Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
Thesis: Paul's confidence is that the Thessalonians are, and will be, doing what is required to maintain and build their reputation of faithfulness to The Lord.
Introduction: In our studies of this first paragraph we have seen that on-going faithfulness is Paul's large burden. It is one thing to "believe" a single aspect of the Word of God; it is another thing to continue to believe it so that it runs tentacles outward into multiple other aspects of that Word; and it is yet another thing to continue that same process over time so that "an established faith" results over the entire lifetime of the one who initially "believed".
March 6, 2015
- I. The Larger Context.
- A. The entire book has a setting in conflict over "the Word of God".
- 1. Paul had taught the Thessalonians about their "blessed hope" when he was with them and in his first letter to them.
- 2. After his departure, false teachers had used deceit to attempt to corrupt this "hope" by denying its major element: deliverance from the coming wrath.
- 3. At issue: whether the Thessalonians were going to stand firm on this particular issue because it was the Word of God.
- B. The prior immediate context of 2:13-17 has the same setting regarding the same basic issue: will they stand firm?
- 1. At issue is whether the believers will stand fast (2:15) so as to not only escape the coming wrath, but also to acquire the future glory that is extended to those who do so stand.
- 2. Paul's "wish" is that The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself and God our Father would "establish" the heart in the pursuit of the good word and work.
- C. The immediately following context has some very strong instructions regarding any who do not remain faithful so that the larger body of the church will.
- D. And Reality is also in this larger context.
- 1. "Faith" always has a beginning.
- 2. "Faith" always has direct implications beyond the specific issues of what was first believed.
- 3. "Faith" is always opposed by the adversary so that it can be stymied and shut down.
- 4. "Faith" is to be pursued into all of its implications as they grow into conviction over time.
- II. Within This Larger Context is This Text.
- A. At issue is whether, or not, "The Word Will Run" and "Be Glorified".
- B. The necessity for this is whether, or not, The Lord will be "faithful" and whether, or not, His people will be "faithful".
- C. A more precise issue is whether, or not, The Lord will direct the hearts of His people into the Love of The God and into the Patience of The Christ.
- 1. Regarding the Love of The God, the "believer" has two most dangerous liabilities.
- a. On the one hand, everyone has a private "most fearful" issue of the heart.
- 1) The Word's solution to this is the reality that perfected love casts out all fear and perfected love develops as the fear is confronted from multiple sides over time.
- 2) The "believer" must hang on to this hope in order for the fear to be defeated.
- b. On the other hand, everyone has a "most desirable" issue of the heart.
- 1) The Word's solution to this reality is "taking up the cross daily" so that the desire is put to death.
- 2) The "believer" must hang on to the promise of the joy of life without the idol in order for the desire to be defeated.
- c. Satan, by observation, has pretty well figured out what both of these issues are for us so that he will attack through many stratagems to force us to yield in fear or desire.
- 2. Regarding the endurance of the Christ, the "believer" has one major reality to face: whether, or not, he/she is willing to pay the ultimate price of fidelity as did Christ at the Cross, just as Peter said in 1 Peter 2:21.
- D. Then there is Paul's encouragement to the Thessalonians.
- 1. He claims to have been persuaded regarding them that they will be "established".
- a. This "establishment" is revealed by the current "doing".
- b. This "establishment" will be revealed by the future "doing".
- c. The "doing", however, is mainly about one issue: whether the church will purge itself of those whose "faith" is bogus.
- 2. He claims this in spite of the rather contrary following context wherein he acknowledges the very real possibility that some within the group will rebel.
- a. The tension raised here is a tension between what God will do in the larger body of the church, and what He will, or will not do, in regard to the individual members.
- b. The promise is for the church; the application of that promise is for those who will latch on to it by "faith".