Summary: *Here in the real world God: -Calls us to some difficult decisions. -Blesses us with excellent examples. -Leads us with dependable directions. -Gives us priceless presents.

Living for Jesus in the Real World

2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - December 30, 2009

*I can’t believe it’s been 20 years, but Alan Jackson wrote this country hit:

Cowboys don't cry, -- And heroes don't die.

And good always wins -- Again and again.

And love is a sweet dream -- That always comes true

Oh, if life were like the movies, -- I'd never be blue.

But here in the real world, -- It's not that easy at all,

'Cause when hearts get broken, -- It's real tears that fall.

And darlin', it's sad but true, -- But the one thing I've learned from you,

Is how the boy don't always get the girl, -- Here in the real world. (1)

*God knows we live in the real world, not in some fairy-tale land where everything is hunky-dory all the time. God knows we live in the real world.

1. So sometimes He calls us to difficult decisions.

*God calls us to some difficult decisions, -- hard choices for His high calling. We see an example in vs. 6, where God tells us to separate ourselves from certain other Christians. As Paul said, “We command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.”

*The word picture for “walking disorderly” is a soldier marching out of step. And God commands us to separate ourselves from Christians who are living in a disorderly way. That’s not an easy thing to do. It is something that we have to approach in a very careful and prayerful way. And it helps us to understand the specific situation Paul addressed here.

*A.T. Robertson explained that in Thessalonica some of the Christians were victims of false teachers with the bogus theory that the Lord would return any second. So you might as well quit working and take-it-easy until the Lord got back. And that’s what some of those people did. Of course their food ran out pretty quickly and they began to mooch off other believers. (2)

*Now Jesus did tell us to be always watching and ready for His return. But He also said that we did not know the day or time. And the Lord addressed this “take-it-easy” error in Luke’s Gospel. Listen to Luke 19:11-13:

11. Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.

12. Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.

13. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’”

*Jesus wants us to keep busy, keep working and keep serving until He comes. Thankfully, most believers don’t fall into the “take-it-easy” error. But I think that a few years ago a group of believers in Korea or Japan did quit their jobs, and started waiting on their roofs for the Lord to return. So this does happen, and Paul dealt with it very strongly in vs. 10-12:

10. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

11. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. (i.e. busy running around doing nothing.)

12. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

*Paul said, -- God said, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” Of course the assumption is that they are able to work, just not willing to work. Now we will probably never have to deal with that specific problem. But there is a greater principle here, because there are other ways to walk disorderly, not according to the tradition we received from God’s Word.

*John Gill helps us understand the times when we should separate ourselves from disorderly Christians. Gill said that this is “only to be done when they ‘walk disorderly’; -- not for every disorder they are guilty of.” That’s because “there is no man (who) lives without sin; and church members have their infirmities, and will have, as long as they are in the flesh, or in the body; and they are not to be made offenders for a word, or for a single disorder, or for the common infirmities of life. Nor are the just to be set aside for a small offence, not continued in.”

*Gill says: “It is one thing to be guilty of a disorder, and another thing to walk disorderly; which denotes a way, a course, a series of disorder, and proceeding on in it, a going from evil to evil, an increasing to more ungodliness; for walking is a progressive action, and disorderly persons do not stop, but grow worse and worse . . .” (3)

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