2 Thessalonians 3 - Peace at Work
Even if you have the day off today, remember you're created to work.
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2 Thessalonians 3 (ESV)
1 Finally, brothers, pray for us,
that the word of the Lord
speed ahead and be honored,
as happened among you,
2 and that we may be delivered
from wicked and evil men.
For not all have faith.
3 But the Lord is faithful.
He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
4 And we have confidence in the Lord about you,
and will do
the things that we command.
5 May the Lord direct your hearts
to the love of God
and to the steadfastness of Christ.
6 Now we command you, brothers,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that you keep away from any brother who
is walking in idleness
and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us,
because we were not idle when we were with you,
8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it,
but with toil and labor we worked night and day,
that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9
It was not because we do not have that right,
but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness,
not busy at work,
12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ
to do their work quietly
and to earn their own living.
13 As for you, brothers,
do not grow weary in doing good.
14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter,
take note of that person,
and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Do not regard him as an enemy,
but warn him as a brother.
16 Now may the Lord of peace
himself give you peace
at all times
in every way.
The Lord be with you all.
17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.
This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
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2 Thessalonians 2 Summary
Paul in his letters does not often ask for prayer for himself, but when he does, he doesn't ask for prayers that everything in general will go well for him, but rather that the gospel might be blessed and take hold in the places Paul is planting it. This is what he begins chapter 3 asking for: that the message [word] of the Lord may spread and be honored, and that Paul's crew would be rescued from faithless people (v2).
If the Lord is faithful, why doesn't He just make all of our problems disappear? Verses 3-5 give some indication as to how God's faithfulness works in protecting you from evil. Rather than weakening your problems, God strengthens and protects you (v3), and as you continue to do His will (v4), He directs your hearts into His love and perseverance (v5). That's way better than just making problems go away.
One of the things that the Thessalonian people have been famous for over the years is the mistaken belief that Jesus was going to come back in a very short period of time. They had concluded that if Jesus was coming back next week, they might as well take the remainder of their time off. Would you show up at work if you thought there were only a few more days before Jesus returned?
Of course it's true that we're to always be ready, because it's possible that Jesus could come back at any moment, but at the same time we're to work and make plans as if life will go on for decades or even centuries. We have a strong heritage in the faith of men and women, who like the example Paul gives of his own hard work in v6-10, demonstrated well that beautiful Latin phrase seen on so many old barns: Ora et Labora (pray and work).
AAA Prayer :
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The Lord is faithful and strengthens and protects you (v3)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to direct your heart into His love and Christ's perseverance (v5) that you may work hard for Him
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: