Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
Thesis: The Gospel is fundamentally an honest "summons".
Introduction: In our last study we looked into the fact that Paul was calling upon the Thessalonians to "live" on the basis of what they "know" because of two major realities: living on the basis of current "feelings" leads to decisions with disastrous outcomes; and disastrous outcomes need to be identified on the basis of their long-term impact. Paul was concerned because the Thessalonians were being subjected to the pressures of the present difficulties as a way to get them to change the solid decisions that they had previously made to "believe" the "Truth". This, in spite of the fact that they "know" that operating by "Truth" in this present world will yield up a host of difficulties that cannot be made "easy". No one's life in the present world is "easy", but there is "difficult" and then there is "difficult". Difficulties that will eventually "go away" are not to be seen as anything other than temporary unpleasantness; difficulties that will not "go away" will actually get worse and these are to be seen as the final disaster. Paul, obviously, wants his readers to stay the course in spite of the unpleasantness of the opposition because there is a greater, and eternal, "weight of glory" to be possessed.
The verse before us this evening is a part of his rationale and its focus is upon why the Thessalonians need to stay the course.
April 27, 2014
- I. The Gospel as "Summons".
- A. The word translated "exhortation".
- 1. First, it is a summary characterization of "the Gospel of the God" (2:2).
- a. By definition, "Gospel" is "good news".
- b. In experience, most men treat it as "horrible news" that must be opposed even with violence.
- 2. Second, it is a combination word made of a preposition and a basic verb.
- a. The preposition pictures two standing beside each other.
- b. The basic verb is essentially an exercise of "authority" in "summons" as can be ascertained by almost any of the 138 texts of the New Testament that contain it (even when the "caller" is less than the one being called -- as in Romans 10:17 -- simply because a "call" is a demand for the attention of the hearer even when it is voiced in great humility and submission).
- 3. Third, it lends itself to various translational choices because of the variety of realities of "distance" between two who are to be "side by side" and the reasons for such distance.
- a. "Distance" can be viewed in terms of "where" the wayward person is: ahead, behind, off to the side, underneath, above, etc.
- b. "Reasons" invariably boil down to the perspective the wayward has adopted to create the distance: desires or fears, and facts and delusions.
- B. That Paul called "the Gospel of the God" "our exhortation" simply means that he has boiled "the Gospel" down to its essence: it is a "summons" to wayward people with a host of false motives and beliefs to "come alongside of" the God of Life and Future Bliss.
- II. The Gospel as an Expression of Honest Intention.
- A. The first "out of" expression: not "out of" error.
- 1. The term "error" is translated in the Authorized Version as "deceit", a choice the NASB translators opted for at the end of the three-fold characterization.
- 2. The term translated "error" is characteristically used as the outcome of believing a lie.
- a. It is not so much an "error" as it is the inevitable choice(s) that arises out of "belief" in something that is not true; a "belief" that has its roots in a desire to be permitted to act in a certain way.
- b. Ephesians 4:14 uses the word in respect to "children" who are carried about "by every wind of doctrine" as a declaration that children seldom make "truth" the root of their decisions.
- c. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 declares that God is going to provide a "strong delusion" for those who are ready to sacrifice "truth" on the altar of "desire".
- 3. Paul's Point: the "summons of God" does not have its roots in "appealing lies" that depend upon the depravity of men for their effectiveness.
- B. The second "out of" expression: nor "out of" impurity.
- 1. The term "impurity" is translated "uncleanness" in the Authorized Version in harmony with a large concept in the Old Testament to refer to a lack of qualification to stand alongside of God.
- 2. It typically has the idea attached to it that anyone who gets too close to "uncleanness" will develop some death-producing complication(s).
- 3. There are multiple associations in the New Testament between "uncleanness" and sexual perversion, thus indicating both a potent attraction and a deadly result.
- 4. Paul's Point: the "summons of God" does not have its roots in powerful desires that lead men to death.
- C. The third expression: nor "in deceit".
- 1. This word describes a situation wherein a false appearance is created in order to get a person to make a certain decision and take a prescribed action.
- 2. There are multiple associations with the way people "talk" as using their tongues to paint a picture that is appealing, but false [Note Paul's description of humanity's use of the tongue in Romans 2].
- 3. The Point: the "summons of God", though it comes with promises that are beyond the pale of blessedness, does not try to get people to think that the present outcomes will be pleasant (Paul's whole point in the context is "trouble will come to those who believe the truth").