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2 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER 3

KJV    NAS

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1-3 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2 and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

 

2The 3,1-3

(16a) Sin >> The sin nature is instinctively evil >> Manís flesh is related to the devil >> Man's sinful nature wars against God Ė We know that during the Millennium Satan will be locked up. People will still have a sinful nature in those days, but the devil wonít be there to instigate anyone against the Lord, and so it will be a thousand-year reign of peace, until the very end. Then after the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and by no coincidence a cloud of enemies will gather against the Lord and against His elect to usurp His throne, and fire will descend from heaven and consume them (Rev 20,7-10). This will mark the end of the Millennium, and eternity will resume shortly thereafter. This is to point out the devilís role throughout manís bloodstained history. The devil stirs up peopleís minds against the Lord and against His believers. He puts thoughts in their minds without them even knowing it to hate God and His people. Hating God is like beating the air, but hating people is to persecute them and put them to death, and man does this in concert with the devil. For this reason it says that God will send them both (man and demon) to a common hell, sealing their association forever, showing just how closely related manís sin is to the devil. There is nothing special or unique about rebellion, which deserves to be thrown in the trash along with those who practice it.

(19c) Sin >> Mocking God Without a cause >> Motivated by demons Ė Perverse and evil men wouldnít give a plug nickel to have faith in God. They are those who hated Paul and persecuted the word of God, and who still persecute us, not through intelligence, wisdom or understanding but through ignorance, stupidity and pride. Look how else they persecute us: through the evil one. Paul first wrote about perverse and evil men and then associated them with the evil one, the devil. He put these two together to show that they operate in tandem as a team, indicating that one without the other is powerless. Satan is powerless against the gospel, except that he stirs up the minds of perverse and evil men to do his persecuting for him; and man lacks the motivation to persecute the gospel, since the gospel is not a threat to him but is a message of love from God. So man and demon are always working together to persecute the gospel of Christ and those who believe in Him.

(29b) Gift of God >> God delivers us from those who want to silence the word

(46k) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Demons are subject to the Church through Christ

(102d) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Faithfulness is dependable >> God is dependable

(201h) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Jesus is an offense >> Jesus offends the world >> Faith offends unbelief Ė Paul put his life at risk to preach the gospel, and was beaten and tortured frequently as a servant of the Lord, ďfor not all have faith.Ē So, it is through their lack of faith that they persecuted him and persecuted the Church. They might have their reasons, but the real reason is they are trying the kill the world's conscience toward God. If Paul were to ask his persecutors if they believed in God, they would probably concede, but their beliefs were in ridiculous idols and in other stupid ideas that acted as flavors that agreed with their palate, similar to picking a brand of cigarettes, but as far as having a sincere faith, that would be a "no". So what is faith, other than faith in the truth? Outside the truth faith does not exist. People believe a lot of strange things, but believing something is not the same as having faith. There is only one faith and that faith is in the truth. The Holy Spirit transforms what we believes about the truth to faith from God. Anyone who would go to the extreme of persecution obviously believes something, but genuine faith doesn't persecute the truth. 

2The 3-1,2

(20m) Sin >> Disobedience >> Demonstrating unbelief in the validity of Godís word

(82c) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Direction (Attitude) >> Who to pray for Ė This is the second time Paul requested prayer from the Thessalonians (1The 5-25). Paul couldnít accomplish anything without prayer, nor can we, yet we are mostly ignorant of the power of prayer; that is, we have no choice but to believe in prayer because we donít know why it works. It is like we are talking into the air, and yet we know God is there listening to us. When unbelievers see us praying, they don't see our faith or our relationship with God; nevertheless, to the prayerful person who has dedicated his life to God's purposes it says, ďThe effective [fervent] prayer of a righteous man can accomplish muchĒ (Jm 5-16). After Paulís gospel developed a reputation, he came to Thessalonica and preached the gospel to them and it spread rapidly among the people and glorified God, indicating that the word spread by word of mouth and the people came to Paul wanting to hear more. He wanted what happened in Thessalonica to happen wherever he went, and the best people to pray for him about this were the Thessalonians with whom this happened. They could most knowledgably pray with experience behind them generating fervency in their prayers.

