Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Warning Against Idleness Paul's Epistles - 2 Thessalonians - Part 6

A Warning Against Idleness
Paul's Epistles - 2 Thessalonians - Part 6
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Thessalonica was the second city in Europe where Paul established an organized Christian community.

Paul sent his first letter (epistle) to the church after Timothy returned with good report of the community. His letter filled with praise to God for them, as well as instruction to continue to do good, and be mindful of teachers, and preachers. He instructed them to hold dearly to the teachings of Christ, and not to allow false teachings or beliefs to pollute the Truth, or they may have troubles as some of the other churches were experiencing because of influence by the circumcised, the Gnostics, and other Pagan and false beliefs that had snuck into the churches ranks.

Not long after sending his first letter, Paul felt it necessary to write to them again. This is 2 Thessalonians. The reason for this letter was because Paul had received reports that a forged letter, and a false verbal message had been spread around, supposedly coming from Paul himself.

These false teachings in Paul’s name made mention of imaginary revelations of the Spirit given through some member or members of the Thessalonian Church. The members believed they were passing through a great tribulation because of this, and were greatly distressed.

Mislead into thinking the Great Day of the Lord had come. Paul wrote this letter to set their minds at ease. Paul declares in this epistle that certain events MUST take place before “The Day of the Lord”.

A)   A great falling away from the faith.
B)    The coming of Christ for His people (Rapture)
C)   The coming into public view of the “Man of Sin”
D)  And his open and awful campaign against the Lord
E)    Then the coming of the Lord (Second Coming) with His people in terrible judgment

2 Thessalonians is really broken into four major themes.

1)     Persecution and the Lord’s Coming
2)     The unrepentant  and the Lord’s Coming
3)     The Apostasy and the Lord’s Coming
4)     Service and the Lord’s Coming
a.      The delay of the Lord’s Coming for;
                                                              i.      Unique opportunities for service (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17; 3)

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
Final Greetings
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
17 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

A Warning Against Idleness

a. Brothers and Sisters (the saved)
                                                                                  i. We command you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
1. Whenever you see Paul use this phrase in scripture, he is emphasizing to the readers, this IS the Word of God and it MUST be heeded.

                                                                               ii. Keep away from believers who are
1. Idle
2. Disruptive
3. Do not live according to the teachings you received from us

                                                                            iii. This is NOT excommunication, but withdrawing of fellowship

b. For you are to follow our example
                                                                                  i. We were not disorderly (disruptive) among you
1. They lived a sanctified life, as we all should

2. Meaning sin has no dominion over people
a. Romans 6:14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

                                                                               ii. We were not idle when we were with you

                                                                            iii. We did not eat other peoples food without paying for it

                                                                              iv. On the contrary, we worked day and night
1. Paul working at his craft of tent making to pay his way

                                                                                 v. We labored and toiled so that we would not be a burden to you

                                                                              vi. We did this, not because we do not have a right to such help from you, but in order to offer ourselves as a model to imitate.

1. Paul refers to the fact that he is a Preacher of the Gospel, and by all scriptural rights, should have been supported by the people.

2. However, he did not avail himself to that privilege for the fact he wanted to be an example.

                                                                           vii. At this time people were constantly scheming to get money from people, sort of like today’s society.
1. Paul wanted nothing in his ministry to resemble that.

c. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule
                                                                                  i. The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.

                                                                               ii. Basically, if a person is lazy and won’t work, then let them do without.

                                                                            iii. In other words, it is wrong to give money to someone of this nature.

a. They are not busy, they are busy bodies
                                                                                  i. Meaning they are always scheming to sponge off of others

b. Such people (busy bodies) we command and urge you
                                                                                  i. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
1. Speaking for the Lord, a command which must be followed

                                                                               ii. Settle down
1. Quit being busy bodies

                                                                            iii. And earn what you eat

c. For the rest of you, never tire of doing what is good
                                                                                  i. Sometimes doing good is hard

                                                                               ii. It may seem harsh at times

                                                                            iii. Sometimes doing good = tough love
1. Keep helping those truly in need
2. Do not give in to the lazy and their wants

a. Do not associate with them
                                                                                  i. So they may feel the shame of idleness, laziness, being unwilling to work, living off others who work hard.

                                                                               ii. They do not earn what they take, this is wrong

b. Yet, do not regard them as an enemy
                                                                                  i. But warn them as you would a fellow believer

                                                                               ii. If after repeated warnings, they were to be “called out” for their “using of others” and “laziness”

                                                                            iii. Pointing out his error as a “believer”, not treating him as someone who is lost.

c. May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times
                                                                                  i. And in every way

                                                                               ii. This is “sanctifying peace”, which does not refer to an absence of problems or troubles, but to a peace in the midst of problems and troubles

                                                                            iii. This can only be given by the Lord

CONCLUSION – I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.

Paul encourages the church to recognize his style of writing, and the fact that “This is how he writes”, meaning, the letters greetings will always look the same, even when penned by a scribe, the greetings are always in his hand, and the tone and teachings will never conflict with his other letters.

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