Second Thessalonians 3:1

    

 

 

The Bible says in Second Thessalonians 3:1 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.” We know what was primarily on Paul’s heart because we have his prayer request. I have been to many prayer meetings, but in them I have heard many more prayer requests about physical heath issues than this spiritual issue that Paul brought up. Paul was interested in being involved in the spread of the Word of the Lord. He also knew that it would not happen without prayer, because nothing good happens unless Christ the Son of God does it. Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth

 

We have seen in the book of Second Thessalonians a great emphasis on the fact that God and Christ are involved in everything that happens. They are involved in the “mystery of iniquity” that moves in the world, because they withhold it and they will continue to withhold it until the appointed time. They are involved in the setting up of the antichrist, because he will not be set up until God and Christ permit it. Christ and God are involved in the salvation of souls. They love the lost soul, they choose, they call, they sanctify, and they will glorify the one that has responded to their calling. After a person is saved, only by the work of God is that person comforted in their heart in the midst of the sorrow and foolishness that rages around them. Only by the continued work of God is that person established in the faith in the midst of a world where fewer and fewer people have faith in Christ and His promises.

 

Yes, a human being can desire to spread the Word of God, but it will not happen unless God provides the opportunity, opens the door, empowers the words, and touches the hearts. Paul knew that. Paul also knew that there was opposition to the spread of the gospel. He wrote in Second Thessalonians 3:2, “And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.” There is a direct connection between not having true faith and being “unreasonable and wicked.” Remember that God offers faith to every human being. Once someone has rejected that offer from God, they have accepted darkness and wickedness in its place. Such people will be in opposition to the spread of the gospel.

 

True Christians who walk in fellowship with Christ are in a very small minority in this world. How are we going to be protected when we have so many enemies and when we are outnumbered to such a great degree? Second Thessalonians 3:3 gives the answer to that question. It says, “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” The Lord is faithful to His promises, and he has made many great and precious promises.  Jesus said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” That is a great promise about His presence with us. If you are a believer, then you know that Jesus is always with you to protect you, to comfort you, and to guide you. Concerning the future, Jesus promised, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

 

Because the Lord is faithful to His promises, He will do two things for every believer according to Second Thessalonians 3:3. He will “stablish” every believer, and He will “keep” every believer from evil. To establish means to set firm. The Lord is working in the heart and life of every believer to make them a strong believer. You are His workmanship. He is not finished with you. He has plans for you, and His plans involve making you a stronger Christian in the faith. One of the reasons for the things that happen in your life is that the Lord is allowing those things to happen in order to work in your life.

 

In the midst of all the things that the Lord permits in your life, He will also “keep you from evil.” To keep means to guard or to protect. He will protect your soul, because that is what it means to be saved. Jesus said in John 10:28-29, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out my Father’s hand.” Jesus will protect your life a well as your soul, because He alone gives life and He alone can take it. He will protect you from the evil. Literally, it means that He will protect you from the evil one. The evil one is the devil. Of course, all of the powers of darkness are under the control and organization of the devil. But no matter how great the power of evil becomes, you will always be protected by the Lord, the Great Shepherd of the sheep. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies   

 

Concerning the believers in Thessalonica, Paul wrote in Second Thessalonians 3:4, “And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.” Once again when Paul talks about human responsibility, he first of all puts his confidence in the Lord. We are dependent upon the Lord for our own ability to do what we ought to do, and we are also dependent upon the Lord in regards to others and what they do. Are you hoping that someone will do something that they ought to do? Make sure that you are depending upon the Lord. Only the Lord can give them the strength to carry through.

