Summary: In this last sermon from the series on 1 & 2 Thessalonians, we look at Paul's commands about not being idol, but working and obeying until Jesus comes.
A. Let me begin with this humorous, puny piece about work.
1. All my life I’ve been looking for the perfect job
2. My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned...just couldn't concentrate.
3. After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn't suited for it...mainly because it was a so-so job.
4. Next I tried working in a muffler factory but that was too exhausting.
5. I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but the work was just too draining.
6. I attempted to be a deli worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn't cut the mustard.
7. Then I worked as a lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the ax.
8. So then I got a job in an exercise center, but they said I wasn't fit for the job.
9. I became a professional fisherman, but discovered that I couldn't live on my net income.
10. My last job was working at Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.
11. So I retired and found I’m perfect for the job!
B. Work is a very big part of our lives.
1. Statistics indicate that the average worker who retires will have worked 90,000 hours of his or her life.
a. That’s 45 years of 40 hour weeks.
b. That statistic doesn’t include volunteer work at the church or chores around the house.
2. The culture we live in has some confusion about work.
a. On the one extreme there is the push to be workaholics.
b. On the other extreme are the “workabhorics” or those who are allergic to work.
3. The way that we view work will significantly affect our spiritual lives, our personal lives, and work lives.
C. Let’s work our way through this final chapter of 2 Thessalonians, and see how Paul addressed this important subject of work.
I. Exploring the Text
A. Paul began the chapter: Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you (2 Thess. 3:1).
1. There is something deeply moving in the thought of this spiritual giant asking for the prayers of the Thessalonians, who themselves were rather young and weak in the faith.
a. We all need prayer – no matter how old or young in the faith, and no matter how strong or weak in the faith.
b. And we need the prayers of everyone.
2. Notice the first thing Paul needed prayer for – the spreading of the Gospel.
a. The Thessalonians had been so open to the Gospel and Paul wanted them to pray that others would be equally as open and respecting of God’s word.
B. Next Paul had another prayer request: And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith (2 Thess. 3:2).
1. There is always opposition to the Word and work of God - Paul acknowledged that reality.
2. We know from experience that not everyone has faith, and unfortunately some of those who don’t have faith, don’t want anyone else to have faith, so they do what they can to oppose the work of God.
3. Those who oppose God and His Word are truly wicked and evil men – even though they wouldn’t have that opinion about themselves.
4. So Paul asked for prayers of protection and deliverance.
C. But then right on the heels of asking for prayers, Paul acknowledged God’s faithfulness: But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one (2 Thess. 3:3).
1. Paul trusted that God would not only protect him, but that God would protect the Thessalonians from the evil one.
2. What an encouragement that must have been for the Thessalonians, who had already experienced some persecution, to know that God would give them strength and protection.
D. Paul then acknowledged his confidence in them: We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command (2 Thess. 3:4).
1. It is hard to be obedient and to stay the course when there is opposition.
2. But Paul encouraged them by declaring his confidence in them.
3. He believed that the Thessalonians would remain faithful to the calling and to obedience to the commandments of God given through Paul.
4. I have the same confidence in you – the Wetzel Road church family.
E. Paul finished this paragraph with a beautiful prayer for them: May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance (2 Thess. 3:5).
1. What is it that Paul prayed that God would do for them? He prayed that God would direct their hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.