Summary: Paul describes in detail the Man of Lawlessness and gives us (along with several other key references) clear signs to being able to identify this man.
A Study of 2 Thessalonians, Part 2
- One thing I want to say is that we’ve got some real opportunities in this letter
- There are some deep theological challenges here for us to sink our teeth into
- The purpose was to correct the doctrinal error that the forgery had created about the day of the Lord.
-- Positive: To commend them and encourage them in their perseverance in the faith;
-- Negative: To rebuke those who had abused this doctrine to their own gain and were sponging off the whole church.
- I’ve broken this down into 5 areas; all are very fascinating topics:
-- 1. (Last time) Living in Thanksgiving
-- 2. The Anti-Christ
-- 3. Standing for the Lord
-- 4. Praying for others
-- 5. Warning against standing around (idleness)
- When we look at each of these they are all enough to make a believer cringe
- It is one of those short letters that seems harmless; until we see Paul’s intent
- APP: The msg is simple: To glorify Jesus and reform us to following Him alone
- Our suffering is because we live righteous for the Lord; completely / totally
- When we live for the Lord things happen; to include rebellion and fights
- Paul cautioned against those who continue to fight against the church
- (1:8-10) the result from God is very clear for those who tear down the Saints …
-- 1. Punishment from God that you cannot fight or even appeal
-- 2. Destruction (not only physical, but spiritual)
Luke 12:4-5, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
-- 3. Eternally (never ending) separated from God
- The reward though, is clearly indicated here in Paul’s encouragement
- APP: “That God would make us worthy”; it is His work to perform!
- We cannot make ourselves worthy; we must live entirely for His reward
- Why? Because through His power we would be fruitful in ministry
- Stand and read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (will read all, but only look at portion)
Point 1 – The Man of Lawlessness (1-4)
- Probably the most important thing is to identify who Paul is writing about here
- Verses 1-4 are a bottom line encouragement for a believer today
- They reflect on a life of testing and persecution we shall all go through
- What’s most interesting though, is that Paul tells us how to defeat the enemy
- 1: Regarding the return of Jesus
- Matthew 24 gives us a great teaching directly from Jesus on His return
-- Matthew 24:26-27, “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
- Paul’s encouragement is DON’T be fooled by what you hear from others!
- 2: Don’t just accept what you hear
- We must not spend our time listening to teachings that are not true
- Test the Word you are hearing (APP: look it up); don’t just accept it as fact
-- 1 John 4:1, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
When we research the Word of God we are learning; and should be learning
- It is from research in the Bible that we gain strength; it is how we grow closer
-- APP: Many will say they want to know about God; it’s in His book!
- 3: Deception is one of the very best tools the enemy uses
- Paul speaks volumes about deception and continues to stress the importance here
- Paul asks this question of the Galatians also, “Who has bewitched you” (Gal 3:1)
- It is a lifelong application that we can see working; KNOW what you KNOW!
- 4: The man of lawlessness, also referred to as the Anti-Christ, has 1 purpose
- APP: To exalt himself above everyone; b/c he is indwelt with satan
- There is nothing more that this man will want to do; it is his #1 priority
-- Isaiah 14:13, “You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.”