YOU CAN FEEL SAFE
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 February 8 2009
This lesson is the first of three studies of 2 Thessalonians.
Shortly after Paul had written and sent his first letter to this
congregation of new believers, he received a report about more
issues confronting them. They were facing fresh problems, and
Paul-as was his custom-invested great care in replying via a
written letter. ,
Like 1 Thessalonians, Paul’s second epistle to the church
follows the standard four-part letter writing format for the
first century: Formal Greeting (2 Thess.1:1-2); Prayer for
the Recipients (2 Thess.1:3-12); Main Substance (2 Thess.
2:1-3:15); and Final Greeting (2 Thess. 3:16-18). This week’s
study thus includes both Paul’s greeting and his prayer for
1. What is God Doing in Me? (2 Thess.1:1-4)
2Ths. 1:1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the
Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
1:2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ. 1:3 We 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. 1:4 Therefore, among God’s churches
we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the
persecutions and trials you are enduring.
At the outset of this letter Paul reminded the
Thessalonians that God already had worked in their lives.
Further, God continued to give evidence of His presence
and power in their lives. As those who had received grace
from God, they already had come to know He had been
more than fair with them, despite their troubles.
Ought . Paul is obliged to give thanks where it is due
( 1Thess. 1:7-8; Php 1:3-4). Brothers . (1Thess. 1:4).
Faith . . . Love . Two virtues that Paul had been pleased to
acknowledge in the Thessalonian church (1Thess. 3:6-7), but
that were also somewhat lacking (1Thess. 3:10,12). is
increasing . The same verb Paul had used in his prayer that
their love might grow (1Thess. 3:12). He is recording an
exact answer to prayer. We. Emphatic, “we ourselves.” Paul
seems to imply that it was unusual for the founders of a
church to boast about it, though others might do so
(1Thess. 1:9). But the Thessalonians were so outstanding
that Paul departed from normal practice. Persecutions
and trials . (1Th 1:6; 2:14; 3:3).
2. What is God Going to Do with Me? (2 Thess. 1:5-10)
2Ths. 1:5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right,
and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of
God, for which you are suffering. 1:6 God is just: He will
pay back trouble to those who trouble you1:7 and give
relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will
happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in
blazing fire with his powerful angels. 1:8 He will punish
those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our
Lord Jesus. 1:9 They will be punished with everlasting
destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and
from the majesty of his power1:10 on the day he comes to
be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among
all those who have believed. This includes you, because you
believed our testimony to you.
Here in (2 Thess.1: 5-10 Paul’s thanksgiving took an
unexpected turn, one in which he meditated on the justice
of God, especially as it will be revealed in the future. He
returned to a more customary expression of prayer in
( 2 Thess.1:11-12).
Evidence that God’s judgment is right . The evidence
was in the way the Thessalonians endured trials. The
judgment on them was right because God did not leave them
to their own resources. He provided strength to endure, and
this in turn produced spiritual and moral character. It also
proved that God was on their side and gave a warning to their
persecutors ( Php 1:28). Kingdom of God . (1Thess 2:12;
Matt 3:2). For which . That is, “in the interest of which” or
“in behalf of which.” God is just . The justice of God brings
punishment on unrepentant sinners (Mark 9:47-48; Luke
13:3-5), and it may be in the here and now (Romans 1:24,
26,28) as well as on judgment day. Give relief. Retribution
not only involves punishment of the evil but also relief for
the righteous. Us as well . Paul was no academic theologian
writing in comfort from a distance; rather, he was suffering
just as they were. Revealed . Christ is now hidden, and many
people even deny his existence. But at his second coming he
will be seen by everyone for who he is. Blazing Fire . He
comes to punish wickedness (Isa 66:15; Rev 1:14). His
powerful angels . Perhaps a class of angels (such a group is
mentioned in apocalyptic writings) given special power to
do God’s will. Do not know God . Does not refer to those who
have never heard of the true God but to those who refuse to
recognize him (2 Thess 2:10,12; Romans 1:28). do not obey .
The gospel invites acceptance, and rejection is disobedience
to a royal invitation. Destruction . Not annihilation (1Thess.
5:3). Paul uses the word in (1Co 5:5), possibly of the
destruction of the “flesh” for the purpose of salvation.
Since, however, salvation implies resurrection of the body,
annihilation cannot be in mind. The word means something
like “complete ruin.” Here it means being shut out from
Christ’s presence. This eternal separation is the penalty of
sin and the essence of hell.The day . (1Thess. 5:20. Glorified
in his Holy people . Not simply “among” but “in” them. His
glory is seen in what they are. Holy People . (1Thess. 3:13).
Our Testimony. The preaching of the gospel is essentially
bearing testimony to what God has done in Christ.
3. What Does God Want to Do Through Me?
(2 Thess. 1:11-12)
2Ths. 1:11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you,
that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that
by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours
and every act prompted by your faith. 1:12 We pray this
so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in
you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and
the Lord Jesus Christ.
What would you pray for God to do in the lives of
believers going through troubling times? How would you
ask God to bless Christians you had just reminded of
God’s righteous judgment? Both the content of Paul’s
prayer for the Thessalonians (v. 11) and the reason for
his prayer (v. 12) will encourage you.
Constantly Pray .(1Thess 5:17. Good Purpose “resolve
of goodness.” God initiates every good purpose and every
act prompted by faith; Paul prays accordingly that he will
bring them to fulfillment. Name . In ancient times one’s
name was often more than a personal label; it summed up
what a person was. Paul looks for glory to be ascribed to
Christ for all he will do in the lives of the Thessalonian
Jesus loved to preach about God’s kingdom. He was
referring to God’s rule over people acknowledging Him
as the messianic King. God’s kingdom is a present reality
and is related to Jesus’ first coming (Matt. 12:28). Yet it
also has a future dimension, when He will gloriously
complete the kingdom (Matt. 25:34).
Acts shows the apostles continued proclaiming
God’s kingdom in both its present and future dimensions.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:12, Paul wrote that God already
considered them as citizens of His kingdom. In
2 Thessalonians 1 :5, Paul acknowledged that being part
of God’s kingdom may involve suffering at the present
time. Yet he immediately went on to affirm the future
glory of the kingdom after Jesus returns in a blaze of
Being a part of God’s kingdom through faith in Christ
is the safest place in the universe to be. This is not
because kingdom citizens are spared suffering. Rather,
we have a righteous King who will finally bring His
people safely through to enjoy the full glory of the
kingdom. We have become part of "a kingdom that
cannot be shaken" (Heb. 12:28), one that no mere
earthly ruler could ever deliver.