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"Don't Grow Weary in Doing Good"
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Wednesday AM Bible Study
June 23, 2004

This is a very practical follow-up to much of Paul's instruction in this letter. Some of the brethren in Thessalonica had apparently misapplied Paul's teaching about the nearness of the Day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5:1-11), or about his efforts to correct the errors of false teachers regarding that subject. As a result, some were choosing to become idle - living off of the gifts of others, and using the return of the Lord as an excuse.

A key verse in this passage is Paul's exhortation in verse 13 to not grow weary in doing good. The life of the believer is to be characterized by a consistent witness to the world of a life of industrious living; "that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing" (1 Thess. 4:11-12). We must constantly exhort one another to live lives that are faithful to God's calling upon us.

In this passage, we are taught to . . .

A. This is a command (and the word Paul uses refers to a solemn directive; see 1 Tim. 6:13). It is given in the name of the Lord to those who are "brethren". It's interesting to look through this passage and see how often the word "brethren" is used - not only of those to whom Paul writes, but also of those about whom he writes.

B. The specific command is to "withdraw" from every brother who is walking in an unruly manner. The word Paul uses to describe their walk has reference to a military orderliness. It speaks of someone who is "out of order" or "not in line".

1. The disorderliness is evident in their "walk", that is, in their daily conduct.

2. The disorderliness is defined in terms of how they walk in relation to the tradition which the Thessalonian believers had receive from Paul and company (1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 4:9).

C. There is an "orderliness" that is to characterize the life of the believer. We have a standard given to us in the Scriptures; and we are to so follow this standard that we are to make ourselves separate from those who wont.


A. We are given a model in conduct (vv. 7-9).
1. The believers had seen and observed the manner of Paul and his coworkers. And they knew that it was something that was proper and that it behooved them to follow.

2. Paul and his coworkers did not walk disorderly; and this gave the believers and objective pattern to follow:

a. They didn't eat anyone's bread for free, but worked so as not to be a burden to anyone.

b. They didn't do this because they didn't have authority (1 Cor. 9:1-23). Rather, it was in order to set before them a needed example to follow.

B. We are given a model in instruction (v. 10).

1. Paul and company not only gave a visual demonstration of how to live, but also verbal instruction. It was given to the Thessalonians while they were there in the midst of them, and while they were living out the very thing they were teaching them.

2. It was a solemn admonition. The condition was, "If anyone will not work . . ." This does not apply to those who want to work but, for whatever reason, cannot work. It only applies to those who can work but will not do so. ". . . Neither let him eat." Don't give him anything. Hunger is God's prod to the lazy and disorderly man.

III. GET TO WORK (vv. 11-15).

A. Paul's exhortation is motivated by the fact that he has heard about some who walk in the disorderly manner described above; that is, not working at all, and becoming "busybodies" (see 1 Tim. 5:13).

B. Paul speaks directly to the disorderly believers in the name of the Lord:

1. Work in quietness (that is, tranquility - which may be related to his words in 2 Thess. 2:1-2).

2. Eat your own bread (Eph. 4:28).

C. Paul also speaks to the others:

1. Don't grow weary of doing good (Gal. 6:8-10).

2. Separate yourself from anyone who doesn't obey this principle; but do so carefully. Don't keep company with them, so that they might be ashamed. But be sure you do this in such a way as to treat them, not as an enemy, but as to admonish them as a brother (1 Cor. 5:9-13).

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