Tonight, we will study our next to last lesson out of our study of the church at Thessalonica. In this study, the apostle Paul begins to speak against something he defines as “disorderly” conduct (atáktōs – properly, disorderly ("breaking rank"); insubordinate to God's Word and hence fruitless (unproductive) – because lacking proper order (discipline)). The Bible uses this term three times in the scriptures we read in Second Thessalonians, each time in reference to the same thing while the issue is referred to in the first letter to Thessalonica in the scriptures we read from there. Each time, the word is used to describe the same thing: people not working.
In the church at Thessalonica, there was a problem as some who were capable of contributing or working with their own hands to supply common needs were not. Of course, they were still hungry and probably had other needs and were showing up for communal meals or were asking for assistance from the common store of food or from others in the church. What does Paul teach us about this?
Christianity is a religion of agape love.
It is a basic belief in Christianity to assist those who experience lack in spite of their work or who are in situations that require assistance, such as old age, sickness, or living as an orphan or a widow. In such instances, Christians should be prepared to share.
Christianity is a religion of fruitfulness.
While Christianity is a benevolent religion, helping the poor and those without resource, it is also a religion of fruitfulness. We know that, according to Galatians 5:22-25, the Holy Spirit within us produces fruit. So, we see Paul speaking of walking in the Spirit and walking in a disorderly manner. Because of the Spirit within them, Christians should always have something to give. The Spirit within them creates the motivation, the will, and the means to be fruitful. Christians produce fruit to give to others. A person who can produce and who doesn’t is sick spiritually.
Christianity is a religion of accountability.
The apostle Paul reminds the believers that he himself was accountable to produce for the supply of himself and others. He and those who him worked and did not take advantage of other believers. For one thing, love would not allow it. Secondly, they were part of a body and were created to provide for the body and themselves. Thirdly, they put themselves out to ensure that they took advantage of no one else in the body. If someone could work and didn’t, they were lovingly not allowed to partake of the supplies of others until they lived as being fruitful believers. They were not excommunicated but were not given access to the supplies of those who were contributing.
Christianity is not a fleshly religion.
The apostle tells us that idleness was a product of the flesh and was producing acts of the flesh. Not only were those not working who could not producing fruit, but since they were not occupied in useful endeavor, they were engaging in gossip, focusing on others weaknesses rather than their own, and were what the Bible calls “busybodies” (periergázomai (from /perí, "all-around" and /ergázomai, "to work") – properly, work all-around, i.e. to meddle, going beyond proper boundaries (where a person doesn't belong); to fixate on what others are doing, instead of doing what the person himself is supposed to do (used only in 2 thess 3:11)).
Remember what Christ said in Matthew 7:1-6:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
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What crosses your mind when you think about tomorrow? What first comes to mind when thinking about the coming day are the following: *my to-do list *my appointments *my needs and desires *my family On the average day, we don’t think about God very much. Most days, we live caught up in ourselves. Do you […]