Monday, February 25, 2019

2nd. Thessalonians - Chap. 2

2 Thess. 2:1-12 - last days!  end times!  return of Christ!  anti-Christ!
These people had issues (questions) about all of the above.
Was SO debated.  So many views - because:
        (1)  was the future
        (2)  mysterious future!
Contrast - predicting summer's weather.  predictions can be based on many previous summers.
They had never experienced the coming of the Lord .

So:  2 Thess. 2:2 - THE DAY = come and gone?  or now fully begun?  Had they missed it, or were they in the midst of it.  (the day of the Lord) ie:  a period of time

2 Thess. 2:3 - The Rebellion - THE Apostasy - THE Falling Away.
This is more than falling away from the faith.  This = turning away!! - deliberate decision to walk away and against the things of God.

The Man Revealed  (Antichrist)
     Man of "perdition" - domed to hell, destruction - compare Judas - John 17:12
     Man of "lawlessness"  - (one who rejects God's laws) - because against God's Law(s)

Therefore will  (1)  Oppose God  (Godliness)
                       (2)  Exalt 'Self - over everything that is called God or God-related
                       (3)  Set 'Self up in the Temple  (this = AD 51)
                       (4)  Will Proclaim 'Self to be God!!
Other people at other times will claim this as well.
Examples:  Nero, Titus, Mohammad, many popes, Adolf Hitler, etc.

2 Thess. 2:6 - The Restrainer - (Holy Spirit? - compare Job)

2 Thess. 2:7 - this power is already at work - spirit of lawlessness is already here.
1 John 2:18, 4:1-3 - applicable to us now.

2 Thess. 2:8 overthrown by Christ's breath!  - Rev. 19
Can breathe creation, destruction

2 Thess. 2:9 - His coming
Accompanied by and in accordance with Satan's power!
So ...... signs, wonders, miracles!!!

Question:  "counterfeit"?  = not real in MESSAGE!! - doesn't mean are not real, but directing away from God.  Signs, wonders, miracles can point TO God or AWAY from God!

2 Thess. 2:10 - evil that Deceives!! - ie:  Seductive!!  (sweet, nice, good)

Question:  Who are the "perishing"?  (present tense!) - John 3:16-19 - "stand perishing"

Why are they perishing? - 2 Thess. 2:10 - they refused to love the truth, not because they didn't know the truth.
So... God grants their desire!! - 2 Thess. 2:11-12
Paraphase:  "I offered light - you rejected it - so I took it away!" ==> darkness!

By Contrast:  - 2 Thess. 2:13-14
You were called, you responded - ie:  crossed the bridge!!

Application for them?  US!! - 2 Thess. 2:15 - Stand firm and hold to our teachings

In light of the fact that the power of Lawlessness is Already at work....
#1.  Stand firm in the faith - 1 Pet. 5:8-9, 10

#2.  hold to the teachings, instructions, 'traditions' - truth doesn't change!!
Eph. 4:14, 2 Tim. 4:3-5

and  #3.  don't be alarmed - 2 Thess. 2:2  (unsettled, worked up)
       should (1) Read, study, etc. - Rev. 1:3
                  (2)  be prepared - be awake, be alert
But,            (3) Not alarmed!!

Paul closes with prayer for God's assistance, (encouragement, strength) - 2 Thess. 2:16-17   
(which comes with obedience, faithfulness)

Seems we always return to "Press On" - which = primary factor in success!! - many things are helpful, but perseverance and endurance are NECESSARY!!

Closing Scripture:  2 Pet. 3:10, 13-14

Sunday, February 10, 2019

2 Thessalonians - cont.

2 Thess. 1:3-12 - Main Message = Vs. 6 & 7
2nd. letter, written some time after the first with more commendation.

Vs. 6 - God Is Just
Vs. 6 - He WILL Repay - and give relief to you who are troubled
Vs. 7 - But not now (yet) - when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven

Example:  Paul - "you are suffering for doing what's RIGHT!"
                Us - "that's NOT FAIR!!"  - (not Right!)

The ancient dilemma - "why do good men often suffer while evil men prosper?"

OR -
"IF God is all good AND all powerful... THEN ... why is there (so much) evil and suffering

The attempt to answer that = THEODICY
But Paul does no address the "Why" here... (and neither shall we ... today)

Paul simply states:
   God Is Just
   He Will Repay
   But Not Now  (yet)

I)  God is just - stated emphatically and repeatedly throughout the Scripture

(compare to Immanuel Kant's argument for justice)
Kant was a German philosopher (1724-1804)  Was not a Christian - probably more an agnostic

He concluded that IF Justice were to exist (ever) in would require the following:

(1)  Afterlife/ another life - because obviously perfect justice isn't going to happen in this one!

(2)  A perfect judge - who is:
      (a) all knowing  (so can judge properly
      (b) incorruptible - morally perfect and cannot be bribed, swayed, etc.

(3)  An all powerful judge - so He can execute or exact judgment.
ie:  He can pass judgment and enforce it.
     He can make things right!!

