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2Thessalonians 1

Thursday Evening Bible Study

November 2, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words   Video = 75 wpm

Note:  Israel Trip coming up. The church schedule.

As we saw with 1Thessalonians, the church in Thessalonica was started under difficult circumstances. (Acts 17)

Paul had been there maybe a month when the Jews of Thessalonica rose up against Paul and drove him out of town.

The new church continue on, but they were under constant persecution.

Paul went on to Berea, then Athens, and finally to Corinth, and it was while he was in Corinth that he gets news about the Thessalonians and begins to pen these letters.

We think that this second letter was written shortly after the first, perhaps as soon as a year later.

Paul has two concerns, which may be related to each other.

1) False teaching had entered the church regarding the Lord’s return.
Some false teachers were beginning to lead the people into thinking that they might have missed the Lord’s coming.
2) Paul was also concerned about a growing group of people who had quit their jobs and weren’t working.
Some suggest that it might have been because they thought Jesus was coming back, and they no longer needed to worry about going to work.

1:1-2 Greetings

:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy

Silvanus is another form of “Silas”.

These were the three men that had been there to help start and establish the church in Thessalonica.

:1 in God our Father …

Paul uses what’s known as the “locative” case.  It shows our “location”.

If you were to look for the church using your GPS, it would show you that the church is “in” God, just as we are “in” Fullerton.

When you opened your heart to Jesus, you were immersed (baptized) into the body of Christ, putting you “in” God, and “in” Jesus.

:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

:2 Grace … peace

I’ve mentioned this before, but I can’t help but be reminded of the priestly blessing:

(Numbers 6:24–26 NKJV) —24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’

This is what God desires for us.  He wants us to be in His presence (“His face”), and experiencing His grace and peace.

1:3-10 Trials and Judgment

:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,

:3 We are bound to thank God

Paul begins one of his famous “run-on-sentences”.  He didn’t have a secretary like I do to tell him his grammar needs work.  Let’s read the entire passage until we hit the “period”.

(2 Thessalonians 1:3–8 NKJV) —3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

boundopheilo – to owe; “ought”

to thankeucharisteo – to be grateful, feel thankful; give thanks

is fittingaxios – weighing, having weight; befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing

Paul speaks of “owing” God a debt of thanksgiving for what has been happening in Thessalonica.

It is fitting and appropriate considering what has been happening.
Two things come to mind that Paul is thankful for.

:3 your faith grows exceedingly

grows exceedinglyhuperauxano (“more than” + “to grow”) – to increase beyond measure; to grow exceedingly


A growing faith

Our trust in God is not a static thing.  It either grows or diminishes.
The Thessalonians’ faith wasn’t just growing, it was growing “exceedingly”.
Great men of faith don’t start as great men of faith.  They start with a little ability to trust, and allow their faith to grow.
I remember Pastor Chuck telling a story about his early years pastoring a small church and working at a grocery store on the side.  In one instance they had run out of money but they didn’t panic, they prayed.

The next day there was a check in the mail to cover their needs, and then some.

I remember Chuck saying that he turned to Kay and said, “Honey, tonight we’re going to eat steak.  It’s God’s treat!”

Later, after the Jesus movement was exploding and the church had just bought the current property on Sunflower and MacArthur, Chuck had a moment of panic thinking of the mortgage payments the church was facing.

As he sat at the traffic light he felt God saying to him, “Chuck, whose church is it anyway?”

And of course God provided.

These early lessons of faith were the foundation of Calvary Chapel.
Hudson Taylor is known for bringing the gospel to China and founding a huge organization “China Inland Mission”, but that’s not how he started.
Before he was a missionary, he learned to trust God for his salary, especially when his busy employer forgot to pay him.
He learned to trust God for daily needs; and, as his faith was tested, he grew in faith and was able to trust God for His supply for an entire missionary organization.

:3 the love of every one of you all abounds

aboundspleonazo – to superabound; to exist in abundance; to increase

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence


Overflowing love

It wasn’t just their faith that was growing.
The church is an amazing organism.
It is made up of people from every kind of background, culture, and nationality.
If you were to look at our lives twenty or fifty years ago – the things we’re interested in, where we work, how we were raised, you’d see a bunch of people that probably don’t have a lot in common.
That all changed when we each met Jesus.  That’s when we started to “walk in the light”.

