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Notes & Outlines 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS
"By Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network,http://www.ttb.org. "


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1 THESSALONIANS

WRITER: Paul

DATE: A.D. 52-53

PLACE: Thessalonica was a Roman colony and very important in the life of the Roman Empire. It was located 100 miles west of Philippi and about 200 miles north of Athens. It was the chief city of Macedonia. Cicero said, “Thessalonica is in the bosom of the Empire.” It was first named Therma because of hot springs in that area. In 316 B.C. Cassander (who succeeded Alexander the Great) named it in memory of his wife, Thessalonike, a half sister of Alexander the Great. Thessalonica is still in existence, and the present-day name is Salonika. The church in Thessalonica was a model church. Paul cited it to the Corinthians as an example (see kjv@1Thessalonians:1:7; kjv@2Corinthians:8:1-5).

OCCASION: This was the earliest epistle written by Paul. It was written from Athens or, more likely, Corinth on his second missionary journey. Paul had to leave Thessalonica “posthaste” due to the great opposition to the gospel. The enemy pursued him to Berea, and again Paul was forced to leave. He left Silas and Timothy at Berea and went on to Athens. It was evidently there that Timothy brought him word from the church in Thessalonica ( kjv@1Thessalonians:3:6), together with some questions that they had raised. Paul wrote his first epistle in response to their overture.

THEME: Although Paul was in Thessalonica less than a month kjv@Acts:17:2), he touched on many of the great doctrines of the church. Among them was the second coming of Christ. This theme was not above the heads of the new converts, according to the great apostle. The particular phase in the second coming of Christ which he emphasized was Christ’s coming for believers. The second coming of Christ in relationship to believers is a comfort ( kjv@1Thessalonians:4:18). This aspect is quite different from His catastrophic and cataclysmic coming in glory to establish His kingdom by putting down all unrighteousness kjv@Revelation:19:11-16).

PURPOSE:

1. To confirm young converts in the elementary truth of the gospel.
2. To condition them to go on unto holy living.
3. To comfort them regarding the return of Christ. A heathen inscription in Thessalonica read: “After death no reviving, after the grave no meeting again.”

OUTLINE:

I. The Christian’s ATTITUDE toward the return of Christ, Chapter 1 (to serve…to wait…, kjv@1Thessalonians:1:9-10)

II. The Christian’s REWARD at the return of Christ, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:2

III. The Christian’s LIFE and the return of Christ, Chapters kjv@1Thessalonians:3:1—4:12

IV. The Christian’s DEATH and the return of Christ, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:4:13-18

V. The Christian’s ACTIONS in view of the return of Christ, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:5 (Note 22 specific commands to Christians, beginning at kjv@1Thessalonians:5:11.)

For this book I suggest two outlines. Each gives a needed emphasis that is not in the other.

I. Coming of Christ is an INSPIRING HOPE, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:1
A. Introduction, kjv@1Thessalonians:1:1-4
B. Gospel received in much assurance and much affliction, kjv@1Thessalonians:1:5-7
C. Gospel results, kjv@1Thessalonians:1:8-10

II. Coming of Christ is a WORKING HOPE, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:2
A. Motive and method of a true witness for Christ, kjv@1Thessalonians:2:1-6
B. Mother side of the apostle’s ministry (comfort), kjv@1Thessalonians:2:7-9
C. Father side of the apostle’s ministry (charge), kjv@1Thessalonians:2:10-13
D. Brother side of the apostle’s ministry (challenge), kjv@1Thessalonians:2:14-16
E. Reward of a true witness for Christ, kjv@1Thessalonians:2:17-20

III. Coming of Christ is a PURIFYING HOPE, Chapters kjv@1Thessalonians:3:1—4:12
A. Timothy brings a good report of Thessalonians, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:3:1-8
B. Paul urges Thessalonians to continue to grow in faith, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:3:9-13
C. How believers are to walk, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:4:1-12

IV. Coming of Christ is a COMFORTING HOPE, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:4:13-18 (What death means to a Christian; what the Rapture means to the church.)

V. Coming of Christ is a ROUSING HOPE (leads to action), Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:5 (Dead believers are asleep in Jesus; living believers are awake for Jesus.)

