7/10/11 2 Thess. 2:16-3:5
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
GOD’S WORK AND OUR ROLE
2 Thessalonians 2:16 – 3:5
The Thessalonians had proved their passion for Jesus’ news and Jesus’ work. Paul was writing from Corinth, another city where outside opposition made the Work of the Lord hard. But Corinth was the gateway to western society. Paul calls on the group in Thessalonica to pray that God would spread His message not just in their backyard but all over the world. Paul wrote this second letter within three or four months of his first letter to Thessalonica. Originally, Paul had spent only a few short months in their city. Jealous Jews had driven him out (Acts 17:5). The Christians in this part of northern Greece knew what it was to face the heat because of Jesus. They were facing it with the limited training Paul gave them, but without the kind of formal pastor for their church that we think of today.
What kind of “eternal” encouragement does 3:16-17 give us in hard times?
Christians who are part of church organizations really need to take time to help newer believers stabilize. Group Bible studies are important. So are our more formal get-togethers, but individual mentoring is also critical. Paul supported believers on a one-to-one basis. We should follow his example.
What’s “good hope,” and how does it differ from bad hope (2:16)?
It is not enough to buy into the truth and keep it safe. We must put what it teaches into practice in everyday life. If we hear what it says, but don’t live it out, we’re only fooling ourselves (James 1:22–25). We cannot share what we do not believe (unless we want to be hypocrites). “Every good deed and word” (v. 17) is a good motto to us to follow in view of the dark days Paul pictures for God’s people before the end. Keep on giving out the Word; keep on working for Jesus.
What kind of “good deeds and words” is 2:17 referring to?
In the previous verses Paul explained the threat that the antichrist brings. It is a serious danger for Christians. Twice in this letter Paul has prayed for these people (1:11-12; 2:16-17).
How does he want them to pray for him and his traveling companions (3:1)?
The only way to counteract Satan’s lies (2:3-12) is to publicize God’s truth. The Word is living (Heb. 4:12). Paul wants to see it “run freely” (v. 1) all over the world, like an Olympic athlete.
How can people honor the message about Jesus (3:1)?
Paul asks God to help missionaries deal with "wicked and evil men." "Wicked" labels them as capable of outrageous, hurtful exploits against the family of believers. "Evil" not only labels totally dishonest people but also people who want to drag unwary believers into their own downward slide to hell. As the end of the world comes closer, it will be harder and harder to live for Jesus. What should Christians do? Get a good handle on God’s Bible message. Don’t listen to Satan’s lies—what cults teach, the sugar-coated promises of misleading leaders. That’s the way God positions Himself to depend us from violent attack.
What is God’s faithfulness such a key factor (3:3)?
The Christian support network is an extension of God’s “faithfulness.” Christians, working together, serve as a checks-and-balance system to look out for each other.
Why could Paul feel so confident God’s Word would work on people (3:4-5)?
We’re not strong enough to handle situations on our own. That makes the help the Lord volunteers to assist us with indispensible.
How do God’s love and Jesus’ perseverance make valuable contributions to our lifestyles (3:5)?
Evil has always wormed its way into life here. It never takes time off. Evil wears no neon signs that flash, “Stay away!” Instead, it has a certain appeal. It’s attractive. God never lets down His guard either. His protection, strength, and support help us keep a focus on His Word in a selfish society.
1. What have you found helpful in prodding you to pray for missionaries?
2. Agree or disagree: Mission work will always be hard and dangerous.
3. How does this section connect to Matthew 9:35 – 10:8? What’s the connection to Numbers 27:15-23?