Explore the Bible: 2 Thessalonians 3: 1-18

     “I am afraid I can’t hold out?”  Over the years some people have resisted following Jesus for fear they could not stay the course.  This text gives some helpful truths that ensure a productive Christian life.  The call to prayer for those who serve is not only helpful to the missionary, but to the one who prays.  It is a way to be involved in God’s work.  God chooses to move through the prayers of his people.  On a table in my office, I keep a number of pictures of people in missions under a glass cover.  This reminds me to lift them up in prayer when I sit at that table.  I also introduce at least one hundred guests per year to their names and ministries.  I have been blessed by this gentle reminder to pray.  It has also been an encouragement to those whom I pray for.  Only the Lord knows how those prayers have contributed to the work.

Paul is confident that the Thessalonians will be faithful.  His ultimate confidence is in the Lord.  God lovingly holds his own.  They are urged to steer clear of irresponsible people.  We are always in the world, but we are not to be of the world.  Professing Christians who do not live consistently are a horrible influence.  They should be avoided.  They should also be told why they are avoided so that conviction may come to them.  Be on the lookout for good examples.  Imitating excellent discipleship is like practicing to ride a bike.  One day it just comes naturally to us.  A particular problem addressed was that of influence from idle people.  A possible interpretation for this passage is that these idlers were gossips.  People who gossip and slander should be avoided.  They should also be told they are being avoided.  It is appropriate to stop such people in middle of their talk and inform them that you do not want to hear what they are saying.  Once you listen to such talk, your ear will become a garbage can into which more and more such information is carried.  Most such talk involves talking about others, and this is always inappropriate when those spoken of are not present and cannot answer for themselves.  Do not say behind ones back what you will not say to their face.  Those who are busy about important work or who are busily serving the Lord do not have time for idle talk.  We are to warn those who live irresponsibly out of love for them.  Often people are in sin because they do not recognize the seriousness of their behavior.  We must be bold enough to challenge them.

Paul closed his letter with his own hand.  This indicates that he dictated most of what was written.  This was important to communicate in light of the forged letters that had been used by false teachers.

Dan Wooldridge

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