Last week we finished reading the book of 2 Thessalonians. Here is the summary of chapter 3 interacting with our 3 questions:
(1) What does this passage teach about God?
Verse 3 tells us that God is faithful. This specifically is talking about his answer to prayer for protection from the evil one when the work of God is opposed. But more generally, God is faithful to keep his promises. What he has said he will do. Whether in relation to prayer or salvation, God is faithful.
(2) What does it teach about me?
Verse one teaches that we need people to pray for us. There will be things that make it difficult for us to accomplish the work God has for us, but God is faithful to answer these prayers for his work to progress in us. If we are at a place in our lives spiritually where we seemed to be plateaued, prayer is a vital component of continual growth. And, this is not just us praying, but others praying for us. The same is true in the church, we will not see growth at SCC, spiritually, numerically, or otherwise, unless we are praying. Nothing of eternal significance is ever accomplished without prayer.
In our diligence to live for God we can grow weary in doing good (verse 13). We need to warn and encourage one another as brothers and sisters so that we do not grow weary. This is not a license to confront everyone we know about how we perceive sin in their lives, because this implies a deep and meaningful relationship, like between two family members. Without the context of a deep relationship, correction and sometimes even encouragement has the opposite effect and it offends. Without relationship, addressing sin in a person’s life is often “judging” rather than encouraging.
3) How must I believe or obey to align my life with God’s Word?
Verse 6 is a warning to keep away from a brother who has nothing to occupy his time. Everyone should work to earn a living, if anyone refuses to do this, then they should not be provided for. This isn’t talking about our modern welfare system although there may be some application here, this is talking about people within the church body Any who refuse to work should be encouraged to do so.
Some traditions have interpreted verses 13-15 in such a way that it leads to a practice called shunning. People will behave like the other person does not exist. Is this not treating such a person as an enemy though? Treating like brother means addressing the matters so that repentance is brought forth. Shame is to lead to repentance not hatred.
What insights do you have that are not mentioned in this summary?