- V.1-4 – Paul has obviously has heard reports of the conditions for the church and the believer's response to those conditions. The key passage here is in V.3 “your faith is growing abundantly and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.”
- V. 5-10 –first we see that our worthiness comes from Christ.And no matter how bad things get in persecution, no matter how corrupt our government gets, no matter how marginalized we get as believers, God will avenge us against those who made life difficult and who perpetuated sin into the world. We may not see this in our lives but we know by faith that God sees the affliction of His children.
- 9 – they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord.
- 10 – Paul also reiterates that the Thessalonians are secure in their faith because they believed. This is a great eternal security passage. By virtue of their having believed, they will be participants in Christ's glory(as we will also be) - no baptism, no works, or stipulations. We must be careful not to have the Gospel And – or faith plus something.
- V. 1-2 – apparently, false teachers told the church that they had missed the return of Christ. Paul is writing to reassure them that they had not missed the second coming and that some things would precede that event.
- V. 3-5 – Paul had apparently discussed this with the church but they seemed to have forgotten. We have to abide in the Word and in Christ or we are in danger of forgetting key things about our faith and relationship with God. It is when we forget truth, we are susceptible to deceit and lies from the enemy and his false teachers.Now we can look at the passage and attempt to decipher it. A cryptic warning is given with no further explanation – rebellion or falling away, depending on your translation. The Greek word used here is apostasia which can be translated as defection from truth. We get the idea that it is a falling away of those who claim to be of Christ. It is a rejection of truth by those who claim to possess it.We see a great defection of young believers taking place right now and that may be part of it, but I believe it goes beyond just people growing up and leaving the church. I believe it pertains to churches that retain their identity as “Christian” yet embrace sin and evil. We also see that taking place today on a grand scale.The Roman Church claims 1.2 billion adherents, about 50% of the Christian world. The Methodist Church, the Presbyterian USA, the Episcopal church, just to name a few, have embraced sin are weak on the exclusivity of the Gospel. J. Vernon McGee said, “the persecution of the church will be led by the denominational churches.” and I believe he was right.When someone like Hillary Clinton quotes scripture and gets up in front of a Catholic audience and says, “I'm not Catholic, but I am Methodist and we both know that salvation comes from faith and works.” and then we find out the top level people running her campaign are involved in occultic and satanic rituals, we can see the apostasy happening before our very eyes.
- V.6-8 - this is another very difficult passage to interpret as the Thessalonians apparently knew the identity of the restrainer, yet we are not given his specific identity.
- V.9-12 – the anti-christ will come by the power of Satan and he will be successful until Christ comes and destroys him. We wonder how he can be successful, well, we know from this passage that God Himself will send them delusion to believe what is false because they refused to believe what was true. These are not people ignorant of the truth, these are people who have rejected the truth and in so doing, making themselves enemies of God. God is not causing them to make a bad choice as much as He is greasing the tracks for them, helping them go faster in the direction they have already chose.
- V.13 – Paul references the Feast of Firstfruits – Firstfruits was the 3rd of 4 Fall feasts fulfilled by the Christ in His first coming. We read about this in Leviticus 23:9-14 - And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. And the grain offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, a food offering to the LORD with a pleasing aroma, and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
- Jesus fulfilled the Spring feasts at His first coming – Passover, Unleavened bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-18
- V. 1-2 – We need to pray for our leaders. The enemy know if you strike the shepherd, the sheep will scatter. When Jesus was arrested, only 2 of the 12 stuck with him and one of those denied even knowing him.
- V. 3-5 – Notice that in all these things, it is the Lord who accomplishes them in, for or through us. Serving God has a supernatural component. We cannot, on our own, accomplish the things God has for us to do. We do not have the ability to love as God calls us to love, we do not have the power to stand up to the attacks of the enemy, Satan is a supernatural interdimensional creature and we are made of dust. God empowers us to overcome Satan.
- V. 6-12 – Here we have a warning against those who are idle. This is the second time Paul gives a warning to the Thessalonians about idleness. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all
- V. 13 – We are called to not grow weary in doing good. We can get discouraged when we see others prosper who are living in sin or actively harming others. When we try and try to accomplish good and see little fruit, we can get discouraged. Don't grow weary. God sees the good we do and He will reward our efforts, maybe not here, but certainly in heaven. Store up treasure in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy, and where our treasure is, there will be our hearts.
- V. 14-15 – We know that Jesus gave us a formula to follow when shunning someone. We must first go to them, then go to them with a another, then before the church and then shunning. This is how we treat a brother and show him love. Shunning should be painful for both the shunned and the ones doing the shunning, if it is done properly. Unfortunately, today, we cut off someone for the slightest offense or perceived offense. We have a plethora of churches to choose from, so if we get chased away from one, we just go find another one with lower standards. Often going to a person in love will clear up a good deal of problems.
- V. 16-18 – As Paul asks God's peace on his readers, may God's peace be on all who read this study. Jesus is coming for His church and if you are in the church, rejoice, if you are not in the church, or are not sure, please contact me or leave a comment below. I would love to talk with you about God's love and God's justice and how that pertains to you.