L. Constable
(2) The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, A Study Guide with Introductory Comments, Summaries, Outlines, and Review Questions by Mark A. Copeland
(3) The New Testament and Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The Iversen-Norman Associates, New York 1971

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Second Thessalonians - Chapter 2


I. Introduction

A. The Lord Has Not Come Yet (v. 1-2)

B. The Wicked Man Must Come First (v. 3-12)

C. Thanks to God for the Thessalonians (v. 13-15)

D. Prayer for the Thessalonians (v. 16-17)

II. The Lord Has Not Come Yet

A. False teachings have persuaded some of the Thessalonians that their persecution and affliction is a sign that "The Day of the Lord" had already begun.

B. Paul categorically denies this.

C. Cautions them not to be easily misguided by false teachings

D. Paul mentions three possible ways they may have been misled

1. By someone claiming a false prophecy, or

2. By someone claiming Paul had said or preached a sermon contrary to what he had already told them , or

3. By someone claiming to have a letter written by Paul on this subject

III. The Wicked Man Must Come First

A. Paul proclaims the day of the Lord will not come until two events occur

1. the rebellion, and

2. the lawless one is revealed

B. Greek word used for first event is "apostasy"

1. We don't know meaning of that word. However, similar word "Apostasia" usually means rebellion.

2. Wycliffe's bible commentary suggests rebellion could come in one of two forms, either in a political or religious sense.

3. Easy English bible commentary suggests it means religious and more specifically a 'falling away' or turning against God.

C. Wycliffe goes on to explain further that it will be a 'marshaling of the powers of evil against the people and purposes of God

D. Several other biblical references warn against this as well

1. Matthew 24:10

2. I Timothy 4:1-3

3. II Timothy 3:1-9

4. II Timothy 4:3

E. Lawless one will only be revealed at a time and place of God's choosing (God is always in charge!)

1. Lawless one is currently being held in check and can not reveal himself because of the power of God through the Holy Spirit - this position held by Dispensationalists (ex. Scofield)
2. Many other scholars (from Tertullian on c. 200 AD) believe Paul was referring loosely to the Roman empire (i.e., government in general). Government maintains law and order thus allowing the church to carry out its work.

F. Coming of the lawless one is obviously the work of Satan.
1. He will be able to perform great miracles
2. Many will be deceived because they have not known God's love, have not loved the truth

G. Lawless one (to whom John refers to as the antichrist) will oppose God and all other religions
1. Will declare himself to be a god
2. Will seat himself in the temple

IV. Thanks to God for the Thessalonians

A. Paul gives thanks to God for the faithful Thessalonians
B. Implores the Thessalonians to stand firm and hold fast to what he has taught them through his direct (in-person) teachings or by his letters.

V. Prayer for the Thessalonians

A. Prays that God may comfort their hearts and strengthen them in good work and word


(1) The New Testament and Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Iversen-Norman Associates, 1971

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Second Thessalonians - Chapter 1

I. Overview

A. Greetings

B. Thanksgiving & Encouragement

C. The Judgement at Christ's Coming

II. Greetings

A. Compare v. 1-2 to opening verses of First Thessalonians

1. Some use the fact that they are virtually identical to suggest someone else penned Second Thessalonians at a much later date, using Paul's name and his words to support authenticity.

2. However, also read opening verses of many other letters written by Paul. Almost all use very similar words.

III. Thanksgiving & Encouragement

A. Thanksgiving - always gives thanks to God for their growing faith

B. Offers Encouragement for them to continue to be faithful in the face of persecution by boasting of their faith to other churchs

III. Judgement at Christ's Coming

A. Thessalonicans had suffered through persecution

1. Paul says God's coming judgement is right

2. God will judge the Thessalonicans and they will be seen to have had faith

3. They will 'pass the test' and spend eternity with God and Jesus

B. God will Judge and Punish Evil

1. God's justice will ultimately prevail

2. Persecutors and unbelievers will face God's wrath

C. Jesus Coming from Heaven

1. Coming with powerful angels and fire

2. His followers will be reunited with him in the sky

3. Jesus will send unbelievers away from Him and God forever

D. Paul Expresses Confidence Thessalonicans will be Among those Called to Spend Eternity with Him

1. Believe the message and you will be among those who are saved.



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Introduction - Second Thessalonians

Next Sunday, June 13th, we will begin our study of Second Thessalonians. This week, to get us started I will be providing an overview of the book. As I've done in the past, I will accomplish this by answering the 5 'W' questions: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

I. Who

A. Who Wrote It?
1. As always there is a difference of opinion as to whether the letter was actually written by Paul.
2. However, most experts do believe it was written by Paul

B. To Whom was it Written?
1. No doubt here, it was written to the early Christians at Thessalonica
2. Primarily Gentiles, but some Jews

II. What - Three Key Topics Contained in the Letter

A. Encouragement in the face of continuing persecution
B. Clarify events concerning the day of the Lord
C. Instructed church on how to deal with lazy Christians

III. When

A. People who believe it wasn't written by Paul - suggest it was written late in the first century about the same time as Revelations.

B. People who believe it was written by Paul - suggest it was written within a year of when Paul wrote First Thessalonians.

IV. Where

A. Recall from our study of First Thessalonians that Thessalonica is located in present day Greece

1. Located at intersection of two major Roman roads
a. one leading from Italy eastward (Ignatia Way)
b. other from the Danube to the Aegean
2. Port city
3. Roman provincial capital of Macedonia

B. Like First Thessalonians - it is believed Paul wrote Second Thessalonians from Corinth

V. Why

A. To offer additional encouragement to the church who faced continued persecution
B. To dispel false teaching about the second coming of the Lord
C. To correct behavior resulting from this false teach - specifically people not working because they were sure Jesus was coming soon.