What is this?
These Sabbath School lesson outlines aid Sabbath School teachers & members in their weekly study
& preparation for Sabbath School classes.
Join the Discussion
Use the form at the bottom of the page to share with other readers your thoughts about this lesson.
Sabbath School Lessons on 1 & 2 Thessalonians
Read the Quarterly Online
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
What about Ellen White?
to learn why I generally do not cite Ellen G. White in the lessons.
Looking for old Sabbath School lessons?
Sabbath School lesson study outlines from previous quarters are saved in the Sabbath School lesson archive
Got questions or comments?
Go to our contact form
and drop us a note.
SabbathSchoolLessons.com operates like grace: it is free, but not without cost.
We're counting on your ongoing financial support to help us continue providing these
lessons to Sabbath School teachers and members around the world. You may cancel your monthly contribution at any time.
Get these Sabbath School lessons by e-mail! Subscribe to the Bible Study of the Week mailing list:
Subscribe in a reader
Lesson 13: Keeping the Church Faithful *
Introduction: "Tough love" is a phrase that has been around for a
very long time. Every parent should understand what it means -
sometimes you have to be mature and discipline your child. You do it
because you love your child, not because you love to discipline. But,
when it comes to two adults, the discipline side seems more difficult
to understand. What right do I have to discipline you? What right do
you have to discipline me? Doesn't love require me to always help
you, no matter what? These are difficult questions, and Paul deals
with them in his closing words to the Thessalonians. Let's dive into
our study of the Bible and learn more!
- Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Has God chosen you to be saved?
- Are there some who God did not choose to be saved?
- If God chooses everyone, then why would Paul
write that God chose the Thessalonians?
- Read Matthew 22:1-10. What does this story about the
Kingdom of God teach us about those who are called? (God
searches out everyone to come to His wedding feast. In the
parable, when the King told his servants to invite "anyone
you find," this represents the gospel now going to the
Gentiles. That is how the Thessalonians were "chosen.")
- Look again at 2 Thessalonians 2:13. We speak of being
justified by grace alone. What role do we play in
sanctification - the idea of progressively living a more
holy life? (Paul says the Holy Spirit sanctifies us.)
- Read 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15. Have we no role in this? (We
have a role. Paul writes about us believing the truth and
holding firmly to the teachings.)
- Why is believing the truth so important? Just last
night I heard a famous American television host talk
about the "many paths to heaven." (My main struggle
with sin is in those areas in which I continually
debate God's will. I don't want to admit something is
sin, because then I would have to turn away from it.
We have to have a guiding star of belief in the
truth. We have to first lock down what is right
before we can hold firm to it.)
- Read 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. How many of us need
encouragement? (We all do.)
- What is the source of our encouragement? (God died
for us. He died for us so that we can live with Him
in the future.)
- What is the result of this encouragement? (We are
given strength to live better lives.)
- The Evil One
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2. What threatens our lives? What
threatens our witnessing? (Wicked and evil men who do not
accept the gospel.)
- For what should we pray? (That the gospel will spread
and be accepted.)
- How is that connected with the problem with evil
people? (The people who are trouble in our life are
likely those who are unconverted. Converting them
solves the problem.)
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:3. What does God do to protect us
from evil? (Two things. He strengthens us and He protects
us from Satan.)
- If God totally protected us, why would we need to be
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:4-5. If our lives in Christ have
the proper direction, what direction is that? (God's love
and Jesus' perseverance.)
- Are those two connected? If so, how?
- The Lazy
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6. How should we treat the lazy and
the disobedient? (We should keep away from them.)
- I'm going to assume that Paul has not forgotten the
last thing he just wrote. He just wrote that we
should increase in love and perseverance. How is that
consistent with staying away from the lazy and the
disobedient? (This is a "tough love" message.)
- If we are too stay away from them, what does that
mean about helping them?
- Let's skip ahead and read 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15. What is
the point of staying away from lazy and disobedient church
members? (The idea is that this is a warning. The lazy and
disobedient are not our enemy. Instead, they are people
who need to be warned and disciplined by our absence.)
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8. What did Paul model for the
church? (Diligence. Not being a burden. Paying for their
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:9. Why did Paul not take food from
the Thessalonians? He was working for them.(He was
entitled to be supported by them for his gospel work, but
he modeled diligence.)
- Should this also be a model for government, to
- If the answer is yes, then should government impose
higher taxes on those who refuse to work?
(Governments generally do just the opposite, they
place the highest level of taxation on those who are
the most successful in their work.)
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:10. What should we do with people
who approach us and beg for money for food? How should
you, how should your church, respond to the lazy poor?
(The Bible is clear that we should encourage, indeed
require, work from those who are helped.)
- How can you tell if a poor person is diligent or not?
(Here is the root of the problem. You would have to
get to know the person to be sure. It is easy (and
probably wrong) just to give someone money without
knowing their situation. Aren't we required to get to
know someone before we can make a correct judgment?)
- The evening after I wrote the prior series of
questions, a young man approached me in a restaurant
and asked if I was a priest. (I often wear only
black, so his question was not ridiculous.) Joking, I
responded, "Why, do you have something to confess?" I
told him I was not a priest. We spoke a little bit,
and I could tell that he was socially awkward. Later,
I walked out of the restaurant just behind him. He
asked me for a very small amount of money for food.
What should I have done? (I'm embarrassed to say that
I was running late for a meeting, and so I gave him
some money. Later, I thought "how stupid can I be?"
There were much better ways to handle this, instead
of just giving him money. We had just walked out of a
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12. What is the problem with
encouraging laziness? (Work is one of the blessings in
life. It keeps you out of trouble. It allows you to help
others. God desires us to be diligent in our work, not
sitting around gossiping about the lives of others.)
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:13. Can we get burned out doing
what is right? (Doing good for others is a joy. However,
we need to work intelligently with those in need.)
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18. Why would an able bodied
person want to stop working? (They think that is the most
enjoyable kind of life. A life of leisure.)
- What does Paul indicate should be the chief goal of
our life? (A God-given peace.)
- Friend, have you considered making a peaceful life your
goal? Paul teaches us that walking towards holiness, and
working to bless others, is the path to peace. Will you
commit to begin walking in that direction today?
- Next week: We begin a new study entitled "Growing in Christ."
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.