The Books of Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians 3:16-18

January 10, 2021 • Dr. Peter Radford

This week, we complete our study of the Thessalonian epistles. In the final verses of the text we find that Paul ends his letters right where he starts them, emphasizing grace and peace. From these final verses, we identify two key principles of grace and peace: 1. The secret to experience the peace of God is practicing God’s presence (16) 2. The secret to experiencing grace is to understand the ongoing work of the grace of Christ in our lives (18) In the end, the thrust of the sermon is that God wants believers to practice peace and walk in grace.

2 Thessalonians 3:13-15

January 3, 2021 • Dr. Peter Radford

In this brief passage, Paul instructs the church how to address brothers and sisters who fall into sin. This sobering text outlines the responsibility of believers to those who walk in disobedience: 1. Keep doing right (13) 2. Take note of the sinning brother or sister (14) 3. Disassociate from the person who has chosen a lifestyle of sin (14) 4. Don’t consider the sinning brother or sister an enemy (15) 5. Keep admonishing the Christian caught in sin like a brother (15) In the end, the Big Idea we emphasized was that you have a responsibility when your brother/sister falls into sin.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-12

December 13, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

In this text, Paul corrects a problem that occurs within the church of Thessalonica: Some believers are choosing to be idle and likely freeloading on the generosity of church. Paul offers the solution of grace-filled living to correct this behavior. From this week’s text, we find three principles for living in a grace-filled community: 1. Your sin can quickly infect another believer. (v. 6) 2. Your example can inspire others to follow Christ. (vv. 7-10) 3. You may need correction to continue following Christ. (vv. 11-12) The Big Idea we identify is that God calls Christians to live graciously in Christian community and to use their influence in the lives of others to bring about Christlikeness.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

December 6, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

In this text, Paul requests prayer for himself and his missionary team, and shares his prayer for the Thessalonians going forward. With each request, Paul reveals a core value. You see, Our prayers reveal our core values. Below is a list of core values from this text: 1. A passion for the advance of the Gospel. (1) 2. A desire to overcome opposition for the sake of the mission. (2) 3. A deep concern for spiritual well-being and deliverance from spiritual enemies. (3) 4. A resolute focus on obedience to God’s truth. (4) 5. A heart determined to love like God and be steadfast like Christ. (5) The challenge of the message is to examine our own core values and see how they compare to those represented in Scripture. One important way to assess our core values is look at how we pray.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

November 29, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul once again addresses a misunderstanding about the Day of Lord. At the end of the chapter, he assures the Thessalonian church that God has chosen them and destined them to share in the glory of Christ. After providing that assurance, Paul challenges the church to live in light of the glory that is coming. In our study, we identify four ways to do so: 1. Stand firm (15) 2. Hold tight to truth (15) 3. Be hopeful (16-17) 4. Live well (17) All of this leads to the Big Idea of the text: God calls believers to live this life in a way that reflects the glory they will enjoy in the next life.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

November 22, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul revisits the topic of the Day of Lord. Throughout the passage, he reveals a timeline of events of the end times. In doing so, he corrects a misunderstanding in the Thessalonian church, and encourages them toward confidence and hope. Here is an outline of Paul’s timeline: 1. A time of preparation where the lawless one is restrained and the mystery of lawlessness takes root (6-7) 2. A Great Rebellion against God (3b) 3. The appearance of the man of Lawlessness will come with signs, miracles, and a pervasive deception (3c-4, 8a, 9) 4. A time of judgment for those who refuse to believe and follow the man of lawlessness (10-12) 5. A triumph for Jesus Christ over the man of Lawlessness (8b) Here is the Big Idea of the passage: The onset of end-time events should make Christians eager and confident, not anxious and fearful. (1-3a)

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12

November 15, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

In the first chapter of 2 Thessalonians, Paul reminds the church about the second coming of Christ and describes a period that some call The Great Reckoning. Through the course of our study, we can identify four truths about this Great Reckoning: 1. At the Great Reckoning, God will reverse the unjust state of current affairs. (5-6) 2. At the Great Reckoning, God will bring relief to those who suffer for their faith. (7a) 3. At the Great Reckoning God will bring eternal judgment on those who have not accepted the free offer of salvation. (7b-10) 4. The Great Reckoning should motivate believers to live up to their calling and act upon the Lord’s promptings to do good. (11-12) The Big Idea of the message is this: Christians should take refuge in the fact that at the Great Reckoning, our just God will make all things right, bringing relief to believers and judgment to those who reject him.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4

