Praying God’s Will; 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 3

Good Monday, Friends.  How have you been?  Have you read 2 Thessalonians 3?

This may be a hard chapter for some.  Paul addresses the subject of disciplining a brother who is living in sin.

I used the NASB, Amplified Version, Blueletterbible.org, and the IVP Bible Background Commentary for the New Testament.

The Word of God is living and active.  What God reveals to me in my study today may be different from what He will point out to me next year, or to you today.  Please share what you learned in the comments!

Blue Text=Promises

Purple Text=Principles for us to follow

Green=Direct commands

PGW 2 Thess

My notes:

vs.1,2–Paul asks the church to pray for the apostles, that:

  • The gospel will spread rapidly and be glorified (garner the respect it deserves)
  • and that the apostles will be rescued from wicked and unreasonable men (enemies of the gospel).

Want to know how to pray for teachers and missionaries around the world?  This is a good place to begin.

vs.3,4– God is faithful and will strengthen and protect you from Satan.  Paul expresses confidence that the Thessalonians will continue to follow the principles that the apostles gave them.

vs.5–A benediction that God will guide and keep their hearts (and ours) until the coming of Christ.

vs.6-12–Apparently the issue of the Thessalonians needing to work for their daily bread (1 Thess. 4:11,12) is still a big concern.  Paul writes:

  • separate yourselves from every fellow believer who is disorderly/out of ranks/unruly (like a soldier) not following the traditions/instructions they received from the apostles. (instructions for corporate discipline)
  • the apostles deliberately set an appropriate example for them to follow while they were among them
  • “If anyone is not willing to work, he is not to eat.”
  • those who were not working were passing their time as busy bodies (meddling in the affairs of others)
  • Paul exhorts them that that they should instead work quietly (instead of meddling) and earn their own food and necessities.

vs.13--“And as for you, brethren, do not become weary or lose heart in doing right (good).” [but continue in well doing]  We hear this verse used so often.  In direct context, Paul is telling those who are not out of line to not grow weary in doing the right thing (keep working and providing for yourselves).  Scholars also believe Paul was also telling them not to stop showing charity (providing for) those who are truly needy.  Most of us are not in the same situation as the faithful brethren in Thessalonica, but this sets a precedence for us to live by: Don’t grow weary of doing good.  Keep holding to God’s principles.  Keep doing good.  Run from evil.

vs.14,15– If anyone refuses to obey the instructions Paul sent, he commands the faithful brethren to not associate with them so that the one who is out of line will be ashamed (turn about).  Don’t treat him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother (tough love).

vs. 14-16– Paul’s closing, “wish-prayers”.

*************************************************************************************

Concerning welfare:

The United States has an extensive welfare system.  We need to remember it is valuable for those who truly have a need, but it should never be used as a crutch or allow us to be idle.

There are also times individuals qualify for this assistance, but don’t really need it!  Lets be careful of our motives!

We should aspire to work for a living, help care for those in our sphere of influence (you may be the only Jesus they ever see), and leave the welfare system as a tool for those who need a hand up.

Concerning church discipline:

From what I’ve observed, “admonishing” isn’t popular today.  It’s considered intolerance, judging, unloving, etc.  The principle Paul is teaching in these verses? Real love doesn’t watch a brother rush into sin.  Love warns and is willing to do the hard thing to pull a brother back into grace.  (1 Peter 4:8)

I believe the leaders in my church congregation have been diligent in lovingly confronting brothers and sisters who are living in sin.  However, we don’t live in a city like the Thessalonians where a small group of Christians are persevering together in the midst of a culture that is hostile toward them all.  In the United States, we live in cities with churches on many corners, where individuals can pick and choose which group best fits their “needs”.  Sometimes, the one who is disciplined appreciates the accountability God provides for us in a community of believers.  Sometimes members find a congregation that either doesn’t know about their sin, or is willing to tolerate it.  Either way, we should not languish in our responsibilities to hold each other to the standards that are God’s will for us.  We have been set apart to be holy for HIM.

*************************************************************************************

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”  1 John 5:14-15

How can I use these observations to pray according to God’s will?

Pray:

vs. 1,2– for our pastors, teachers, and missionaries: 1) that the gospel will spread rabidly and be embraced and glorified.  2) that they will be rescued/protected from enemies or the gospel.

vs. 4– Pray that we (the church, individually and corporately) will grow to know God’s word and be faithful to obey it.

vs. 6, 10, 14, & 15– Pray for wisdom and prudence in loving our brethren, that we will be willing to speak the truth when it is unpopular, and discipline when necessary, to lovingly restore and brother or sister who is not living by the Spirit {but is instead serving their own flesh}.

vs. 6-12– That we will not waste time, but be faithful to work to provide for our families (as God provides). That we will be capable of being generous with others who have genuine need and have the desire to do so!

vs. 13– That we will not grow weary in doing good or in providing charity, but that we will continue in well-doing without weakening.

 

If I had to summarize 1st & 2nd Thessalonians into 3 main points, they would be:

*Love, encourage, and set an example for each other within the church while share your testimony of Christ’s gospel as often as possible!

*Stand firm in the truth you have been taught, and live Godly lives, keeping in mind where you are ultimately headed (heaven) when Christ returns.

*Remember that God is faithful who saves you, sanctifies you, and will sustain you to the very end.  We can’t do anything in our own power, but only through Christ’s power.

My girls like For King and Country music.  Listening to them sing this song in the van on the way to church this morning, I realized that it is an encouraging, upbeat, personal declaration to live out these standards that we’ve learned from Paul’s letters.

Enjoy, and I’ll meet you next Monday to discuss Galations, Chapter One!

~Linda

 

 

One thought on “Praying God’s Will; 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 3

  1. Pingback: Praying God’s Will; 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 1 |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s