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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 sinful natures, but the devil wonít be there to instigate anyone against the Lord, and so there will be peace for a thousand years, until he is released at the end of that time, 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 close out the Millennium, and eternity will later resume. Therefore, the purpose of Millennium 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 heads without them knowing it to hate God and one another. Hating God is like beating the air, but hating people is to oppress them and put them to death. For this reason it says that God will send them both (man and demon) to a common hell, sealing their association forever, showing how closely related sinful man is to the devil. There is nothing special or unique about rebellion, which will be thrown into the abyss 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 persecute us, not through wisdom and understanding but through ignorance and pride. They persecute us through the devil. Paul first wrote about perverse and evil men and then associated them with the devil. He put man and demon together to show that they operate in tandem, 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 bidding; and man lacks the motivation to persecute the gospel, since it was given by God as a blessing. Man and demon are always working together to persecute the gospel 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 result, ďfor not all have faith.Ē So, it is through their lack of faith that they persecuted him. They were trying to kill the world's conscience toward God. If Paul were to ask his persecutors if they believed in God, they would probably concede; they had beliefs in an assortment of ridiculous idols like picking a brand of cigarettes, but as far as having a sincere faith, that would be a "no". So what is faith? Outside the truth faith does not exist. People believe a lot of things, but believing something is not the same as faith. There is only one God and one faith (Eph 4-5), which believes the truth. The Holy Spirit transforms the truth we believe about God into faith when we act on those beliefs. 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). He couldnít have accomplished what he did without prayer, nor can we. We have no choice but to believe in prayer, because we donít know how it works. Sometimes it feels like we are talking into the air, yet we know God is listening. When unbelievers see us praying, they don't see our faith, but to the person who has dedicated himself to a life of prayer it says, ďThe effective [fervent] prayer of a righteous man can accomplish muchĒ (Jm 5-16). After Paul developed a reputation, he came to Thessalonica and preached the gospel, and it spread rapidly among the people; the gospel spread by word of mouth and the people came wanting to hear more. Paul wanted what happened in Thessalonica to happen everywhere he set his foot, and the only way that could can happen was through prayer.

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 a divine work of God. The forces of darkness can be quite overwhelming; all too often we are not able to defend ourselves, being why 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, and those who motivate our persecutors are demons. If we told them this, through ignorance they would deny it. They would say they had their own reasons for persecuting us, but their reasons would be excuses if we have kept out behavior excellent among them (1Pet 2-12).

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 This is how confident Paul was in his knowledge of God. He could command the Church, knowing it was more than just his opinion.

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, and they expected to be treated with the same respect as the apostles, because they were putting their lives on the line for the sake of the gospel. A true apostle will create new converts through evangelism and fill churches with believers, and Paul had helpers, Barnabas, Mark, Titus and many others who were all highly committed to the cause and risked their lives for Jesus' sake and for generations of believers after them who would be saved through the letters that Paul wrote and all the writers of the Bible.

(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, because they are not dedicated to the cause of Christ like Paul and the other apostles in the first century. 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 was not a cult and could make demands on people, because they trusted each other with their lives, and they knew if they did what Paul commanded, they would benefit from their obedience, and the benefits would spread 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. We should be vigilant to compare how the Bible reads to what the Church says about it. Paul commanded the Church to obey God, but people nowadays who have a mind to command people in the Church would probably mislead them.

(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 early Church was finely tuned to the Holy Spirit; the people's standard of excellence was through the roof in terms of their relationship with God and how to walk and live in the world as Christians, and they imposed that standard on all the Churches and the apostles commanded the people to follow their lead, but it seems 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 corrupted the gospel and pastors of mega-churches in these last days. It seems the gospel never recovered from their abuse. Profiting from the gospel, they nailed Jesus Christ back on the cross in open shame. He willingly sacrificed Himself once for the sins of the world; but if anyone tries putting Him back on the cross, they will find themselves in big trouble with God. Some said they were sorry, but they never sought restitution for the gospel they maligned, so how sorry were they, really?

