work quietly

2 Thessalonians

work quietly

2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 3:10 In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:11 You see, we hear that there are some among you who are undisciplined. They are not busy but busybodies.
2 Thessalonians 3:12 Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and provide for themselves.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing the right things.

work quietly

Working hard is not enough. True spiritual discipline is working quietly. In other words, we show our discipline by staying focused on what we can do for Christ, not by how much dust we stir.

Nowadays, a great deal of the dust people stir is online. While the web is an opportunity for ministry, it can also be a place where busybodies can do damage. If you are tempted to spend most of your day expressing your opinion online, be aware that the apostle wrote the above words to you.

Lord, give us the wisdom to work quietly.

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free of charge

2 Thessalonians

free of charge

2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 3:7 because you yourselves know how you should imitate us: We were not undisciplined when with you;
2 Thessalonians 3:8 we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we worked and toiled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you.
2 Thessalonians 3:9 It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us.

free of charge

Paul had been expressing confidence in the Thessalonians — assurance that they had been following the traditions he taught them. One of those traditions had something to do with working hard, so that the ministry would not be a burden to those being ministered to. Paul had exemplified that tradition. He worked and toiled night and day. He did this, even though he admitted that he had the right to be supported. He chose not to take advantage of that right, because he wanted the Thessalonians to live like that too. He wanted them to proclaim the gospel free of charge.

We are living in a generation which is skeptical of religious adherents. Many believe that we have ulterior motives for our ministry. Perhaps we need to revisit Paul’s tradition. We need to rethink normal. Maybe some could be reached by volunteers who would not give a listen to the paid professions.

Lord, raise an army of volunteers to reach the lost.

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criterion for disfellowship

2 Thessalonians

criterion for disfellowship

2 Thessalonians 3:6 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother or sister who is undisciplined and does not walk according to the tradition received from us

criterion for disfellowship

Notice the criterion for disfellowship here. It is not someone who holds to a different theological position. There is bound to be theological diversity in any congregation. Nor is the criterion the person’s cultural or racial background. Nor is it the person’s social status. Paul does not even emphasize the person’s political views.

No, the criterion for disfellowship is an undisciplined walk. Paul mentions the tradition received. He had previously said:

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote.

Paul taught a lot of theology, but he also taught traditions: ways to act so that the gospel would receive a hearing. The kinds of people who hold to the theology but don’t respect the discipline of Christian living — those are the kind of “Christian” to avoid.

Lord, give us wisdom as to who we do life with.

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cause of confidence

2 Thessalonians

cause of confidence

2 Thessalonians 3:3-5 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:4 We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s care and Christ’s endurance.

cause of confidence

How was Paul confident that the churches he founded would continue to stay true to the gospel, and live the lives he commanded them to live?

  • He trusted the Lord to strengthen them
  • He trusted the Lord to protect them from the evil one
  • He trusted the believers to remain faithful
  • He prayed for the Lord to make their hearts caring hearts
  • He prayed for the Lord to make their hearts strong enough to endure as Christ endured

Such is the nature of our trust in the faithfulness of our Lord.

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prayer partners

prayer partners

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 3:1 In addition, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the word of the Lord may move forward rapidly and be honored, just like it was with you,
2 Thessalonians 3:2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil humans, because not all have faith.

prayer partners

Do you think that Paul relied on his own ability to follow approved church growth principles so that his ministry was successful? He was diligent and did all he could, but he also knew that all he could do was not enough. That is why he asked his congregations to pray for him. Here he asks for two specific things.

  • He asked that the word of the Lord may move forward rapidly and be honored.
  • He asked to be delivered from the wicked and evil humans who would oppose his message and make trouble for him.

These are not the words of a person who put confidence in his own ability. They were the words of a servant who depended on his master for success, and on prayer partners who would help him.

Lord, give us prayer partners who can pave the way for success in your ministry.

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his follow-up

2 Thessalonians

his follow-up

2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has cared about us and given us permanent encouragement and good hope by favor,
2 Thessalonians 2:17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good achievement and word.

his follow-up

Paul had been taken from his ministry, and he knew he might not ever get a chance to go back. He did not despair of that. He knew God was in control. So, he simply asked the Thessalonians to stand firm and hold to what he had taught them. He knew they would have to grow in their spiritual lives, but that was out of his hands.

There was one thing he could do, to encourage and strengthen them. He could pray that God take over that follow-up ministry, and that is just what he did in verses 16-17.

Lord, thank you that when we have done our bit, you are there to keep the ministry going.

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God’s work from the first

2 Thessalonians

God’s work from the first

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters cared about by the Lord, because from the first, God has chosen you for rescue through sanctification by the Breath and through belief in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:14 He invited you to this through our gospel, so that you might acquire the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s work from the first

If you believe the truth of the gospel, you have much to be thankful for, and others have many reasons to be thankful for you.

  • God has chosen to rescue you.
  • God had breathed his sanctifying Breath into you.
  • God has invited you to share in the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord.

I am so thankful that God has done that for you. Let’s you and me determine to stay faithful to him.

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false evidence

2 Thessalonians

false evidence

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s achieving energy, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders,
2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with every wicked deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the care for the truth and so be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 For this reason God sends them an energy that achieves deviation so that they will believe the lie,
2 Thessalonians 2:12 so that all will be condemned — those who did not believe the truth but delighted in unrighteousness.

false evidence

This passage is a warning for this generation. We don’t seem to be as concerned about the truth as we are winning the argument. Paul told the Thessalonians that the apostasy will be empowered, and will manifest “all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders.” It will solidify false teaching by producing false evidence.

For that reason, we need to be more diligent than ever before. We need to base our understanding on what the Bible says, not on other people’s personal experience. Unfortunately, there is very little emphasis on sound exegesis in our generation.

Lord, drive us back to our knees, and to your word.

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best defense against apostasy

2 Thessalonians

best defense against apostasy

2 Thessalonians 2:5-8 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 2:5 Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I used to tell you about this?
2 Thessalonians 2:6 And you know what currently prevents this, so that he will be revealed in his season.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already achieving things, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way,
2 Thessalonians 2:8 and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will eliminate him at the appearance of his coming.

best defense against apostasy

Paul predicts an apostasy to come. There have been numerous explanations of his prediction in this chapter, but I want to draw attention to some assertions from this passage.

First, the apostasy, led by the lawless one will occur between the time of Paul and the second coming.

Secondly, it will not be concluded until Christ destroys the leader of the apostasy at his return.

Until then, you and I need to be careful that we are not deceived. We need to stay true to the word of God, and continue proclaiming the gospel. Our best defense against apostasy is personal faithfulness.

Lord, may we be so true to your word that we allow no falsehood or faithlessness.

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apostasy in the church

2 Thessalonians

apostasy in the church

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (JDV)

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless human is revealed, the son of destruction.
2 Thessalonians 2:4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s temple, proclaiming that he himself is God.

apostasy in the church

Paul was attempting to deal with a false teaching that had infiltrated Thessalonica. Some in the churches there were beginning to teach that Jesus had already come. No, Paul says. One of the evidences that Paul brings forth in support of his claim is this prophecy. Before Jesus returns, there will be apostasy in the church. The church be taken over by someone who does not belong in its leadership. That someone will sit in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Lots of people today think that prophecy is still to be fulfilled, although many of their ancestors were convinced that the apostasy already happened, and that it took a Reformation to get us out of it.

Fortunately, for both of these groups of Christians, the main thing is that we are all looking for the coming of Christ.

Come, Lord Jesus.

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