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2Thessalonians 3

Thursday Evening Bible Study

December 14, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words   Video = 75 wpm

The church in Thessalonica was started under difficult circumstances. (Acts 17)

Paul had been there maybe a month when the Jews of Thessalonica rose up against Paul and drove him out of town.

The new church continued, but they were under constant persecution.

In a way, they’ve been going through their own “tribulation”.

Paul wrote his two letters from Corinth to deal with some of the situations he had been hearing about from Timothy who had been visiting the Thessalonians.

We think that this second letter was written shortly after the first, perhaps as soon as a year later.

In this second letter, Paul deals with two issues:

1) Bad teaching about the Lord’s return.

Some strange doctrine was being taught that somehow the Thessalonians had “missed it” the Lord’s return.
Paul taught them that the antichrist had to appear on the world scene before Jesus came back.

2) Paul was also concerned about a growing group of people who had quit their jobs and weren’t working.

3:1-5 Pray for us

:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,

finallyloipon – remaining, the rest

:1 that the word of the Lord may run swiftly

This is one of Paul’s prayer requests he’s making of the Thessalonians.  This is what he’s asking them to pray for.


Effective Word

run swiftlytrecho – to run; of those who run in a race course; a metaphor taken from runners in a race, to exert one’s self, strive hard
Present active subjunctive
With the Thessalonians, Paul had only been with them for a few months, yet despite all the persecution they were experiencing, God’s Word was very much at work in them.  It was running a race in their lives, not sitting on the sidelines of their lives.
Well maybe not like that (man slowly walking), but like this (man running).
God’s Word can have different results in different people.
The principle of differing results is in the parable of the sower where the word of God is the “seed”.
Jesus talked about seed landing on four different kinds of soils and how each soil reacted differently to the seed.
(Matthew 13:3–9 NKJV) —3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Jesus went on to explain.
(Matthew 13:18–23 NKJV) —18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

So what kind of affect is God’s Word having in your life?

Is it bearing fruit in your life, or are you just keeping things shallow with God?  Are you allowing other things to be a priority to you and choking out the Word’s effectiveness?

Is it “running its course”?  Is it on the “sidelines”?  Are you allowing it to affect the way you actually live your life?

:2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.

may be deliveredrhoumai – to draw to one’s self, to rescue, to deliver

:2 that we may be delivered from unreasonable …

unreasonableatopos – out of place, not befitting, unbecoming; improper, wicked; unrighteous; inconvenient, harmful

wickedponeros – full of labours, annoyances, hardships; bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble; bad, of a bad nature or condition; in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad

When Paul was writing 1&2 Thessalonians, he was writing from Corinth.

Look at what he was dealing with when he was writing:

(Acts 18:1–18 NLT) —1 Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. 3 Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.

Note that Paul worked as a tentmaker in Corinth.  that comes into play with the Thessalonians.

4 Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. 5 And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.

It was after this time that Paul began writing his letters to the Thessalonians.

6 But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”

Sounds like some of those “unreasonable and wicked” men.

7 Then he left and went to the home of Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized. 9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! 10 For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.”

Doesn’t this sound parallel to what Paul was asking in verse 1, “that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified”?
Paul may have been asking the Thessalonians to pray in response to what Jesus had said to him, or it could be that he asked them to pray, and this is how Jesus replied.

11 So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God. 12 But when Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. 13 They accused Paul of “persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law.” 14 But just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul’s accusers and said, “Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would have a reason to accept your case. 15 But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish law, take care of it yourselves. I refuse to judge such matters.” 16 And he threw them out of the courtroom.

The Roman governor Gallio might have listened further if Paul was teaching against Roman law, but this was a matter of Jewish religious law.

17 The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. But Gallio paid no attention.

Perhaps Sosthenes was one of the men behind the accusations against Paul.  If so, it seemed that God used the crowd to answer Paul’s prayer of deliverance from “unreasonable and wicked” men.

18 Paul stayed in Corinth for some time after that, then said good-bye to the brothers and sisters and went to nearby Cenchrea…

Paul was writing to the Thessalonians from a real place, with real issues on his plate.

:3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

:3 who will establish you and guard

establishsterizo – to make stable, place firmly, to strengthen, make firm

guardphulasso – to guard; to watch, have an eye upon; to guard a person (or thing) that he may remain safe

evilponeros – full of labours, annoyances, hardships; bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble; bad, of a bad nature or condition; in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad

:3 the Lord is faithful

faithfulpistos – trusty, faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; one who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust; that can be relied on

Establishing (strengthening) and guarding are things you can count on the Lord to do.


