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2 Thessalonians

Route 66: A Road Map Through the Bible  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Setting

Today we are in our 53rd book of the Bible, only 13 more to go.
Route 66
2 Thessalonians: Settle Down
I hope you have enjoyed this series and have been reading along.
When we’re finished, I hope you will an understanding of what the Bible is all about.
This summer, I hope to teach a class on Bible Study Methods to help you begin to really dig into the Bible yourselves.
As you may recall, Paul had a tendency for getting run out of town.
Part 53 – March 6, 2011
When he was run out of Philippi, he spent only three weeks in Thessalonica before fleeing the mob.
📷Paul had a tendency for getting run out of town. When he was run out of Philippi, he spent only three weeks in Thessalonica before fleeing the mob. He went to Berea [buh-REE-uh], was promptly forced out, and headed south to Athens. Timothy went back to check on the Thessalonians while Paul, of his own will, went to Corinth.
He went to Berea [buh-REE-uh], was promptly forced out, and headed south to Athens.
Timothy went back to check on the Thessalonians while Paul, of his own will, went to Corinth.
📷You may recall the Corinthian marketplace, where Paul most likely set up his tent making shop. Timothy returned here, with a positive report, and Paul wrote his first letter. A few months later however, news comes that the Thessalonians are buying into a rather bizarre deception.
You may recall the Corinthian marketplace, where Paul most likely set up his tent making shop.
Timothy returned here, with a positive report, and Paul wrote his first letter.
A few months later however, news comes that the Thessalonians are buying into a rather bizarre deception.
📷We discussed the Thessalonian marketplace that was discovered in 1962. Someone came to this ancient city (with a letter in Paul’s name), and convinced them that the reason they were suffering persecution was because Jesus had come back, and “the train had left the station without them” so to speak.
Someone came to this ancient city (with a letter in Paul’s name), and convinced them that the reason they were suffering persecution was because Jesus had come back, and “the train had left the station without them” so to speak.
Someone had come to the city with a letter in Paul’s name, and convinced them that the reason they were suffering persecution was because Jesus had come back, and “the train had left the station without them” so to speak.
📷So, Paul fires off a second letter to these young and vulnerable believers after only about six months since his first.
So, Paul fires off a second letter to these young and vulnerable believers after only about six months since his first.

Statistics

Author: Paul to the N.T. Church @ Thessalonica from Corinth Date: 53 A.D.
Key Verses: 2:15
Key Verses: 2:1-4
Key Words: coming of the Lord Jesus Christ - 11 times, the coming - 4 times, brethren - 17 times 3 chapters, 47 verses, 1042 words
Key Words: coming of the Lord Jesus Christ - 11 times, the coming - 4 times, brothers and sisters - 17 times
3 chapters, 47 verses, 1,042 words

Another Look at the Coming of Our Lord

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. – NIV
To counter this false claim, Paul addresses it immediately in the letter.
“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him: We ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily upset or troubled, either by a prophecy, or by a message or by a letter supposedly from us, alleging that the day of the Lord, has come.”
And, to help them spot a future forgery, Paul draws attention to his signature at the end of this brief, three-chapter letter.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.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. – NIV
📷And, to help them spot a future forgery, Paul draws attention to his signature at the end of this brief, three-chapter letter.
“I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand, which is an authenticating mark in every letter; this is how I write.”
I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand, which is an authenticating mark in every letter; this is how I write.
I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write. – NIV
But, why would someone do this to the Thessalonians?!
But, why would someone do this to the Thessalonians?!
I’m guessing that whoever did this was hawking overpriced tickets to an End-Times seminar, being held in the Mediterranean Room at the Thessalonian equivalent of a Holiday Inn!
I’m guessing that whoever did this was hawking overpriced tickets to an End-Times seminar, being held in the Mediterranean Room at the Thessalonian equivalent of a Holiday Inn! I’m also guessing this scam wasn’t limited to Thessalonica.
I’m also guessing this scam wasn’t limited to Thessalonica.
I would dare guess that maybe a trio of conmen named, Hymenaeus [HIGH-meh-NEE-uhs], Alexander, and Philetus [fih-LEE-tuhs].
📷I’m even guessing it was a trio of conmen named, Hymenaeus [HIGH-meh-NEE-uhs], Alexander, and Philetus [fih-LEE-tuhs]. In First Timothy (1:19), Paul warns of certain men who’ve rejected not only their faith, but their own conscience as well.
In First Timothy (1:19), Paul warns of certain men who’ve rejected not only their faith, but their own conscience as well.
heir own conscience as well.
Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. – NIV
“Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” – NIV
And later (in chapter six), when he’s talking about unnamed teachers of false doctrine who have corrupt minds, he says …
And later (in chapter six), when he’s talking about unnamed teachers of false doctrine who have corrupt minds, he says, “they think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” – NIV
… [they] think that godliness is a means to financial gain. – NIV
And then, in Second Timothy (2:16-17), Paul talks about ungodly teachers, whose godless chatter will spread like gangrene.
And then, in Second Timothy (2:16-17), Paul talks about ungodly teachers, whose godless chatter will spread like gangrene.
Again, “Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus … They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.” – NIV
Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus … They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. – NIV
The more things change, the more they stay the same!
Hmm … the more things change, the more they stay the same! Like in his first letter, Paul praises their perseverance under persecution (1:4); but now he uses the subject to reassure them, that even those who don’t know Jesus will notice His return.
Like in his first letter, Paul praises their perseverance under persecution (1:4); but now he uses the subject to reassure them, that even those who don’t know Jesus will notice His return.
📷God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. –7 NIV
“Since it is just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels.”
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. – NIV
Thanks to the deception in Thessalonica, Paul’s second letter is a treasure trove of reassuring passages concerning the end times.
Thanks to the deception in Thessalonica, Paul’s second letter is a treasure trove of reassuring passages concerning the end times.
I don’t want to trace out the various Christian theories on the End Times. But, I do want to look at three end Time Urges Paul warns the Thessalonians and, by extension, us to avoid:
I don’t want to trace out the various Christian theories on the End Times.
But, I do want to look at three end Time Urges Paul warns the Thessalonians and, by extension, us to avoid:
1. The first urge to purge is this: Don’t be deceived