A. Call to be awake and alert in view of Christ’s coming, kjv@1Thessalonians:5:1-10
B. Commandments for Christians, kjv@1Thessalonians:5:11-28

COMMENT:

I. Coming of Christ is an INSPIRING HOPE, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:1

A. Introduction, kjv@1Thessalonians:1:1-4

kjv@1Thessalonians:1:1 — Silas and Timothy had recently returned from Thessalonica with a good report and some questions for Paul to answer. The greeting is Paul’s usual friendly greeting to a church that is spiritually sound. “Grace” (charis) is the Greek form of greeting. “Peace” (shalom) is the Hebrew greeting. We must know the grace of God before we can experience the peace of God. Grace is love in action.
kjv@1Thessalonians:1:2 — This is the same expression he directs to the Philippians (1:3), couched in different verbiage.
kjv@1Thessalonians:1:3 — Paul always associates these three Christian graces together: faith, love, hope (see kjv@1Corinthians:13). Faith seems to be in opposition to work; Faith produces works. Love seems to be in opposition to labor; Love produces labor. Hope seems to be in opposition to patience; Hope produces patience.
kjv@1Thessalonians:1:4 — “Election” — no one who was not running has ever been elected — God has no write-in candidates. Election is God’s side of salvation. Our side is still “whosoever will” may come. God gives a legitimate and sincere offer of salvation. “Ho, every one that thirsteth…” kjv@Isaiah:55:1). (See author’s book, Exploring Through Ephesians, pp. 14, 15.)

B. Gospel received in much assurance and much affliction, kjv@1Thessalonians:1:5-7

kjv@1Thessalonians:1:5 — Paul makes it clear that the gospel was given not only in word but in power and the Holy Spirit. Our Lord confirmed this method in kjv@John:16:7-11. Without the Holy Spirit, the gospel is mere words.
kjv@1Thessalonians:1:6 — Paul could cite Silas, Timothy and himself as examples. Paul puts together two experiences that the world cannot link together — affliction and joy.
kjv@1Thessalonians:1:7 — The Thessalonians were examples to all in Macedonia, and Paul cited them to the Corinthians.

C. Gospel results, kjv@1Thessalonians:1:8-10

kjv@1Thessalonians:1:8 — The example of the Thessalonians spread south to Greece.
kjv@1Thessalonians:1:9 — (1) “How ye turned to God from idols” is the “work of faith” (kjv@1Thessalonians:1:3). Paul did not preach against idolatry. He presented Christ. When the Thessalonians turned to Christ, they automatically turned from idols. Their turning from idols was repentance. You cannot turn to Christ without turning from something. (2) “To serve the living and true God” is the “labor of love” (v. 3). The relationship between the heavenly Father and the believer who is a son of God is a love relationship. “We love him, because he first loved us” ( kjv@1John:4:19).
kjv@1Thessalonians:1:10 — (3) “To wait for his Son from heaven” is the patience of hope. All of this rests upon the resurrection of Jesus, and it delivers us from “the wrath to come” — which is the Great Tribulation. The patience of hope is to wait, not for wrath, but for Christ.

II. Coming of Christ is a WORKING HOPE, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:2

A. Motive and method of a true witness for Christ, kjv@1Thessalonians:2:1-6

kjv@1Thessalonians:2:1 — “In vain” means empty — without results. Paul was salt in Thessalonica — salt irritates; Paul was light in Thessalonica. He was there less than one month (see kjv@Acts:17:1-3). This, written up in any modern Christian publication, would bear one of these captions: “Paul Does It Again” or “What One Christian Did in Three Weeks” or “Paul Opens New Work in Thessalonica” or “Paul Turns World Upside Down.”
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:2 — “Gospel of God” — note Paul’s use of the word “gospel” (vv. 4, 8, 9). The commentary on this verse is found in kjv@Acts:17:5-10.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:3 — (1) “Deceit” means error — the content of the exhortation was not adulterated. (2) “Uncleanness” is sensuality; the intent was not motivated by greed. (3) “Guile” — his method was not wrong. Paul did not lower his standards to accommodate the prejudices and passions of the old nature.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:4 — “Allowed” is approved — he had been tested, he was no novice. Paul was not a man-pleaser; he never sought popularity.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:5 — He never flattered a prominent person; he did not play up to the rich; he did not butter up anyone. “Cloak of covetousness” is a cloak of many colors. It could be money, but more likely honor, fame or position.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:6 — Paul never sought position or honors. Preachers can be bought by the dozen with honorary degrees.

B. Mother side of the apostle’s ministry (comfort), kjv@1Thessalonians:2:7-9

kjv@1Thessalonians:2:7 — “Nurse” is nursing mother, the word used for a mother bird.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:8 — “Dear” is beloved — Paul had a genuine love for believers. He was willing to die for the Thessalonian believers.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:9 — “Laboring night and day” — he was not a paid nurse who worked by the hour; he did not belong to the union.

