Summary: Concern and Comfort
2 Thessalonians 2 - Concern & Comfort - 7/17/16
Turn with me to the book of 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2. We’ve been looking at the book of 2 Thessalonians, which is a letter from the Apostle Paul to Christians in a town in Greece called Thessalonica. It’s a town that is still in existence today. Paul came to town, preached in the Jewish synagogue, and many Jews and Gentiles believed. A church was started at Thessalonica, but rowdy Jews stirred up a riot, and Paul had to leave quickly. As he travels down to Athens, Paul writes them a letter to encourage them to continue on in their newfound faith.
In his first letter to them, Paul praises these new Christians, because they had a faith that was growing, showing, and echoing.
But shortly after Paul had written them the letter of 1 Thessalonians, he felt a need to write them a second letter, the letter of 2 Thessalonians. Paul wants to straighten out a few misunderstandings that the church had. Here in 2 Thessalonians we have three chapters, and three key ideas.
• In chapter 1, Paul gives Commendation: he writes in Praise for their Perseverance
• In chapter 2, Paul gives Comfort: he writes about the Reality of Christ’s Return
• In chapter 3, Paul gives Correction: he writes about the need to Work while we Wait
Today, we want to look at chapter 2. Read 1 Thessalonians 2 - Pray
We saw last week that Paul starts out chapter 1 by praising God for the Perseverance of the Thessalonian believers. They are just baby Christians, and they are “thrown into the fire” - figuratively speaking - they had to face a lot of opposition and persecution. Here in chapter 2, Paul gets into the heart of the matter he wants to address. The first thing we see is
• Paul’s Concern - Paul is writing this letter not just to give encouragement, but to address some key concerns. Here is the Reason for the concern: a Wrong Witness - someone has given the church at Thessalonica wrong information, and they are greatly troubled by it. Paul writes, Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.
In our society today, there are so many “false teachers” out there, spreading incredible teachings, that it is easy to be led astray. If you are going to turn on the “Christian” channel of TV and watch some preachers, BEWARE! Smooth talkers can easily lead you astray if you aren’t watching. Whenever you listen to ANY preacher - myself included - never believe what I tell you to be true - but rather go home and compare what you hear to what the bible teaches. Paul sets up the church at Berea as the perfect example of this. He writes in Acts 17 - Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. So here they are, anxious to hear the truth, but every day they go home and check the scriptures to see if Paul was telling them the truth.
But notice that verse in Acts said the Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians - the Thessalonians were quick to jump on the bandwagon. Do you know anyone like that? They are quick to believe anything they hear - especially if it sounds sensational. Things like . . .
- Did you know Barak Obama built a mosque in the basement of the white house?
- Did you hear Hillary Clinton has already started a ban on producing bullets - that’s why the stock in the stores has been dwindling.
- or religious ones - Did you know the King James Bible actually had two extra chapters in the gospel of John that tells us about Jesus getting married and having a family?
Some people will believe ANYTHING! Especially if it comes through the “spiritual” grapevine!
So the Thessalonians had a wrong witness - someone had told them that the day of the Lord had already come! And they even attached Paul’s name to it. Paul told us to tell you this! Paul wasn’t sure how they got the wrong information - whether by someone giving a “word of prophecy” in one of their worship services - or whether someone wrote a letter - or whether by word of mouth - but Paul knew they were going down the wrong road about this. So what was the