Route 66 - Stop 53: II THESSALONIANS

Audio File: 
Speaker: 
Dr. Rich McCarrell
Date: 
Sunday, July 22, 2018

 

Route 66 – Stop 53

2 THESSALONIANS

Author:           

The Apostle Paul (1:1, 3:17). Paul links Silas and Timothy with himself, because they had a part with him in founding the church and obviously shared his interest and concern that the work continue.

 

Date:              

Most scholars place the writing of 2 Thessalonians shortly after the completion of 1Thessalonians. A key reason is that Paul still links Silas and Timothy with himself. They were not with him for a long period of time after he arrived in Corinth. In fact, Silas so far as we know, never traveled with Paul again. Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half (Acts 18:11) so both of these epistles must have been written during that period of time. This would place this writing somewhere around AD 52.

 

 Recipients:    

The church of the Thessalonians (1:1). The founding of this church is recorded in Acts 17:1-10! Paul, Silas and Timothy came to the Macedonian port city of Thessalonica from Philippi after their persecution and imprisonment in that city. Philippi had been the first place the gospel was preached in Europe. Thessalonica was the second. Thessalonica was about 100 miles southwest of Philippi. It was a large and very influential city. In fact it still is an important city in modern-day Greece. Today its name is Salonika. One of a few cities Paul ministered in that still exist today in unbroken continuity of history. A port city on the Macedonian Gulf which is in the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea. “Google” it for a great read!!

  In Paul’s day, the city contained very fertile farmland and also an excellent harbor. It was predominately Greek in culture and at the time of Paul’s visit, the city’s population mostly of native Greeks, Roman colonists, a few Asiatic people and a large number of Jews. It is interesting to note that Acts 17 states that Paul spent only “3 Sabbaths” in the local synagogue reasoning with the Jews. This would put his time in this city, ministering among the Jews, at only 3 weeks. Yet his ministry was so effective that the “ranks” of the synagogue were depleted and the Jewish leaders were “rankled”. I think he spent a bit more time in the city as he also had a large group of Gentiles convert to Christianity. In fact, obviously more Gentiles than Jews comprised this church (Acts 17:1-5). But he was not here for long when the Jewish Leaders incited a riot and Paul and his party felt it best to depart, and so they went to Berea, 50 miles southwest of Thessalonica (17:10-13). Thessalonica was the first place where Paul’s preaching achieved a prominent following, and it remained to him a triumphant crown of God’s grace upon his efforts (1:8-10). Notice the order of events!! (2:19-20).

 

Theme:           

As with 1 Thessalonians, the theme of 2 Thessalonians remains the coming of Christ. Paul presents it in a little bit of a different perspective, (I – Rapture/II – Trib/Reign) but yet the overall theme remains the same (2:1).

 

Purpose:

This letter reminds us that no matter how the years change, issues and themes remain the same. In 1 Thessalonians, the believers were concerned because they thought the “dead in Christ” would miss out on the blessings of Christ’s coming. When Timothy returned to Paul and gave a report, Paul realized that now these believers who were going through intense persecution and trial were being misled by those who claimed this was the Great Tribulation. In other words, they began to teach a post-tribulation rapture. This created confusion as it contradicted what Paul shared in the first letter concerning the rapture. Then a minority of believers basically said, well if the world is ending, I might as well just sit back and do nothing. Some had lost their “theological” balance while others had lost their “lifestyle” balance. What had contributed to this situation was a fake letter that carried the forged signature of Paul. This had been sent to the Thessalonian believers after they received Paul’s first letter. (2:1-3).

Both of these misconceptions needed to be corrected. So Paul’s overall purpose in this epistle is to exhort the believer to “work while waiting,” and encourage the faithful by reminding them of the deliverance to come.

1. Paul wrote to encourage them in the midst of severe persecution (1:4-7)

2. Paul wrote to give further instruction concerning the “coming of the Lord” (2:1) and the “day of the Lord” (2:2). Here is where Paul shares the truth that even though they are suffering, they are not in the opening days of the Great Tribulation. It is interesting to note that their confusion was not caused simply by misunderstanding, but there had been a direct attempt to deceive them through false teachers and letters falsely credited to Paul.

3. Paul wrote to exhort them to continue to work in light of Christ’s imminent return and not grow weary in well-doing (3:13). Your suffering is temporal. Continue to be faithful in serving the Lord.

4. Paul wrote to say – This is my second letter to you. (3:16-18)

 

Outline:          

I. ncouragement in the face of persecution (chapter 1)

II. Encouragement regarding “the day of the Lord” (chapter 2)

III. Encouragement regarding proper conduct while waiting for Christ (chapter 3)

 

Take Special Note of:  Chapter Two ~ The Sequence of Christ’s Return

Be Fearless

(8 reasons for a Pre-Trib, Pre-Mill. Rapture)

1. This is not our time

2. The Great Apostasy must occur

3. The Anti-Christ will be revealed

4. The Holy Spirit’s ministry changes

5. The Promises of God’s Word

6. The Language of the Text

7. The Consistency of the Text

8. To Prepare us to Reign with Christ

 

Remember – Day of Christ (Phil.1:6/I Cor. 1:8/Rapture) Day of the Lord (O.T./II Thes. 2:2/- Direct Rule –      Tribulation/Millennium) Day of God (II Peter 3:12) – Culmination of the Ages

 

For an in depth study into this book, we remind you that PR taught through I and II Thessalonians in a Sunday morning series (August 14, 2011-August 19, 2012) and available on the podcast.