2The 3-1

(229a) Kingdom of God >> Godís kingdom is a living organism >> Kingdom grows by itself >> Growing In Numbers Corresponds With Spiritual Growth >> Kingdom slowly spreads and overtakes darkness

2The 3-3

(9f) Responsibility >> God strengthens us through our weaknesses Ė Strengthening and protecting us from the evil one is the divine work of God. The forces of darkness can be quite overwhelming; all too often we are not able to defend ourselves. It is called "Grace".

(28j) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> God protects us from the devil Ė Paul said that God is faithful; he is the origin of our faith, ďand He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.Ē So, now we know who is motivating our persecutors, the demons of hell. If you informed them of that, they would deny it. They would say they had their own reasons and motivations for persecuting the saints, and it would all be logical, but none of it would be true. Their lies will all be swept up and thrown into the pit of hell with them, unless they repent of their unbelief. Their defense will not stand the scrutiny of Godís righteous judgment.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

4&5 We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

 

2The 3-4,5

(92k) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way connects you to God >> It solidifies your relationship with Him Ė Paul trusted God that He would keep the Thessalonians in the will of God, which he defined as ďdo what we command.Ē Paulís commandments and the will of God were the same; this is how confident he was in his knowledge of Godís will. He could command the Church and know that it wasnít just his opinion. His command was the general will of God that applied to all believers. He couldnít tell individuals what they should do with their lives; only God could tell them where to find their trail of good works that He had prepared for them. 

2The 3-4

(72c) Authority >> Transferring authority >> Men delegate authority by obeying the word Ė In order to achieve status in the Church people didnít need to be numbered among the original twelve apostles; they only needed to be evangelists to be treated with the same respect as the apostles, because they were putting their lives on the line for the rest of the believers. If someone like Paul gave them credence, their reputation among the Churches blossomed. Paul was an apostle (a church planter), which by definition involved evangelism, because it is useless to plant churches with preexistent Christians. This actually is common nowadays, though. People move from church to church, sometimes as a result of church splits, migrating to the new church because they enjoy the brand new sanctuary and like the smell of all new furniture and the floors sparkling clean and polished. In contrast, a true apostle will create new converts through evangelism and fill churches with believers who don't care how the Church looks and smells. That is what Paul did, and he had helpers, Barnabas, Mark, Titus and many others who were all highly committed to the cause and risked their lives for the gospelís sake.

(73b) Authority >> Respect your leaders >> Those in charge of the word -- This verse goes with verse 6. The Church nowadays is not able to command people to do anything. The best they can do is recommend and advise, but meanwhile the people of God do what they want against the council of the Church and often against the council of Godís word. The idea of a church leader commanding the people to obey him is literally foreign to our personal experience in todayís world. In fact, it is how we define a cult, but the early church had leaders the people could trust with their lives, and they knew if they did what Paul commanded, they would be the primary beneficiaries of their obedience, and the benefits would spread from there to a circumference as far as their influence in the world. However, to command a defiant people is like throwing gas on a fire; it only inflames their rebellion, so advise is the best they can do. The way it goes is if the people donít trust the man of God with their lives, they wonít trust him at all. Those who would command the Church are probably off the mark too. Paul commanded the Church to obey God, and he knew exactly what they needed to do in order to obey Him, but people nowadays, whoever has a mind to command the Church, would most likely mislead them, because most church leaders donít know the word of God like they should, much less the will of God. 

(86h) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Be doers of the word >> Clothe yourself with the word of God >> Obey the truth Ė It was highly significant that the men in charge of the Church at its very onset be closely in tuned with the Holy Spirit; their standard of excellence was through the roof in terms of their relationship with God and how to walk and live in this world as a Christian, and he imposed that standard on all the Churches and commanded them to follow his lead. They represented Jesus Christ in the world even as we do, only it seems that our standard is not as high, or at least it wasnít for Jimmy Swaggart and Jimmy Baker and so many other televangelists in the 80ís who have corrupted the gospel in these last days. It seems the gospel never really recovered from their abuse. Profiting from the gospel, they apparently didnít realize they were nailing Jesus Christ back on the cross in open shame. He did that once when he sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world, and now they have crucified His glorious name. Some of them said they were sorry, but they never brought restitution to the gospel, so how sorry were they really?