End Time Urges to Avoid

The first urge: Don’t be deceived

[Jesus said] … if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Christ!” or, “There he is!” 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. – , NIV
[Jesus said] … if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Christ!” or, “There he is!” 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. – , NIV
📷And just as Jesus’ coming will be globally unmistakable, Paul says there will likewise be obvious signs of its approaching.
And just as Jesus’ coming will be globally unmistakable, Paul says there will likewise be obvious signs of its approaching.
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. – NIV
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”
The “man of lawlessness” is often referred to as the antichrist.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. – NIV
The “man of lawlessness” is often referred to as the antichrist. He’ll lead a “rebellion” against God; and by so doing, will be “revealed”, to the faithful, for what he is: a great big phony!
He’ll lead a “rebellion” against God; and by so doing, will be “revealed”, to the faithful, for what he is: a great big phony!
“He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s temple, proclaiming that he himself is God.”
Shouldn’t be too difficult to discern; yet, many will be deceived.
He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. – NIV
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. – NIV
Jesus said: “even the elect — if that were possible”. ()
Shouldn’t be too difficult to discern; yet, many will be deceived. Jesus said: “even the elect — if that were possible”. ()
“The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every wicked deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth and so be saved.”
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. – NIV
Paul explains how and why they are deceived: “they refused to love the truth” and (because of that), they refused to “be saved”.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. – NIV
Paul explains how and why they are deceived: “they refused to love the truth” and (because of that), they refused to “be saved”. The deception comes through temptation, not trickery.
The deception comes through temptation, not trickery.
“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote.”
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you … – NIV
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote.
Those who love truth, and embrace salvation through faith in Christ, have every reason to be confident and composed rather than “unsettled” or “alarmed” as Paul warned against (in 2:2).
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you … – NIV
Those who love truth, and embrace salvation through faith in Christ, have every reason to be confident and composed rather than “unsettled” or “alarmed” as Paul warned against (in 2:2).

