Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
Thesis: God is willing to firm up our resolve to walk with Him.
Introduction: In our first look at Paul's wishes for the Thessalonians we saw that the focus is upon the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, and God our Father. The overall impact of the characterizations of the Persons is that of powerful decision-making under the major characteristic of Love exercised graciously.
This evening we are going to look at what Paul wants the Lord and the Father to do regarding the Thessalonians.
February 14, 2015
- I. The "Comfort of the Heart".
- A. The word translated "comfort" is "parakaleo".
- 1. As we have pointed out multiple times, this term is a key word in Paul's letters to the Thessalonians.
- 2. At issue is Paul's meaning in regard to his choice of this word and whether "comfort" is the best translation.
- a. In 1 Thessalonians 2:11 Paul used this word in the same sentence as another "comfort" word, clearly indicating that it should be viewed a bit differently than "comfort".
- b. In 1 Thessalonians 4:18 Paul used this word with a strong implication that "comfort" was in view.
- c. In 1 Thessalonians 3:2 Paul used the same combination of words as are in our current text in reverse order to indicate that afflictions are not to be allowed to move us away from our confidence in God and His words.
- d. There are twelve uses of this word in verb and noun forms in the two letters that give us an idea of Paul's uses and meanings.
- e. The bottom line is that the etymological sense is the actual sense in every case, leading us to think of the meaning in terms of being summoned into the actual presence of God as He is characterized.
- f. In our current text, the context is all about being subjected to false doctrine and Paul's clarification of the truth about our being gathered together to the Lord.
- 1) The "Rapture" is the ultimate "parakalesis" (summons into the presence of God).
- 2) As such, this "summons" is "the blessed hope".
- 3) Thus, it stands to reason that Paul is asking God to summon the Thessalonians at the level of the "heart".
- a) In support of this concept is the previous verse (God has given us an enduring summons) and the following context (3:5) where the Lord is to direct our hearts in the love of God and into the patient waiting for Christ.
- b) The point: the heart is where our values are developed and maintained and, as such, is in need of God's on-going summons to His side so that our values will be adjusted to align with His.
- i. In view of Jeremiah 17:9, in conjunction with Jeremiah 31:31-33 and 32:39-40, this is a critical need of significant proportion.
- ii. That it is the Lord, Himself, and God the Father Who must act in concert to address the "heart" indicates the large measure of difficulty involved as well as the consequences, both eternal and temporal.
- II. The "Strengthening in View of Every Work and Good Word".
- A. In regard to "Every Work", Paul began his letters to the Thessalonians with a remembrance of their "work of the faith" and "labor of the Love".
- 1. In his summary of their conversion, Paul referred to the fact that they turned from idols to "serve" the living and true God.
- 2. Heavily invested in the scenario of "serving" is the adoption of the values and truths of the living and true God.
- 3. But this scenario is not one easily developed, even by God, and is not the New Testament "norm".
- B. In regard to the "Good Word", Paul's concerns and context all have to do with being deceived into abandonment of the Truth, with the consequences that follow such a choice.
- 1. Paul wishes for the Lord, Himself, and God our Father to "establish" the heart in regard to both "every work" and "good word".
- a. The word "strengthen" or "establish" is a word that means to determinedly fix an issue in heart and mind so that the "work" that is coming will be done.
- b. Jesus "fixed" His face to go to Jerusalem and He would not be dissuaded for any reason because He was going there to be the Redeeming Sacrifice that would lay the foundation of His Kingdom to come.
- 2. But the order is actually in reverse: every good word that is "fixed" leads to the works that naturally arise out of such a fixed conviction.
- 3. The chapter illustrates how crucial the issue is since it is all about false doctrine and how important it is that the truth be believed and deception be resisted.