(122c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in God to keep the Church Ė One method of interpreting Scripture is to compare how the Bible reads to what the Church says about it. There are a few things in this little verse that contradict the language of Christianity today. Paul put his confidence in the Lord that He was able to keep the Thessalonians in the faith, but putting confidence in the Thessalonians themselves was not something he would ever be ready to do. Another notable difference from what we hear in church today is that Paul expected them to do what he and the other apostles commanded them, including Silas and Timothy and all Paulís helpers.

2The 3-5

(74b) Thy kingdom come >> The heart >> God wants a relationship with your heart

(97j) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Rooted deeply >> Standing firm in the faith >> Immovable

(105k) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit to the truth >> Spirit will lead you to Christ

(124c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Acts of love >> Love is the proper motive for all you do Ė This is Paulís direction and itís simple, to persevere in the love of God and in the steadfastness of Christ. The disciples had the freedom to determine for themselves how that will apply in each personí life. How will we apply our steadfastness in Christ? We think we know the love of God, but much of what we know about love is assumed also. We think that love is never doing anything wrong to another person, and thatís part of it, but thereís the other part of making the most of our limited resources, and not blowing it on someone who will probably never respond to the gospel. This takes a little discernment to know on whom we should spend our love. You donít make investments in psychopaths or reprobates, because you will never see a return. Jesus never committed any aspect of His life to them, except that He died for them, but the only outcome of His death was a platform from which God could judge them for rejecting His Son. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees until they saw stars. The best thing we can do with our love is to freely give it to those who will receive it, who will make the most of it and be encouraged to follow the Lord, who will then strive to impart their love into others. Our seed of love sown in the right people will produce a harvest, and in this way establish an environment of love among Godís people. This steadfastness of Christ in the love of God should never give up on those whom God has called us to love, but to persevere to the end, always reaching out our hand to those whom we are committed. The trick is having the discernment to know in whom we should be investing our lives. 

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

 

2The 3,6-15

(7h) Responsibility >> Defend Godís cause >> Protecting the Church Ė Since the Church is so often dedicated to helping the poor and those in need, some view the Church as an opportunity. There are parasites who go from church to church where various programs are in place, and like vacuums they suck the life-source from everybody they can. Some who are on welfare and donít need help take provisions they receive free of charge from well-meaning but naÔve churches and sell them at reduced store-costs for drug money, cigarettes and booze. When churches help the needy, opening a pantry, they should dedicate it primarily to the members of their church, and whatever is leftover can be distributed to the poor in the community, only after hearing the gospel of Christ preached to them. After a period of receiving food and supplies from the Church, and after many opportunities to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ they resist the gospel, they should be denied services from the Church. These people donít have intensions of making a contribution but have led a lifestyle of taking and never giving. See Ephesians 4,11-16 for further commentary.

(10a) Responsibility >> Bring order to the Church >> Dealing with problems in the Church Ė Regarding the unruly, Paul commanded the brethren not to associate with such people. Instead of taking them aside and reminding them of good church traditions and explaining how they are supposed to live among the brethren, Paul knew that lazy people do not listen to council, and so commanded the church to shun them instead, not indefinitely, but until they repent. Donít kick them out of the church, just donít call them, donít knock on their door, donít include them in anything. When they finally get the hint, the ball will be placed in their court to do something. Shame them into repentance. Make them ask, ĎThese guys donít like me; I wonder why; I must be a bum.í Hopefully they will correct their behavior. If they do, receive him again.

