Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
He called you to this salvation through our gospel, so that you may possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions that we taught you whether by speech or by letter. 2 Thessalonians 2.14-15
The gospel is the only way to receive salvation. God calls us to be obedient to the gospel. That obedience puts us in the body of Jesus Christ. We become part of a spiritual family.
Paul tells the Thessalonians to stand firm. We need to know the scriptures to be able to acknowledge the truth and to know the traditions that were taught by the apostles. Observing traditions that come from men is not acceptable. In Mark 7. 6-7 we read that we are not to neglect God’s commands and set up our own traditions. The apostles taught the early Christians what they were to do as they walked in the Way. Many times they would travel from city to city much as Jesus did teaching wherever they went. Or the New Testament is full of letters that different inspired men wrote to the churches in different cities to impart teaching or correct error. Those same writings apply to us today.
We must be careful to follow what we have been given. Else we fall into the same error as many in the past. God does not change. He asks the same of us all. What he asked of the first century church is the same that he asks of us today. Are we listening?
#risingjoy #2-Thessalonians #tradition
“And in this regard we pray for you always, that our God will make you worthy of his calling and fulfill by his power your every desire for goodness and every work of faith, 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.”
2 Thessalonians 1.11-12
God works in his people. He makes his power accomplish his will in them. Their work depends upon him. God does this to glorify his Son and to glorify his people in him. This was Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians.
What are my desires for goodness? What work of faith have I begun? What prayer have I offered for others like Paul’s?
#votd #2-Thessalonians #prayer #power
“Now such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and so provide their own food to eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3.12
Idle people involve themselves in disorderly conduct, v. 11. Paul orders them to go to work. Christians should not depend upon others.
Many today look to governments for handouts or to parents for support. Paul’s command comes from the Lord himself, not his own opinion.
#votd #work #2-Thessalonians
“I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, which is how I write in every letter.”
2 Thessalonians 3.17
The apostle Paul dictated his letters to an amanuensis, or secretary. See Romans 16.22. At the end, he personalized and verified it by writing a line in his own hand.
Let our communications be personal and secure. What measures can I take to do that?
#votd #2-Thessalonians #communication
“But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you.”
2 Thessalonians 3.3-4 NTL
The faithfulness of God helps us to recognize and have confidence in the faithfulness of the saints.
Why write a letter to a church like the one in Thessalonica who is faithful?
In the final section of the letter, Paul moves from doctrine to conduct, dealing with the undisciplined among them, after requesting prayer and expressing his confidence in their obedience.
3:1-5. Request for Prayer. As in the first letter, Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for them, that the Lord’s message may spread quickly. Paul was ever concerned that the gospel reach more and more people (2 Corinthians 4:15; 10:15-16). All his efforts were devoted to the Great Commission as an extension of the Lord’s work in the world. Even though he is an apostle, the reciprocal nature of the faith applies equally. Prayer is the great leveler and feeds the solidarity among God’s family. Likely Paul uses athletic language here, of running, and winning the applause of the bleachers. For the message to be honored would mean received by the hearers and finding a place in the heart for the truth (see 2:10), as it was among the Thessalonians. Those who have honored the gospel can pray for it to be honored by others. The second part of Paul’s prayer request reflects that the gospel advances in the midst of opposition: that we may be delivered from perverse and evil people (v. 2). He asks not for the removal of persecutors, but that their efforts may have no effect on the progress of the gospel (see Philippians 1:12ff). Continue reading
2:1-2. Don’t Be Disturbed. In 1 Corinthians, when in various moments Paul writes, “Now regarding,” it is taken as a reply to questions contained in a letter from Corinth, from the cue in 7:1. With no such cue here, no conclusion can be reached from his use of it in 2:1, although it seems to indicate his main concern in writing this second letter. Evidently Paul has received information since his first letter that motivates him to write and address the false message which taught that the day of the Lord is already here (see 3:11). Paul has already taught in his first letter about the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and how that all saints will be gathered to be with him. He pleads that they not be easily shaken from their composure, or state of “mind,” which would render them incapable to judge, or disturbed by what they have heard. All spirits or teachings must be examined. Just because someone says so does not make it so. Satan passes himself off as angel of light, his servants as workers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). So it is no wonder that some spirit or message or letter allegedly from Paul might be a satanic forgery. Continue reading
The Thessalonians were evidently forward-looking people. In both letters Paul discusses the future. In the first, the state of the righteous dead at the coming of Christ. In the second, the relief from persecution they will have at Christ’s coming, and the false teaching that the day of the Lord is already here. The time between the two letters is unknown. Though liberal scholars doubt that Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians, external evidence is strong for his authorship, especially for the second. Those who believe Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians estimate that no more than weeks or a few months interval passed between them, placing the date in the early 50s.
Paul treats three topics, all apparently related: suffering for the Kingdom of God, a false teaching about Christ’s coming, and the undisciplined life of some saints. Apparently, he had received new information (2:2; 3:11), whether by letter or visit is unknown, about the situation in the congregation and was moved to write further on these topics. Continue reading