(122c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in God to keep the Church

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 instruction and it is simple: persevere in 'the love of God and in the steadfastness of Christ.' The disciples had freedom to determine for themselves how that should apply in their personal lives. 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 there is also making the most of our limited resources, and not blowing it on someone who probably won't ever respond to the gospel. This takes discernment. We obviously donít invest in narcissists, psychopaths and reprobates, because we will never see a return. Jesus never committed any aspect of His life to such people, except that He died for them, but only that God might have cause to judge them later; i.e. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees until they saw stars. The best thing to 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 strive to impart their love into others. Our seed of love sown into the right people will produce a harvest, and in this way establish an environment of love among Godís people in the Church and as an influence in the world. 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 have committed our lives as Paul did. The trick is having the discernment to know in whom we should invest in the first place.

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 opportunistic people try to abuse the graciousness of the Church and latch onto it like parasites who go from church to church that have various programs in place and suck the life and resources from everybody they can. Some who donít need help take free provisions from well-meaning but naÔve churches and sell them at reduced store-cost for drug money, booze and cigarettes. When churches help the needy and open a pantry, they should be dedicated primarily to the members of their church, and whatever remains can be distributed to the poor in the community, after hearing the gospel of Christ preached to them. After a period of receiving food and supplies without reciprocating in any way, and after many opportunities to believe in Jesus they continue resisting the gospel, they should eventually be denied services.

(10a) Responsibility >> Bring order to the Church >> Dealing with problems in the Church Ė Regarding the undisciplined, Paul commanded the brethren not to associate with them. Instead of taking them aside and reminding them of good church traditions and explaining how they should behave 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 include them in anything. When they finally get the hint, we can shame them to repentance.

(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 distinction between this verse and Gal 2-14, where Paul rebuked Cephas for showing favoritism in the Church based on genealogy, while in this verse Paul commanded the Thessalonians to do the opposite, discriminate between people in the Church based on behavior. We should make distinctions between those who disobey the gospel of Christ, staying aloof from them in hope that they will repent. We are to shun them who chronically disobey the commandments of God. Note that Paul didnít suggested that anyone should go and talk to those who were sinning (Mat 18,15-17); apparently they already tried this and they didnít repent. After they prove their ears and minds are closed, all that is left is to shun them in hope of repentance; then we can receive them again to fellowship, but light cannot fellowship with darkness, and we shouldnít 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 Christianity, while they give themselves liberty to live any way they want, against the ďtraditionĒ that Paul laid down for the Church. He mandated that we work with our hands to ensure we always have something to offer. We are to 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 symptomatic of a host of other problems. Lazy people look for handouts, going about demanding love from everybody without ever giving in return. Those who hold us accountable to our faith while they are accountable to no one are injurious to the body of Christ. As in a marriage relationship, we commit ourselves to someone who we hope will return our love, so it is with the brethren. We invest our lives in people whom we hope will reciprocate; otherwise, if we show Christian love (charity), but the people never respond, and their odious behavior grows into a bigger problem, we will have enabled them to take advantage of us and others and have unwittingly joined the side of oppression against the saints. The last thing we want is to reward this kind of behavior, engendering more of the same. People will protest their hard work if others do no work at all and get fed just the same. 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. A lazy person takes offense at anyone criticizing him, 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; he wanted to be an example and 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 didnít just tell them how to live; he showed them. This gave Paul all the more authority to command them to do God's will. 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 serving 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 stayed there a while, sometimes up to a year teaching them and showing them how to conduct themselves in the house of God. Instead of expecting the saints to support him, he worked for his food and lodging so as not to be a burden on anyone, and so as an example that he expected others to 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 the 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 that is, 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 edification and benefit of all, that God might keep them from the evil one 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 us.

(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 off their fellow brethren; yet those who were disobedient disregarded Paulís command, so he wrote them this letter and reminded them what he told them in person. He made himself an example how they ought to conduct themselves as a body of believers, telling them that they should feel no obligation to support able-bodied people who refused to work. There are already enough widows and others with legitimate needs, so that slackers were not welcome to the resources of the church. Most were working for a living, and the freeloaders were picking their pockets, and 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 eventually do something about it.