(89a) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Being sensible is always appropriate

(101j) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Be an ambitious businessman for God >> Ambitious in the business world of this life

(163a) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> Being slaves of men >> In bondage to peoplesí expectations of you

(163i) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the Church

(167c) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Carnality/Secularism (Mindset of the world) >> The carnal mind is set on the flesh >> Wanting authority without responsibility

(178e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Hypocrisy >> Hypocrisy of the Church is rebuked >> The Church is rebuked for rebellion

(180h) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Rebellion >> Rebelling against Godís narrow way >> Rebelling against the word of God

2The 3-6

(1c) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God and people >> Avoid the appearance of evil Ė This verse goes with verses 14&15.

(64c) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Limits of God >> God has limited patience -- This verse goes with verses 10-15

(67m) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> There is authority in Jesusí name

(69m) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Judging Those in the Church -- This verse goes with verses 14&15. There is an interesting contrast between this verse and Gal 2-14, where Paul rebuked Cephas for making distinctions between people in the Church based on their national heritage. In this verse Paul commanded the Thessalonians to make distinctions between people in the Church based on behavior. We should make distinctions between those who disobey the gospel of Christ and ourselves, staying aloof from them in hope that they will repent. We are to shun those in the Church who chronically disobey the commandments of Christ. Note that Paul didnít suggested that anyone should go and talk to those who were sinning. Jesus established a system of discipline that one should go and require his repentance, and if he refuses, one or two others should come along and witnesses his rebellion, and if he will not listen to them, inform the whole church, and if he still won't repent, treat him like a common sinner (Mat 18,15-17). Paul didnít suggest going through this process with those who were unruly among the Thessalonians, probably because they already tried that and they didnít repent. After they prove that their ears and minds are closed, all that is left is to shun them in hope of their repentance; then we can receive them again into fellowship, but light cannot fellowship with darkness, and we shouldnít even try.

(73b) Authority >> Respect your leaders >> Those in charge of the word -- This verse goes with verses 10-15

(93e) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Walk carefully with wisdom

(162j) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> Being slaves of men >> Bad company >> Do not associate with people who practice sin -- This verse goes with verses 14&15

(172b) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Devils among the saints >> Unrighteous among the righteous -- This verse goes with verses 10-15

(174b) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Manís religion >> Good traditions (Exception to bad religion) >> Good habits Ė Lazy people hold the brethren accountable to their Christianity, while they give themselves liberty to live any way they please, against the ďtraditionĒ that Paul laid down for the Church. What was that tradition? He commanded us to work hard with our hands to ensure we always have something to offer the brethren. Keep busy or the devil will employ our hands in his service. 

(196e) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Immaturity >> Not mature enough to die to self >> Unable to obey God

(197b) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Spiritual laziness >> Rebelling Against what God wants you to do >> Refusing to take on responsibility Ė If we are working hard, we donít have time to be unruly. Laziness is a symptom of a host of other problems. These people look for handouts, going about demanding love from everybody else without intending to reciprocate. Anybody who will hold us accountable to our faith while they themselves are unaccountable is dangerous to the body of Christ. As in a marriage relationship, we commit ourselves to someone whom we hope will return our love, so it is with the brethren. We invest our lives in people whom we hope will pass on our love. Otherwise, if we show Christian love (charity), but the people never reciprocate, we will enable them to take advantage of others and unwittingly join the side of oppression against the saints. The last thing we want is to reward this kind of behavior, because all we will get is more of the same. People will see them and wonder why they are working so hard, when 'this guy' does no work at all and gets fed like the others. It is like feeding the bears in a national park full of campers; it encourages them to hang around and multiply, and before long someone will get mauled, and it will be our fault. When a vigilant person has a problem and is reproved, he will repent because he is vigilant, but laziness attacks the very root of the problem-solving process. The lazy person takes offense at anyone criticizing his lifestyle, but Paul did not allow beggars to flourish in Godís church. Everybody can do something. Paul didnít teach that lazy people should provide for others, just for themselves and for their own households. The gospel of the kingdom is about love and giving, not about taking.

(203k) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Back-slider >> Practicing sin >> Living in sin -- This verse goes with verses 10-15

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

7-9 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8 nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.