(1 John 1:7 NKJV) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Yet there’s more.
If we are doing church right, then we don’t have fellowship by going to the same service, or because we all enjoy the pastor’s amazing sense of humor.
Our fellowship is about learning to actually know and love one another.
That’s what was happening in Thessalonica.
It wasn’t just a group of people who had all grown up together going to the same synagogue.  The church was made up of Gentiles as well, people from very different backgrounds.
Jesus said,
(John 13:34–35 NKJV) —34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

:4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,

:4 boast of you among the churches

boastkauchaomai – to glory (whether with reason or without); to glory on account of a thing; to glory in a thing

At this point, this would probably be the churches at Berea, Athens, and Corinth, since those were the places Paul had visited after having started the church in Thessalonica.

Paul is just so amazed at how they’ve been doing that he can’t stop talking about them wherever he goes.

:4 persecutions and tribulations that you endure

persecutionsdiogmos – persecution

from dioko – to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after; to pursue (in a hostile manner); in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one;

tribulationsthlipsis – a pressing, pressing together, pressure; metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits

endureanechomai – to hold up; to hold one’s self erect and firm; to sustain, to bear, to endure

:4 your patience and faith

patiencehupomone – steadfastness, constancy, endurance

In the NT, this is the man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose by even the greatest trials and sufferings

faithpistis – conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it; fidelity, faithfulness


Hanging on

Talk about a rough life … In the movie “Ben Hur” (the original), Judah Ben Hur is condemned to live the rest of his life as a galley slave.
Video:  Ben Hur – Row Well and Live

That’s kind of what it’s like living in this world, isn’t it?

The thing is, “hatred” is not good for us.  But we should still learn to “row well and live”.

It’s in the difficult times that faith grows.
If things were always easy, you wouldn’t need to trust God.
George Muller was known as a great man of faith. In the poverty of Victorian England, he decided to start opening orphanages as a way of testing God and showing that God would indeed come through.  His practice was to never ask people for what was needed, but to bring all his needs to God.
The following are excerpts from his diary.

August 18, 1838: I have not one penny in hand for the orphans. In a day or two again many pounds will be needed. My eyes are up to the Lord. Evening. Before this day is over, I have received from a sister five pounds. She had some time since put away her trinkets, to be sold for the benefit of the orphans. This morning, whilst in prayer, it came to her mind, I have this five pounds, and owe no man anything, therefore it would be better to give this money at once, as it may be some time before I can dispose of the trinkets. She therefore brought it, little knowing that there was not a penny in hand, and that I had been able to advance only four pounds, fifteen shillings and five pence for housekeeping in the Boys' Orphan-House, instead of the usual ten pounds.

August 23: Today I was again without one single penny, when three pounds was sent from Clapham, with a box of new clothes for the orphans.

Muller was later to look back on the period from September 1838 to the end of 1846 as the time when the greatest trials of faith were experienced in the orphan work. They were not years of continuous difficulty: rather there tended to be a pattern of a few months of trial, followed by some months of comparative plenty. During the whole period, according to Muller, the children knew nothing of the trial. In the midst of one of the darkest periods, he recorded, “These dear little ones know nothing about it, because their tables are as well supplied as when there was eight hundred pounds in the bank, and they have lack of nothing.” At another time he wrote, “The orphans have never lacked anything. Had I had thousands of pounds in hand, they would have fared no better than they have; for they have always had good nourishing food, the necessary articles of clothing, etc.” In other words, the periods of trial were so in the sense that there was no excess of funds: God supplied the need by the day, even by the hour. Enough was sent, but no more than enough.
George Muller would eventually care for over 10,000 orphans in his lifetime, as well as establishing 117 schools that educated over 120,000 children.

:5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;

manifest evidenceendeigma – token, evidence, proof

righteousdikaios – righteous, observing divine laws; in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God

judgmentkrisis – a separating, sundering, separation; a trial, contest; judgment; opinion or decision given concerning anything; sentence of condemnation, damnatory judgment, condemnation and punishment

counted worthykataxioo – to account worthy, judge worthy

sufferpascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

JFB:  “Your enduring these tribulations is a "token of the righteous judgment of God, " manifested in your being enabled to endure them, and in your adversaries thereby filling up the measure of their guilt. The judgment is even now begun, but its consummation will be at the Lord’s coming. David (#Ps 73:1-14) and Jeremiah (#Jer 12:1-4) were perplexed at the wicked prospering and the godly suffering. But Paul, by the light of the New Testament, makes this fact a matter of consolation. It is a proof (so the Greek) of the future judgment, which will set to rights the anomalies of the present state, by rewarding the now suffering saint, and by punishing the persecutor.”

