WHAT WE ARE TO DO WITH THE WORD
2 Thessalonians 3:1-18As Christians we must continue to pray for the freedom of the proclamation of God’s Word, to keep order in the Church, and to recognize or discern what the Word of the Lord is; especially as the ‘day of the Lord’ draws nearer.
“Living As Christians In Our Modern World”. Is there not an example of truth in that title. We would think by looking around our world that God has already removed all restraints. He has not. It is yet, to get even worse.
If you are a believer – one who has yielded your life completely to Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, you are trusting Him and only Him for salvation, then you need not worry about the time without restraint. We must be diligent about the work of the ministry of our church.
This final chapter begins with, “Finally”. Even in these final days we must heed the request of Paul. Especially in the final days does the Word of the Lord need to have a “Free course”. In the past two decades or so we have seen amazing answers to the type of praying that God answers. East Germany, the Soviet Union, and others have opened their lands to be exposed to the Word of God – the gospel, and thousands are being saved. What a wonderful grace God shows for mankind.
There is also a great need for the churches of our Lord to get things straightened out. There is such rebellion in the Church toward the Word. The rebellion goes beyond this, this is what Paul mentioned here: the unwillingness to work, such laziness is against the commandment of Scripture. There are some so lazy they depend entirely on the generosity of the church, or government in our case, to live. These are always meddling in other peoples affairs. Just plain ole disobedience to God’s Word. These are beggars. If the Word is not obeyed, then action must be taken, whether it be physical or spiritual laziness.
In the last three verses Paul makes it clear that this epistle [letter] is from him. We must be sure to use discernment in interpretation, the speaking and the hearing of the Word of God.
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.” 2 Thess 3:1-2 (KJV).
We must constantly be in prayer. One of the most important aspects of prayer is for the Word of God to work the work God intends for it. This often means the tearing down of walls – sometimes literal physical walls, sometimes political walls, and sometimes spiritual. In order for theWord to have “Free course” the old religions, the old fleshly ways must be torn down and destroyed. Of course, prayer, and the proclamation of the Word accomplishes this.
There are many who are wicked who attempt to stop the gospel from being preached. They are liars, cheats, thieves, and deceivers caring for nothing but their own positions in their work, town or church. These are those who have no faith.
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. 2 Thess 3:3-4 (KJV).
When we are not faithful we can be assured that our Lord is. It is He who will cause us to stand for right, and keep us, guard us from satan’s deceptive attempt to lead us astray.
Notice where the confidence is – who the confidence is in. It is in the Lord. Knowing that God is faithful we can be confident that He will enable all those who are His to do those thingss which are commanded.
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. 2 Thess 3:5 (KJV).
The guidance of the Lord is into His love, and into the “Patient waiting for Christ”. Patience for the return of Christ, yet fully expectant, longing, and looking for with joy His coming in the clouds for His bride.
It does not matter how long the wait is. It matters most that we be hungering for that day.
In summing up verse one through five Warren Wiersbe said, “Here, then, are four great responsibilities for us to fulfill: believe the truth, guard the truth, practice the truth, and share the truth”.
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 labour 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 ensample 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. 2 Thess 3:6-10 (KJV).
Verse six begins a command from the apostle. Coming from Paul we can rest assured it is from the Lord through Paul, to him and us.
The word “tradition” used here is like verse fifteen of chapter two which again is not speaking of religious traditions of men, but the Word of God which we are commanded to pass on from generation to generation.
The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is part of that tradition. His sinless life, His glory and power are a part. The promise of His return is as much a part as the crucifixion. Also these commandments that have to do with work.
Paul had no desire to be associated with the socially elite of his day in the city of Thessalonica. They despised work; had slaves who did their work for them. There were also those who had quit their job or business because of the false teaching that had gone on among them, and now were totally dependent upon the church for support. Paul has made it much better for the church of today by his sacrifice. There are many pastors, evangelist and others who do work in the gospel ministry who are supported by their church, because the Word of God teaches it should be that way. It should be that way in order for the Word to be preached and understood.
Verse ten is a strong statement that many need to be reminded of. This is a commandment, not a request.
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. 2 Thess 3:11-15 (KJV).
Those who do not work are some of the disorderly. This is, of course, speaking of able bodied people who will not work. They are meddlesome, mischievous rascals who need to be dealt with for the good of the church, and for their own well being.
If any will not hear the Word, we are told, “Have no company with him”, so that, they will be ashamed. He is speaking of saved people, because he says, “Count him not as an enemy, but…as a brother”.
Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. 17 The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 2 Thess 3:16-18 (KJV).
The salutation of this letter is apowerful one for discerning the Word of God from the words of men. This was signed in Paul’s own hand. They couold recognize Paul’s handwriting. So, Paul’s signature confirmed it was from him, as he had received it from the Lord.
We must be careful in the study, the teaching, the preaching, and the hearing of God’s Word. Is God’s signature on it: It is, if it is in agreement with what He has formerly said. God never contradicts what He has said. He, His Son Jesus, and the Spirit are in agreement. That is God’s signature.
WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH THE WORD? We are to read it, study it, hear it, obey its Author, believe it. Especially in this day in which we live. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is near. BE READY.