 

2The 3,7-9

(5d) Responsibility >> Advocate Godís cause >> Disciples are servants

(11m) Servant >> Paulís example of love for the Church Ė Paul always came to the Church with an offering, not just because he wanted to be an example, but also, he had a fatherís heart toward his fellow believers. He felt he had to be always giving, and he was always grateful when they reciprocated, because it demonstrated their faith and love toward God and one another. This he did also for the Corinthians and for all the Churches. He wanted to be an example, to come with an offering, not to sponge off their resources. He didnít want to just tell them how to live; he showed them. This gave Paul all the more authority to command the Church to do the will of God. This too is how Jesus communicated with His disciples, demonstrating the gospel of the kingdom. Paul worked with his hands as a tentmaker when he wasnít preaching the gospel or sitting in prison (Act 18-3; Act 20,33-35) to ensure he was never a burden to anyone, and instructed that if anyone becomes a burden to them, it is a sign that he is not following Christ.

(93j) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus >> Through men >> Follow me as I follow Christ Ė When Paul visited the Thessalonians and all the churches, he spent large amounts of time there, sometimes up to a year teaching them and showing them how to conduct themselves in the house of God and giving them instruction about administering the gospel of Christ. Instead of expecting the saints to support him while among them, he worked for his food and lodging so as not to be a burden on anyone, and he did it as an example that they should follow. In contrast, pastors today expect all expenses paid for their services. That is fine so long as their standard of living does not exceed the average parishioner of the church, but if they are living more lavishly than the people under his care, that is a problem. If their particular denomination gives them the right to a $50,000/year salary, for example, that should be comparable to the average income of those in his church, and if most people donít make that much money, then neither should he. If people are happy to give him a salary, he should accept only that which falls in the range of his congregation and give the remainder to the needy in his church.

(152a) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Apostles >> Enduring hardship proves apostleship

(187c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Die to the flesh >> Ministry of dying to self >> Die to self to minister to people >> die to self to help the weak

(235k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> All things are for your sake >> We are fighting for you >> Our effort is for your sake Ė It would have been much easier to sit around and command people what to do and collect a salary, but that would have been ineffective and it wasnít Paulís style. He didnít mind working, and he loved the Thessalonians, so he didnít want to take their money or their food without paying for it. The only instance he depended on the churches was during his missionary journeys; then he didnít have time to work but was busy preaching Jesus to people; but while he was visiting churches and staying with them for months at a time, he worked usually as a tent maker.

2The 3-8

(81f) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> Obedience through continuous prayer Ė Paul said, ďPray without ceasingĒ (1The 5-17), and here he said, ďWe kept working night and day;Ē the work he did was analogous to prayer. Just as he worked day and night, so he prayed without ceasing, and he did both for the same reason, for the peopleís benefit and protection that God might keep them until the day of Christ Jesus, that they might walk through the doors of heaven unhindered and that no obstacle come between them and God; that was Paulís prayer for them and for all.

(100d) Thy kingdom come >> Diligence >> Diligence in your service to others

(165k) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Hardship >> Struggles of this life

2The 3-9

(91f) Thy kingdom come >> The called >> Walking along the narrow way >> Walking in Godís calling is to fulfill His purpose

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 

 

2The 3,10-15

(64c) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Limits of God >> God has limited patience -- These verses go with verse 6

(73b) Authority >> Respect your leaders >> Respect those in charge of the word -- These verses go with verse 17

(172b) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Devils among the saints >> Unrighteous among the righteous -- These verses go with verse 6

(203k) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Back-slider >> Practicing sin >> Living in sin -- These verses go with verse 6. When Paul was previously with them, he told them to get a job and stop bumming a free ride from others; but when he returned, they were still doing it. Those who were disobedient disregarded Paulís command, so he wrote them this letter and reminded them what he had said to them in person. He made himself an example of how they ought to conduct themselves among the people of God, and told the saints that they should feel no obligation to support able-bodied people in the Church who refused to work. There are already enough widows and others too feeble to support themselves that they should take on slackers too. Most were working for a living, and the freeloaders were picking their pockets in spite of those who had real needs. Paul instructed them to quit listening to their excuses and quit feeding them. The offender will not starve to death; after he gets tired of hearing his own stomach growl he will do something to solve his problem.

