DISCUSSION GUIDE 2.13.2022
2 Thessalonians 2 & 3
Group Discussion Questions: As you reflect on the sermon this week, how did the Holy Spirit speak to your heart? Was there a verse/passage that stood out to you? Share why the verse or passage struck you.
In a Nutshell
As we read this passage for the week, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the Thessalonians. They faced extreme persecution and hardships. Paul was writing to them to encourage them. The Thessalonians weren’t sitting around intellectually debating end-times ideas; they were terrified that they had missed something eternally important. What Paul writes to them matters because for them, right now, a loved one is in jail. Right now, a Roman soldier is knocking at the door. They even heard many rumors that supposedly Paul had even said the end had begun, and some Thessalonians had begun to live foolishly because of these beliefs. If we don’t see this through the eyes of those who are suffering for their faith, we will miss the point. Paul’s letter is not just for the persecuted Thessalonians, it is powerful for all of us who do or will suffer.
Read and discuss Chapters 2 & 3
- The Thessalonians were suffering. It’s as though they were hyperventilating and unable to process all that was going on around them. They were worried they had missed out on what God was doing. In one sense, Paul’s words were telling the Thessalonians to “breathe;” you won’t miss out on what God is doing.
What about you? How are you today? Perhaps what you most need right now is to take a deep breath, either literally or symbolically. Put all the rush of thoughts away and just breathe in the fact that the Lord knows you and all the details of your life. He has you covered. Take a moment and share your thoughts.
- Read the chapters aloud slowly. Put yourselves in the Thessalonians’ shoes and try to imagine what it must have been like for them. Think about how you would have responded. Now think about your own life. Consider how things are the same for them as they are for us. They struggled to not live in fear of the pain of loss just like we do. God is the same today, yesterday, and forever. People are the same yesterday and today. Remember both of those realities as you read and apply the scriptures. Share your thoughts.
Read and discuss the following from Terry’s devotion for the week:
What we see in Paul’s letter is that what makes people vulnerable to the influence of evil is that they “refuse to love the truth.” Just as we can do things physically to bolster our immune systems, so too we can do things to bolster our spiritual immune systems. We can choose to love the truth. First and most importantly, we must choose to love the truth of the Gospel. This is the ultimate “protective” factor. In addition, we can and we must train our hearts (our wills, not just our emotions) to love truth. How do we do that? First, we must pursue truth. We must search God’s word for what is true. Then we must allow that truth to examine our lives. When our lives are not aligned with what is true, then we must change. We must either start doing and being what we are called to do and be, or stop doing and being what we are not called to do and become. I know this is easier said than done, but it simply must be done. At the very least we must purpose to head this direction with resolute determination. By that I don’t mean that whole thing of spiritual progress is merely an act of the will. Spiritual progress is a work of the Holy Spirit, but that work is in willing collaboration with the human will. You cannot simply “let go and let God” as the old cliché says. You must, rather “look for where God is moving and join him” as Henry Blackaby wrote in “Experiencing God.” We are all learning to love something all the time. Perhaps it is something very “unlovely” like selfishness, or greed, or lust. You can decide to love what is lovely. You can decide to love the truth. This is active not passive. It starts small. When God clearly shows you the truth, you simply say “yes” to Him. Then you move towards that “yes” in daily choices. Moving towards that “yes” is moving towards God himself.
Application: How did the Holy Spirit speak to your heart today? What personal implications can you make? Ask yourself, “What do I need God to do in me or through me as a result of today’s discussion?”