C. Father side of the apostle’s ministry (charge), kjv@1Thessalonians:2:10-13
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:10 — (1) “Holily” — careful discharge of duty to God. (2) “Justly” — careful discharge of duty to man. (3) “Unblamably” — no charge can be maintained against the apostle and his companions. A holy life does count.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:11 — (1) “Exhorted” (Greek parakaleo): came to the side of; helped, entreated, convicted (the same word is used for the Holy Spirit). (2) “Comforted” (KJV) is persuaded. (3) “Charged” has a note of severity, discipline; it is a virile, robust, firm, masculine word. “Father” indicates that this is the father side of his ministry.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:12 — “Walk worthy” (see kjv@Ephesians:4:1). “Kingdom” refers to the millennial kingdom. “Glory” refers to the eternal kingdom.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:13 — Note the supernatural character of the Word of God in two aspects: (1) How it is preached — minister; (2) How it is received — hearers.

D. Brother side of the apostle’s ministry (challenge), kjv@1Thessalonians:2:14-16

kjv@1Thessalonians:2:14 — Churches in Judea had likewise suffered. Suffering is the glue that holds believers together. Today the church is coming unglued. Many are praying for revival, and it may take some great time of testing before revival can come.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:15 — Paul holds his own people responsible for the death of Jesus. He himself may have participated in the events that led to the crucifixion. The tables were turned when he became a believer.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:16 — God permits sin to run its full course. The cup of iniquity must be filled up to the brim.

E. Reward of a true witness for Christ, kjv@1Thessalonians:2:17-20

kjv@1Thessalonians:2:17 — Paul had a great desire to see the Thessalonians again.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:18 — Paul had spiritual discernment to see that it was Satan’s strategy that kept him from returning to Thessalonica. “Satan” means adversary.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:19 — “Crown of rejoicing” is a victor’s crown given to those who witness for Christ and win others. At the coming of Christ, the very presence of those who have been won by a witness will be in itself the crown of rejoicing.
kjv@1Thessalonians:2:20 — Paul’s joy here (and hereafter) is the Thessalonian believers he had won.

III. Coming of Christ is a PURIFYING HOPE, Chapters kjv@1Thessalonians:3:1—4:12

A. Timothy brings a good report of Thessalonians, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:3:1-8

kjv@1Thessalonians:3:1-2 — Paul had to leave Thessalonica so quickly that there were many unfinished teachings he was not able to develop. He not only longs to return but wonders about the future of the believers. Paul longs to comfort them. He demonstrates a labor of love. Love is not affection; love seeks the welfare of another.
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:3 — Paul wants the Thessalonians to stand for the Lord in the midst of afflictions. A believer will not escape trouble. He is actually appointed to suffer kjv@John:16:33; kjv@2Timothy:3:12; kjv@1Peter:4:12-19).
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:4 — “Tribulation” is affliction. Since this epistle is eschatological in content, it might be well to note that this is an example of fulfilled prophecy. Paul predicts that the Thessalonians would endure afflictions. They had. The purpose of afflictions is to promote sanctification in the life of the believer.
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:5 — Afflictions also test the genuineness of the coin of belief. Paul recognizes that all professions of faith are not genuine. Afflictions reveal the genuine believer, and this is the occasion of his rejoicing.
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:6 — Timothy brings a good report from the Thessalonians and that they were enduring afflictions.
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:7 — Paul likewise is enduring afflictions, and the good report causes him to be comforted.
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:8 — “We live” means that, as believers, we enjoy life. “If” is since. It could be translated, “While ye are standing fast in the Lord we are happy.”

B. Paul urges Thessalonians to continue to grow in faith, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:3:9-13

kjv@1Thessalonians:3:9 — “Joy” occurs twice in this verse. “Affliction” or “tribulation” occur three times in this chapter. Affliction increases the capacity of the heart for joy.
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:10 — “Lacking” — Paul’s labor in Thessalonica had been suddenly and rudely interrupted. Paul longs to finish his work among them. “Faith” is doctrine.
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:11 — Paul is praying for a return visit to Thessalonica.
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:12 — “Abound” is exceed. “Love” is the Greek agape. Love is seen only in action in this epistle — “labor of love” (1:3). Again, love is not affection; love seeks the welfare of another.
kjv@1Thessalonians:3:13 — “To the end” — love is not an end in itself. Holiness is the end result in the life of a believer, which will not be fully attained until the return of Christ — “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” “Unblamable” (see also kjv@1Thessalonians:2:10) means that no charge can be made. On a bulletin board outside a church was this question: “If you were tried in court as a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” A believer must one day appear before the judgment (Greek bema) seat of Christ, who will judge his works to see if there is to be a reward. Also, He judges character to see if there is something that must be corrected ( kjv@1John:2:28).

