2 Thessalonians 3
-Paul completes this short letter with this chapter focused on the DOING of the Christian life. This action verb is used over and over during the passage denoting an active and productive Spirit-filled life that is not lazy and busy with insignificant things. The apostle asks for prayer that the Word of the Lord would speed (strive to advance, make progress) ahead and be honored (doxazo, glorified) so that they may be delivered from evil men that don’t have faith (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). The writer’s contrast to the unfaithful unbelievers is the all-faithful God who establishes and guards against the evil one (i.e. the devil). This gives complete confidence (no worries!) by the apostles that the Thessalonians will continue in the things they were taught and commanded to DO as the Lord directs them (Spirit-filled life) from the heart to the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5).
-Paul chastises those who were known to be walking in idleness. He exhorted them to walk as the apostles’ demonstrated in not taking advantage of anyone so as to not be a burden even when it could have been their right as leaders. The pinnacle of this teaching is this: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).” The command is to work quietly, steadily, and earnestly to provide for their families and their ministry in Christ earning their own living, not with extravagance, but with generosity. Paul implores them to not grow weary in DOING good (2 Thessalonians 3:13). He stresses obedience in what he is telling them to DO in this letter and imitate his example, which he follows in Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1, 2 Thessalonians 3:7,9,14). The teaching is to disassociate with the lazy, not regarding them as an enemy, but as a brother making them ashamed enough to turn in repentance to the way of the Lord and become a DOER of the Word (James 1:22-25). *Application* We can see the redemptive purpose in Paul the Apostle’s hard stand on those who refuse to DO their work properly in the body of Christ. We should have high expectations for our brothers and sisters in the Lord and hold them to a standard of excellence in love. Discipline does come into play here, but notice that it is as a brother or sister, not an enemy and not in hatred. Often the most loving thing we can DO is take a hard stand on laziness and complacency so that those we love will not become idle and good for nothing. If you as parents have ever insisted on making your children clean up their room, you can certainly identify with this Godly mentality J ! It’s just like the military (2 Timothy 2:3-4). It’s tough but would you really want it any other way? It is preparation and training for the more difficult days ahead where we will need discipline and hard labor without compliant or questioning.
-When we are busy DOING the work of the Lord in His strength through the Holy Spirit, the God of peace will give us His perfect peace at all times and in all ways as He is always with us (2 Thessalonians 3:16). *Application* This goes against the fleshly-naturalistic way of trying to achieve peace by doing nothing. The exact opposite is true. The hardest working people are generally the ones who don’t have time to worry and as a result they live with an immense amount of peace, especially if they are in Christ. Get active for the LORD! Abound exceedingly! Don’t waste even a moment of time that God graciously gives you to further His Kingdom in our generation (Genesis 6:9, Joshua 24:15, Acts 13:36).
Verses to Memorize- 2 Thessalonians 3:10, 16