But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Chapter 3.  Request and Warning

Please Pray; 3:1-5.

1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for his missionary team.  He does not seek relief from troubles, any more than he would seek release for them from theirs.  Instead he asks prayers that the gospel may spread, and that the team might be delivered from the hands of wicked and evil men.  Paul shares what he prays for the Thessalonians and expresses confidence.  God will keep on working in them so they can live as he commands.  And God will protect them from the evil one.

Satan’s secret power may be at work in the world now.  It will be unleashed in the coming Day of the Lord.  But Satan has no power over those who are God’s own.

Warning Against Idleness; 3:6-15.

6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.

Some in Thessalonica took Paul’s teaching of Jesus’ imminent return as an excuse for idleness.  They stopped working, sponged off fellow Christians who did work, and spent their days as busy bodies, meddling in other’s affairs.  This is not what Paul had taught by either word or example.  In fact he laid down a rule to cover such situations:  “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

This does not mean that the truly needy should be turned away.  But it does mean that work is a moral issue and thus subject to church discipline.  Godliness requires honest labor and toil as well as prayer and praising!

Final Greetings; 3:16-18.

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.  17 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.  18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Paul concludes as he begins, affirming the gift of peace that comes “at all times and in every way.”  This is not a peace that depends on external circumstances.  It is a peace that is ours even in tribulation, because the Lord himself is “with all of you.”

[Sometimes I feel all alone.  Sometimes I feel upset.  Sometimes I feel guilt – for not doing more for the poor etc.

I like the word “peace.”  I like to hear Paul’s reassuring words.  One thing good I can say about myself is that I’ve worked diligently all my life and lived below my means.  I believe it came from God – the wisdom and sound mind to do so.  And when I prayed about my needs – he has met all my needs — money, ability to study and work, etc.

My life is far from perfect.  I have to worry about my husband who has his own struggles.  I feel my relationships are superficial and therefore feel lonely.  Like the little bird in this photo, I feel all alone!  But, I do have peace.  I am comforted by the Holy Spirit and what Paul wrote about how things are.

 

 

Now I almost have reached a retirement age. I feel like I deserve to enjoy the fruit of my lifetime labor.  But, I am to use my freedom and resources for others, not out of duty but out of love.    Do I have the heart for it?  It’s not me but my God who will give that to me as well when I pray about it.  I want to be like Jesus Christ, have his mind.  I want to be like Apostle Paul, who so faithfully followed Jesus.  I don’t know how.  I’ll pray so that God will make it happen.]

 

 

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