C. How believers are to walk, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:4:1-12

kjv@1Thessalonians:4:1-2 — The Ten Commandments have no part in a sinner’s salvation. The Ten Commandments are not the standard for Christian conduct. There are commandments for believers (see 22 commandments in chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:5). If man could not keep the Ten Commandments kjv@Acts:15:10), how can he keep higher commandments? This can be attained only by an outside power (the Holy Spirit, kjv@1Thessalonians:4:8). See also kjv@Romans:8:3-4; kjv@Galatians:5:22-23. “Walk” — the walk of the believer is all important; he mentions it again in kjv@1Thessalonians:4:12. The walk is a parenthesis around this section. A believer cannot do as he pleases; he does as Christ pleases.
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:3 — Chastity is the subject in vv. 3-8. Immorality (see condemned. A child of God cannot live an immoral life. ASV) is
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:4-6 — A child of God cannot be sanctified when his relationship is immoral with the opposite sex — or dishonest with the same sex.
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:7 — A child of God cannot continue in sin (the prodigal son may get into the pig pen, but he cannot live in the pig pen).
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:8 — A child of God is indwelt by the Holy Spirit kjv@Romans:5:5 kjv@Romans:8:9; kjv@Galatians:5:5; kjv@Ephesians:2:22).
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:9 — Charity is the subject in vv. 9, 10. A believer must have love for the brethren — it comes supernaturally kjv@Galatians:5:22).
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:10 — This is the area of growth and development.
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:11 — Calmness is the subject here. “Study to be quiet” — only the Spirit of God conducts this type of school. (Man teaches how to speak.) Be ambitious to keep still is one translation. “Tend to your own business” is also a Christian virtue. “Work with your own hands” is a commandment for believers.
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:12 — “Walk honestly” is to gain the respect and confidence of mankind, as in kjv@1Thessalonians:4:1 where the walk is to please God.

IV. Coming of Christ is a COMFORTING HOPE, Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:4:13-18 (What death means to a Christian; what the Rapture means to the church)

This section has been labeled one of the most important prophetic passages in the Scriptures — and it surely is that. Actually, the primary consideration is not the Rapture, though this passage clearly teaches it. The question that Paul is answering is about believers who die before the Rapture. Paul had taught the young church in Thessalonica the truth of the imminent coming of Christ for His own. After Paul left Thessalonica there was evidently a time of lapse for several months, as he had gone to Berea, Athens, and then to Corinth. During this interval some of the believers had died. Had they missed the Rapture? Paul had not dealt with this aspect of the subject while he was with them. He now answers their specific question.

kjv@1Thessalonians:4:13 — “I would not have you to be ignorant” is Paul’s diplomatic method of dealing with the ignorance of believers. He meant they were ignorant, but he does not speak that bluntly. “Who are asleep” is who are sleeping. “Sleeping” (Greek koimaomai) means lying sleep. This word is used for natural sleep also (see kjv@Luke:22:45; kjv@Acts:12:6). The same word is used for the death of the body — never the soul. The very nature of the word prevents use of the term “soul sleep.” The death of a believer’s body is called sleep because:

(1) A sleeping body and a dead body are similar. The sleeper does not cease to exist — the inference is that a dead person does not cease to exist. Sleep is temporary — death is also. Sleep has its waking; death has its resurrection.
(2) The word comes from the Greek keimai, which means to lie down. Only a body can lie down — certainly not a soul. By the same token, only the body is spoken of in resurrection. The word for “resurrection” is the Greek anastasis which means to stand up. A soul can neither lie down nor stand up!
(3) God created man (his body) out of the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath (soul or spirit) of life; and man became a living soul (see kjv@Genesis:2:7). When man sinned, God pronounced this judgment: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. kjv@Genesis:3:19) The body returns to the dust, but the spirit returns to God who gave it. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God, who gave it. kjv@Ecclesiastes:12:7)

For a Christian, death means to be absent from the body and to be present or at home with the Lord. The body is merely a frail tent that is laid aside temporarily (see kjv@1Corinthians:15:51-54; kjv@2Corinthians:5:1-9; kjv@Philippians:1:23; kjv@1Thessalonians:5:23).