:5 manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God

One day when they stand before God, He will declare the Thessalonians “worthy” of the kingdom of God.

They weren’t made “worthy” because they went through such difficult times, but their enduring of their difficult times proved that they were already worthy.
A Christian is made worthy of God simply by believing in Him.
When we believe in Him, we have access to God’s grace.
What trials do is to expose the grace that’s inside of us, grace made more evident because it endures the difficulties of life.
(2 Thessalonians 1:5 The Message) All this trouble is a clear sign that God has decided to make you fit for the kingdom. You’re suffering now,

When you endure your suffering without bailing on your faith, you are showing everyone around you that yours is the real thing, your faith is real.

:5 for which you also suffer

Suffering is not just something that was ordained for the Thessalonians.

(2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV) Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

:6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,

sinceeiper – if indeed, since, if after all

to repayantapodidomi – in a good sense, to repay, requite; in a bad sense, penalty and vengeance

tribulationthlipsis – a pressing, pressing together, pressure; metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits

troublethlibo – to press (as grapes), press hard upon; a compressed way; narrow straitened, contracted; metaph. to trouble, afflict, distress

:6 to repay with tribulation those who trouble you

The words for “tribulation” and “trouble” are forms of the same word.  We might say that God is going to “repay with trouble those who trouble you”.

We don’t like going through difficult things, and we don’t like it when people are giving us a hard time.

Sometimes we wish we could get even.
But we are learning that we shouldn’t take things into our own hands.
God will take care of making things “even”.

:7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,

:7 to give you who are troubled rest

who are troubledthlibo – to press (as grapes), press hard upon; a compressed way; narrow straitened, contracted; metaph. to trouble, afflict, distress

restanesis – a loosening, relaxing; spoken of a more tolerable condition in captivity, to be held in less vigorous confinement; relief, rest, from persecutions

When Jesus comes back from heaven, all the “trouble” (or, “tribulation”) will stop and there will be “rest”.

Yet even before Jesus returns, there is “rest” in heaven.

(Revelation 6:9–11 NKJV) —9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

:7 when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven

revealedapokalupsis (“apocalypse”) – laying bear; a disclosure of truth

This is the word that is translated “Revelation”, as in the last book of the Bible.

mightydunamis – strength, power, ability

The ultimate rest from our enemies will take place when Jesus returns from heaven with his angels (and us), and sets up His kingdom on earth.

(Revelation 19:11–14 NKJV) —11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

:8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

firepur – fire

flamingphlox – a flame

takingdidomi – to give; to give something to someone

vengeanceekdikesis – a revenging, vengeance, punishment

obeyhupakouo – to listen, to harken; of one who on the knock at the door comes to listen who it is, (the duty of a porter); to harken to a command; to obey, be obedient to, submit to

gospeleuaggelion – a reward for good tidings; good tidings; the glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom. After the death of Christ, the term comprises also the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ as having suffered death on the cross to procure eternal salvation for the men in the kingdom of God, but as restored to life and exalted to the right hand of God in heaven, thence to return in majesty to consummate the kingdom of God; the glad tidings of salvation through Christ; the gospel

:8 in flaming fire taking vengeance

This is what happens when Jesus returns.

(Revelation 19:19–21 NKJV) —19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

:8 on those who do not obey the gospel

They don’t do what God wants.

(John 6:28–29 NKJV) —28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Those who do not obey the gospel do it because they have made a choice that they don’t want God in their life, not because they were somehow pre-ordained to reject Christ.

:9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

:9 punished with everlasting destruction

:9 These shall be punished

Two Greek words are used here for “punished”
punisheddike – custom, usage; right, just; a judicial hearing, judicial decision, esp. sentence of condemnation; execution of a sentence, punishment; to suffer punishment
…punishedtino – to pay, to recompense; to pay penalty, suffer punishment

Literally, “these shall pay the sentence”

everlastingaionios – without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be; without beginning; without end, never to cease, everlasting

There is a doctrine that pops up every now and then called the doctrine of “annihilation”.

Those who teach this say that hell is only a temporary place, and that eventually everyone in hell will burn up and simply cease to exist.
That actually sounds kind of nice, to think that they won’t suffer forever.

