Sundays | 9am & 10:45am

Future Glory | Present Trial: 2 Thes. 3:6-15

2 Thes. 3:6-15

As we start to wrap up the book - Paul is a concerned pastor trying to help a church that he cares deeply about.

This letter was written shortly after 1 Thessalonians and was written because he got a report about some issues going on. (3:11)

There are a 3 major themes of why he is writing this letter.
1. to reassure those that were concerned that the day of the Lord had already com
2. to encourage them while facing persecution
3. To deal with some problems - which we will see today


And as Paul is wrapping up his letter he turns his attention to encouraging the church one last time while also addressing an issue.

6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you bkeep away from every brother who leads an cunruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
- Paul had already discussed the issue of idle Christians in the first letter, but apparently the problem had continued (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Perhaps Paul’s instruction had not been strong enough, so this passage made it clear that his commands regarding idleness came with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- The first letter tells Christians to “warn those who are lazy” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 nlt); that is, the believers were to firmly admonish those who were atakta, a word used for soldiers who would not stay in the ranks. But Paul was firm that these believers were not honoring their faith.

keep away from every brother who leads an cunruly life and not according to the tradition
- Keep away - Paul goes a step further here - not just to warn (1 Thes. 5:14) them but if they continue then stay away from them
- “leads” is present tense – The ESV translates that as “walking in”. This isn’t a temporary issue but seems to be a way of life and an intentional decision. They didn’t lose a job, or in between jobs. They are choosing not to work and living off of others.
- Unruly life - Idleness - the greek word is a military word for out of ranks. They are not doing what they are supposed to do
- according to the tradition - this is what the apostle told them. For us now days it’s the Word of God.

These unruly people are consciously making decisions to live in an unruly way that is contrary to the apostle’s teaching and example he gave them & Paul is telling them to keep away from them

7 For you yourselves know how you ought to afollow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.

follow our example - Paul says watch what we do
Paul had commended the church for following his example (1 Thes. 1:6), but when it came to working some were not following it.


we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have the right to this
- Paul was not saying that they never accepted a gift or a meal from others, but that they were self-supporting. They earned the bread they ate (cf. v. 12). In fact, they worked long and hard so as not to be a financial burden to any of the Thessalonians (cf. 1 Thes. 2:9).

- The apostles had every right to receive physical help for spiritual ministry and there are several times that he does (cf. 1 Cor. 9:3–14; 1 Tim. 5:18).
- He chose to sacrifice it this time
- he taught elsewhere that it is legitimate, that those who are taught should support their teachers (Gal. 6:6).
- But they chose to forego this right in order to teach this young church


offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.
- The apostles lived this way to give their converts an example (typon; cf. 1 Thes. 1:7) of what it means to sacrifice for the good of others.
- He didn’t want anything to hinder the message he wanted the church to get.
- Some preachers/teachers had a reputation for taking advantage and exploiting money
- His point here was that Christians generally should not expect other people to take care of them but should support themselves as much as possible.

10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.
12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.



if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. -
- Paul and Silas were not just leading by example but they were also very clear in what they taught. If you don’t to work, then don’t eat.
- Now It needs to be clear - This is for those that have the ability but are unwilling to work - taking advantage of others. This is not for those that don’t have a job, can’t work for some reason, disability, injured
- The point here is that in general Christians that have the ability should not expect others to take care of them

For we hear some are leading an undisciplined life
This seems to be the big reason Paul is addressing this
evidently word had reached Paul - people were talking about those that aren’t working. It must have been a big enough issue that it was a topic of discussion and they reached out to Paul about it.

doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.
greek word means meddling - they weren’t just being idle, they were meddling in other people’s affairs

work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread
in v. 12 - Paul gives some great encouragement to everyone - work in a quiet fashion, and eat your own food. 



13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.
14 If anyone does not obey our instruction ain this letter, take special note of that person band do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame.
15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but badmonish him as a brother.


But as for you church - the majority - keep doing what you’re doing
- If anyone does not obey…do not associate with him
This is now the second time Paul has warned these people
- Paul is very specific - if they continue in this pattern of living don’t associate with them


he will be put to shame.
- the ESV translates this word , “he will be ashamed”
- The point here in the severity of the church withdrawing from him that they will repent of their behavior.


not your enemy…admonish him as a brother.
warn him as a brother - notice they aren’t saying this person isn’t a child of God. They are simply not in step with the commands Paul had given them at this time - the church is supposed to help them


Paul is encouraging the church to work hard, lead a disciplined life, and don’t grow weary, don’t get frustrated in doing good.

Paul said some were leading an undisciplined life and that they should follow his example which his example is Jesus

Main Point - Your example has a Kingdom influence on those around you
The way we live our life matters


Discussion Questions:
  1. Who in your life has been a godly example to you and how did that impact your life?
  2. Why do you think Paul takes such drastic measures and asks the church to “keep away” from those that were unruly? Is there an instance we should do this in our current culture? Why or why not?
  3. Paul said, “follow my example.” How would it make you feel if you knew others were following your example?
  4. What do you think the word “busybodies” means?
  5. What is the hope of “putting them to shame” in v. 14?
Posted in