Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
April 13, 2014
Dayton, Texas
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<035> Thesis: What does "not in vain" actually look like? Introduction: In our study last week we saw that the Thessalonians were on Paul's mind because of the high level of zeal of which they had given evidence and his strong awareness of the problems that zealous faith always produces. When a person believes something, it always causes problems both inwardly and outwardly because "faith" means something and an alteration in the "What is True?" question of life always causes people to have to decide what the answer to that question is. Then, once the question is answered, behavior changes to suit the answer. This is problematic, both for the person whose habits of life are on the line and for the people who are affected by the changes and react accordingly. In 2:1 Paul says that his entrance into Thessalonica was "not in vain". We take that to mean that the high level of zeal is the direct result of the Gospel. But, the problems associated with the zeal always have some kind of impact upon others and their reaction has a strong tendency to cause the zealous person to "make adjustments" to his/her actions. For this cause Paul immediately addresses his own high leveal of zeal and the example he set for the Thessalonians with one bottom line: no human reaction is going to have any effect whatsoever upon whether Paul will continue to be "faithful" to his calling. It is clear that he wants the Thessalonians to be like-committed. Therefore, we are going to look at 2:2 in the light of another reality of which the Thessalonians were "aware".