Sundays | 9am & 10:45am

Future Glory | Present Trial: 2 Thes. 3:15-1816-

He Himself is our Peace
2 Thessalonians 3:16–18

As we conclude our study of Paul’s letters to the church in Thessalonica, we again find that perspective is instructive. Last week, we learned from Ed Underwood that God’s will is more like a flashlight than a crystal ball. So true. We often wish we had more information, but God always gives us exactly the right amount of clarity to take the correct next step. Many times, it is very different from the one we would choose!

When Paul and Silas planned their next destination during their second trip through Galatia, Paul logically thought it would be south toward Ephesus in Asia Minor or north to Bithynia. Still, we saw in Acts 16:6-8 that both directions were forbidden by God. I’m sure to his confusion, Paul ended up in the tiny port town of Troas with no obvious next step in sight. Only then, God provided him with the vision of a man from far away Macedonia, pleading with Paul to “come and help us.” Paul, of course, sailed away immediately (Acts 16:9-10).

What lay ahead for the apostle was an adventure he could not have foreseen or planned in his most extraordinary imagination – but it was God’s perfect plan all along. There in Macedonia, he founded churches in Phillipi and Thessalonica – and we are recipients of the blessing because we have both the story of his journey in the book of Acts and his letters to those churches.

Though he stayed only a short time in Thessalonica, he came to love the people greatly, and provided pastoral direction about the conduct of their daily lives and teaching to give encouragement about the days to come when Jesus returns to gather His church and set creation right in a once again perfect world.

In our lesson, we learned that we are blessed indeed to have this knowledge, but knowledge alone is not enough. Our lives can only be lived in true peace when the living Jesus indwells our hearts and directs our steps. He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and it does indeed pass all understanding (Philippians 4:6). The peace of Jesus is complete and available to us always in every circumstance. If we are not experiencing peace, it isn’t because God changes or the world is too evil – it is only because we, like Peter in the storm-tossed sea, have focused on the wind and waves and not on our Savior (Matthew 14:22-33).

He promised to never leave us or forsake us, and He is faithful and true.

Discussion Questions
1. Have you ever experienced a peace during difficult circumstances? When was that, and what was it like?
2. Paul ends with a claim that this letter was written by his own hand. The Thessalonians can be assured of its authenticity and Paul’s authority, especially as they may have received letters that purported to come from him but didn’t (see 2:2). He also ends the letter with yet another reference to the Lord’s grace. In the context in which the Thessalonians were living, why is the grace of the Lord Jesus so important?
3. Where do you feel the need for the grace of the Lord Jesus now?
Posted in