He won’t let you down

People will let you down, but Jesus never will.
Paul learned this in Corinth.  God kept His promises to Paul.
Have you ever heard of the unusual account of how the news of the battle of Waterloo reached England?  Waterloo was the place of the last battle of the French Emperor Napoleon’s attempt to conquer Europe.  He fought against the Duke of Wellington who led the allied armies in defense of Europe.
The word was carried first by sailing ship to the southern coast of England.  From there it was relayed by signal flags to London.  When the report was received at Winchester, the flags on the cathedral began to spell it out: “Wellington defeated...”  Before the message could be completed, however, a heavy fog moved in.  Gloom filled the hearts of the people as the fragmentary news spread throughout the surrounding countryside.  But when the mists began to lift, it became evident that the signals of Winchester Cathedral had really spelled out this triumphant message: “Wellington defeated the enemy!”
Too often we allow the future to be colored by what we understand at the moment.  We have a tendency to become so absorbed with our current difficulties that we forget God's faithfulness in the past.
(2 Corinthians 4:16–18 NKJV) —16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
About 13 years ago we faced a crisis with a church.  We were meeting in the Old Ice House near the train station. Our lease was about up for renewal.  Our landlord had been in the process of selling the entire block off to a developer, and though he didn’t sell our building off, he did sell the parking lot to the developer.  We would have no parking during weekday hours.
So we decided we were going to need to move.  We initially had a verbal agreement with our landlord to give each other 3 months notice should either of us find a new tenant or we find a new place to move.  But when the landlord didn’t follow up with the agreement in writing, he announced to us we had 6 weeks to move.  Wow.
Two weeks before this crisis I had coincidentally met Pastor Larry at the Fullerton Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.  Larry told me about how his church was declining and he only had a year left before they were going to close their doors.  When our crisis hit, I gave Larry a call on a whim, and we had a place to move.  And our rent was half what it was at the Ice House.
God is faithful.  We can count on Him.

:4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.

confidencepeitho – persuade; to trust, have confidence, be confident

:4 will do the things we command you

commandparaggello – to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce; to command, order, charge

This word appears 30 times in the New Testament, and FOUR of them are right here in this chapter (3:4, 6, 10, 12). 
It also appeared once back in the first letter:
(1 Thessalonians 4:11 NKJV) that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,

Paul has something he’s very serious about.

Each mention of his “command” is about the same subject.

:5 Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

:5 may the Lord direct your hearts

directkateuthuno – to make straight, guide, direct; of the removal of the hindrances to coming to one

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence

patiencehupomone – steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

Paul is asking God to work in their hearts in such a way that they know more of God’s love, and the endurance that Jesus gives us in difficult times.

(Hebrews 12:1–2 NKJV) —1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3:6-15 Idleness Warning

:6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

Here’s where we get the content of Paul’s “command”.

commandparaggello – to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce; to command, order, charge

:6 withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly

brethrenadelphos – a brother; brethren in Christ

withdrawstello – to diminish; to remove one’s self, to depart; to abstain from close relationships with one

disorderlyataktos – disorderly, out of ranks (often so of soldiers)

Used in Greek society of those who did not show up for work.
The “disorderly” person is at the heart of Paul’s commands to the Thessalonians.
Some people just don’t want to go along with the plan…
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Limits to fellowship

We have this idea that we ought to get along with, love, and accept everyone who calls themselves a Christian.
I think Paul is saying that there are going to be some limits to this.
We’ll see in a minute what Paul is concerned about with the Thessalonians.
Paul had a different set of concerns when he wrote to the Corinthians:
(1 Corinthians 5:9–11 NKJV) —9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
I think we need to be careful in how we approach this and just what things we choose as our reasons for disconnecting with people.
Yet when a person is claiming to be a believer, and is clearly living outside of God’s ideas of what a believer looks like, we need to be willing at some point to confront the issues.
As a church, we’ve approached some of these issues by putting limits on how a person might serve in the church if they are living in open, unrepentant sin.  We’ve had to lovingly tell people that they won’t be allowed to serve in certain capacities until they turn an area of their life around.

:7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you;

you oughtdei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper

to followmimeomai (“mimic”) – to imitate

we were not disorderlyatakteo – to be disorderly; of soldiers marching out of order or quitting ranks; to be neglectful of duty, to be lawless; to lead a disorderly life.  This is the verb form of “disorderly” (v.6).

:7 how you ought to follow us

Paul is going to describe what “disorderly” looks like.

Paul is reminding them that he actually had set an example for them to follow.

:8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,

free of chargedorean – freely, undeservedly

be a burdenepibareo – to put a burden upon, to load; to be burdensome

:8 worked with labor and toil night and day

workedergazomai – to work, labour, do work; to trade, to make gains by trading, "do business"; to work for, earn by working, to acquire

laborkopos – a beating; intense labor united with trouble and toil

toilmochthos – a hard and difficult labor, toil, travail, hardship, distress

This was Paul’s example to the Thessalonians.  He was a hard worker.

:9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

:9 not because we do not have authority … but an example

authorityexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)

followmimeomai – to imitate

exampletupos (“type”) – the mark of a stroke or blow, print

As an apostle, Paul had the authority and the right to ask the church to support him.

