Evening Bible Study
Note: Israel Trip coming up. The
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 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.
:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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”.
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.
Paul speaks of “owing” God a debt of thanksgiving for what has been
happening in Thessalonica.
Two things come to mind that Paul is thankful for.
:3 your faith grows 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
:3 the love of every one of you all abounds
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
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”.
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.
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 your patience and faith
patience – hupomone –
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
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.
That’s kind of what it’s like living in this world, isn’t
The thing is, “hatred” is not good for us. But we should still learn to “row well and
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
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;
: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
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.
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
:6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation
those who trouble you,
: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
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.
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
revealed – apokalupsis (“apocalypse”)
– laying bear; a disclosure of truth
This is the word that is translated “Revelation”, as in the last book of
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.
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.
:8 in flaming fire taking vengeance
This is what happens when Jesus returns.
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
: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
There is a doctrine that pops up every now and then called the doctrine of
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.
This is an “everlasting” destruction, because it goes on forever and ever.
(Isaiah 66:24 NKJV)
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.”
NKJV) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the
lake of fire.
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.
: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
:10 to be admired among all those who believe
admired – thaumazo –
marvel; to be wondered at, to be had in admiration
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
Do you sometimes wonder what in the world God is doing in your life?
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.
: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
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
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
The second thing Paul is praying is that these “desires” will get
translated into actual actions.
:11 and the work of faith
When you have faith, it will make itself evident by good works.
You can’t have faith and do nothing.
(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
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
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
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
God is honored when you handle suffering correctly.