2The 3,10-12

(25h) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Thief >> Stealing from some one Ė We should realize that there are people who could support themselves, but have chosen against it. When is says in 1Jn 3-17, "Whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" John was not advocating that we should support loafers. Some say that if we see anybody in need, we should come to their aid, and in certain cases we should, but without properly set parameters there are a couple problems with this idea. First, there are too many people in the world who need help for the Church to take care of them all. In 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt got the idea to create a new national program called ďwelfareĒ for those who were despondent and struggling in poverty, but it ballooned into a lifestyle option, so that a person could go on welfare instead of working for a living. As a result, they created a generation of loafers who have decided that collecting welfare was easier than working. Now the world is loaded with people living just under poverty collecting welfare and having babies, increasing in numbers whose objective in life is getting old enough to draw welfare, so the cycle continues. Today, we see homeless people on street corners begging for money, who fell through the cracks, who never attempted to do anything for themselves. When we see people like this, should we pull out our wallet and start handing out money? The majority of them will take our hard-earned cash to the local liquor store or to their neighborhood pusher and buy drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, and if they have any children, theyíre out-a-luck. If John were talking about whoever happens to be in need, this passage is simply infeasible. John was probably not talking about giving money anyway; if they donít have clothes, we should give them clothes, not money to buy clothes. If they are hungry, we should feed them. When we run across these people, they usually donít want food or clothes; they want money, so they can spend it on their addiction of choice. If this interpretation of John doesnít work in our day, then it wouldnít have worked in Johnís day either. Imagine finding a Christian brother in need, but we were unable to help him because we gave away all our money to alcoholics and drug addicts.

2The 3-10

(206c) Salvation >> God makes promises on His terms >> Conditions to promises >> Conditions to receiving in the natural >> Conditions to partaking in the natural realm

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

11&12 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

 

2The 3,11-15

(181f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Lawlessness >> Having no regard for the law >> Forsaking the law

2The 3,11-13

(2j) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> get out of His way >> Do not touch the apple of His eye >> Take advantage of no one Ė A person doesnít need a fancy job in order to meet his own needs, but he does need a job. A person can live modestly in small living quarters. He doesnít need a big house; he only needs a roof over his head, a bathroom, a bed, a kitchen table, a stove, a couple pans and some dishes. Some people want to live high and mighty, but Paul set the standard; we are to work and buy our own food, and quit depending on others for our daily needs.

2The 3-11,12

(84h) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Gossip >> Attacking a personís character Ė Lazy people always have enough ambition to be gossips and busybodies. Paul had no time for them. They take peopleís food and then turn and slander them. They criticize people, though they themselves canít accept any criticism. They were probably gossiping about peopleís unwillingness to give, as though they had any scruples of their own, and praising others for their charity, but when was it ever their turn to give? It never comes, and this is why Paul instructed the church to stop feeding them. They are black holes, sucking out the resources of the Church without ever giving in return. This is the opposite of Christianity. There is a difference between feeding somebody who is hungry, poor and destitute, and feeding lazy slackers who refuse to help themselves. There is an old saying, ďGod helps those who help themselves.Ē Some Christians disagree with this, quoting verses like Rom 5-6, ďFor while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly,Ē while others agree, and most likely both are right in their proper context. God helped us when we could not help ourselves, but now that God has helped us, He expects us to work with His grace to support ourselves and give some return to others in need through the surplus of Godís kindness. A person who is financially independent is respectable, and God takes credit for everything good thing in our lives.

