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"Gospel Responses"
1 Thessalonians 2:13-20

Wednesday AM Bible Study
January 28, 2004

From 1:2-2:12; the apostle Paul has expressed how delighted he was in the Thessalonian believers. He has nothing to criticize about them, and much to praise God for concerning them. He is delighted, most of all, with the way they so readily received the Gospel and were transformed by it; making them a model of true conversion.

They responded well to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But not everyone did. This closing portion of chapter two describes the many different ways the Gospel was responded to; and it teaches us the different responses we too can expect when we share our faith with others.

A. They "received" the Gospel.

B. They "welcomed" what they received.

C. They "believed" what they welcomed.

D. They "suffered" for what they believed.


A. Paul here points to the unbelieving Jews as an example of opposition to the Gospel. This is not meant to be an attack on the Jews, however. (Remember that Paul himself was a Jew.) The point Paul is making is that the Thessalonian believers are 'imitators' of the Jewish believers in Judea in that they too gladly suffered opposition from their own countrymen.

B. These opposing Thessalonian unbelievers - like the Jewish unbelievers:

1. Hating the Lord Jesus and those sent to proclaim Him to them.

2. Persecuting (or literally "punish") those who proclaim Him.

3. Not pleasing God.

4. Standing in contradiction to all men (i.e., opposing man's need to hear the Gospel).

5. Forbidding the preachers to speak to those who need to hear and thus be saved.

6. Filling up the measure of their sins.

7. Suffering the wrath of God 'to the uttermost' as a result.


A. Paul expressed a frustration at being apart from the Thessalonians; but longing to see them.
1. He and his coworkers were "taken away" from them.

2. He expected the separation to be only "for a short time".

3. Their separation was only in presence, but not in heart.

4. He endeavored to see their faces "eagerly" and "with great desire".

5. He wanted to come to them personally several times.

B. Behind this unwanted separation - and, in fact, behind the opposition of unbelievers that the Gospel was experiencing - is the opposition of the devil himself. It was he who "hindered" Paul and company from coming to them.


A. Paul, as the one who - with his coworkers - brought the Gospel to them, had a particular reason to delight in them. They were his "hope" or "joy" or "crown of rejoicing".

B. The thing that made them these things to him was the prospect of their being in the presence of the Lord Jesus at the time of His return.

* * * * * * * * * *

This was a word of encouragement to believers in the midst of their suffering for the Gospel. What hope we have! But it is also a word of exhortation to us who share it. The greatest treasure and cause of joy we could have in someone is that of seeing them in heavenly glory as a result of our faithfulness to stand up against the opposition and bring them the Gospel that will save them.

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