Summary: Paul addresses the work ethic of the Christian, and how to deal with spiritual laziness. A continuation and the conclusion of the series on 2 Thessalonians.
“A Word For The Lazy”
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever been lazy? You just didn’t want to do anything but sit around, watch TV, eat or sleep? There’s PHYSICAL LAZINESS … and there’s also MENTAL LAZINESS, where you just don’t want to think about anything too deep … where you let your mind wander off into outer space (my kids used to do this a lot!).
In 2 Thessalonians Chapter 3, we find SPIRITUAL LAZINESS … where some Christians had quit their jobs and were just waiting for Jesus to return. They were sponging off the generosity of the other Christians to meet their daily needs … expecting the church to support them.
SIGNS IN AN OFFICE:
“Work fascinates me; I can sit & watch it for hours!”
“The worst day of fishing is better than the best day of working.”
“Hard work may not kill me, but why take a chance?”
BUMPER STICKER: “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.”
Paul had told them to WAIT for the Lord (He could come at any time) … but he didn’t mean for them to be IDLE – 1 Thess. 1:10
Paul had warned them to get busy while they were waiting – 1 Thess. 4:11
They thought that they were more spiritual than those who continued on with their daily life … they were busy designing time charts … in spite of the warning of Jesus - Matthew 24:36
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”
They were OBSESSED with the Rapture … pre-occupied with the coming of Jesus … FANATICS. HOW DO FANATICS ACT? Like, if you aren’t on the same page as they are, you are spiritually inferior.
They apparently hadn’t heeded Paul’s warning – 2 Thess. 3:11
WHEN DID MAN FIRST BEGIN TO WORK?
Some people believe that WORK is part of the CURSE given after the fall of Adam & Eve. Not so! Genesis 2:15 – “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”
Work was designed by God as a necessary part of human life. “Work” became WORK (hard labor) after the fall, when thorns & thistles were introduced (Genesis 3:17-19).
“God designed man to be a gardener, but the Fall made him a farmer.” In the Garden of Eden, Adam tended God’s garden … after the fall, Adam had to grow his own.
NOW – Paul addresses this issue of the lazy Christians who had quit their jobs.
3:6 – Paul is giving them a “command” … “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. He’s giving them Divine instructions about what to do about these lazy Christians.
“withdraw yourselves” – i.e., don’t join forces with them … stay away from them …
Paul had to give the same instructions to the Romans - Romans 16:17 – “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.”
Since they were DELIBERATELY disobedient to Paul (after 2 clear warnings), Paul warns the other Christians to disassociate with them … or they might be influenced by them.
“tradition” – Paul explains the “tradition” he had left with them …
3:7-9 – Paul worked as a tentmaker while he was with them … and he worked HARD … not only at his job, but also in the ministry. He didn’t have to do this. At some places, he lived off the gifts & offerings of the people … at other places, he was bi-vocational.
Paul didn’t want to be a BURDEN to them … UNLIKE those who had quit working, and were sponging off the other Christians. He gave them a good “example” … established a “tradition”.
3:10 – EXPLAIN THIS VERSE IN LIGHT OF THE DISABLED, ELDERLY, UNEMPLOYED … AND THE LAZY.
“would”, “will” – This verse refers to those who CAN work … but “will” not work.
DO YOU KNOW SOME PEOPLE LIKE THIS? Sometimes people come to the church wanting money … and when offered some odd jobs around the church, they “will” not work. They make their living sponging off the good hearts of those who “will” to work.
There were several WORK ETHICS in Thessalonica. The JEWS believed in hard work … but they believed that SPIRITUAL work was superior to PHYSICAL work. The GREEKS didn’t like to work … they felt it demeaning, and left most of the work to their slaves & servants. To the Greeks, work was beneath them.
HOW DO YOU VIEW WORK? HOW DOES GOD VIEW WORK? Col. 3:23 – “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”