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

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