Yet he didn’t do this because he was intending on giving them an example to follow.
He wanted to leave an “impression” on their lives.

:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

commandedparaggello – to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce; to command, order, charge

:10 If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat


Work or go hungry

willthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure
This is the word used when Paul says that God “desires” all men to be saved

(1 Timothy 2:4 NKJV) who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

If you do not have a will or desire or a love to work, then you don’t eat.
Note that Paul doesn’t say, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat”, but instead, “If you do not want to work, you don’t eat”.

There are going to be folks who want to work, but have a hard time finding a job, or who have some sort of disability.  Those people are not Paul’s concern.

Apparently, there were folks in the Thessalonian church who didn’t work for a living, but who expected the church to support them. 
They feel like the world owes them a living.
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Paul is saying that a person who is able to work ought to work.
If they don’t work, then they ought to experience a little bit of hunger.

:11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.

disorderlyataktos – disorderly, out of ranks (often so of soldiers); irregular, inordinate, immoderate pleasures; deviating from the prescribed order or rule

workingergazomai – to work, labour, do work; to trade, to make gains by trading, "do business"; to work for, earn by working, to acquire

:11 not working at all, but are busybodies


Too much time on their hands

When someone has no desire to work, they will find that they have too much time on their hands, and that leads them into trouble.
Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.
are busybodiesperiergazomai (“about” + “work”) – to bustle about uselessly, to busy one’s self about trifling, needless, useless matters; used apparently of a person officiously inquisitive about other’s affairs
There’s a play on words here, almost like:  They are not “busy” at working, they are “busybodies”.
Speaking of busybodies, I heard of a parrot that was quite a nuisance …
High Seas Parrot

There was this magician who was working a cruise ship on the high seas.  His audience was always different, so he took advantage, allowing himself to do the same tricks over and over again.

There was only one problem... the Captain’s’ Parrot! The Captain’s Parrot saw the show week after week after week!  Soon the parrot began to understand how the magician did every trick, and once he understood... he began to shout in the middle of the magician’s act.  “Look...  different hat... different hat!”  “Hiding the flowers... hiding the flowers, in his coat... in his coat!”  “Hello, ALL aces... ALL aces...   Look...  All aces!”

The magician became absolutely livid with the parrot and secretly wanted to make soup of him... however since he was the Captain’s Parrot, there was nothing he could do.

One day the ship had an unfortunate accident, broke up, and sank!  As luck would have it... the magician found himself floating on the same piece of wood as the parrot.  There they floated... the middle of the ocean... staring at one another in complete silence... the magician still filled with anger.

They spoke not a word to one another, and this continued for a day, and another, and another, and another.  After a week the parrot broke the silence with... “OK, I give up... where’s the boat?!”

One of the dangers of not working when you should is becoming a busybody.

:12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

commandparaggello – to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce; to command, order, charge

exhortparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech

quietnesshesuchia – quietness; description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others; silence

:12 work in quietness and eat their own bread

Instead of getting involved in other people’s business, they should do their work in “quietness”.

Instead of always eating everyone else’s bread, they need to learn to eat their own bread.

It sounds exactly like what Paul had told them in their previous letter, but apparently they hadn’t yet learned the lesson.

(1 Thessalonians 4:11 NKJV) that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you

:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

wearyekkakeo – to be utterly spiritless, to be wearied out, exhausted

well doingkalopoieo – to do well, act uprightly

:14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

obeyhupakouo – to listen, to harken; to harken to a command; to obey, be obedient to, submit to

notesemeioo – to mark, to note, distinguish by marking; to mark or note for one’s self

do not keep companysunanamignumi – to mix up together; to keep company with, be intimate with one

:14 that he may be ashamed

be ashamedentrepo – to shame one; to be ashamed; to turn about

When you separate yourself from a person like this, there is a goal in mind, to cause them to think about their actions and maybe even turn around.

:15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

counthegeomai – to lead; to consider, deem, account, think; denotes a belief resting not on one’s inner feeling or sentiment, but on the due consideration of external grounds, and the weighing and comparing of facts.

enemyechthros – hated, odious, hateful

admonishnoutheteo – to admonish, warn, exhort

:15 admonish him as a brother


Enemy or brother?

When it comes to bringing any form of “discipline” into our relationships, we need to examine why we are doing things.
If it’s because we’re mad at the other person, we are not being helpful.
If it’s because we care about the other person and are trying to affect a healthy change in their life, then we’re headed in the right direction.
If you care about the other person, you will “admonish” them, or explain what you’re doing.
That’s the way we ought to be disciplining kids.  Don’t just spank them, but explain why they are experiencing a consequence to their actions.  The goal is a change of behavior, not punishment for some crime.

3:16-18 Benediction

:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.

peaceeirene – a state of national tranquillity; peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord; security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

:17 The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write.

:17 with my own hand

Paul often dictated his letters to someone else.  He would then write a short line at the end to show that it was actually from him.

:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.