Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
April 6, 2014
Dayton, Texas
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<033> Thesis: That "faith" will be tested, with the possibility of failure, is a given; so what is the solution? Introduction: With our last study, we wound up our consideration of chapter one. Chapter One is given over to Paul's memories of what happened in Thessalonica when he brought the Gospel into that place. His words are "remembering without ceasing" (1:3). According to 1:4, these memories were pretty much "proof" that God was potently "in the mix" of that "happening". And, according to the majority of the content of that chapter (1:5-10), the element of human involvement is very important because that is the way God "mixes" the Gospel with the "elect" (the Spirit with the Gospel and the human "types" with their enthusiastic proclamation). At issue: will the hope that drives this entire on-going saga stay "alive"? The answer, of course, depends upon both of these historical realities -- God's powerful involvement and men's willingness to be "imitators". As we begin our considerations of Chapter Two, we need to understand its place in Paul's thought. That "place" is revealed in a comparison of 2:1 and 3:5. According to Paul's understanding, when God's work has been shown to be "not in vain", the tempter swings into action to attempt to bring it to vanity. This has one very large "conclusion" that we must draw: when "faith" has been exercised, it will be tested. That is a "given". The question that it raises is this: how do we "survive" the test? I believe the answer is to be found in our studies of Chapter Two.