Christians Are Willing To Work
q Paul addresses two major issues in this letter. The 1st concerns the confusion & fear that the day of the Lord had already come.
q The 2nd issue was idleness. Paul devotes a large section of this letter to address this problem & he saves it for last = important!
I. Counsel for Idleness
A. Keep away from undisciplined Christians (2Th. 3:6, 13-15)
“idle” (ἀτακτέω) means to violate a prescribed/recognized order; be undisciplined. This is a Christian who refuses to work for a living. God has commanded believers to be financially disciplined = work, provide for ourselves & our family (Gen. 2:15; 3:19; Eph. 4:28; 1Th. 4:11-12). Paul now commands them & us to keep away “withdraw” from any financially lazy or undisciplined Christian. Verse 14 describes this withdrawal & purpose – no normal/social fellowship as in the past with them [Do not show support or approval of a financially lazy Christian]. The purpose is godly = to bring about repentance . This is not complete withdrawal as in 1Co. 5:11 – willful, blatant, public disobedience. To disobey this command is to disobey Jesus “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. (v. 6). Remember this is a brother/sister in Christ (v. 15) = grace & mercy. Our testimony as a church & as individual Christians is very important. We must remember our love for Christ & our love for the lazy Christian as we obey this command. The HS will give us grace & wisdom to be faithful (v.13).
B. Follow the example of disciplined Christians (2Th. 3:7-9)
Paul demonstrates the value of our personal testimonies by pointing to his own life as an example of being financially disciplined during times of difficulty, trials & uncertainty. He lived under the same conditions as they did, yet he worked & met his own needs & did not become a parasite presuming the church should take care of him (1Co. 11:1). The grace of God enables us to be faithful witnesses & to follow the example of faithful Christians (1Co. 15:10).
II. Correction for Idleness
A. Change your attitude (2Th. 3:10)
This command is addressed to Christians who are unwilling to work, not those who are unable; those who will not work, not those who cannot work. An unwillingness to work is changed by depriving a person of their basic necessities for life – food. Remember this is what the bible teaches; this is what God commands. Neither the church nor individual Christians should give financial assistance to a lazy, undisciplined Christian who refuses to work. Christians must be willing to work & provide their own needs. This is not addressing legitimate benevolent needs (Pr. 14:21, 31; 19:17; Rom. 12:13; Jas. 2:15-16).
B. Change your actions (2Th. 3:11-12)
Some Christians were & are busybodies – busy planning ways to avoid work, scheming, complaining, reading bible, etc., but not busy at work. After undisciplined Christians repent, they must find a job, avoid being a nuisance or para-site to other Christians & earn a living for the glory of God.
ILL: Many athletes today are cheating & taking the lazy way of using steroids & other drugs rather than the way of hard work & discipline to develop their bodies. This has negatively affected the reputation of individual athletes & the sports they represent. Fellow teammates & organizations are attempting to restore their reputation by isolating the offenders, showing disapproval & calling for a change in their attitudes & actions.
APPL: Likewise we must be concerned about the reputation of Christ, individual Christians & the church as we work to earn a living. We must yield to the easy, lazy & undisciplined lifestyle of the world. Though most jobs are unpleasant because we live in a fallen & sinful world, God has still made work the honorable & godly way to earn a living. As a matter of fact, we are to work faithfully on our jobs because this is a way of serving the Lord (Eph. 6:5-8).
I don’t know of anyone personally in our congregation that is guilty of this sin. But if you are guilty of living a lazy life where you refuse to work & earn a living, then I plead with you to repent today. Even if you are being tempted to stop working & live a lazy irresponsible life, I plead with not to yield to that temptation. My brother & sister, Christ has shown us the more excellent to live, provide for our own needs & the needs of our family. We have the living testimony of witnesses from the scriptures that this can be done; witnesses from our own generation; witnesses right here in this church demonstrate this can be done. God is faithful & He will make us a living testimony for Christ in the way we earn & spend our money; the way we love Him & love our neighbor; serve, praise, worship & adore Him… Don’t you want to be a living testimony for Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, living by faith, serving in hope, motivated by love?
And if you are not a Christian today, you could be a living testimony for Christ too. But you must come to Him first. You must call upon the Lord for yourself to forgive your sin. Call upon Him to save you & He will make you a living testimony for Him. Do it today; do it right now!
If you are not a member of a church or considering membership at a church, we would love to have you join us here & be a living testimony for Christ with us!
SUBJECT: Christians Are Willing To Work
TEXT: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
LOCATION: New Hope Baptist Church
DATE: January 20, 2008
OCASSION: Sun. Morning Worship
SERMON INDEX NUMBER: 885
FILE LOCATION: BX4
Prepared by Willie D. Woodmore