November 8, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

Introduction: In the first paragraph of 2 Thessalonians, Paul reports the tremendous spiritual growth in the members of the church: 1. Their faith was growing (v. 3-4) 2. Their love was increasing (v.3) The message sends us back to 1 Thessalonians to discover what produces this exceptional growth. From 1 Thessalonians 3, we observe two factors of growth: 1. A key to growing faith and love is “life-on-life” instruction. 2. A key to growing faith and love is heart-to-heart prayer. Back in 2 Thessalonians we find that all of the church’s growth is a result of God’s work in their lives. In summary, this passage teaches that Growing faith and abounding love are the spiritual fruit of life-on-life instruction, heart-to-heart prayer, and all are a testament to God’s grace.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-28

October 25, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

Paul closes out this epistle with a passionate prayer for the sanctification of the Thessalonian believers. From this prayer and the verses that follow it, we discover five aspects of sanctification: 1. The process of sanctification is not complete yet. (23) 2. Sanctification is complete when every part of your life is blameless. (23) 3. The process of sanctification continues until the coming of Jesus. (23) 4. God is the one who will accomplish your sanctification. (24) 5. The sanctified believer lives out his/her faith in unity and love for other believers. (25-28) The challenge for this study is to let God sanctify our lives.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (Part 3)

October 18, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

As Paul ends 1 Thessalonians, he offers a cluster of commands. The first set of commands deals with relationship within the Christian Community. The second set in verses 16-18 creates a portrait of the Christian disposition. The third set explain how to allow God’s Word to change us. Here are the three steps to being transformed by God’s truth: 1. Do not extinguish the Spirit’s work. (19) 2. Do not disregard God’s Word when it is spoken. (20) 3. Carefully evaluate everything you hear. (21-22) We summarize the text with the following Big Idea: God transforms those people who have open hearts to the Spirit’s work and to God’s Word with all spiritual discernment.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (Part 2)

October 11, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

In this text, Paul offers a cluster of commands as he brings 1 Thessalonians to a close. The first set of commands deals with relationship within the Christian Community. The second, set in verses 16-18 creates a portrait of the Christian disposition. The three “brushstrokes” of this portrait come straight from the text: 1. Always Rejoice (16) 2. Never Stop Praying (17) 3. Give Thanks in All Circumstances (18) In the end, the Big Idea of the text is as follows: The Christian’s disposition is where we rejoice, pray, and give thanks no matter what this life brings our way.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (Part 1)

September 27, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

As Paul pens this section, he is nearing the end of his letter to the Thessalonians. As he does in other letters, Paul uses this final section of verses to cram in a bunch of “rapid-fire” challenges and instruction. This section (1 Thess 5:12-22) falls into three sets of commands, and this week, we examine the first, which deals with relationships within the Christian Community. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15, Paul presents a roadmap for how relationships should look. Here are the three “navigation points” we identify in this passage: 1. Respect and esteem highly your spiritual leaders and their ministry. (12-13a) 2. Patiently disciple those who struggle. (14) 3. Live at peace, avoid revenge, and do good to each other. (13b, 15) The Big Idea of verses 12-15 is: The church community should reflect Christ-like humility and grace in every relationship.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

September 20, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Paul talks about the Day of the Lord. He uses this teaching as the basis to encourage the church about their existence in a world of darkness. Paul instructs the Thessalonians to live as children of light. From this teaching, we identify two steps to letting our lights shine brightly: Step 1: Don’t Be Afraid of the Day of the Lord—Believers have no reason to fear the Day of the Lord. (1-4, 9-10) Step 2: Let the Day of the Lord push you toward Christlikeness—The Day of the Lord should motivate believers to Christlikeness (5-8, 11) To summarize these verses, we offer the following Big Idea: The Day of the Lord should cause us to live as light in this age of spiritual darkness.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

September 13, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

In this week’s text, Paul addresses the concerns of the Thessalonian believers regarding fellow believers who had passed away. Paul comforts them with four important truths about the coming of Christ: 1. The triumphant Christ will return to the earth in the last day. (16a) 2. Those who die in Christ will rise again to join Christ in a place of honor (14-15, 16b) 3. Followers of Christ who are alive at his coming will join their Savior (17a) 4. The life after this one is characterized by God’s eternal presence (17b) The Big Idea of the message is that God wants us to find comfort in the promised coming of Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

September 6, 2020 • Dr. Peter Radford

This week’s passage is a continuation of the previous section of 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2. Here, Paul challenges the church to please God by the way that they “walk.” The first part of the chapter deals with sexual purity. This section adds two other ideas to the list of ways to please God: Loving Well (vv. 9-10) and Living Well (vv. 11-12). The Big Idea of the passage is that Christians please God when they love well and live well in the midst of a watching world.