Steadfast to the Final Bell – Despite clear teaching, believers can be easily confused (especially about end time scenarios) and need encouragement to remain steadfast until the Lord returns (despite many antagonists and distractions). This short epistle contains the most detail from the Apostle Paul regarding the Day of the Lord and the coming Antichrist.
Despite all of the differing views among evangelicals regarding the timing and nature of some of these events, we need to make sure we do not miss the practical impact of the reality of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The exhortation is to remain steadfast and walk worthy of our calling in every respect. False teaching and deception must be refuted as we remain secure in the providential care of our Heavenly Father who is working out His grand program for the ages. Our missionary zeal must not dim, but must be balanced with responsible, orderly living that manifests itself through a disciplined work ethic.
“so then brethren, stand firm” – 2 Thessalonians 2:15
As Believers Anticipate The Second Coming They Must Remain Steadfast Despite:
I. (1:3-12) Steadfast Despite Affliction And Suffering – Believers Must Show Themselves Worthy Of Their Christian Identity By Remaining Steadfast In The Face Of Persecution Until Christ Returns
Steadfast In Christian Growth As Observed By Others
“may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering“
Steadfast In Bearing Fruit To The Glory Of God As Evaluated By God Himself
“that our God may count you worthy of your calling“
II. (2:1-17) Steadfast Despite Apostasy And Deception – Believers Must Withstand The Deception Regarding The Coming Apostasy And The Operation Of The Antichrist By Remaining Steadfast In Their Love Of The Truth And Secure In God‘s Providential Care
Initiated In Election
Carried Out Through Sanctification
Culminating In The Glory Of Final Salvation
III. (3:1 – 3:16) Steadfast Despite Evil Antagonists And Undisciplined Brothers
Believers Must Remain Steadfast In Their Missionary Outreach (Despite Evil Antagonists) And
Balanced In Their Example Of Unselfish, Disciplined Labor (Despite Misguided And Unruly Brethren)
John Piper: “This is one of those great passages of Scripture that shows that when God governs the acts of sinful men he himself does not become sinful. The persecution of Christians is sin; but in the wise and sovereign and holy hands of God it becomes the expression and proof of his righteous judgment. As an expression of man’s unbelief it is sin. As an expression of God’s judgment it is righteous. . . The rest of our text is Paul’s demonstration of the righteousness of God’s decision to use persecution as part of his judgment.
No more suffering. The kingdom has come. The church has been made worthy by her trials. The enemies of truth are swept away in eternal destruction. The saints are given everlasting rest. And Jesus Christ is glorified on his throne for ever and ever.”
David Malick: 2 Main Purposes for the Epistle:
A. Paul wishes to correct false teaching that theThessalonians are presently in the Day of the Lord (2:1-2) because they are already undergoing persecution (2:14-16)
B. Paul wishes to correct disorderliness in the church (e.g., not working because the Lord’s coming was so near) (3:6-16)
J Hampton Keathley III: “Helping believers grow requires constant diligence and commitment to people. The first epistle had been sent to encourage and correct the problems at Thessalonica, and one might think the problems had been covered and all would now be well. While we do not know where or how Paul received his report about the continuing and growing difficulties at Thessalonica, it seems obvious from what we know about the apostle that he continued to inquire and pray for this church. The apostle and his team remained committed to the needs of this church even though separated from them. In keeping with this is a second and related lesson.
Helping believers grow is a continual process that requires a great deal of patience and realistic expectations. Someone has said, idealism without realism leads to cynicism. Because their expectations are totally unrealistic, church leaders and those who disciple others can become quickly discouraged or impatient. No matter how carefully and accurately one has taught others, that does not guarantee the kind of results he or she might expect.”
Ron Ritchie: “As I was studying this epistle, I asked myself what value this book has for me in my life. There are four areas where I find it is of particular help to me. I trust you will also find it helpful in your walk of faith. First, in this book we will gain a deeper love and trust in our glorious heavenly Father. History is his story. In spite of the apparent chaos we see on all sides, everything that happens is within his sovereign control. Despite what Paul describes as the “mystery of lawlessness” which is now at work, God is working out his plan of redemption. Secondly, in this book we will gain a deeper love for and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are reminded that he came to earth to provide the way of salvation, that he will come again for his own, and that he will judge the wicked. Thirdly, we will gain a deeper awareness and insight into world events. We are reminded by the prophets, by the Lord and the apostles of what must occur on the world scene before the final and great day of the Lord will come. Fourthly, we will be encouraged on how we should be living in light of Christ’s second coming. We should be growing in our faith, love, and courage, living Christlike lives, filled with faith in our blessed hope; we should be knowledgeable in the Scriptures, and faithful in our work.”
John MacArthur: “Paul had instructed the Thessalonians about the end times while he was with them (2 Thess. 2:5), and in 1 Thessalonians (4:13-5:11). Yet they were still confused, fearing they had missed the Rapture and were in the Day of the Lord. Though the severity of the persecution they were undergoing contributed to that mistaken belief, the main reason for their confusion came from some false teachers who taught that the Day of the Lord had arrived. Those lying deceivers claimed Paul, Silas, and Timothy now taught that, even producing a forged letter supposedly from the apostle Paul to support their claim. Paul wrote chapter 2 to calm the Thessalonians’ fears, clarify his teaching, and thus reassure them that the Day of the Lord had not arrived.”
J Sidlow Baxter:
I. (chap. 1) Comfort – From the Hope of Christ’s Return
II. (chap. 2) Caution – on the Time of Christ’s Return
III. (chap. 3) Command – in the Light of Christ’s Return