(143b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a bad reputation

(158d) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Divide and conquer >> Strife >> Disagreements Ė The Thessalonians were a mature church for the most part, but there are always those who like to take advantage and look for a free ride. Instead of yelling at the Thessalonians to get a job, Paul put them to shame by paying his own way as an example for those who refused to work, so he wouldnít have to outright confront them. Paul preferred shaming offenders over confronting and debating with them. He would have been right in telling him to work for a living, but he would have been wrong in arguing with them. In a tug of egos, being right is no longer the issue but winning the argument, and the winner of the debate does not always have the truth on his side. Even if Paul won the debate, the person still wouldnít have gone to work. Paul regularly argued and debated with unbelievers in the world trying to help them see the light so they could be saved, but in the Church debating accomplished nothing, because he had authority as an apostle. Also, people in the Church already know the truth (hopefully); the problem was they were unwilling to walk in it. He was not about to usurp his own authority and start a debate with the people of God; instead, he led them by example.

(193f) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance >> Instruction to the Church

2The 3-12

(138k) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> The discipline of exhortation

2The 3-13

(95k) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Having an obedient attitude >> Ready to do good

(99k) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance (Working to keep in motion) >> Persevere in doing good Ė Was the Bible written to obedient Christians or disobedient Christians? Who is the audience of the Bible? Sometimes it is important to understand who is the audience of the Scriptures to aid in interpreting certain Bible verses. ďAs for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.Ē Paul is writing to obedient Christians. Obedient Christians are steadfast and remain faithful, so Paul is exhorting them to continue in the faith. Those who behave differently from the rest should be treated differently. They should be treated as their behavior deserves.

(139c) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Urging the disciples to continue in the faith Ė Paul was making a distinction between helping those who were truly in need and throwing their resources into a bottomless pit, in people's mouths who could be supporting themselves. He never questioned their salvation, but he did command them to repent; this was Paulís way. There are some who have legitimate needs, and we are not to stop helping them just because we have encountered a few workshy leeches. All sin is a contagion; one person behaves a certain way and others catch it, and it soon becomes the norm, and Paul didnít want that for the people of God; he wanted their righteousness to be contagious and pure and their lifestyles to be holy to the Lord.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

14-18 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! 17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

 

2The 3-14,15

(1c) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God and people >> Avoid the appearance of evil Ė These verses go with verse 6. If we are afraid to offend the "brethren" who is practicing sin by shunning his fellowship, we may inadvertently confuse the onlookers of the Church, making it more difficult for them to believe the gospel, and so consequently offend God, who wants them saved. Now, you have offended two innocent persons to protect one mans sin, and also making it more difficult for the sinner to repent. This is a lose-lose situation that should be avoided.

(20k) Sin >> Disobedience >> Rejecting the word Ė Here is an example of someone who has rejected the word of God. This doesnít mean he rejects what it says. Many people in the world reject what the Bible says, but this person is a so-called brother and has rejected the word of God in a different way; he believes what it says but he is disobedient. However, the Bible teaches that to obey Scripture is to believe it, making our disobedience tantamount to unbelief. The one who is chronically disobedient to the word may agree with what it says but rejects it just the same, no different from the secular atheist who rejects the message of the Bible. A person can have various motives in disobeying the word of God, one being outright hypocrisy, but another is that he is having a hard time obeying the Lord; that is, he is in bondage to his flesh, and he wants to repent but he canít. In this case the person needs our help, our patience, support and understanding, and he needs accountability and time to grow and repent, until he is able to shrug this bondage. However, Paul is not talking about that kind of person, but someone who is flagrantly disobedient and unrepentant. There needs to be church discipline, yet this sort of instruction that Paul is giving is virtually nonexistent in the Church today. Unmarried couples come to church and hang on each other, and it conjures images in the minds of onlookers of what they do behind closed doors, and it is scandalous. They need to be told that there are certain standards and that if they continue openly violating the Scriptures, they will be made to feel unwelcome in church. If we excommunicate them these days, there is a chance they could contact the ACLU and sue the Church, and so the best way to deal with people like this is to shun them.

