Teachings for the Troubled 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
Something To Think About Just as Paul had done in 1 Thessalonians he entered into the reason for his writing in chapter 2. This is a difficult chapter to interpret, especially in light of the differing ideas many good Christians have about end-time events. The basic tension is between varying views of the millennium. The eschatological perspective of the interpreter will understandably tint his view of this chapter. Beyond the question of the millennium, premillennial interpreters will be divided at certain points depending upon their view of the tribulation. Still, this difficulty need not stop us from diligent study. In fact, the acceptance of the truth we can glean concerning the end times seems to be a paramount concern of Paul in this chapter.
KEY VERSE 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle”
Lesson Objectives To warn against misconceptions about the Lord’s return To watch with longing hearts for the Lord’s return To work with all our might until the Lord returns
CORRECTION OF AN ERROR 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Paul’s Reasonable Appeal (1) Hebrews 10:25 1 Thessalonians 4:15 Paul’s Rebuttal (2) Joel 2:1-3
The great warning of this chapter is the terrible danger of rejecting truth (verse 10). This sin ends in the complete delusion and utter damnation of the truth-rejecters (verses 11-12). Beyond the prophetic theme of this chapter, there are other lessons as well. Foremost among these is Paul’s exhortation to be stable in our spiritual life. He mentioned this in verses 2, 15, and 17. The church today desperately needs to hear this message of commitment and perseverance.
CORRUPTION OF THE MAN OF SIN 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 The Revealing of the Man of Sin (3-6) Acts 21:21 John 17:12 Acts 1:25 1 John 2:18 Revelation 17:12-13 Revelation 13:7-8 Daniel 9:27 Matthew 24:15 The Restraining of the Man of Sin (7-10) 1 Timothy 3:16 Revelation 19:20
In Matthew 24:5, 24-27, Jesus warned that the last days would bring with them many false christs and claims concerning His return. We occasionally hear of some cult in which the leader claims to be the returned Lord. We sometimes hear of those who claim to know the date of Christ’s return. The Thessalonians evidently faced a similar situation, and so Paul wrote to more fully define and detail his brief teaching on the Second Coming in the first epistle. He told them that the return of Jesus would be preceded by two major events: a falling away and the revelation of the man of sin. While eschatological views of the “man of sin” may differ rather widely, almost all Bible scholars see the time immediately preceding Christ’s return as one of great apostasy. Modern believers have a better picture of global happenings than any previous generation, and what we see is a growing tide of evil. Although there is evidence of revival in various parts of the world, the over169 all trend seems to be toward greater wickedness, increased oppression, growing tension between world powers, and perhaps most tellingly, an intensifying persecution of the Christian faith.
CONSEQUENCES OF PERVERSION 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 The Delusion (11) Exodus 7:3 The Damned (12)
A most obvious characteristic of the time preceding Christ’s return is that of deception. Contributing to this “falling away” will be the great deception triggered by a refusal to believe the truth. It is significant that this deception is a result of rejecting the truth because it is only after they have refused the truth that they are deceived into believing a lie. There is a tremendous attack being launched upon the historical truths of Christianity today. Sources from within the organization of the church are denying biblical inerrancy, rationalizing sins like homosexuality, questioning biblical authority and authenticity, rejecting the doctrines of sin and depravity, and all the while substituting secular, worldly philosophies for the longheld doctrines of the faith. The apostle Paul warned us in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 that the messengers of Satan can appear to be ministers of Christ. We are inundated with pseudo- Christian cults in the United States who have adopted some of the doctrines of the true faith, but refused to believe the whole truth. We desperately need to sound the alarm and stand for the historical doctrines that have sustained the church.
COMPONENTS OF SALVATION 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 The Choosing (13) The Calling (14) The Consolation (15-16) The Comforting (17)
The danger of deception can be frightening. When we see all the false doctrine being taught around us, we can become fearful of falling prey to it. Certainly, it is good that we have a healthy fear of false teaching and a hesitancy to accept what sounds questionable. However, this fear should not turn into a terror that doubts the validity of our relationship with God. Paul pointed out that the Thessalonians and we have believed the truth and as a result have been sanctified or set apart unto God by the indwelling of the Spirit. We need never doubt that even in difficult and confusing times such as these the same God who saved us is able to keep us (Jude 24).
QUESTIONS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION 1. What should be the response toward those who set a specific time for Christ’s return? 2. How had the Thessalonians misunderstood the doctrine of the Second Coming? How can we avoid the same error? 3. What was the source(s) of the false teaching in the Thessalonian church (verse 2)? Who is most likely to be deceived by such false doctrine? 4. Why will people reject the truth and receive Satan’s lies? Use Scripture to support your answer. 5. For what did Paul pray concerning the Thessalonians? In what two ways are spiritual stability and strength to be demonstrated according to Paul’s prayer in this lesson? 6. What should our attitude be toward brethren who hold different millennial views than we do?
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Acknowledgements Applications taken from Bible Teacher Bible Studies for Adults—Fall Edition (2011) This power point slide presentation may be altered by additions or deletions to fit your own teaching style. There is more information in viewing Note Pages Click on View then Note Pages Presentation Compiled For Randall House By Earl Scroggins