Friday, September 16, 2011

Bible Study: Encouragement For The Misinformed - 2 Thessalonians - Chapter 3

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. At the time of its writing, early 2009, things are looking pretty bleak with the economy and unemployment among other things. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. Stay strong. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming…


Take a few minutes to pray and savor 2 Thessalonians Chapter 3. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

3:1 – Paul consistently asks the Christians he has visited to pray for him. The prayer he requests here is still timely, today, and I frequently pray this way: that God’s Word would spread like wildfire throughout the earth and be received by those who hear its message. I suppose I should add to that a prayer that all ears would be opened to receive the message of the gospel through hearing. And that those not in earshot would choose Jesus based on seeing the wonders of nature that God has made.

3:2 – Paul also asks that his brothers pray for his deliverance from evil men. Does this sound like part of the Lord’s Prayer? Read the entire Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.

3:3 – God is faithful. Share a time when He was faithful to you. Better still, how is He being faithful to you right now?

Matthew 5:37 was referenced in my Bible for this verse. Read it. Think on it for a minute or two and see if we arrive at the same idea. I thought of being interrogated when I read these verses together. Evil will try to tempt and trap. Don’t engage evil. Say “yes” or “no” in answer to questions about Christ and the truth of God’s Word, but don’t pursue any interaction with evil. You won’t win over evil no matter what. Evil will only twist your words to make you doubt yourself. Better to remain silent as Christ did during his trial before the crucifixion. See Matthew 26:62-63, Mark 14:60-61.

3:4 – Paul trusted God to continue to prosper the Thessalonians. Who are you trusting to God’s care?

3:5 – Paul prayed for the Thessalonians’ loyalty to God. Take a moment and pray for those you know to be loyal to Him.

3:6-15 – One woman in my Sunday school class had a wonderful insight on this passage. She said that she related this teaching to spiritual rather than physical food. If these idle individuals wouldn’t serve in the church, they shouldn’t be permitted to sit in the pew every Sunday being “fed” the Word of God.

3:6 – Paul commands the Thessalonians to stay away from idle Christians. That is, Christians who are not busy doing the Lord’s work. Find some scriptures that explain what we are on planet earth to do. I’ll start you off. Read Matthew 28:16-20.

3:7-9 – Paul supported himself as a tentmaker. See Acts 18:3. He didn’t live off of his brothers, even though he indicates that he would have been entitled to do so. He did this to set a good example for others about idleness.

3:10-13 – Being idle leads to bad thoughts, gossip and dissention. Instead of participating in these counterproductive activities, put your effort into making a living to care for your needs. Doing what is right is pleasing to God.

3:11 – mind your own business.

3:14 – Those who don’t obey the Word of God cause division. Do not associate with such people. This can really limit your friendships. It certainly has in my life. This doesn’t give us permission to judge others. But we can observe their fruit and their behavior to survey their character.

3:15 – We need to lovingly correct our brothers in Christ even when we don’t socialize with them.

3:16 – Paul prays peace over the Thessalonians. We should pray for peace for each other.

3:17 – Paul declares this letter to be genuine. Remember that this letters was written to refute false teaching (supposedly from Paul and the apostles) that judgment day had already come.

3:18 – Just as Paul spoke grace over the Thessalonians, I pray the same over you. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Each chapter of these letters to the Thessalonians teaches much about how to pray for yourself and others. How have you learned to pray today?

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