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Exhortations of the Apostolic Team
2 Thess. 3:6-10


As Paul nears the end of his short epistle to the Thessalonians, he gives them serious commands. The wrong response to the imminent coming of the Lord which causes them idleness seems to be getting worse. Using his authority as an Apostle, he charges them to do what is right. The situation is actually right interpretation of the doctrine but wrong application.

I. The exhortation (2 Thess. 3:6)
A. We command you brethren. The word command here means to enjoin, charge, declare. This is a “command,” not a suggestion. It is a divine order. It is was used for various directions given from persons in authority.
B. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul uses the name of our Lord the head of the
church. The command of the gospel team did not come from their authority but from the authority of Christ. The Bible is the Word of God and is our final authority.
C. that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. We are to avoid certain types of Christians. “We are to withdraw or separate ourselves from any brother who walks disorderly.
Walk disorderly here means living in disobedience. We should not show partiality.
A “tradition” is something handed down. “Tradition” here means the oral and written teaching the gospel team passed down to the Thessalonians.
The word “received” carries the idea of receiving from another person. The Thessalonians received both written and oral information from Paul’s team.
D. The offense is idleness. If Christ is coming soon, and the world would come to an end, why work? What’s the use of building a house which would soon be burned, a farm which you would be leaving behind? Our text deals with separating from a brother who refuses to work and makes himself a busybody in other men’s affairs (2 Thess. 3:11). Honest labor is very important before God and is emphasized in Scripture. (Pr. 14:23; 18:9; 21:25; Ac. 20:34-35; Eph. 4:28; 1 Th. 4:11-12).
E. This separation or withdrawal from a brother that walketh disorderly is a form of church discipline. This is a different type of separation than separation from heretics who teach damnable doctrines such as false gospels, false Christs, and false spirits.

Illustration/Application: The value of work
What does the Bible teach about manual (or mental) labor? For one thing, labor was a part of man’s life before sin entered the scene. God gave Adam the job of dressing and guarding the Garden (Gen. 2:15). Though sin turned labor into almost hopeless toil (Gen. 3:17-19), it must never be thought that the necessity for work is a result of sin. Man needs work for the fulfilment of his own person. God created him to work.
Have you noticed that God called people who were busy at work? Moses was caring for sheep (Ex. 3). Joshua was Moses’ servant before he became Moses’ successor (Ex. 33:11). Gideon was threshing wheat when God called him (Judg. 6:11 ff), and David was caring for his father’s sheep (1 Sam. 16:11). Our Lord called four fishermen to serve as His disciples, and He Himself had worked as a carpenter. Paul was a tentmaker (Acts 18:1-3) and used his trade to support his own ministry.
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.

Illustration 2: Traditions
Neither Packer nor I are claiming that all tradition is bad. I agree with Packer’s statement that,
“All Christians are at once beneficiaries and victims of tradition—beneficiaries, who receive nurturing truth and wisdom from God’s faithfulness in past generations; victims, who now take for granted things that need to be questioned, thus treating as divine absolutes patterns of belief and behavior that should be seen as human, provisional, and relative. We are all beneficiaries of good, wise, and sound tradition and victims of poor, unwise, and unsound traditions.”
Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Jack Deere, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publ. House, 1993), p. 53— 10,000 Sermon Illustrations

II. The Apostolic’s Team Example (2 Thess. 3:7-10)
A. Paul expected others to follow him. He and his gospel team set an example. They practiced what they preached. They were the models for Christianity.
B. We get our word “mimic” from the Greek word for “follow.” The idea is that of a model. Paul says, “Use me as your model of conduct.”
C. The word “ought” to also mean “must”, it is necessary. It may refer to the compulsion of duty, of law, of custom, or of an inner necessity that grows out of the situation. Here it is the moral necessity that comes from the fact these men were their spiritual mentors who followed the Lord Jesus and who had provided them with a Godly example.
D. To support his ministry and himself, Paul worked as a tent maker. Paul had authority to take support from the churches he founded, but he wanted to make himself an example in all matters. (1 Cor. 9:14-15).
E. Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought. Paul is telling the Thessalonians that they did not eat anyone’s bread free of charge. They waved their rights of financial support from the church there.
“But wrought with labour and travail night and day that we might not be chargeable to any of you”. The team maintained themselves by hard manual labor night and day. They worked hard to bring the gospel to the Thessalonians. Paul did not want to be a heavy burden to the Thessalonians. He did not want to load them down with an unnecessary financial burden (2 Cor. 11:9). He was not a parasite on the Thessalonian church although he had the right to receive support from them. Paul waved that right in the light of the situation at that church. Even as Paul wrote this epistle, he worked at tent-making in Corinth (Acts 18:3). The Philippian church sent money to Paul while he was in Thessalonica (Acts 16:15,34,40). Paul did receive financial help from others but not from the Thessalonians themselves.

F. The gospel team was an example of sacrificial giving. The word “example” means type. They had the right to receive financial support from the Thessalonian church (1 Cor. 9:3-14; 1 Tim. 5:18) but they chose to give up that right for the sake of a new church. The team did this to set an example about work.
G. this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat,” this is a commandment, not a suggestion. The individual who refuses to work should not eat. This is an individual who doesn’t want to work and makes endless excuses for not working and is exclusively living because of the graciousness of other people.

III. Conclusion
We Christians are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to separate ourselves from a brother or a fellow Christian who walk disorderly. A brother who lives his life in disobedience by refusing to work. Paul also made example of himself and his team by preaching the gospel but working hard to support themselves and the ministry. They don’t want to be a financial burden to the Thessalonian Christians. They did it sacrificially. Will you do the same too?

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