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Second Thessalonians Introduction: Major Themes of Second Thessalonians

Second Thessalonians Introduction  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:04:08
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Introduction-Major Themes of Second Thessalonians

Like First Thessalonians, there are five major themes found in Second Thessalonians.
They share four of these, however, unlike First Thessalonians, the rapture of the church is not a major theme in Second Thessalonians.
The first major theme in Second Thessalonians is thanksgiving (cf. 1:3-4; 2:13-14).
The second is persecution (cf. 1:4-10).
The third is the concern that the Thessalonians would continue to exercise their post-justification faith in the gospel (1:3-4, 11-12; 2:13-16).
The fourth is the eschatological day of the Lord (2:1-12).
The fifth and final major theme in Second Thessalonians is church discipline (3:6-14).
As we noted, the first major theme which appears in Second Thessalonians is thanksgiving since Paul expresses his thanks for the Christian community in Thessalonica on two different occasions in this letter, namely 1:3 and 2:13.
2 Thessalonians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! (NET)
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. (NET)
The second major theme which appears in Second Thessalonians is persecution since 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10 records Paul commending the Thessalonians for persevering in the face of persecution as well as encouraging them to continue to do so.
2 Thessalonians 1:4 As a result we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions you are enduring. 1:5 This is evidence of God’s righteous judgment, to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which in fact you are suffering. 1:6 For it is right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 1:7 and to you who are being afflicted to give rest together with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. 1:8 With flaming fire he will mete out punishment on those who do not know Godand do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 1:9 They will undergo the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength, 1:10 when he comes to be glorified among his saints and admired on that day among all who have believed—and you did in fact believe our testimony. (NET)
The third major theme which appears in Second Thessalonian is that of the Thessalonians’ post-justification faith in Paul’s apostolic teaching, which results in the experiencing sanctification which speaks of experiencing fellowship with God from the perspective of experiencing being set apart to serve God exclusively.
In other words, the Christian’s post-justification faith in the gospel results in living the Christian way of life.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith flourishes more and more and the love of each one of you all for one another is ever greater. (NET)
2 Thessalonians 1:11 And in this regard we pray for you always, that our God will make you worthy of his calling and fulfill by his power your every desire for goodness and every work of faith. (NET)
2 Thessalonians 2:14 He called you to this salvation through our gospel, so that you may possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NET)
Like First Thessalonians, the prophetic subject of the day of the Lord is a major theme which appears in Second Thessalonians since it appears in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
In this passage, Paul reassures the Thessalonians that the eschatological day of the Lord had not yet taken place as some false teachers were asserting.
He then goes on to describe the Antichrist and his actions during this eschatological day of the Lord.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 the apostle Paul reassures the Christian community in Thessalonica that they would not experience the prophetic events related to the day of the Lord and in particular the events predicted to take place during the seventieth week of Daniel.
He asserts that they were delivered from God’s wrath which will be exercised toward the inhabitants of planet earth during these seven years.
One of the major lines of prophecy running throughout the Old Testament and continuing through the New Testament is the prophetic truth related to the “Day of the Lord.”
It is a critical phrase in understanding God’s revelation regarding the future of planet earth, the city of Jerusalem, the nation of Israel as well as the Gentiles.
The writers of the New Testament use this phrase based on their understanding of the Old Testament prophets.
This phrase was used by the prophets of Israel in the Old Testament when they were speaking of both near historical as well as future eschatological events.
The New Testament writers understood this and applied the phrase to both the judgment which will terminate the tribulation period of Daniel’s Seventieth week as well as the judgment which will bring the creation of the new heavens and the new earth.
The last major theme found in Second Thessalonians is that of church discipline, which is indicated by the contents of 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, which record Paul exhorting the Thessalonians to keep away from every one of their number who disobeys his apostolic teaching to work.
This separation would be the result of going through the process of church discipline mapped out by the Lord Jesus Christ for His disciples in Matthew 18:15-17.
One of the most controversial subjects in the Word of God is that of church discipline.
Too often, it has not been practiced in many churches which has resulted in disastrous consequences in the sense that it has destroyed the testimony of these churches before the world.
Unfortunately, many churches describe their legalistic bullying of other Christians, who did not fit their non-Biblical requirements for a Christian, as church discipline.
This too has produced disastrous consequences resulting in damaged souls who have been abused by these hypocritical, self-righteous people.
Because of this abuse, many churches do not even attempt to practice it.
However, the teaching of the Word of God says it must and should be administered by the church when appropriate circumstances call for it.
The Bible teaches when and who we are to discipline.
The Lord has ordered the church to administer discipline to those who are living ungodly lifestyles and who are habitually living in rejection of the Word of God.
It is to be administered for the spiritual well-being of these individuals who are living in apostasy.
Church discipline is based upon God’s holiness and is patterned after God’s discipline of the church.
Failure to administer church discipline when it is called for demonstrates a church’s lack of awareness or concern for God’s holiness.
Church discipline is taught in Matthew 18:15-18, Romans 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11; Galatians 6:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-16; 2 Timothy 2:23-26; Titus 3:10; 2 John 9-11.
The purpose of church discipline is always restoration and not revenge.
The purpose of this discipline is to deliver the offender from sinful patterns of behavior and not to drive him or her away from the fellowship of the church.
The church’s attitude is to be one of love and gentleness (Galatians 6:1-3).
The scriptural procedure for administering church discipline is clear and specific steps are prescribed.
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