In the first chapter of Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul thanks God for them, exhorts them and prays for them. In this lesson, we will study what Paul was thankful for, what he exhorted them to do, and what he prayed for. He opened his letter with his typical greeting for grace and peace from God. We need both of these. Then he continued with:
Paul’s thankfulness for the Thessalonians – 2 Thes 1:3-6. Compare 1 Thes 1:3
Their Growing Faith – 3 – he said, “your faith growth exceedingly.” Faith is supposed to grow. The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith,” [Lk 17:5]. In Lk 17:6, Jesus said that we should have faith as a grain of mustard seed. The idea is that it starts out small and grows. Rom 10:17 says, “”So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Your faith grows as you believe the words of God and prove them to be true through every event in your life and others lives.
Their Abounding Charity – 3 – charity is the bond of perfectness, Col 3:14. And it should grow. The Lord commanded us to love one another as he loved us [Jn 13:34].
Their Enduring Patience – 4-6 – they were suffering persecutions and tribulations. God told us that there would be persecutions [Mk 10:30] and tribulations [Acts 14:22] in our lives. We must suffer with Jesus to be glorified and reign with him [Rom 8:17-18; 2 Tim 2:12]. God is going to count you worthy of the kingdom of God and he is going to recompense them with tribulation.
Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians – 2 Thes 1:7-10. Compare Jn 14:27-28.
Rest with us – 7 – Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians was to “rest with us.” According to 2 Cor 11:23-28, Paul suffered much. Yet he didn’t resist his persecution and tribulation and he didn’t retaliate. He took it. He rested in the fact that God would take vengeance on his persecutors [Rom 12:19] and reward him for his suffering. He’ll do the same for us.
Jesus will be revealed from heaven in flaming fire – 8 – Joel 2:3:
- To take vengeance on:
- Them that know not God – agnostics. They have known him [Rom 1:18-23]. They just don’t want to retain God in their knowledge [Rom 1:28].
- Them that obey not the gospel – unbelievers [Jn 3:18, 36].
- To punish them with everlasting destruction – 9 – Rev 21:8.
- To be glorified in his saints and admired in them that believe – 10 – Rev 5:9-14.
Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians – 2 Thes 1:11-12.
That God would:
Count you worthy of this calling – 11 – in Acts 5:41 the apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
Fulfill all the good pleasure of – 11:
- His goodness – God’s pleasure is good [Phil 2:12-13; Rom 8:28] even though you may suffer.
- The work of faith with power – the work we do must be done by faith [1 Thes 1:3], faith in the power of God [1 Cor 2:5]. Stephen was full of faith and power [Acts 6:8]. We should be, too.
Glorify Jesus in you and ye in him – 12 – Jn 17:20-24, just as Jesus prayed to his Father before his crucifixion.