Summary: Christians battle against the weariness associated with doing good. Today, more than ever the church needs Paul's exhortation, “do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). In this lesson we'll explore the different avenues of this teaching.
The worst enemy of enthusiasm is weariness. That tired feeling that results from having run out of strength, patience, and endurance. All of us have been there. We decide to start something great and wonderful, and then in the matter of a few days, or weeks, or months we are tired of it. What once was a joy, has now become a wearisome burden. Vacationers get tired of rest, millionaires get tired of money, kids gets tired of toys, and Christians get tired of doing good. What is true in the twenty-first century was true in the first century. Christians must battle against the weariness associated with doing good. Paul exhorted the saints in Thessalonica saying, “do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). For our lesson let’s look at some of the factors that would have contributed to the Thessalonians’ weariness. Along the way, we will make some application to ourselves.
Don’t Grow Weary In Doing Good Even When… You’re Persecuted:
The church of the Thessalonians was started amid the heat of persecution (Acts 17:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8; 2:13-16). The persecution these believers endured was not isolated to the beginnings of the church. Rather, they seem to have continued sometime after Paul’s initial visit, since he mentions in his second letter, their “persecutions and the afflictions that [they were] enduring” (2 Thessalonians 1:4). Therefore, we see that the Thessalonians knew nothing but persecution.
Yet even in the face of such persecutions and afflictions the Thessalonians continued to do good. Paul commends this faithful band of believers saying, “We remember before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). “For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and in Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need to say anything” (1 Thessalonians 1:8). “We ought to always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing” (2 Thessalonians 1:3).
The Thessalonians continued to do good because their focus was not on personal comfort, or fulfillment, or happiness, but on the glory of God and the fulfillment of their purpose of spreading the saving message of the gospel. This is why their faith in God and love for one another continued to grow.
Persecution will happen to everyone. Paul told the Thessalonians that Christians “are destined” (appointed – KJV) for persecution (ref. 1 Thessalonians 3:3b-4). Perhaps we are more familiar with the wording of 2 Timothy 3:12, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Faithful believers must expect persecution and suffering of various kinds from a world that has rejected Christ. Does Satan tempt us through persecutions? Yes he does. (1 Thessalonians 3:1-5). He tempts us to give up, to grow weary and tired. However, remember the words of James and Peter, that it is through the temptation of persecution, that our faith is made stronger and purer through persecution (James 1:2-3; 1 Peter 1:6-8). That is what we see with the Thessalonians, and that is what we will see in our lives if we don’t grow weary in doing good, even when we are persecuted for our faith.
Don’t Grow Weary In Doing Good Even When… The World Around You Is Wicked:
The Greco-Roman world was engrossed with sex. Both male and female prostitutes were the staple of many, idolatrous temples and worship rituals. The atmosphere surrounding Thessalonica would not have been an exception, rather it would have been the rule. I have heard it said that Thessalonica was the ancient equivalent to Las Vegas. Its from this kind of sex-crazed, idolatrous background that, according to 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, many of the Thessalonians left to follow the living God. So, with their background, it shouldn’t surprise us that Paul gave them these instructions:
“Finally, then, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warn you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)