2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
2:1 As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters,
2:2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.
2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction.
2:4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.
2:5 Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?
2:13 But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
2:14 For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2:15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.
2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope,
2:17 comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.
This letter entailed both a warning and encouragement to the church. The church needed to be prepared for a time in which their faith may be tested, challenged, and even rejected. There were many who were looking to disprove the Gospel and who also wanted to spread false lies and a skewed version of the Gospel. The church needed to be ready to stand firm against these things.
However, there is also a note of encouragement. The church has been strong in their faith and was also a great example of the gospel to those around them. They had been taught and firmly believed in all they had learned. They had an anchor and that was to simply stand strong in the message of the gospel. With their firm love in Jesus Christ they would have the tools they needed to eliminate any false ideas that the message of the Gospel may face.
I love how in verse 14 of this passage, Paul states that God called them for this very purpose. This purpose is two fold, the first includes so that the gospel message can be proclaimed, and the other is so that we can point others back to Christ and His Glory. This is a message for us to also follow after and to keep trusting that God will use any means, including us, to spread His word to other around us.
As Christians we are going to face trials. Sometimes in spite of our faith and sometimes just because we live in a sinful world. Yet we are commanded to stand firm in the tradition we were taught. The Thessalonian church was one example where much persecution was happening because of their conversion to Christianity. But Paul knows that this is a critical time for the church to stand firm.
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.
Their faithfulness to the gospel was producing good fruit all around them. Their ability to stand in the face of trials was inspiring people even great distances from Thessaloniki.
You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8)
Like the Thessalonians we too will inspire others if we cling to the rock in times of trouble. We are not loving in a vacuum. People are looking for answers and a reason to have hope. As people of the faith must set an example of our own hope and expectation to live eternally with Christ and that He will sustain us in this mortal life until we go home.
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