(4) Early Christians called the burying place for bodies a cemetery, derived from the Greek koimeterion, which means rest house for strangers; sleeping place. We call such a place a hotel or motel where we spend the night and rise up in the morning to continue our journey. “Even as others who have no hope” is even as the rest who have no hope. The pagan philosophy concerning death was dark and hopeless. Theocritus, a Greek poet of the third century B.C., wrote: “Hopes are among the living, the dead are without hope.” Moschus, his contemporary, speaking of the plants that perish in the garden: “Alas alas…these live and spring again in another year; but we…when we die, deaf to all sound in the hollow earth, sleep a long, long endless sleep that knows no waking.”

kjv@1Thessalonians:4:14 — “Jesus died” — not is sleeping. Jesus died a substitutionary, redemptive death in which He bore the penalty of sin. He cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” kjv@Matthew:27:46). Death means separation. In the Scriptures, the word “death” is used in three ways:
(1) Physical death, which is separation of the physical from the spiritual. Adam died physically 930 years after the fall.
(2) Spiritual death — Adam died spiritually the day he rebelled against God. He was then separated from God — without hope and without God in the world. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life. kjv@John:5:24) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. kjv@John:11:25) For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. kjv@Romans:8:6) And you hath he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. kjv@Ephesians:2:1)
(3) Eternal death — separation from God. This is the “second death” referred to in kjv@Revelation:20:14. “Sleep in Jesus” is fallen asleep in Jesus (physical death).

kjv@1Thessalonians:4:15 — “By the word of the Lord” indicates that it is a direct revelation from the Lord. “Prevent” (KJV) means to go before.
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:16 — “Shout” is a word of command. “Voice” — the voice of the shout is like that of an archangel, referring to the quality of the voice of the Son of God. It speaks of majesty and authority. “Trump of God” has no reference to the ridiculous thought that Gabriel blows a trumpet. Rather, the voice of the Lord Jesus is like a trumpet: I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet. kjv@Revelation:1:10) This is not a trio but the solo voice of the Son of God. This was His method when He raised the dead — He spoke directly to them. He did not need an archangel or a trumpet to assist Him in raising the dead.
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:17 — Those who are living will not precede the dead, but the dead in Christ will go first. “Caught up” (Greek harpazo) means grasped hastily; snatched up; raptured; lifted and transported. To argue that the Scriptures do not teach the Rapture is merely to indulge in the subtle game of semantics. The Bible teaches the Rapture.
kjv@1Thessalonians:4:18 — This is a comfort to believers. The Tribulation is a terror to the world and would be for believers if we had to go through it.

V. Coming of Christ is a ROUSING HOPE (leads to action), Chapter kjv@1Thessalonians:5 (Dead believers are asleep in Jesus; living believers are awake for Jesus.)

A. Call to be awake and alert in view of Christ’s coming, kjv@1Thessalonians:5:1-10

kjv@1Thessalonians:5:1 — “Times and the seasons” are not the property of the church. The church is looking for a person, not times and seasons.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:2 — “Day of the Lord” is a period of time that begins with the Great Tribulation and continues through the Millennium. It relates to the nation Israel kjv@Isaiah:2:11-12; kjv@Joel:2:1-2).
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:3 — The world will think it is entering the Millennium, but in reality it will be entering the Great Tribulation. This is the false peace of Antichrist.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:4 — The Lord does not come to the church as a thief in the night.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:5 — The church is made up of children of light kjv@Philippians:2:15).
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:6-7 — This is for the children of light. It is a call to be awake.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:8 — A call to soldier duty (see author’s book, Exploring Through Ephesians, pp. 76-79).
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:9 — “Wrath” evidently refers to the Great Tribulation, the “great day of his wrath” kjv@Revelation:6:17). Believers are promised deliverance from it by the Lord Jesus Christ.

B. Commandments for Christians, kjv@1Thessalonians:5:11-28 (There are 22.)


FIX THIS
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:11 — Encourage one another. (1) “Comfort encourage yourselves.”
(2) “Edify build up one another.”
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:12 — (3) Understand those who teach the Word — duty to pastor. If you can’t support the pastor, leave the church. “Esteem” (respect) the teacher. “Be at peace” — there should be peace among believers. “Warn them that are unruly” (those out of step). “Encourage the fainthearted” — help them to get in step.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:13 — (4)
(5)
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:14 — (6)
(7)
(8)
(9)

“Support the weak” — they cannot get in step. “Be patient toward all men” — don’t lose your temper.

kjv@1Thessalonians:5:15 — (10) Don’t fight one another.
(11) Follow Captain Good.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:16 — (12) “Rejoice evermore always” (“happy” is not a New Testament word).
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:17 — (13) “Pray without ceasing constantly” — this is more than an attitude.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:18 — (14) Give thanks in all circumstances — not once a year on Thanksgiving Day.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:19 — (15) The Holy Spirit is likened to a fire. To quench the Spirit means to refuse to do the will of God, refuse to let the Holy Spirit have His way.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:20 — (16) Do not look down upon Bible study as something beneath you. Do not be indifferent to the Word of God.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:21 — (17) Do not be credulous, taken in by flattery ( kjv@2John:7,10, 11).
(18) Hold to that which is true and genuine.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:22 — (19) This is the answer for the questionable pastime.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:23 — Man is a triune being — body, soul (mind), and spirit.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:24 — You can depend upon God.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:25 — (20) Pray for those who labor in the gospel.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:26 — (21) A handshake will do.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:27 — (22) This epistle is to be read in the church.
kjv@1Thessalonians:5:28 — Paul is brief and to the point. This section is practical. We need to watch our step as we look up for the coming of Christ.



