< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: 2nd Thessalonians - Part 1

Monday, May 03, 2010

2nd Thessalonians - Part 1

This letter was probably written only a few months after the first letter and it deals with some of the same questions and problems. Read study on 1st Thessalonians Here Paul clears up a couple things they didn’t understand; mainly about the timing of Christ’s return. Because of the persecution and Paul’s first letter some thought they were in the “day of the Lord”. (A common term for end times or even judgment day.)

Some of the people were sitting around idle waiting for the end of the world. Paul says, instead, the people (and us) should be busier than ever: living purely, using our time well and working for His kingdom.

One thing we’ll notice in this second letter: 1st Thessalonians was warm in tone and filled with personal data. 2nd Thessalonians is colder, more formal and authoritarian. The first letter stresses the unpredictability and the suddenness of the coming of Christ. The second offers signs by which we can predict that coming. The second letter also gives information about the lawless one. (the anti-Christ) And there may have been a false letter circulating with Paul’s name on it, confusing things, because we’ll see at the very end of this book Paul says, “This is my handwriting.”

The first 4 verses are the introduction:
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4 1Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. 4Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

Remember from the first letter Paul is deliberately linking Jesus and God in his greeting to remind the young church that the church was of divine not human origin. The greetings in all of Paul’s letters show what a great encourager he was. When he wrote that he sees the love they have for each other increasing – don’t you think there were people in that church who hung their heads and thought about how they had just ignored someone, or talked about them behind their back? But, that because of the way Paul said it they squared their shoulders and determined to be that way? We should encourage each other at every opportunity.

In verse 4 he says that in their persecutions they are showing perseverance and faith. That’s the key to surviving persecution and trials. Whatever we are faced with if we have faith that God is using it somehow for good and we are patient and don’t complain then we glorify God.

God is just and His timing is perfect!

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