(69m) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Judging Those in the Church -- These verses go with verse 6

(108g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Balance >> Do all things in moderation

(153g) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Shame >> Walking in condemnation >> Walking in sin Ė This admonishment is not in the form of words but in the form of a silent rebuke, because they are not willing to receive instruction. They had every opportunity in the world to support themselves, but they were not doing it. There are people who are older and feebler than they who were working and supporting themselves and were happy to do it, because they didnít want to be burden on anybody. Those who are tapping the Church of their resources donít care that they are a burden to others. Eventually the Thessalonians had to take stricter measures and put them to shame. This was Paulís way, putting people to shame; it was his method of converting people to Christ. Anybody who would be so arrogant as to reject His sacrifice for sin ought to be ashamed. The power of the gospel appeals to manís conscience, and if it dies, the gospel has no power to save. The world hates the Church because of the guilt and shame it exposes in them by the message of the cross. Some people accept the shame and recognize their guilt, repent and are converted, while others refuse the shame and reject the truth. They consider the Church to be evil for imposing guilt on so-called innocent people and for trying to shame them into believing in Jesus. They devise many excuses why their guilt is not real in order to avoid the gospel, because they donít want to humble themselves before almighty God or admit that they need saving or that they are even sinners. Supposedly these people who will not pay their own way have accepted the gospel and admitted they were sinners; they asked God for His mercy and received it through the indwelling Holy Spirit, but they refused to change their ways. They are ready to believe in the gospel, but they are not ready to allow their faith to change their lives, so Paul sought to shame them into repentance. If they donít repent, then they donít belong in the Church, not to kick them out but to shun them until they leave on their own accord. It was not what Paul wanted, but it was the only thing to do to protect the integrity of the Church.

(162j) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> Being slaves of men >> Bad company >> Do not associate with people who practice sin -- These verses go with verse 6. Paulís instruction to the Church about beggars within the Christian community was to disassociate from them; donít talk to them, donít knock on their door, and if they knock on our door, donít answer it. It doesnít say to kick them out of church as he advised the Corinthians regarding the man who had relations with his stepmother (1Cor 5,1-13), but to shun them until they either go away or repent. Donít confront them or debate with them, because they are in a state of rebellion, and they are not ready to receive instruction from anybody. The Church was to show them that they are not in right standing with God or with the saints, but if they repent and get a job and start supporting themselves, then the Church was to receive them in full standing, but if they refuse to repent and the Church continues shunning them, they will eventually leave. It is better they leave than to remain a burden to the people.

2The 3-16

(36a) Gift of God >> Gifts from the Holy Spirit >> To him who has shall more be given

(104h) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart shall see God >> Shall see the Father >> God is in our presence -- This verse goes with verse 18

(125k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> God is at peace >> The God of peace Ė There are some circumstances that are not very peaceful, but Paul asked the Lord that the Thessalonians would have peace in every circumstance, even the unsettling ones. Where the world expected the people of God to react, they responded instead with peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and it is a big one. Peace is critical in our lives. The world interprets ďpeaceĒ very differently from the Bible. The world thinks they are at peace when they are not at war, but the Bible defines ďpeaceĒ as a mental state. The same thing goes for freedom. The world grossly misinterprets freedom to mean the opportunity to live any way we want, whereas the Bible defines it as the God-given ability to do His will. Without freedom we cannot do the will of God, because we are enslaved to sin, and sin will not allow us to obey Him. The Thessalonians needed to maintain a mental state of peace, guaranteeing the absence of war.  

2The 3-17

(73b) Authority >> Respect your leaders >> Respect those in charge of the word -- These verses go with verse 4. This last verse was Paulís signature benediction, but his writing style throughout his letter was a more telling signature. Writing style is like a signature; it is very difficult to copy or forge. All of Paulís letters had the same rhythm and sound to it, and for this reason many donít believe that he wrote the book of Hebrews, because it doesnít bear his writing style, not to say Paul didnít have the knowledge base to write it. The way the book of Hebrews was written was far different from the way Paul wrote. Some say the writer of Hebrews had to remain anonymous o avoid persecution and death; that may be true, but still the writer was not Paul.

2The 3-18

(104h) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart shall see God >> Shall see the Father >> God is in our presence -- This verse goes with verse 16