Summary: Your work reflects who your are, so put forth the greatest effort to make the most impact in your work by following Paul’s example to the Thessalonians; remember, vocation is ministry more so that ministry is vocation
2 Thessalonians 3: 6-15
Title: Work till Christ comes: “do what is right”
Introduction: How does Eschatology, the theology concerning the second coming, the Parousia (pah-ro̅o̅-seeʹuh), affect our behavior?
• Talk of the end of the world tend to make people behave strangely; we see sufficient examples in modern American film and media, particularly science fiction genre
• The Church in Thessalonica, established by Paul on his second missionary journey had difficulty dealing with the concept as well. The greater scope of his first letter was that Christ’s return was imminent. They however confused imminent with urgent. The church was largely comprised of Greek converts.
The Biblical Problem:
The Thessalonians became Idle because they thought since Christ’s Return was so imminent that the Could Just Sit back and wait doing nothing and there by staying out of harms way; and this what their culture taught them was the easiest thing to do.
The Biblical Solution:
Paul admonished them in love and correction, maintaining that the example he and his fellow missionaries set for them regarding their work ethic should be observed.
Bridge illustration: 2000 years have past and still, the Parousia has not occurred. I’ve been asked before by a young child “why do we not go to meet Jesus when we get saved, why does He keep us here?” Friends we are still here for a reason. And yes, He will return for us at some point, not even He knows. This contrast is result of much debate and social discord. There are still groups today who put themselves into seclusion to wait out the end. I can see now the reason The Father tells no one, not even His son, when the end will come; When we have a great event in the near future that we are trying to reach out toward through the vastness of time, we loose track of the here and now.
The Contemporary Problem:
Many people do not have the will to work to any extent because they see the coming some major event, a wedding, a graduation and so on, as the beginning of their servitude; much like the early Christians saw the coming of Christ as the start of their existence, putting this earthly life on hold.
Thesis: Your work reflects who your are, so put forth the greatest effort to make the most impact in your Life by following Paul’s example; remember, vocation is ministry more so that ministry is vocation
Transition to body: So the question to ask is: Why do we need to work till Christ comes? Why NOW?
I. Point: It is our duty to maintain a degree of order in our lives through our labor, that we do not become a burden to others.
a. 2 Thess. 3:6-10-6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
b. Exposition of text: Orderliness is associated with good work ethics.
i. Interpretation: What the NIV translates in v.6 as “idle” is from the Gk literally means “disorderly life” or “walking out of ranks”
And again the contrasting word in v.7, at•ak•teh•o: essentially meaning “to behave ones self orderly”
ii. Application: Paul considered the church to be like an army; and if the army does not obey their orders, there can be no victory. Unfortunately, some of the saints were “out of rank” This was not the first time they had been warned either- 1 Thes. 5:14.
14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
We see here a contrast of culture as well; The Jews honored honest labor and required all their rabbis to have a trade. But the Greeks despised manual labor and left it to their slaves. This Greek influence, plus their wrong ideas about the doctrine of the Lord’s return, led these believers into an unchristian way of life. The Hellenist lifestyle that was founded after the expansion of the Macedonian empire under Alexander was one of “anything is good if it makes you feel good”. This is what is referred to as “Hedonism”