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December 21, 2003 PM


2 THES 2:1-5

INTRO: Just how long after Pauls first letter was sent to the church in Thessalonica was the second letter sent I do not know. Most of whom I have read suggest that the interval between them was not very long. One of the interesting features of the second of the two letters is that it covers much of the same information which was included in the first letter. And the majority of the second letter returns to the subject of the Lords coming ... which Paul addressed in the last part of chapter 4 and the first part of chapter 5 in the first letter. But the information he gave them in his first letter was either misunderstood or twisted, and the church remained very troubled by questions surrounding the time of the Lords return. So, in a very real sense this is a little letter of review and reminder.

1. The church was continuing to grow in some respects - 1:3,4

a. he refers especially to their faith, their love and their patience

b. recall in 1 Thes 1:3 he mentioned these same things

c. so, we know the church was making progress in these vital respects

2. The church continued to suffer persecution - 1:4,5

a. there must have been considerable persecution and tribulation

b. and he says something very positive about it - counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer

c. recall 2 Tim 3:12

3. God, however, would avenge their tribulation - 1:6-9

a. such would be a righteous thing - within the justness of His judgments

b. this is one of the things to be expected when the Lord is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels - He had not already returned

c. this is the fate of all who obey not the gospel... - commandments to obey

4. Concerning the coming of the Lord? - 2:1-12

a. there were apparently teachers and letters circulating which purported to have been from Paul which had shaken in mind the Thessalonians

b. but the day of the Lords coming would follow a falling away

c. and that would not happen until that man of sin would be revealed - from what he says at 2:5 he must have explained all of this to them earlier

d. question? who was the man of sin? a question which has occupied many minds for many, many years - my own belief? Nero and his henchmen fit the description very well

e. everything in the context suggests someone in the not distant future

f. in fact, the mystery of iniquity doth already work - the plots of Neros mother? - when Claudius was taken out of the way by the murderous plot of his wife (Neros mother), Nero came to power

g. there is little doubt that the falling away began soon after the 1st Century

5. Apostolic advice for all ages? Stand fast - 2:15

a. clearly, the day of the Lords return is unknown ... unpredictable

b. and it could certainly be at any moment

c. but the proper approach of Christians must be to stand fast in the revealed word and its instructions for life!

6. Two more relevant, loving thoughts - 3:5

a. he has reassured them of Gods faithfulness (3:3)

b. so, love God and be patient as you wait for Christ

c. such advice needs to be preached and heard even now by Christians who from time to time may wonder, Whats it all about?

7. But the problem of disorderliness needed attention - 3:6

a. at 3:10,11 the problem is mentioned in its practical manifestation

b. because some had been convinced that the Lord was returning momentarily, they had stopped working and were just living off of others

c. such conduct was contrary to standing fast - violated the traditions which ye have been taught - and was disruptive to the church

d. withdraw yourselves - note that man- admonish him

CLOSE: As I review, mentally, this letter, I realize there is much here which we, too, should remember. And I wonder how carefully we hold the inspired traditions revealed in and by the gospel.

Cecil A. Hutson

21 December 2003

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)