2 THESSALONIANS

WRITER: Paul

DATE: A.D. 52-53 (The second epistle followed shortly after the first)

OCCASION: The first letter to the Thessalonians gave rise to further questions, and Paul is attempting to answer these. There was circulating in the Thessalonian church a letter or report, purported to have come from Paul, which was inclined to disturb the Christians. This false report claimed that Christ had already come and had already gathered out the church to Himself and that the world was then living in the judgments of the “day of the Lord.” Their present persecutions confirmed this false report. Paul attempts to allay their fears by stating definitely that “our gathering together unto him” is yet future ( kjv@2Thessalonians:2:1) and that “the day of the Lord” has certain forerunners which must first come. The apostasy and the “man of sin” must come first; the removal of the remnant of believers at “our gathering together unto him” makes the apostasy in the professing church 100% kjv@Luke:18:8). Every era of persecution or trouble has given rise to the false impression that the church is going through the time of judgment which Christ identified as the “great tribulation” kjv@Matthew:24:21). This period has been so clearly identified by Christ that there is no reason for getting panicky or being stampeded into an unwarranted position. Christ said that there is coming a small interval which will be blocked off by “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” kjv@Matthew:24:21). Nothing like it has taken place before, and nothing like it will ever take place afterward. Has there ever been such a period of unparalleled trouble? The answer is obvious.

THEME: The first epistle to the Thessalonians deals with the Rapture, Christ’s coming for believers. The second epistle relates the return of Christ to that phase where He returns to the earth in judgment and where one of the accomplishments is in connection with the “man of sin,” whom He “shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” ( kjv@2Thessalonians:2:8). These two aspects are clearly delineated. The interval between these two phases is the Great Tribulation, which can be further identified with the 70th week of kjv@Daniel:9 as a period of seven years. THE DAY OF THE kjv@LORD: This is the phrase which occurs in kjv@2Thessalonians:2:2 (incorrectly translated “the day of Christ” in the Authorized Version). It is an Old Testament phrase with definite connotations. It occurs in the writings of the Old Testament prophets where it relates to the future kingdom promised in the Old Testament. The day of Christ is a New Testament expression ( kjv@1Corinthians:1:8); it relates here to the future of the church. The day of the Lord is connected with the coming of Christ as it relates to the setting up of the kingdom. The day of Christ is connected with the coming of Christ for the church. Whatever else is implied in these two statements, certainly this is basic. The teaching in 1 Thessalonians is that the saints who have died will have part in Christ’s coming for His living saints; in 2 Thessalonians it is that the saints who are alive will not have part in the Great Tribulation. The return of Christ has a peculiar and precious meaning for His saints.

OUTLINE:

I. PERSECUTION of believers now; judgment of unbelievers hereafter (at coming of Christ), Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:1

A. Introduction, kjv@2Thessalonians:1:1-2
B. Persecution of believers and fruits of it, kjv@2Thessalonians:1:3-7
C. Judgment of wicked at coming of Christ, kjv@2Thessalonians:1:8-12

II. PROGRAM for world in connection with coming of Christ, Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:2:1-12

A. Rapture occurs first, kjv@2Thessalonians:2:1
B. Day of the Lord follows; introduced by total apostasy and appearance of man of sin, kjv@2Thessalonians:2:2-5
C. Mystery of lawlessness working today; lawless one restrained by Holy Spirit, kjv@2Thessalonians:2:6-8
D. Lawless one to appear in Great Tribulation period, kjv@2Thessalonians:2:9-12

III. PRACTICALITY of coming of Christ, Chapters kjv@2Thessalonians:2:13—3:18

A. Believers should be established in the WORD, Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:2:13-17
B. Believers should be established in their WALK, Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:3:1-7
C. Believers should be established in their WORK, Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:3:8-18

COMMENT:

I. PERSECUTION of believers now; judgment of unbelievers hereafter (at coming of Christ, Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:1

A. Introduction, kjv@2Thessalonians:1:1-2 The greeting is Paul’s usual friendly greeting to a church that is spiritually sound.