 

What did the Apostle Paul want these believers to do? He wrote in Second Thessalonians 3:5, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” These two phrases, “the love of God” and “the patient waiting for Christ” are very interesting to look at in detail. The phrase “the love of God” can mean “love for God” and it can also mean “God’s love.” When our hearts are directed into the love of God, it means that our hearts are directed to love more the way that God loves. The goal of a Christian is to become more and more like God. Jesus said, “Follow me.” Paul wrote, “Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ       

 

We can look at the phrase “the love of God” as referring to our love for God.  In this regard we can view Second Thessalonians 3:5 as Paul telling believers to learn to love God. There are many commandments that have come from religious leaders in the past two thousand years. Here is a commandment that the Holy Spirit gave through Paul: to love God. This is not an outward action. This is something that takes place in the heart of man. God wants us to love Him. He proved His great love for us by sending His Son to die on the cross of Calvary. He only wants us to love Him in return. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy mind and with all thy strength 

 

The phrase “the patient waiting for Christ” means literally “the patience of Christ.” The word “patience” refers to endurance: remaining under whatever burden or sorrow you have been called to bear. Until we leave this world, we will share in the same types of sufferings that Jesus Himself had to face. “The servant is not greater than his Lord.” He is our example. He did it the right way. Jesus remained in the will of God by remaining under the burden that He was called to bear. That is patience. Christians get outside of the will of God when they attempt to get away from the burden that they were called to bear. We need more of the patience of Christ in order to live the life that we were called to live on this earth. 

 

It is interesting that the King James translators added the word “waiting” to the phrase “the patience of Christ.” They translated “the patient waiting for Christ.” Using this translation we would say that in addition to being told to love God, we are also being told to patiently wait for Christ. Why is it important that we patiently wait for Christ? If we are waiting for Christ, then it shows that His return to the earth is important to us. It shows that we value His return, and it shows that we believe the promise that He made to return to deliver his children. We are willing to bear the burden that God gave us to bear because we know that this life is temporary, and because we are looking forward to the return of Christ to make all things better.  

 

There is something that happened in the world of the believers in Thessalonica, and the same thing is happening in our world. As we study God’s Word and do our best to follow the teachings of Christ, we notice those around us who claim to be Christians but who are clearly not following the teachings of Christ. What should our attitude be towards them? It says in Second Thessalonians 3:6, “Now we commend you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us                   

 

Just because someone is a brother in Christ does not mean that you should join up with them. It might just be that you should “withdraw yourselves” from them. There are two reasons given in this Bible verse to withdraw yourself from another Christian. One reason has to do with behavior and the other has to do with doctrine. Behavior is referred to in the phrase “walketh disorderly.” If another Christian walks disorderly, you are commanded to withdraw yourself from them. What does it mean to be disorderly in the context in which this is written? We find that out very clearly in this passage because the Apostle Paul uses the same word in verb form in the next verse where he writes, “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you.” Paul says that he was not “disorderly,” and then in Second Thessalonians 3:8 Paul explains exactly what he meant by that. He wrote, “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you.” Verse 11 says it very clearly, “some which walk among you, disorderly, working not at all

 

 

To be disorderly in this context is to be lazy. To be disorderly is to be careless, and disorganized, and undisciplined in regards to the practical things of life. To be disorderly is to profit from the labors of others while you yourself refuse to labor. Laziness is sin. Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day. The night cometh when no man can work.” That is exactly why Paul continues with this theme in Second Thessalonians 3:10 and says, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” This emphasizes how important it is to God that you work. The New Testament has a great emphasis on compassion and mercy and grace, but it also has an emphasis on personal responsibility.                  

 

It is a good thing to work, and it is an evil thing to not work. That is why the Bible says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do with thy might.” God’s will is for you to work, to accomplish something, to build, and to create. We were made in His image, and He is the Creator, and so we should create. We should work. Work is God’s method for each human to gain their material needs. That is why it says, “If any would not work, neither should he eat.” One of the reasons for the degeneration of the clergy over the centuries is that many men went into the clergy and then ceased working. Paul worked “night and day” while he was among the Thessalonians in order to keep such a thing from happening to him. Paul also wanted to set a good example. It is not wrong for a pastor to be supported by a congregation, but it also is not required. That is why Paul wrote in Second Thessalonians 3:9, “Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us

 

Even those who are financially independent need to work. They are not called to just lie around in the sun. They need to build something, or create something, or accomplish something in order to fulfill God’s calling for their lives. The same is true for those who retire. They may no longer have to work for an income, but there is still work for them to do while on this earth. Before you go about doing the work that God has given you to do, make sure that you do the work of faith. Jesus said in John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent     

 

 

___________________________________________________

Copyright; 2006 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved