2 Thessalonians 3

2 Thessalonians 3 has Paul finishing his letter to the church at Thessalonica.  He begins by warning them that they will be under attack.  “The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one”. God promised to keep Satan on a leash. He will not allow any temptation to become too great for us, and will not allow Satan to do whatever he wants with us.  He is our guardian and keeper, and will enable us to have victory.  We need to stand firm and know His Word which is our main defense.  But we know how the story ends, and God wins!

Who we hang out with matters, and Paul makes it clear we need to be selective.  “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us”.  Paul and his team lived by demonstrating hard work and not being a burden for any they ministered to.  His directive is pointed at Christ Followers who are lazy.  The purpose in withdrawing from these who were disobedient was not so much punishment, but more so simply to deny them the aid and comfort of the fellowship of the body of Christ until they repented.

Paul and his team set a very clear example.  “For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate”.  Paul makes it clear that their life was filled with hard work to set an example.  They could have asked the church to support them, but made the choice not to.  They wanted to show everyone that work is part of life and you can work and serve God simultaneously.  He also wanted to prove false any accusation that he preached the gospel for personal gain.

As Paul ends this letter, he exhorts the church to “not grow weary in doing good”. Guzik shares that there are many excuses one might make to allowing weariness in doing good, but they should all be rejected:

  • “It takes so much effort to keep doing good” – but you will extend effort towards the things of the world.
  • “It takes so much self-denial to keep doing good” – but it is worth it when we consider the reward.
  • “It just brings me persecution to do good” – but your persecutions are nothing compared to that which others have suffered.
  • “People don’t respond and there are little results when I do good” – but remember how slow you were to respond to Jesus Christ.
  • “It doesn’t earn much gratitude when I do good” – but God sends many blessings even to those who do not thank or appreciate Him.

Not everyone is going to spend their time doing good.  So how should we react to that person? “Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother”.  The answer is not to ignore it, but to be willing to confront and help lead them back to doing what God intends.  We don’t live in silos apart from each other, but in the body where we need to encourage all to work together to do good!

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