B. Persecution of believers and fruits of it, kjv@2Thessalonians:1:13-7

kjv@2Thessalonians:1:13 — In the midst of severe persecution that the church in Thessalonica was enduring, they were growing and abounding, increasing in faith and love. Paul will encourage them in the hope of believers.
kjv@2Thessalonians:1:14 — The Thessalonian believers were an example to other churches in patience and faith. Persecution produced these fruits. “Tribulation trouble worketh patience” kjv@Romans:5:3). See also kjv@Romans:12:12.
kjv@2Thessalonians:1:15 — See kjv@Romans:8:17; kjv@2Corinthians:4:8 kjv@2Corinthians:7:5.
kjv@2Thessalonians:1:16 — God is righteous in sending the Great Tribulation. It is a judgment of sinners.
kjv@2Thessalonians:1:17 — “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” kjv@Romans:12:19).
C. Judgment of wicked at coming of Christ, vv. 8-12
kjv@2Thessalonians:1:18 — Very little is said in the Scriptures about the condition of the lost — nothing to satisfy a morbid curiosity or to incite revenge. Christ said more about hell than did anyone else. There is a restrained reticence in Scripture.

The lost are those who:
(1) “Know not God.” Jesus said, And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. kjv@John:17:3)
(2) “Obey not the gospel.” Jesus answered, and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. kjv@John:6:29)

kjv@2Thessalonians:1:19 — Countless numbers of folk are plunging into an awful eternity. Soft music, colorful flowers, and eulogistic words cannot destroy the rough reality of hell.
kjv@2Thessalonians:1:10 — The coming of Christ to the earth in judgment will justify the believers and glorify the Savior.
kjv@2Thessalonians:1:11 — God had a purpose and plan in the lives of the Thessalonian believers.
kjv@2Thessalonians:1:12 — The coming of Christ to the earth will bring glory both to Christ and to the church.

II. PROGRAM for world in connection with coming of Christ, Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:2:1-12

A. Rapture occurs first, kjv@2Thessalonians:2:1

kjv@2Thessalonians:2:1 — “The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “our gathering together unto him” is the Rapture.

B. Day of the Lord follows; introduced by total apostasy and appearance of man of sin, kjv@2Thessalonians:2:2-5

kjv@2Thessalonians:2:2 — “Day of Christ” (KJV) is an unfortunate translation — it should be “day of the Lord.” The “day of Christ” is this present age of grace, the church age (see kjv@1Corinthians:1:8; kjv@Philippians:1:6 kjv@Philippians:1:10 kjv@Philippians:2:16). “The day of the Lord” is a technical phrase that speaks of the period beginning with the Great Tribulation and continuing through the Millennium (see kjv@Acts:2:20; kjv@2Peter:3:10; kjv@Revelation:6:17). The day of the Lord begins when the day of Christ ends. The day of the Lord begins after the Rapture. The Thessalonians had a false report (which supposedly had originated with Paul) that the day of the Lord had already come, which would have meant, of course, that they had missed the Rapture.
kjv@2Thessalonians:2:3 — Paul puts down two signs of the day of the kjv@Lord: (1) “A falling away” which is apostasy kjv@Hebrews:3:12); (2) The revelation of the “man of sin” (the lawless one, kjv@2Thessalonians:2:8). The sin of man leads to the man of sin.
kjv@2Thessalonians:2:4 — The lawless one is the final representative of man in his open opposition and rebellion against God. He himself actually assumes the place of God kjv@Isaiah:14:12-15; kjv@Revelation:13:5-6, kjv@Revelation:13:15-18). This is the “little horn” of kjv@Daniel:7:5 — Paul had taught the Thessalonian believers these eschatological truths in the brief interval covering 3 sabbaths that he was with them.

C. Mystery of lawlessness working today; lawless one restrained by Holy Spirit, kjv@2Thessalonians:2:6-8

kjv@2Thessalonians:2:6 — The one who “restraineth” we believe to be the Holy Spirit.
kjv@2Thessalonians:2:7 — “Let” (KJV) means hinder. The Holy Spirit alone can hinder the development of evil since it is satanic and supernatural.
kjv@2Thessalonians:2:8 — “Wicked” is more accurately lawless. The lawless one will be revealed in the Great Tribulation. Christ will destroy him when He comes to the earth kjv@Revelation:19:20).

D. Lawless one to appear in Great Tribulation period, kjv@2Thessalonians:2:9-12

kjv@2Thessalonians:2:9 — The lawless one will be a miracle worker. “Power” is dunamis — physical power whose source is supernatural. “Signs” — tokens, the purpose of which is to appeal to the understanding. “Lying wonders” produce an effect upon observers.
kjv@2Thessalonians:2:10-11 — God sends strong delusion to believe a lie only to those who heard but would not have the truth.
kjv@2Thessalonians:2:12 — These will be judged because they rejected the truth.