(4)  A judgment - (A) a hearing, assessment, evaluation of every individual, and
                            (B) a proper (corresponding) reward!!

NOTE:  how all this (deduced by reasoning) lines up perfectly with the Biblical Portrait of our God. - all the way from Genesis to Revelation.

NOTE:  God IS just - which is more than God Will Be just!!
That must include "just" in allowing present suffering!!

How can that be???  (2 answers)
1st:  God is fair;  Life is not!! - we live in a fallen world

2nd.  II_  He will Repay  (compensate, pay back, reward)
ie:  the righteous will be repaid with the Kingdom - Vs. 5
     the unrighteous with separation from God - vs. 9

On one hand, this = simplified summary of a lengthy doctrine.
However, it = a Summary - Gal. 6:7-9 - 'at the proper time'
                                        - 2 Cor. 4:17

Meanwhile -- we struggle  (a)  with life, trials, suffering  and (b)  (sometimes often) with this concept!!

Examples:  Job
                 Asaph - Psm. 73:1-17, 21-24
                 David - Psm. 37:1-9

So:  I)  God is Just
       II) He will repay
       III)  But not now  (yet)!!

III)  But not now (yet)
So --- when???  Vs. 6-7
Again ... this is stated emphatically & repeatedly throughout scripture!!
(appropriately depicted at the end of Scripture!!
Rev. 20:11-15 - judgment on the unrighteous
Rev. 21:1-5 - total compensation for the righteous

We believe this Because:
(1)  we believer God to BE who, what He has revealed Himself to be throughout Scripture - Self Revelation

(2)  We believe Christ!!!  His words, works

(3)  We believer His spokesmen - Prophets, Apostles and though is no comprehensive Theodicy in Scripture, (example = Job) there are numerous reasons given.  Example:  Rom. 8:28

(4)  we believer because the cry for justice is embedded indelibly in our hearts .. Rev. 6:9-11

2 Thess. 1:11-12  - "we pray.....
(1)  your good intentions will ==> Godly actions
(2)  your Godly actions will find completion, fruition.

Note:  this is NOT salvation by works, but = reward for works.  Salvation is ALWAYS by grace.

Closing Scripture:  2 Tim. 4:1-8

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Introduction to 2 Thessalonians

Written shortly after 1st. letter.

Purpose:  (1)  Commendation and Encouragement 
Praise for their growth, development, perseverance, witness and testimony IN SPITE OF trials and persecution which has continued and increased.

(2)  Correction and Teaching - a rumor that Christ has already returned?  2 Thess. 2:1-3 - "Don't let anyone deceive you".  They had NO New Testament and had no Jewish background.  

(3)  Instruction concerning how the church should act toward those who wouldn't work.  2 Thess. 3:6  - we command you.  Much more than just a casual suggestion.

Today:  2 Thess. 1:1-12 - focus on 2 Thess. 1:3-5

2 Thess. 1:3 - we ought to give thanks for you.  Paul sees it as a MORAL OBLIGATION!!  - ought to!  "rightly so"
The things they are commended for apply to us as well.

Because  (1)  your faith is growing
               (2)  your love for one another is increasing - this means:  Biblical definition of love, not personal or society's definition

Application:  #1.  when someone is doing right/good ... we should...
                       A.  Notice
                       B.  Encourage 
This is a moral obligation!!
Example:  1 Thess. 4:18 - point = more than just a nice thing to do!!

And, though it's clear we ought to encourage the discouraged,  also true that 
#2.  We ought to Encourage before discouragement takes hold.
Not just LIFT up, but also BUILD up!!

2 Thess. 1:4 - We, therefore, boast about you (to the other churches)

Note:  Thessalonian Christians are more than holding up.
           They are GROWING up!  Developing, maturing
 (A)  in the midst of trials (persecutions)
 (B)  partly because of the trials!  (and persecutions)

Though not developed here, this = typical Pauline ..
Examples:  Rom. 5:1-4,  2 Cor. 4:16-18, James 1:2-4 - trials not only TEST our faith...  They (CAN) develop our faith!!  Rom. 8:28 - "in all things..."

NOW something clearly implied and partly stated:   2 Thess. 1:5 - "all this is evidence'  OR "your faith is evident"
On one hand, faith is not visible - can't see faith.
However, there should be visible evidence 
James. 2:14-19

Faith that doesn't produce visible evidence is at best questionable!!

2 Thess. 1:11 - Paul's prayer

Paraphrase:  "we pray God will assist you in your life, on your life, through your life, so that ...
(1)  your good intentions become Godly actions, AND 
(2)  those actions will find completion."

How often we see Sincere decisions ... that fall away???


(1)  We should offer encouragement.

(2)  We should accept encouragement.   Sometimes harder to accept than to give.

(3)  We should press on  (persevere - in the face of, in spite of trials).
Knowing God can, will use those trials for good!  (our good, other's good)

(4)   We should seek God's assistance.  (prayer) for ourselves, for others

Closing Scripture:  Psm. 20:1-7