Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Friday, November 25, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Nov 26, 1 & 2 Ths

Today's readings are 1 & 2 Ths. Tomorrow's are Acts 18-19.

Even as Acts 17 describes Paul's peril in Thessalonica and Berea, we see in 1 Ths (50-51 AD) that Paul leaves a relatively healthy but very young church behind in Thessalonica. He instructs Timothy to teach and lead the group of new believers. Since Paul had to leave quickly, he provides an enduring foundation in four key areas; godly living & sanctification. the eternal security of believers who had died, the sure return of the Lord and his own ministry as an apostle. Notice that the teaching is beginning to broaden and deepen as the gospel spreads and the church grows throughout the Western world. Each epistle takes the overall teaching deeper into doctrine, providing a better, richer understanding of salvation, the nature & character of God and what godly living in an increasingly hostile world looks like.

2 Ths, written very soon after the first letter is a letter of encouragement and another warning against false teaching which is already creeping into the church.

Paul has been boasting about their new church and their faithfulness. But they seem to be struggling with two ongoing problems; they think the Lord has already returned and some of them don't want to work, they are "idle" (3:10). His words are stern but his love for them is great.

Both letters reveal the danger of straying from the Scriptures and focusing on the wrong things. They were getting consumed with end-times speculation. Some didn't want to work. It's entirely possible that those who didn't want to work thought there was no need to work now that the Lord had returned. As a gentle rebuke and a reminder of the ongoing work needed to proclaim the gospel, Paul encourages them to remember how hard he worked when he was among them.

The two problems the church in Thessalonica struggled with; a false idea of the end times and idleness, would make it hard to effectively preach the gospel. Paul wants to make sure they understand the reason the church is there and they are not distracted from the primary mission of the church, the gospel. This is wise counsel for the church today. Christ died to give us new life and proclaim His goods news. It's easy to lose our focus on that as or primary goal. It happened in Thessalonica. It can happen here.

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