2The 3,10-12

(25h) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Thief >> Stealing from some one Ė There were people in the early Church who could support themselves but refused. 1Jn 3-17 says, "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. If we see anybody in need, in most cases we should come to their aid, but without properly setting parameters regarding how we should spend our limited resources, we may be next on the street corner begging for bread. There are too many people in the world who need help for the Church to take care of them all, so in 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Welfare into law for those who were 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 fed and bred a generation of loafers. Now the world is loaded with people living in poverty collecting welfare and having babies, and increasing in numbers, whose objective in life is getting on the dole. Able-bodied people who refuse to work, should we invest our resources into them? Paul said no! The majority of them will take our hard-earned cash to the local liquor store or to their neighborhood drug pusher, and if they have any children, theyíre out-a-luck. John was not talking about whomever happen to be in need; he didn't even say to give money; rather, if they donít have clothes, we should give them clothes, not money to buy clothes. If they are hungry, we should feed them; but when we run across these people, they usually donít want food or clothes; they want money, so they can spend it on their addiction, which has led them to the street corner in the first place. Imagine finding a Christian brother in need but 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, just 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 A person who is financially independent is respectable, and God takes credit for everything good thing in his life, and a lazy person always has enough ambition to be gossips and busybodies. Paul had no time for them. They take peopleís food and return their kindness with slander, though they themselves cannot 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 it was never their turn to give, and this is why Paul instructed the church to stop feeding them. They are black holes, sucking out the resources of the Church without giving in return. This is the opposite of Charity. There is a difference between feeding somebody who is hungry, poor and destitute, and feeding slackers who refuse to work. 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 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 great generosity.

(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. Instead of yelling at the Thessalonians, Paul put them to shame, paying his own way and becoming an example for those who refused to work, so he wouldnít have to outright confront them. Paul preferred shaming offenders over debating with them. He would have been right in confronting their sin, 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, and even if Paul won the argument, the offender 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 some were unwilling to walk in it. He was not about to usurp his own authority and start an argument; instead, he led 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 unbelievers, or to obedient Christians or to disobedient Christians? Who is the audience of the Bible? Sometimes it is important to understand this to properly interpret it. Paul had written to obedient Christians, who were steadfast and faithful and exhorted them to continue in the faith.

(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, who could be supporting themselves. He never questioned anyone's salvation, though Peter and John did; instead, Paul commanded 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 contagious; one person has negative behaves and others develop their habits that soon spread to becomes the norm, and Paul didnít want that for God's people; he wanted their righteousness to spread.

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 "brother" who is practicing sin, we may inadvertently confuse onlookers in the world, making it more difficult for them to believe the gospel, and so offend God, who wants them saved. Now we have offended people in both the world and the Church. Paul's advice was to shun the one that sins.

(20k) Sin >> Disobedience >> Rejecting the word Ė Here is an example of someone who has rejected the word of God. The man himself didn't disagree with Paul, his behavior did. Many people in the world reject what the Bible says, but this so-called brother has rejected the Scriptures in a different way, through disobedience. The Bible teaches that obeying Scripture is to believe it, meaning disobedience is the same as unbelief. Mentally, he may believe the Bible but his flesh didn't. The goal of faith, therefore, is to line up mind and body with the indwelling Holy Spirit that believes the word of God. There are Christians in bondage to their flesh who want to repent but canít, and in their case they need our help, patience, support and understanding, and they need accountability and time to grow and repent, until they are able to shrug their bondage, but others feel comfortable in their bondage, felling no compunction about their sin or any incentive to repent. Paul is talking about someone who is flagrantly disobedient. 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 warned that there are certain standards and that if they continue openly violating the Scriptures, they will be shunned.

(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 to support themselves, but they refused. There were people who are older and feebler, who were working and supporting themselves and were happy to do it, because they didnít want to be burden on anybody. Those who tap 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, which was Paulís method of converting people to Christ, and it was also Peter's method (Act 3,13-15). 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 their conscience is dead, 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 they need saving or 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, 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 to 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. 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. 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. Similarly, 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 it. All of Paulís letters had the same rhythm and sound to it, and for this reason many donít believe 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 writing style of Hebrews was far different from the way Paul wrote. Some say the writer of Hebrews had to remain anonymous to 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