This week we complete our study of the Church at Thessalonica. The believer’s challenge concerning patience until the coming of the Lord is this week’s theme. The Thessalonians are waiting for the Lord’s return. Paul addresses faithful, patient, separated, disciplined, working, and loving while they wait.
Stay separated while patiently working until the coming of Christ. (3:6-18)
1. Paul’s correction of the Thessalonian Church. (3:6-15)
a.Paul’s command – withdraw from the disorderly (3:6)
b.Paul’s example. (3:7-10)
1) He labored for his own food so as not to be a burden on other believers. (3:7-8)
2) He did this even though he had the right to be provided for as the man of God – in order to provide an example for the Thessalonians. (3:9)
3) He commanded “that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (3:10)
c.Paul’s rebuke. (3:11)
1) Some of the Thessalonian believer’s were walking disorderly (unruly and undisciplined) (3:11a)
2) Some of the Thessalonian believer’s were not working at all, but were sitting down and waiting for the Lord to return while other believers felt obligated to feed these lazy and misguided loafers. (3:11b)
3) Some of the Thessalonian believer’s were busybodies. With all this free time on their hands, they were becoming gossips and meddlers in everyone else’s business. (3:11c)
d. Paul’s exhortation. (3:12-15)
1) These Thessalonian busybodies were to shut up, get a job, and eat their own bread. (3:12)
2) The Thessalonian faithful were not to be weary in well doing. (3:13)
3) The Thessalonian Church was to discipline those who remained disobedient. (3:14-15)
a) They were to note them, that others would be warned. (3:14a)
b) They were to have no company with them, that they may be ashamed. (3:14b)
c) They were to love and admonish them as brethren and not as enemies. (3:15)
Separation and admonition have a role with dealing with believers who are in error. Sometimes we prematurely separate from those with whom we have never shared correction, information, or admonition.
6 Now we command 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. 7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 8 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: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 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. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Paul admonishes the Thessalonians to work, discipline the disorderly, and be not weary in well doing.
We have a generation of people who see welfare as more profitable than getting a job and working. In Paul’s day they would not have eaten.
Our churches are filled with disorderly people but we do nothing to bring Biblical discipline. The principals in Matthew 18:15-18 are being ignored.
Many believers have become weary in well doing. Many of these saints have carried the burden, while others just watch. They are not concerned about souls, obedience, or discipleship.
So what is the answer? Abide in Christ, obey God’s word, and apply God’s word to your life and ministry.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001