Book 14 - PAUL'S SECOND LETTER TO THE THESSALONIANS
With people, places, definitions, map ......
Writer: The apostle Paul
Date: c AD52, a few months after his First Letter to the Thessalonians
Where written: Corinth, during his 18 month stay, Acts 18:11
Readers: The church in Thessalonica
Why: Following his First Letter, Paul must have received reports that the church was still preoccupied with the Second Coming of Jesus. He therefore writes his second "eschatological" letter
Map - Paul Writes his Two Letters to the Thessalonians
Map Key: Letters sent from 1 to 2
THANKSGIVING AND ENCOURAGEMENT
PAUL AGAIN GIVES THANKS FOR THE LIFE AND WITNESS OF THE THESSALONIANS
2 Thessalonians 1:1-7a - To the church of the Thessalonians, founded on God our Father and Jesus Christ the Lord, from Paul, Silvanus (or Silas) and Timothy; grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Your sufferings are a guarantee of great joy one day
My brothers, nowadays I thank God for you not only in common fairness but as a moral obligation! Your faith has made such strides, and (without any individual exceptions) your love towards each other has reached such proportions that we actually boast about you in the churches, because you have shown such endurance and faith in all the trials and persecutions you have gone through.
These qualities show how justly the judgment of God works out in your case. Without doubt he intends to use your suffering to make you worthy of his kingdom, yet his justice will one day repay trouble to those who have troubled you, and peace to all of us who, like you, have suffered ....
CHRIST WILL JUDGE EVERYONE WHEN HE RETURNS
2 Thessalonians 1:7b-12 - ...... This judgment (on those who attacked the Thessalonian Christians) will issue eventually in the final denouement (outcome or result) of Christ's personal coming from Heaven with the angels of his power. It will bring full justice in dazzling flame upon those who have refused to know God or to obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Their punishment will be eternal exclusion from the radiance of the face of the Lord, and the glorious majesty of power. But to those whom he has made holy his coming will mean splendour unimaginable. It will be a breath-taking wonder to all who believe - including you, for you have believed the message that we have given you.
In view of this great prospect, we pray for you constantly, that God will think you worthy of this calling, and that he will effect in you all his goodness desires to do, and that your faith makes possible. We pray that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may become more glorious through you, and that you may share something of his glory - all through the grace of our God and Jesus Christ the Lord.
THE SECOND COMING
THE ANTI-CHRIST OF SATAN MUST APPEAR BEFORE THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 - Now we do implore you, by the very certainty of Christ's coming and of our meeting him together, to keep your heads and not be thrown off balance by any prediction or message or letter purporting to come from us (... Paul is perhaps referring to a forged letter), and saying that the day of Christ is almost here. Don't let anyone deceive you by any means whatsoever. That day will not come before there arises a definite rejection of God and the appearance of the lawless man (... the anti-christ, the man of sin, who is under the control of Satan). He is the product of all that leads to death, and he sets himself up in opposition to every religion. He himself takes his seat in the temple of God, to show that he really claims to be God.
I expect you remember now how I (Paul) talked about this when I was with you (in Thessalonica). You will probably also remember how I used to talk about a "restraining power" which would operate until the time should come for the emergence of this man (the anti-christ). Evil is already insidiously at work but its activities are restricted until what I have called the "restraining power" (of God) is removed. When that happens the lawless man will be plainly seen - though the truth of the Lord Jesus spells his doom, and the radiance of the coming of the Lord Jesus will be his utter destruction. The lawless man is produced by the spirit of evil and armed with all the force, wonders and signs that falsehood can devise. To those involved in this dying world he will come with evil's undiluted power to deceive, for they have refused to love the truth which could have saved them. God sends upon them, therefore, the full force of evil's delusion, so that they put their faith in an utter fraud and meet the inevitable judgment of all who have refused to believe the truth and who have made evil their play-fellow.
PAUL'S ENCOURAGEMENT TO STAND FIRM
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 - But we can thank God continually for you, brothers, whom the Lord loves. He has chosen you from the beginning to save you, to make you holy by the work of his Spirit and your own belief in the truth. It was his call that you followed when we preached the Gospel to you, and he has set before you the prospect of sharing the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So stand firm, and hold on! Be loyal to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or in writings.
May the Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father (who has loved us and given us unending encouragement and unfailing hope by his grace) inspire you with courage and confidence in every good thing you say or do.
A CALL FOR PRAYER AND TO DISCIPLINE
PAUL ASKS FOR PRAYER FOR HIS WORK AND WARNS AGAINST IDLENESS
- The warning against idleness is for those Thessalonian Christians expecting the imminent return of Jesus, who have stopped concerning themselves with day-to-day living:
2 Thessalonians 3:1-15 - Finally, my brothers, do pray for us here (in Corinth). Pray that the Lord's message may go forward unhindered and may bring him glory, as it has done with you. Pray, too, that we may not be embroiled with bigoted and wicked men; for all men, alas, have not faith. Yet the Lord is utterly to be depended upon by all who have faith in him, and he will give you stability and protection against all that is evil. It is he who makes us feel confident about you, that you are acting and will act in accordance with our commands. May he guide your hearts into ever deeper understanding of his love and the patient suffering of Christ.
Remember our example: everyone should do his fair share of work
One further order we must give you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: don't associate with the brother whose life is undisciplined, and who despises the teaching we gave him. You know well that we ourselves are your examples here, and that our lives among you were never undisciplined. We did not eat anyone's food without paying for it. In fact we toiled and laboured night and day to avoid being the slightest expense to any of you. This was not because we had no right to ask our necessities of you, but because we wanted to set you an example. When we were actually with you we gave you this principle to work on: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." Now we hear that you have some among you living quite undisciplined lives, never doing a stroke of work, and busy only in other people's affairs. Our order to such men, indeed our appeal by the Lord Jesus Christ, is to settle down to work and eat the food they have earned themselves.
And the rest of you - don't get tired of honest work! If anyone refuses to obey the command given above, mark that man, do not associate with him until he is ashamed of himself. I don't mean, of course, treat him as an enemy, but reprimand him as a brother.
FAREWELLS & BLESSINGS
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18 - Now may the Lord of peace personally give you his peace at all times and in all ways. The Lord be with you all.
This is the farewell message of PAUL, written in my own writing - my "mark" on all my letters.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
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