Read: 2 Thess. 2:1-17
The believers in Thessalonica were confused concerning the doctrine of the return of Christ. Paul had previously written the first epistle to clarify this but the church was still having trouble with understanding this doctrine.
Last week we saw that Paul had written to offer them encouragement. In this second chapter he writes to enlighten them more on this important doctrine. Specifically he writes to correct their misunderstanding concerning the 'Day of the Lord'.
This is a time of divine judgment upon the world. It includes the seven-year tribulation, the second coming, and the 1000-year reign of Christ on this earth. It will culminate with the Great White Throne judgment. So the 'Day of the Lord' is not a 24 hour period of time, but is a time of judgment that spans a multitude of years.
I. Its Relation to the Present (v1-2)
A. We live in a day of grace.
1. The purpose of God in this day is to proclaim His grace.
2. That souls may be saved by trusting in Christ and receiving God's gift of grace.
(Eph 2:8) "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
B. The believers at Thessalonica had been deceived.
1. By spirit - some had claimed prophetic utterance (but had been dishonest)
2. By word - some had mistakenly taught them things that weren't correct 3. By letter - some had written to them and claimed to be Paul (but they lied)
C. The deception was concerning the 'Day of the Lord' being at hand or already present.
1. Due to trials and sufferings that they were experiencing, they believed the false teachers.
a. They were shaken in mind…
b. They were troubled…
c. They were confused about what to believe…
2. False teachers are still using the same methods to deceive.
a. Some burst on the scene claiming special revelation from God
b. They claim that this special revelation comes from the Holy Spirit
c. False teachers abound today, not just on radio and TV, but in churches
d. Written material by the ton is mailed out all over the world
e. Why? The false teachers would rather you read it than to read the Bible.
Note: Paul said it couldn't be the 'Day of the Lord' except there be…
II. It's Relation to Apostasy. (v3a)
A. Falling away = apostasy.
1. The meaning is to fall away from or depart from the truth.
2. Note some other passages:
a. 1 Timothy 4:1-5
b. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
3. Even though there were false teachers in Paul's day, the believers were united on the truth of God's Word.
B. But we are living in apostate days.
1. It is a day of Christian unbelief.
2. People say they are Christians, and yet deny the deity of Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, and many other fundamentals of the faith.
3. Fifty years ago, this kind of person would have been branded a heretic, but now he teaches in the seminary, and preaches in Baptist churches.
C. As the apostasy becomes more and more widespread, it is an indication that His coming is drawing nearer and nearer.
III. Its Relation to the Anti-Christ (v3b-5)
A. The man of sin will be revealed.
1. He is referred to as the 'man of sin' because 'sin' is his chief characteristic.
2. He is the 'son of perdition' or destruction.
a. He opposes God (literally anti-Christ).
b. He exalts himself above God.
c. He declares himself to be God.
d. He demands to be worshipped as God.
3. Paul states that the 'day' cannot come until the 'man of sin' is revealed.
B. Note God's prophetic time of events.
1. The rapture of all those who are in Christ.
2. The anti-Christ begins his rise to power in a peaceful manner.
3. He will unite Europe and establish a seven-year covenant with Israel.
4. During the first 3 ½ years the temple will be completed and Jewish temple worship will be restored.
5. In the midst of the seven years he will break his covenant with Israel.
6. He will abolish all other worship and will set himself up as God.
7. He will be destroyed by Christ at His 2nd coming and will be cast into the lake of fire.
C. This was not new teaching!
1. Paul had taught the believers these truths earlier.
2. However, they had been shaken in their beliefs…
3. They had been deceived!
IV. Its Relation to the Restrainer. (v6-9)
A. The Restrainer = the Holy Spirit
1. There is an obstacle that must be removed before the wicked anti-Christ will be revealed.
2. That obstacle is the Restrainer, God the Holy Spirit.
a. Note: Job 1:8-12, 2:3-6
b. God restrained Satan from destroying His servant Job.
B. The Restrainer will be removed.
1. What we have is a reversal of the day of Pentecost.
2. When the believers are raptured the Holy Spirit will go with us.
3. The Holy Spirit will still work, but it will be in the manner similar to how He worked prior to the day of Pentecost.
4. The removal of both the believers and the Holy Spirit will release the world to sin as it never has been before.
C. The Mystery of Iniquity = Satan's Plan
1. This is the spirit of disobedience.
a. It is already at work…
b. But it is limited by the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit and believers.
2. This will become dominant and will be rampant until Jesus comes and destroys the anti-Christ.
V. Its Relation to Unbelievers. (v10-12)
A. Deception v10
1. Satan will deceive great multitudes of unbelievers…
2. They rejected the Truth, but they will receive the lie.
3. They could have been saved, but now they will perish.
B. Delusion. v11
1. God will send strong delusion to those who had an opportunity to believe, but chose to reject Christ.
2. God is righteous, there will not be another opportunity for them to be saved…the age of Grace will be over!
3. The 'day of the Lord' is a time for judgment!
C. Damnation v12
1. Who will be damned?
2. All who had pleasure in unrighteousness
3. All who believed not the truth!
(John 3:36) "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
4. The 'Left Behind' series denies this truth!
VI. Its Relation to Believers (v13-17)
A. We are responsible to believe the truth. v13-14
1. God loved us…
2. God chose us…
3. God sanctified us…
4. God called us…
5. God will glorify us…
B. We are responsible to guard the truth. v15
1. Stand fast = do not move away from the truth.
2. Hold on to the truth that had been passed down to them by the apostle Paul.
C. We are responsible to practice the truth. v16-17
1. Encouragement comes from God.
a. But God uses the people to encourage one another, as well.
b. It isn't enough that we know the truth…we must put it in action in our lives.
c. Paul had just enlightened them concerning the 'Day of the Lord', but they needed to apply the truth they had received.
d. They need to allow, by faith, God to encourage and comfort their hearts, and in turn, they were to comfort one another.
2. Establishment comes form practicing the truth.
a. Two areas need establishing:
1) Their Word = what they said.
2) Their Work = what they did.
b. They had been shaken because they weren't established or well-grounded in the truth.
c. It had affected what they said, and what they did as believers…their witness and their work.