The second urge : Don’t be disturbed

2. The second urge to discourage is: Don’t be disturbed
As a teenager, I heard a number of speculations that have since come and gone.
It is easy to spend more time contemplating the coming of the antichrist than the coming of Jesus Christ!
I was very disturbed by speculations that have since come and gone. I spent more time contemplating the coming of the antichrist than the coming of Jesus Christ! I was overly focused on the plan and the power of the enemy. The most reassuring part of that passage about the “man of lawlessness” is Paul’s reminder the he is “doomed to destruction”.
We then focus on the plan and the power of the enemy.
The most reassuring part of that passage about the “man of lawlessness” is Paul’s reminder the he is “doomed to destruction”.
📷There’s a popular misconception in our culture, that God and Satan are fairly equal opponents. That good and evil have been battling it out since time began; and hopefully, in the end, if everything goes as God has planned, He’ll outwit, outplay, and outlast the devil. Not surprisingly, Paul has a slightly different take on it.
There are some who have a misconception in our culture, that God and Satan are fairly equal opponents.
That good and evil have been battling it out since time began; and hopefully, in the end, if everything goes as God has planned, He’ll outwit, outplay, and outlast the devil.
Not surprisingly, Paul has a slightly different take on it.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. – NIV
“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will bring him to nothing at the appearance of his coming.”
This is it: the big end times’ crescendo and climax of evil!
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. – NIV
This is it: the big end times’ crescendo and climax of evil! The culmination of every last ounce of wickedness that the enemy has been conniving since he rebelled against God is turned loose! And Jesus “overthrows” it with: “the breath of his mouth”; and utterly “destroys” it by: “the splendor of his coming”.
The culmination of every last ounce of wickedness that the enemy has been conniving since he rebelled against God is turned loose!
And Jesus “overthrows” it with: “the breath of his mouth”; and utterly “destroys” it by: “the splendor of his coming”.
📷📷It’s nothing at all like a match between fairly equal opponents. It’s more like, “In the right corner, weighing 3 milligrams, a really small ant; and in the left corner, weighing too much for the scale, a really big bulldozer!”
It’s nothing at all like a match between fairly equal opponents.
It’s more like an ant verses a bulldozer.
There’s only one problem with this analogy: I’m underselling it.
📷Hmm … can’t really see that ant anymore. And that’s not even the bulldozer … it’s the one behind it … see the blade there? There’s only one problem with this analogy: I’m underselling it.
The man of lawlessness and those tempted by lawlessness are allowed to oppose God, so evil can be fully revealed in Heaven and on earth for what it is, and God’s unmatchable glory for what it is!
The man of lawlessness and those tempted by lawlessness are allowed to oppose God, so evil can be fully revealed in Heaven and on earth for what it is, and God’s unmatchable glory for what it is!
There is an ultimate evil and an Ultimate Good.
There is an ultimate evil and an Ultimate Good. And in God’s timing and for His purpose, the Ultimate Good will ultimately destroy the ultimate evil, simply by breathing and being! And it’ll have a universe shattering impact on the ant; but on the bulldozer, not so much.
And in God’s timing and for His purpose, the Ultimate Good will ultimately destroy the ultimate evil, simply by breathing and being!
And it’ll have a universe shattering impact on the ant; but on the bulldozer, not so much.
3. The final urge to submerge: Don’t be distracted

The final urge: Don’t be distracted

I would encourage you not to have an excessive preoccupation with end times speculations.
It usually distracts the believer, and detracts from the Gospel.
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy speculating about Jesus’ return!
And we shouldn’t bury our heads in the sand.
We just can’t let it distract us from the reason He’s waiting.
Some Thessalonians used the hubbub as a distraction from work; and may have considered themselves spiritually superior to (and mooched off of) those who carried on with life as usual
Some Thessalonians let their speculation distract from work; and may have considered themselves spiritually superior to (and mooched off of) those who carried on with life as usual.
We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. – NIV
“For we hear that there are some among you who are idle. They are not busy but busybodies. Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and provide for themselves. But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing good.”
I can have an intricately woven eschatological hypothesis, and still be an unloving husband, insensitive father, and a tactless, inconsiderate witness; because that isn’t what changes a heart.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. – NIV
I can have an intricately woven eschatological hypothesis, and still be an unloving husband, insensitive father, and a tactless, inconsiderate witness; because that isn’t what changes a heart.
There’ll always be someone ready to distract us from our mission with the latest “fulfilled prophecy” or headline-based theory.
📷There’ll always be someone ready to distract us from our mission with the latest “fulfilled prophecy” or headline-based theory. Just look at what’s going on in the Middle East! The media seems to have it narrowed down to two possible outcomes: a positive democratic turn or the end of civilization as we know it. And it very well could be signaling the beginning of the end.
Just look at what’s going on in the Middle East!
The media seems to have it narrowed down to two possible outcomes: a positive democratic turn or the end of civilization as we know it.
And it very well could be signaling the beginning of the end.
But then, so was the Y2K bug, the European Union, the United Nations, barcodes, Communism, and President Ronald Wilson Reagan (six letters in his first, middle, and last name: that’s 666!). There’s only one way to know for sure: hindsight.
But then, so was the Y2K bug, the European Union, the United Nations, bar codes, Communism, and President Ronald Wilson Reagan (six letters in his first, middle, and last name: that’s 666!).
There’s only one way to know for sure: hindsight.
In the meanwhile, I’ll keep my focus on the here and now instead of the there and then. When Paul closed this letter, he said …
In the meanwhile, I’ll keep my focus on the here and now instead of the there and then.
When Paul closed this letter, he said, “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way.”
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.
Prayer
NIV
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