III. PRACTICALITY of coming of Christ, Chapters kjv@2Thessalonians:2:13—3:18 In light of the knowledge of future events, the believer should live a life that demonstrates that he believes in the coming of Christ.

A. Believers should be established in the WORD, Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:2:13-17

kjv@2Thessalonians:2:13-14 — The total spectrum of salvation is in these two verses: (1) “Chosen…to salvation,” (2) “Sanctification of the Spirit,” (3) “Belief of the truth” — growth is through the study of the Word, (4) “Glory” kjv@Colossians:1:27) — this refers to the Rapture ( kjv@1John:3:2).
kjv@2Thessalonians:2:15-17 — The Word enables a believer to stand and be stable. The Word brings consolation and comfort. The Word and work are interrelated. The study of the Word leads to the work of the Lord.

B. Believers should be established in their WALK, Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:3:1-7

kjv@2Thessalonians:3:1-4 — The Word enables the believer to walk before the wicked. The Word establishes a believer in his walk.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:5 — The believer is to walk in the love of God and in a patient waiting for the coming of Christ.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:6 — The believer is not to walk with the disorderly.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:7 — The believer is to walk as a follower of the apostle.

C. Believers should be established in their WORK, Chapter kjv@2Thessalonians:3:8-18

kjv@2Thessalonians:3:8 — Christian workers earned their own bread and paid their own way.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:9 — They did this as an example to the believers in Thessalonica.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:10 — A believer who is looking for the Lord to come is not a dreamer, but a worker. “No work — no food” is the rule laid down by the apostle.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:11 — Some are working in the wrong way — they are busybodies.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:12 — They are commanded to work for their own bread.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:13 — A believer who holds the blessed hope should not grow weary in working for the Lord.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:14 — A believer who holds the blessed hope is obedient to the Word. If he is not, he is to be avoided.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:15 — An attempt should be made to win the wayward brother.
kjv@2Thessalonians:3:16-18 — Paul’s benediction. The study of prophecy brings peace to the heart. It does not lead to fanaticism or laziness.

These notes, prepared by J. Vernon McGee, are for the purpose of giving assistance to the listeners of the THRU THE BIBLE RADIO program. They are to be used with the Bible and will be more meaningful as you look up all the Scripture references. Due to the necessary brevity of both notes and broadcasts, a list of recommended books is included for those wanting a more detailed study. These books may be obtained from a Christian library or bookstore or ordered from the publishers.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON 1 & 2 kjv@THESSALONIANS: Hiebert, D. Edmond. The Thessalonian Epistles, A Call to Readiness. Chicago, kjv@Illinois: Moody Press, 1971. (An excellent, comprehensive treatment.) Hogg, C. F. and Vine, W. E. The Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1914. (An excellent, comprehensive treatment.) Ironside, H. A. Addresses on I and II Thessalonians. Neptune, New kjv@Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, n.d. Kelly, William. The Epistles to the Thessalonians. Oak Park, kjv@Illinois: Bible Truth Publishers, 1893. MacDonald, William. Letters to the Thessalonians. Kansas City, kjv@Missouri: Walterick Publishers, 1969. Ryrie, Charles C. First and Second Thessalonians. Chicago, kjv@Illinois: Moody Press, 1959. (Fine, inexpensive survey.) Walvoord, John F. The Thessalonian Epistles. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1955. HELPFUL BOOKS ON BIBLE kjv@PROPHECY: Hoyt, Herman A. The End Times. Chicago, kjv@Illinois: Moody Press, 1969. Pentecost, J. Dwight. Prophecy For Today. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1961. Pentecost, J. Dwight. Things to Come. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958. Ryrie, Charles C. The Basis of the Premillennial Faith. Neptune, New kjv@Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1953. Ryrie, Charles C. The Best is Yet to Come. Chicago, kjv@Illinois: Moody Press, 1976. Ryrie, Charles C. The Bible and Tomorrow’s News. Wheaton, kjv@Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, 1969. Sauer, Erich. From Eternity to Eternity. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1954. Tatford, Frederick A. God’s Program of the Ages. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: Kregel Publications, n.d. Walvoord, John F. Armageddon, Oil, and the Middle East Crisis. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1974. Walvoord, John F. The Millennial Kingdom. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959. Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1957. Revised and enlarged, 1980. Wood, Leon J. The Bible and Future Events. Grand Rapids, kjv@Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973.

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