Saturday, February 20, 2010

How To Wait For #Christ: 2 Thessalonians 3

Theme: Wait for Christ

2. Ways
     A. By holding fast Bible doctrine (2:13-3:5)
     B. By avoiding the unruly (3:6, 13-15)
     C. By earning your own bread (3:7-12)


*It seems a misunderstanding about the Day of the Lord led some to quit work, become busy bodies, and live off other believers. They apparently reasoned that if they were in the tribulation, as some had falsely reported, then they might as well quit work, and wait for the return of Christ to the earth. After correcting their understanding about the Day of the Lord, Paul now properly applies this doctrine to the Thessalonians, instructing them to stand fast in Bible doctrine (1-5), avoid the "unruly" (6, 14-15), and earn their own bread (7-13).*

Stand fast in Bible doctrine (3:1-5)

Chapter two called on believers to hold to the oral and written instructions from the missionary team (13-17). Chapter three continues to stress the importance of Bible doctrine, asking for prayer that "word of the Lord" may spread rapidly and be glorified", through the missionaries, and that they will be delivered from the persecution of unbelievers (1-3). The ability of believers to stand firm in their belief and practice of the faith, depends on the Word of God, and the Lord's ability to direct their hearts into the love and steadfastness of Christ (4-5).

Avoid the "unruly" (6, 14-15)

Paul commanded the brethren to "keep aloof" from "every brother" who leads an "unruly" life (6). This refers to those who "would" not work, but were living off other believers, becoming troublesome busy bodies (10-11). Avoiding their company was supposed to put them to shame (14), so they would repent and get back to work. However, they were supposed to admonish the unruly like brothers, rather than treat them like enemies (15).

Obedient believers, on the other hand, should follow the example of the missionary team (7-10). Although they had a right to make a living off the gospel ministry, they yielded it so as not to burden the Thessalonicans. "Day and night", they worked with their hands to supply their own food, and had delivered "this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat." Such a life is more difficult, but Paul encouraged those who are obedient not to grow weary of doing good (13).

Earn your own bread (7-12).

In 1 Thess. 4:10-12, Paul "encouraged" those who had stopped working to make it their ambition "to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands...so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need." After some time had passed and some were still in the same condition, he "commanded" them to "work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread" (2 Thess. 3:12). This applies to those who "will not work", rather than those who cannot.

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