The Bible says in Second Thessalonians 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you, disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Perhaps you have heard the phrase, idleness is the devils workshop. This phrase is not a verse from the Bible, but the phrase certainly is consistent with what is being said here in verse 11. Gods will is for you to work in an orderly way to accomplish something. If you are not doing that, there will be certain negative consequences. One of the negative consequences is that if you are not financially independent, your material needs will come from depending upon others.
Another negative consequence has to do with the amount of free time that the disorderly person will have on his hands. In order to do the right thing, it is important to stay out of the place of temptation. Jesus told us to pray, Lead us not into temptation. We depend upon the Lord to keep us out of temptation, and there are also things that we ourselves can do to keep out of the place of temptation. We can avoid going to places where we know that we will be tempted. We can also make sure that we stay busy at the Masters business.
According to Second Thessalonians 3:11, one of the things that people do who are not busy enough in the work that God has for them is that they become busybodies. They become busy in the wrong things. They become involved in matters that would have been avoided if they had been busy with work. Of course, everyone has an opportunity to improve themselves. What these people should do to improve their lives is given in Second Thessalonians 3:12 that says; Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. Once a person starts working, then they can eat their own bread. Once a person does their own work with quietness, they are too busy to be a busybody.
Hopefully every Christian will learn to be responsible for their own actions and will learn to be responsible for their own financial needs. The Apostle Paul takes several verses to talk about a rather unpleasant subject: the fact that faithful Christians will have to separate from other Christians for various reasons. In this passage it has been made clear that there are two reasons to separate from other Christians. One reason has to do with behavior and the other reason has to do with doctrine. A faithful follower of Christ will have to separate from other Christians because many of the Christians who are around us are not doing the things that they ought to be doing or they are not teaching the things that they ought to be teaching.
Especially in these last days we look around and see church after church that is doing something that is weird or strange or unscriptural. If we are not careful it could be discouraging. But the Bible says in Second Thessalonians 3:13, But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. A faithful believer might be tempted to think that his faithfulness is accomplishing nothing. But that is never true. It may appear to be accomplishing nothing, but whoever is serving Christ, is accomplishing something that is extremely important. It is important to God and to Gods plan, even if the results cannot be seen by man. The Bible says in Galatians 6:9, And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Continuing on the theme of what to do about Christians who do not obey the Word of God, Paul wrote in Second Thessalonians 3:14, And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. The subject that we are reviewing started in verse 6 of this chapter. It goes from Second Thessalonians 3:6 to Second Thessalonians 3:15. That is ten Bible verses: over twenty percent of the book of Second Thessalonians, which has a total of forty-seven verses. Evidently it is a very important subject. How do we treat other Christians who have gone astray from the teachings of the New Testament, either by doctrine or by action?
The proper treatment towards unspiritual Christians is a delicate balance between separation and admonition. The principle of separation from other Christians is given in Second Thessalonians 3:14 that says, And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. This verse answers the question right away about what is wrong with the ecumenical movement. They have shameful alliances. But the next Bible verse must not be ignored either. It says, Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. This verse answers the question about what is wrong with the fundamentalists and conservatives. They have disgusting and unscriptural attitudes towards those whom they should count as brothers.
To be a faithful follower of Christ, you must have two essential
things as part of your Christian character: the principle of separation from
iniquity and the principle of brotherly love for other Christians. You should
be lacking in neither one, and you should never allow the one to outweigh or to
nullify the other. The word holy means to be separate from evil. God
said, Be ye holy for I am
holy. And He also said, Come out from among them and be ye
separate, and touch not the unclean thing. The same Bible that tells us these things also tells us in
It is very important to separate from those Christians who are not doing right or who are not teaching right. A very specific example was given here in Second Thessalonians concerning those who refuse to work. A similar example can be found in First Corinthians 5:1 that says, It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his fathers wife. And then it says in First Corinthians 5:5-7a, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump.
There are at least two good results that can come from properly separating from Christians who are not doing right. The first good result is that such a Christian is kept from being a bad influence. By separating from him, his bad actions or his bad teachings will not spread so readily to others. Human beings including Christians are easily influenced by others. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Secondly once separation has taken place, there is a greater possibility that the individual will see the error of his way and change for the better. We do not allow them into our fellowship until they change because we do not want them to get the wrong idea that somehow we approve of their bad actions or their bad teachings. Here is the result that we are looking for: that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. It is not even so important what happens to them in this life. What is important is what happens at the judgment when Christ uncovers all things.
We separate from them, but we do it hoping that it will be only a temporary separation. We do not try to cause them harm. Our goal is to see them improve. Is not that the way that Christ treats every one of us? He is always working in our life to make us better. Even the chastisements are for that purpose. That is why Second Thessalonians reminds us, Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. Christians must love each other for the sake of Christ and for the furtherance of the gospel. Jesus said, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.
Paul begins his conclusion to the book of Second Thessalonians and writes, Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. The Lord of peace is Jesus Christ. There are many ways in which Jesus gives peace. Jesus alone can give peace to the lost soul. A sinner is at enmity with God. When you have a holy God on the one hand, and you have a self-willed unrepentant sinner on the other hand, then you do not have peace. You have a human being who has no peace. The Apostle Paul was that way himself before he came to know Christ as Savior. Jesus said to Saul concerning Sauls inner turmoil in Acts 9:5, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. There is peace once a soul surrenders to its Creator and Savior. There is no more war between the unspiritual one and the Master. Romans 5:1 says; Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Once a person has been saved and has gained this peace with Jesus Christ, that person still needs to be supplied with peace at heart: regarding all of the crazy things that can be happening in his life or in the world around him. Jesus can give this kind of peace also. Jesus said to His disciples, My peace I give unto you. Believers certainly need extra provisions of peace from the Lord of peace. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote in what we might call a blessing or a prayer in regards to the believers in Thessalonica, Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. It says the Lord of peace himself give you peace. Only Jesus can give true peace. He decides who has peace and who does not. There is no peace, saith the Lord, to the wicked.
Because Jesus is the Lord of peace, He is the only one who can give a future and lasting peace. The world cries out, Peace, Peace, but there is no peace because they are looking to the wrong place to find peace. The Messiah will bring the future when He returns to rule the earth. Speaking of the future kingdom of peace that the Messiah will establish, it says in Zechariah 9:10, And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river even unto the ends of the earth. What a wonderful day it will be when the Lord of peace comes to the earth, destroys the enemies of God, and sets up His great kingdom of peace.
Paul identifies himself in Second Thessalonians 3:17 and writes, The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. This verse reveals the method that Paul used to write his letters. Evidently he dictated them to a penman, but then Paul would write the last couple of verses as he said, with mine own hand. The reason that Paul did this was probably because of having very poor eyesight. It shows that in spite of having a physical limitation, God still gave Paul the means to accomplish what needed to be accomplished. That is what grace will do.
The last thing that the Word of God says in the book of Second
Thessalonians is, The
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. He is the Lord of peace and He is also the Lord of
grace. Grace comes from Christ. He does for us freely what we cannot do for
ourselves. Grace is available because Jesus suffered and died on the cross of
Copyright; 2006 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
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