Summary: Doing what is right is a command, an encouragement, and an admonition rolled into one line.
"Doing What is Right"
2 Th. 3:13-18
And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. 16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 17 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
My sermon is entitled, "Doing What is Right." Those are the last four words of verse 13. It’s a command, an encouragement, and an admonition rolled into one line.
These are the final six verses of Paul’s 2nd letter to the Thessalonians. The goal is encouragement to the end. In the closing verses, the great apostle is exhorting this beloved fledgling church in the how-to’s of the Christian life.
Christianity is lived out one Christian at a time. But it is also lived out simultaneously within a community of other believers. Those who seek to live a life pleasing to God are encouraged by the hope of His peace. Serve God individually; keep a watchful eye on one another; and enjoy the presence and peace of Jesus.
And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
Doing right is a personal matter. doing what is right lies squarely on the shoulder of the individual. No matter what others do, you know what you have to do. If you know the difference between right and wrong, then you know what you need to do to please the Lord. God makes this personal; the Bible says, And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. He puts it in our lap.
This is similar to what we hear in Joshua, ...as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. (Josh. 24:15) We may not be able to speak for others, but we can speak for ourselves. We may not answer for others, but we will answer for ourselves. Therefore our chief concern is that we are doing right. As I read this, I thought of some old gospel choruses that reflect this individual determination;
I’m going through, I’m going through,
I’ll pay the price no matter what others do...
Though none go with me, still I will follow...
Every Christian is judged on his individual service. We will all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, right by ourselves. No one will be there to run interference; none will offer defense. It will just be us and the record of all our deeds.
When we were little we tried to blame other kids for what we did wrong. My parents used to ask, "If they jumped off the bridge, would you jump off too?" or "If they stuck their head in the fire would you stick yours in too?" The lesson they were trying to get across was that we should act based on our own knowledge of right and wrong. That’s what God is saying here.
Doing right is not an option in the Christian life. James says, Anyone ... who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (Jam. 4:17)
It’s not like doing right is a luxury enjoyed only by the super-righteous. It is all our responsibility.
When Paul says we are to never tire of doing right, he hints of the effort required to please God. It isn’t always easy to do the right thing. Sometimes it means disagreeing with a friend. They might get angry with you if you refuse to cover for their sin. It may require you stand on principle. You could lose your employer’s approval. You may have to choose between money and integrity. Doing right could mean you have to stand up against a bully for someone else. Whatever the price of doing right will be repaid in the judgement. In the end, the cost of doing right will never be as high as the cost of doing wrong. Paul told the Galatians, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9) He says here, never tire of doing what is right.
14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.