The problem is that this is not what the Bible teaches.

destructionolethros – ruin, destroy, death
Neither of these definitions requires that a thing ceases to exist.
Even “death” is not necessarily the ceasing of existence, but the transition from one form of life to another.
This is an “everlasting” destruction, because it goes on forever and ever.
(Isaiah 66:24 NKJV) “And they shall go forth and look Upon the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
(Mark 9:43 NKJV) If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—
(Revelation 20:15 NKJV) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

(Revelation 20:10 NKJV) The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

:9 from the presence of the Lord

presenceprosopon – the face

glorydoxa – opinion, judgment; splendour, brightness; magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace; majesty

powerischus – ability, force, strength, might

This will be the worst part of hell, being completely separated from God.

Another description of hell is:

(Matthew 25:30 NKJV) And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
A complete absence of true light, God’s light.

:10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

:10 to be glorified in His saints

to be glorifiededoxazo – glorify, adorn with glory

When Jesus returns, God will receive great glory for the work that He has done in our lives.

:10 to be admired among all those who believe

admiredthaumazo – marvel; to be wondered at, to be had in admiration

those who believepisteuo – to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in.  The verb is a present participle, continuous action.


Getting it

Everything He has been doing in our lives will make sense, and we will be blown away with it all.
It’s kind of like that point in the movie “Karate Kid” where Daniel begins to realize that Mr. Miyagi wasn’t using him to sand his floor, paint his fence, or wax his cars.  Mr. Miyagi was teaching him greater lessons.

Video:  Karate Kid – Lessons Come Together.

Do you sometimes wonder what in the world God is doing in your life?
(1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
We will understand what God has done and why He has done it.
And we will “marvel” at it all.
And after all those times when we’ve doubted Him and questioned what He’s doing, we will see for the first time that God has truly known what He was doing all along.

:10 because our testimony among you was believed

All this comes back to the fact that when Paul was in Thessalonica, there were people who responded to the message of the gospel and believed.

It ought to fire us up to share the gospel, shouldn’t it?

You don’t know how people are going to respond, and you have no control how they will respond.

Many won’t be open, but some will.

The prophet Ezekiel was living among the captives in the land of Babylon when God called him to speak for Him.

(Ezekiel 3:11 NKJV) And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.”
Whether they hear and respond, or refuse, we ought to speak.

1:11-12 Prayer

:11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

:12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

:11 pray always for you

Because of their tough times, Paul and his friends have a special prayer they’ve been praying for the Thessalonians.

This prayer seems to involve three things:

:11 that our God would count you worthy of this calling

count worthyaxioo – to think meet, fit, right; to judge worthy, deem, deserving

callingklesis – a calling, calling to; a call, invitation; to a feast; of the divine invitation to embrace salvation of God

First, that God would count them worthy.

Other translations give the sense of God “making them worthy”, of God helping them with the things that are ahead.
For the Thessalonians, the way ahead involved enduring suffering.

:11 fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness

fulfillpleroo – to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full; to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally; to render full, i.e. to complete; to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim

good pleasureeudokia – will, choice; good will, kindly intent, benevolence; delight, pleasure, satisfaction; desire

goodnessagathosune – uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness

One translation (HCSB) takes this phrase as,

“fulfill every desire for goodness”

When God is at work in your life, He will give you desires to do good things.

The second thing Paul is praying is that these “desires” will get translated into actual actions.

:11 and the work of faith

workergon – business, employment, that which any one is occupied; that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking; any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind; an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opp. to that which is less than work

faithpistis – conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it; fidelity, faithfulness

When you have faith, it will make itself evident by good works.

You can’t have faith and do nothing.

James wrote,

(James 2:18 NKJV) But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

The third thing Paul is praying is for them to produce good works.

:11 with power

powerdunamis – strength, power, ability

Paul prays that all this will happen through God’s power, not their own.

:12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified

may be glorifiedendoxazo – glorify, adorn with glory

This is what results when the things in the previous verse take place.

Paul’s goal is that Jesus would be glorified in these believers.

Jesus is glorified when we run our difficult race well.


Desmond Doss was a believer who signed up to help in WWII.  He wouldn’t carry a gun, but wanted to be a medic.
He endured much persecution from his fellow soldiers for not carrying a gun, but when his company retreated from Hacksaw Ridge, he stayed behind to rescue the wounded all by himself.  The next day…
Video:  Hacksaw Ridge – Waiting for Desmond Doss
God is honored when you handle suffering correctly.