Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 21st - Intro to Second Thessalonians

Prayer Requests
Pastor Aaron's New Series on a Healthy Church
Dave Snyder Going to California for His Cousin Michael's Wedding
Michael's Salvation
Day at the Park
Hannah getting braces
Sarah and Tyler going to China
Bethany's Cousin's Salvation
Fee Concert
Compassion International - Elmer and Diana

Text - 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4

Reader's Note - Much of the class was spent discussing camp

Where is Thessalonica and what makes it special? It is in Greece, and it is a major hub of shipping and land-travel, since it's on the Aegean Sea and the Egnatian Way. The Egnatian Way starts in Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul and runs to Rome through Philippi and Thessalonica.

Who Planted the Church at Thessalonica? Paul and Silas.

How about Timothy? Timothy was not in Thessalonica at the planting, as evidenced by his ability to go to the city and become their interim pastor.

What year was the church planted? Fall of AD 50.

What happened after the plant? In the spring of AD 51, Paul and Silas were run out of town.

What happened between them getting kicked out and the writing of First Thessalonians? All of the Jewish believers were either killed or run out of town; there was massive persecution in the church, and Judaizers came in to try to convince new Gentile believers that they had to be circumcised in order to be saved.

Paul had lost one church already to the Judaizers, which one was that? The church of the Galatians, so he sent Timothy to be an interim pastor at Thessalonica in order to lead them in the truth.

When was First Thessalonians written? Fall of AD 51.

Why was it written? To edify the Thessalonian church, ensuring they knew that salvation was by grace through faith in Christ's substitutionary crucifixion and his resurrection. The Thessalonians also got it into their heads that if they died before Christ returned, they would miss Heaven; the first letter was to fix this problem.

Where do we find this information? Mostly Acts 17 and First Thessalonians, but also a little bit in Galatians and First Corinthians.

What makes First Thessalonians peculiar amongst New Testament letters? It doesn't quote the Old Testament a single time.

So, introduction to Second Thessalonians, this epistle does allude to Old Testament quotations several times, a few times are almost verbatim albeit Paul doesn't say he's quoting the Scriptures. There are two reasons he may be doing this.

1. The evangelistic efforts in Thessalonica have begun to see Jews saved
2. The Word of God has authority whether or not you accept it as the Word of God

What is the occasion for the writing of Second Thessalonians? Someone has sent them a letter stating that the Rapture has already occurred and they missed it. The letter was signed by someone claiming to be Paul. Due to this, some of the Thessalonians have stopped working and are just sitting around. Paul writes to them to clear this up and let them know there are certain things that need to happen before Christ will return.

If the church in Thessalonica had one major problem, it was they were too caught up in their role in the return of Christ. Our duty is to work diligently, walking in the works which God has prepared for us beforehand, so that we will not be ashamed at his coming. Jesus will take care of his part, let us take care of our part.

Second Thessalonians was written only a few months after First Thessalonians, probably in early AD 52.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

Paul was an accomplished Pharisee, raised at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the greatest Rabbi's ever to live. After the custom of the Jews, even though Paul was a Pharisee, he learned a trade making tents. This provided him the ability to work while planting churches and not to rely on the fledgling church to survive. He made four missionary journey's and converted much of the civilized world along with his traveling companions. He was converted on the road to Damascus while seeking to do evil to Christians.

Silas is the one we know the least about, but he was a great Christian. He worked with Paul, Peter, and Luke, and did untold good for the early church.

Timothy was a young-man from Lystra. He fell and fell hard for the Judaizer heresies, yet Paul was able to see him saved, and then Timothy did amazing work for the church, despite his rough beginnings and his youth. For the majority of his life he pastored the church at Ephesus. Early in his life he served as the interim pastor at Thessalonica.