II Thess. 1:1-12 - Paul Regards A Worthy Church
With regard to the blessings we have from God and the rewards that have been promised to us for the future, none of us, nor any church is worthy. But when we consider a church in its relation to genuine effort and determination to please God, then we find the Thessalonian church a worthy church.
Twice in this chapter Paul mentions a definite goal of worthiness - Vs.5 & 11. This is a worthiness that is to be counted or reckoned to them by God's grace, but is determined by conduct on the part of the Thessalonian church. V.5 counts the worthiness by the patience and faith in persecution v.4. Then v.11 is a counting of worthiness according to their response to the calling.
Now Paul is dealing with a church that is worthy of His consideration and care.
I. THE TOUCHING BY A CHRISTIAN GROUP - Vs.1-2
In these verses, we notice the usual apostolic greetings - Even though we have some precious
truths related to us in them.
A. The Champions Of The Faith - v.1a-c
1. Paul -
2. Silvanus -
3. Timotheus -
For a biographical sketch of these three note what was given in lesson #2 of I Thess. 1:1.
We ceretainly do recognize that these were champions of the faith.
B. The Church Of Fidelity - v.1b(1)
Of course, the same church is mentioned in I Thess. 1:1.
1. Their place in the world - v.1b
They were a church and they were planted in the city of Thessalonica -
2. Their position of worth - v.1b(2)
They were in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ. Any worthiness on the part of any of us has to be in our relationship to and with God.
C. The Channel Of Favor - v.2
Grace and peace are evidently the two greatest blessings we can have from God. Grace is bestowed, or given to us, and peace is the result - Both these are directly from God.
II. THE TESTIMONY OF CHARACTERIZED GROWTH - Vs.3-10
This portion takes up the greater part of chapter one. There are many things to be considered.
A. The Recognition Of Spiritual Progress - vs.3-5
Even a spiritual church would rejoice in spiritual progress and that Paul was aware of it.
1. The record of growth - v.3
a. It was an encouragement to prayer - v.3a-c
Two things to remember -
(1). It was always.
Oh the discipline of Paul's life. Here was prayer going out from Paul always.
(2). It says - "as it is meet."
He means that we should be praying for you always.
b. The enlightenment of progress - v.3d-e
Paul mentions another two things.
(1). The growth of faith - v.3d
This is he ability to believe God and rest in His promises. Faith can do anything that God can do.
(2). Charity toward each other - v.3e
Paul says this charity aboundeth - What a blessed church to have love for the other in this manner!
2. The reason for glorying - v.4
Paul says we brag about you and we rejoice over the way you patiently endure your persecutions and tribulations. It is the devil's business to trouble Christians. This troubling can even be used of God if we take the right attitude about it.
3. The reminder of grace - v.5
This patient attitude is a token or sign of the righteous judgment of God and it is to result in the Thessal0onians being counted worthy of the kingdom of god. Here we have only reworded the verse to say it just a little differently. The worthiness will be the gift of grace no matter what.
B. The Revelation Of The Savior's Plan - vs.6-7
V.5 leave a little confusion regarding what God means about the righteous judgment of God. This is removed when one looks at v.6.
1. Tribulation to the troublers - v.6
God says it is a righteous thing with God, meaning it would be wrong not to do it. These
persecutors of the Thessalonian church are going to be judged. Can we not expect God
to work in the same way with His church today?
3. Succour to the survivors - v.7
Ah what a promise - rest with us! Note when this rest is to come - when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven. We will have little or no rest in this life - but it will come someday. Heb. 4:9. So God's plan is very simple - The persecutor will be punished - and the persecuted will receive rest.
C. The Realization Of The Sinner's Penalty - vs.8-10
This thought continues the theme of vs.6-7 with special reference to the judgment upon sinners.
1. The sinner's condition - v.8
It is said that he knows not God and that he obeys not the Gospel. The Lord Jesus will descend upon these in flaming fire taking vengeance upon them. Sinners will not get away with their arrogant rebellion and denials of truth. One day they will answer to God.
2. The Sovereign condemnation - v.9
The punishment is positive and negative. The positive is an everlasting destruction. This is actually fire, Lk. 16:19-31. The negative is that they will be cast away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power. That makes one wonder over the blessing of His divine presence.
3. The secret coming - v.10
The judgment will happen at the Lord's coming, just as the rest for the people of God. Note especially that He comes to be glorified in His saints. I don't know exactly how this will come about but it will in some measure.
The negative is that they will be cast away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power. That makes one wonder over the blessing of His divine presence.
III. THE TREASURE OF CHARITABLE GRACE - vs.11-12
Two verses and two thoughts -
A. The Privilege Presented - v.11
1. The concern of the prayer - v.11a
Again we see the word "always." Paul knew the greatest blessing he could be to them was in prayer. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16.
2. The cost of the privilege - v.11b
Here again is bestowed grace. "That our God would count you worthy." This means like our righteousness, it is not earned, it is counted or reckoned to us. Rom. 4:3. So while the privilege cost us nothing, it cost Him much.
3. The course of the potential - v.22c-d
What a challenge - To fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness! That is a worthy goal to be what He wants us to be. Then secondly, "to fulfillÉthe work of faith with power." God desires that we demonstrate the work of faith with power - What a contrast to what He desires and what we really are!
4. The Purpose Proclaimed - v.12
"That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ be glorified in youÉ"How sick God must be of the whole lot of us. The charismatics may have been able to touch the hem of His garment but what a pity they have fallen to the errors and even blasphemies of the positive mental attitude syndrome. May someone fulfill this Scripture in truth.