Temple Baptist Church - 5-7-2017
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18
A. As we try to finish this wonderful epistle to the Thessalonicians, I want to look at Paul’s salutation.
1. Paul introduced every epistle by stating his name and, in most of them, his positions as both apostle and servant. There were 12 of these epistles with his name in the first verse. Paul wanted the churches and individuals he was writing to know who the letter or epistle was from. As a pastor, I have gotten several letters over the years that were anonymous. I did not like reading any of them because the very nature of the letter told me more than I wanted to know.
2. Paul, in three of his epistles, also used the word “salutation:” 1 Corinthians 16:21, Colossians 4:18, and 2 Thessalonians 3:17. Salutation: A gesture or utterance made as a greeting or acknowledgement of person’s arrival or departure. A salutation can come either at the first or last part of a letter.
3. When Barbara and I were in LaChona, Mexico visiting with Rey and Julie Villarreal, I would sit in their courtyard early in the morning—drinking coffee and reading my Bible. When people came by, I would practice my limited Spanish.
4. When they came bye, I would say, “Buenos Dias.” (Good morning) But, they would answer, “Adios.” (Goodbye) That struck me as odd until I asked Bro. Rey why they said “Adios” instead of Buenos Dias. He said, “Because they are leaving!”
4. A salutation can come in the open part of a letter because it tells you who is coming and the end of the letter because it tells you they are leaving. It is both a greeting and a farewell! This is important because of its context of the Book of 2 Thessalonians.
B. Our text tells us that, though the Apostle Paul signed most of his epistles with his name at the beginning, he always signed his epistles with a proclamation of grace at the end.
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Romans 16:24 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. (23) Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. (24) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
1 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
1 Corinthians 16:21-24 The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand. (22) If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. (23) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (24) My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
2 Corinthians 13:11-14 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (12) Greet one another with an holy kiss. (13) All the saints salute you. (14) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Galatians 6:18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Ephesians 6:23-24 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (24) Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Philippians 4:21-23 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. (22) All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household. (23) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
Colossians 4:18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:27-28 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. (28) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
2 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. (17) The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. (18) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
1 Timothy 6:20-21 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: (21) Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Titus 3:15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.
Philemon 1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,
Philemon 1:25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Hebrews 13:24-25 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you. (25) Grace be with you all. Amen. (No greeting, only a farewell!)
1. I believe that Paul wrote 13 books of the New Testament and not just 112. There is the controversy over who wrote the Book of Hebrews. Though there are some who would disagree, I believe that there is both internal and external evidence that Paul also wrote the Hebrew epistle. The first 12 of his epistles were written to the Gentiles while Hebrews was written to the saved Jews.
2. First, because he “signed it with his salutation!” Secondly, because Paul referenced his imprisonment or “bonds” in Hebrews 10:34. Thirdly, Peter referenced Paul’s writing to the Jews in Peter 3:15-16.
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; (16) As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, asthey do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
3. Paul did not sign the Book of Hebrews in the greeting as he did the other 12 Pauline Epistles because he was distrusted by most Jews and hated by many because he persecuted them! But, he did sign Hebrews in his farewell to them!
Acts 9:26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
Acts 21:26-28 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. (27) And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, (28) Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
C. Now, why the importance of the mention of “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. (18) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christbe with you all. Amen.” (2 Thessalonians 3:17-18)
1. It was and still is important because of the setting in which it was written:
a. False manuscripts were being circulated! Satan has always been a counterfeit and his attack upon the veracity of God’s Word is well documented: “Yea, hath God said?”
b. Because it prophesied of the times preceding the Second Coming! We have the same problems today. If the Textus Receptus is an inferior text, and the liberals say that it is, then God did not preserve His Word to every generation. From 1611-1870 or so, the period of some of the greatest revivals and mission outreach that the world has ever known had an inferior text and, therefore, an inferior Bible! I sure wish the liberals had been around to help the Lord out in those 200+ years!
2. It was and still is important because, without the very Word of God, the people have another spirit which is not obedient to the Word of God. People in both their day and our day do not want an authoritative Bible. Without a final authority, people can do what they want to do and be justified by a myriad of different “bibles” to choose from.
3. It was and still is important because, without the very Word of God, the “word” or message can become one of opinion instead of absolute truth. When I read the Bible, I can rest assured that it is ‘THUS SAITH THE LORD!” It is not up for either opinion or argument!
4. It was and still is important because, without the very Word of God, God’s people have no “anchor in the shifting sands of human theology!” We have a foundation that is neither moving nor cracked.
5. It was and still is important because, without the very Word of God, God’s people will be troubled and shaking! Paul referenced two things in the last three verses of 2 Thessalonians:
a. Peace. Without the assurance of God’s Word, there can be no real or lasting peace. My peace with God and of God is anchored in the Bible. Leave my peace alone!
b. Grace. Without the assurance of God’s Word, there can be no grace to endure. People are doing two things in our day: 1) Falling to the wayside and 2) Following the wrong “shepherds.”
Conclusion: Paul spoke of his salutation because of the “letters as from us” that were being circulated 2,000 years ago! He assured the church at Thessalonica that this epistle was genuine!