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2 Thessalonians Greeting
2 Thess. 1:1-4


The greeting here in the shortest epistle written by Paul is basically the same as the greeting in 1 Thessalonians. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy make a powerful and great team as we have seen previously. Anyway, I have to repeat the salutation and greeting again that was written in 1 Thessalonians with of course a little difference.

I. Author. (2 Thess. 1:1)
A. Paul – The Apostle of the Gentiles, whose original name was Saul. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews (Ph. 3:5), born in Tarsus (Acts 9:11; 22:3), the chief city of Cilicia, in Asia Minor. He was brought up a Pharisee, and educated at Jerusalem, at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), a celebrated Rabbi. He was acquainted with several of the ancient Greek poets, whom he occasionally quotes (Acts 17:28; Tit. 1:12). Like all Jews, he was brought up to a trade, which, in his case, was that of a tent maker (Acts 18:1-3). His residence at Jerusalem augmented his natural regard for Judaism, and led him, while yet a young man, to bear his testimony against Christianity, by consenting to the martyrdom of Stephen and by watching over the clothes of those who stoned him (Acts. 7:58).
He met Christ at the road to Damascus and from then on become became a changed man, preaching Christ until he died.
B. Silvanus – Silvanus is also called Silas. He was chosen by Paul to accompany him on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:27). Silas was originally a prophet in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:32) and was sent to Antioch following the apostolic conference on the gospel recorded in Acts 15 (Acts 15:27). Silas was imprisoned with Paul in Philippi (Acts 16:25) and was with Peter when he wrote his first epistle (1 Pet. 5:12).
C. Timothy was saved and called under Paul’s ministry (1Tim. 1:2; Acts 14:19-21; 16:1-3). Timothy’s mother and grandmother were believers, and they had taught him the Word of God (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15). Timothy accompanied Paul on his travels and was left in charge of certain of the churches they started (Acts 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Rom. 16:21; 1 Cor. 4:17; 16:10; Ph. 2:19; 1 Thess. 3:2,6; Heb. 13:23). Timothy’s position of authority in the early churches is seen in the fact that he is mentioned as co-author of some of Paul’s epistles (2 Cor. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1; Phm. 1:1-25). The postscripts to 1 Corinthians and Hebrews also mention Timothy.

II. In God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 1: 1b)
A. Unto the church of the Thessalonians – A local church is a group of people called out by God from the mass of humanity to a life of separation to Him. A Church is a lawful, organized assembly
B. This is the only place in the New Testament in which a church is said to be “in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
C. The church is “in God the Father.” This amazing statement describes the believer’s intimate relationship with God the Father. Our text reads, “in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” thus describing the believer’s relationship with God the Father even more intimately. We are not only “in Jesus Christ,” we are “in God the Father.”
D. The description of God as Father connotes security, love, and strength.
E. In Jesus Christ – Paul balanced this picture with a reminder that God the Son is also Lord; He is the Sovereign who is to be obeyed. “Jesus” is the Lord’s human name, the Greek form of Joshua, “Savior.” “Christ” is the Greek translation of the “Messiah” of the Old Testament and means “Anointed One.”

III. Grace and Peace (1 Thess. 1:1c)
A. “Grace” is the unmerited, undeserved blessing of God in Christ. Grace is the free gift of salvation that was purchased by the vicarious atonement of Christ. Grace is a one-word description of salvation. Grace comes before peace, because it is God’s grace in Jesus Christ that brings the believer into a position of peace with God.
B. “Peace” is reconciliation with God. We have peace from God because we have peace with God through the atonement of Christ.
C. Grace was the common Greek salutation meaning “greetings” or “rejoice.” In Greek peace is equivalent to the Hebrew “shalom” meaning “favor,” “prosperity,” and “well-being.” It is interesting that those two words of salutation always occur in this order in the New Testament. Theologically God’s grace is the basis for and leads to man’s peace.
D. Peace comes today to the individual who believes in Christ savingly. Peace will come to this world when the Prince of Peace sits upon its throne and rules in righteousness. This world has no peace, because mankind is not at peace with God. “There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked” (Isa. 48:22).
E. Grace and peace are “from God our Father.” Grace and peace are God’s gift. It is the Father who sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world (1 Jn. 4:14).
F. We have grace and peace “from … the Lord Jesus Christ.” He purchased grace and peace for us. He “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5).

Illustration 1: Unmerited Favor
When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award—yet receives such a gift anyway—that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.
Clip-Art Features for Church Newsletters, G.W. Knight, p. 53

IV. Thanksgiving to God (2 Thess. 1:3-4)
A. The word “bound” means to owe. Paul prayed that the Thessalonians might “increase and abound in love.” God heard his prayers so he owes God his thanks. His thanksgiving together with his team is “always”. He found many occasions whereby he could thank God for them.
B. Two main reasons for his thankfulness:
1. Their increasing faith toward God
2. Their expanding love for fellow Christians.
C. Genuine faith in God is always accompanied by love for others (James 2:14-17). Faith is the root; love is the fruit.
D. The Spiritual growth of the Thessalonians became the model and pride of Paul and his team to other churches. The perseverance they showed in the midst of persecutions was outstanding. They viewed their circumstances as God’s will and they were determined to hold on and press on. Their attitude was not to endure by their own strength. They had faith in God; they looked to Him for grace sufficient to bear up and accepted their circumstances as conditions which He was allowing for His glory. They were patiently enduring persecutions from enemies of the gospel who were hostile toward them. The trials they were undergoing were painful circumstances that came from both Jewish and Gentile acquaintances. Their persecutions and trials were numerous. Yet, in spite of them all, the Thessalonians kept on standing strong and stable in their faith.

Illustration 2: Always Had an Uplifting Prayer
Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, “Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this.” Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.”
Our Daily Bread, August 26, 1989

Illustration 3: Ironside’s Rebuke on Not Giving Thanks
In his book Folk Psalms of Faith, Ray Stedman tells of an experience H.A. Ironside had in a crowded restaurant. Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited his to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The other man asked, well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.” The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!” Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!”
Source unknown

V. Conclusion:
The main point in this in this first two verse is the thanksgiving of Paul to the Lord for the increasing faith toward God of the Thessalonians and their increasing love for their fellow Christians. Also, their perseverance in the midst of persecution was outstanding that Paul and his team are boasting about it. Persecutions and trials were painful and difficult, but the Thessalonians kept their faith. Will you be like the Thessalonians also

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