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“Standing Firm in Hope” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 9-17 April 28, 2013
(Click below to hit the print button for this lesson or click here for Word: Standing Firm in Hope Sunday School Lesson). Stick around, below are some activities to reinforce the lesson. Enjoy!
Ever heard the story of Rip Van Winkle, the man who slept for twenty years? Off into the woods he went. There he lay down and took a siesta that lasted longer than he could’ve imagined. When he awoke nothing was the same. There were many events and moments in life that he missed through those years of slumber. There were important things that he could never regain.
Nobody likes to miss out on any good thing. At least, nobody I know. Ask any child about their birthday and they can tell you months in advance what they want and how they want it. Why? Because it’s an event they are looking forward to. A date not to be missed.
The same was true for the Thessalonian church. The Apostle Paul taught them the ins and outs of the gospel. He broke down to them the glorious event of the second coming of Jesus Christ and the rapture of the church (last week’s lesson: Living With Hope). The Thessalonians were excited about this day. They didn’t want to miss out on the good that God had for them.
Unfortunately, false teachers came in and crashed the party. They told the church at Thessalonica that the day of the Lord had already occurred and they missed it. WHAAATTT???? It’s like they were in a spiritual Rip Van Winkle moment. Dazed, confused and disappointed over the appearance of missing out on that great day, they needed answers. They needed spiritual enlightenment that could only come by the truth of God’s word.
The Apostle Paul steps in to give them that light. Last week’s lesson really covered this “gathering” that Paul is talking about here. In his first letter to the Thessalonian church Paul encouraged the people in the course of these future events (see last week’s lesson for more details).
“Be not soon shaken in mind.” There is no other purpose of a false teacher other than to “shake” the faith of the believer; to cause his footing to slip in his faith, plundering him into a pit of lies and disillusionment. Peter admonishes us in this area by telling us, “Beware, lest ye also, being led away with error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness,” (2 Peter 3:17, NKJV).
“Or be troubled.” These people accepted Jesus Christ and His promise of eternal life. They had peace in their inner most being. Now the opposite has over-shadowed all the good they once had. In its place “trouble” was trying to take over. But Hebrews 10:23 admonishes us, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised),” (KJV).
Though there are persecutions and waves of adversity that try to knock their footing from under their faith, Paul wants them to not be “troubled.” He wants them to hold on and not to let the lies rob them of what they already found in Christ Jesus.
“Neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letters as from us, as the day of Christ is at hand.” My ten year old is infatuated with the TV commercials she sees. They promise this and that and she doesn’t understand why I don’t call to order that “solver to life’s problems product” for only $19.99 + shipping (psst. . . . and they will throw in another for free, shipping and processing separate). She believes what they say is true of their products. I tell my daughter often, “Don’t believe everything you hear.”
This is what Paul wanted the church at Thessalonica to know. It doesn’t matter the mode they received it in: spirit, word or letter, if it was not in line with what he already taught them – then, stop your ears from it! In his first letter he gave them some very good advice to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” (1 Thess. 5:21, KJV).
“Let no man deceive you by any means.” There are many ways to tell a lie. In the previous verse Paul warned them of “spirit, word and letter.” Misrepresentation can come in many shapes and forms. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,” (1 Peter 5:8, KJV). Deception devours! Paul wants them to be on guard against it.
“For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” A lot of the time we hear the phrase over and over again that “These are the last and evil days.” Yes, the times we are living in are evil. Yes, we see reprehensible acts portrayed over and over again. But as bad as this all is, it’s going to get worse. As somebody once said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
“Falling away.” Here’s what a fellow blogger by the name of James Nored had to say on his site Missional Outreach Network:
“From 1990-2001 the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as ‘Christian’ dropped nearly 10%. At that rate, non-Christians will outnumber Christians of any domination by 2042.”
This is not the only place where I have seen these types of statistics. It’s sad but true. The kicker is, it’s going to get worse but it hasn’t happened yet.
“That man of sin be revealed.” This is speaking of the antichrist. That day has not come yet. Jesus warned about false christs rising up, Mt. 24:5, 24 and Mark 13:22. John, in his epistle, warns us of certain aspects of the antichrist: will not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (1 John 4:3); denies Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:22); confess not that Jesus is come in the flesh (2 John 1:7). See a pattern?
“Whose coming is after of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” Revelation 13:2 says, “And the beast which I saw . . . and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority,” (KJV). What Paul is teaching was even verified by Daniel the prophet (Dan. 7). There will be a time when the antichrist will rise up in the power of the devil. Too many are not taking heed to this awful, but real truth.
“With all power and signs and lying wonders.” Those that will be witnessing these events are those “whose names are not written in the book of life,” (Rev, 13:8, KJV). These are the deceived. The so-called miracles and “lying wonders” are hard for them to distinguish from “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” This deceiver even made “fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,” (Rev. 13:13, KJV).
Paul’s admonishment to the Thessalonians was very real because the danger was and is very real. “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices,” (2 Cor. 2:11, KJV). As blinders are put on horses eyes to keep him focused and on the right path, so Paul wants to keep his spiritual children from the path of them “that should believe a lie.” The choices in one’s life will eventually catch up with them. God does not support lying or any type of unrighteous acts. Every wrong doing will have consequences. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” (1 Cor. 6:9, KJV).
Paul wanted his readers to gain heaven and not to be “damned.” Those that were in the “falling away” were condemned to die in the “second death,” (Rev. 21:8, KJV). There will not be a party going on as some suppose. The danger of deception is damnation. Its repercussions will make an eternal impact on everyone, one way or another.
Paul saw something better for the believer. Oh, how joyous to be one of those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (see Rev. 13:8 & 21:27). What better blessing than to know those whom you have labored for will receive “salvation through sanctification of the spirit.”
The Thessalonians are “beloved of the Lord.” They were “chosen.” The Bible tells us that “God so loved the world,” (John 3:16, KJV), but the whole world has not received that love via their choice. God has a special place in His heart for believers. Those who believe in His Son and have accepted the free gift of salvation bring delight to the heart of God.
The “Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world,” (Rev. 13:8, KJV). God’s plan of salvation to deliver mankind from their destructive pattern of sin was instituted before the world was created. The choice to accept that salvation is the responsibility of people. God has made salvation available to every individual that walks the face of this earth, but few chose the path He has laid out. “Many are called, but few are chosen,” (Mt. 22:14, KJV). They uninvited themselves to the salvation party by refusing to accept the invitation. Ephesians 1:4-5 tells us, “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself . . .,” (KJV).
The plan to accept this holy life through Jesus Christ was formed beforehand, it was predestined. We are the ones responsible for receiving it. Peter says, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons,” (Acts 10:34, KJV). In his epistle Peter also said, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise . . . not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9, KJV).
“He called you by our gospel.” After spending much time talking of the lies and the unrighteousness of the wicked, Paul reminds them that they were saved by the truth. The gospel tells the story of Jesus. The gospel tells of His saving message. The gospel talks of the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ. The gospel was something the unbeliever turned away, something they refused to listen to and take heed. When Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians he said, “But we preached Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness,” (1 Cor. 1:23, KJV). The unbelievers won’t listen. But, for the Thessalonian church, whose hearts paid attention to the story of “Christ crucified,” they were saved, “obtaining the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Stand fast.” Hold your ground. Refuse to be moved from the truth. In the book of Ephesians Paul taught, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive,” (Eph. 4:14, KJV). Rather they were to be stable and established in the truth of the “traditions which ye have been taught.”
“Everlasting consolation.” The hard times of the Thessalonians were troubling. They were persecuted and dealt with trials and tribulations. But Paul reminded them that there was a greater hope to look forward to. A hope that would never fade away but would endure forever. This hope came by way of “grace.” That unmerited favor of God in the life of a believer that cannot be obtained any other way except through Jesus Christ our Lord. This kind of “hope” would bring “comfort” to their “hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” Then, would they be “Standing Firm in Hope!”
Below are some activities to help you to reinforce your lesson. Enjoy!
“Standing Firm in Hope Draw the Scene”: Colored Version: STANDING FIRM IN HOPE DRAW THE SCENE COLORED VERSION Black and White Version: STANDING FIRM IN HOPE DRAW THE SCENE BLACK AND WHITE VERSION
“Standing Firm in Hope Calendar”: In our lesson, they thought they missed out on a special day. We mark calendars to remember special days. Let students put together and decorate their own calendar to commerate waiting for that Day of the Lord.
Use this STANDING FIRM IN HOPE CALENDAR and print out on cardstock (or regular paper if you wish) and glue onto construction paper if you wish. Use one of these coloring sheets Hope from Cafemom or 2 Thessalonians from Bible Coloring Pages for Kids. Print them out in 5×7 mode to fit properly into calendars. Or students can draw their own picture to go on top of their calendar. Enjoy!
Here’s another great and easy idea. Let your students make a pinwheel and decorate it with messages of hope. The pinwheels remind us not to be “carried about with every wind of doctrine, ” (Eph. 4:14, KJV), but to remain in hope. The pattern can be found at Pinswheels for Peace. (Can be printed out on regular paper or cardstock. You can also use construction paper or left over wrapping paper.) If using plain paper have students decorate both sides. I used a push pin thumbtack instead of a straight pin. This is such an easy craft with many rewards: lesson reinforncement, decorating, free pinwheel and free pencil. What more could a child ask for. I left mine undecorated just to give you a preview. I believe we may do these in my class this week. With the breezes of Spring blowing this craft is sure to please. Enjoy!
Below you will find other coloring sheets and activities to accompany this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Vs. 2:2 “Be not soon shaken . . . or troubled”
“Believe on the Lord Jesus” Coloring page from Ministry to Children
Vs. 2:3 “Let no man deceive you”
“Adam and Eve with Serpent” coloring sheet from Biblestoryprintables.com
Vs. 3b-12 “Falling Away/Unrighteousness”
“Sin” Coloring Page from Homeword.ws
“Adam and Eve Sin” Coloring Page from Sundayschoolresources.com
Lots of “Sin” Coloring Sheets from Biblehome.org
Vs. 2:13 “Thanks to God”
“God’s Gift” Coloring page from Sermons4kids
“Bee Thankful unto His Name” Coloring Page from Akidsheart.com
Vs. 2:13 “Salvation”
“Salvation” Coloring page from Homeword.ws
“Salvation Moutain” Coloring Page from Paint and Pixels. I really like this one. Lots of things on it to color. Great FUN! I may use this one 🙂
“Jesus Saves” from International Deliverance Ministries
“Snow Man Praise Jesus” Coloring Page from Church House Collection
Vs. 14 “Gospel”
“Why Do I Need a King” Coloring Sheet from Ministry to Children
“Jesus is My King” Coloring Book from Ministry to Children