2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
I am going to premise this one as saying this has been a difficult one for me. I have tarried much from completing it. I apologize!
You have to love how Paul phrases things all the while referencing the Old Testament. There is a great challenge among professing Believers today to unhitch ourselves from the OT. I believe we have tackled that in the Reading Challenge before. Stay clear away from this deception. The only thing that must be realized about the OT is the law (our works) doesn’t justify or save us. Only Jesus saves. This unhitching allows the concept of Christian Liberty as Galatians discusses to be morphed into the Freedom to Sin Doctrine. Remember, Satan is a mastermind at counterfeiting God’s truth. This doesn’t mean we will not have struggles. It just means we must remain at the foot of the Cross and confess our sins as Jesus has paid for them. We are no longer a slave to it.
Thus, I digress…In 2 Thes. 3:1, Paul alludes to Psalm 147:15 when he states that the Word of the Lord may run swiftly. 2 Timothy 2:9 refers to not chaining God’s Word. You can see a lot today in what is referred to as the Progressive or Emergent Church movements where God’s Word is silenced for the sake of offending someone. Now, do not confuse what I am about to say with angrily beating someone over the head in a “holier than thou” rant. This is not correct. Humility must always be present. We have also learned that truth must be spoken in love. Love should always be the forerunner. If someone knows you truly love them, they are more than likely to better receive the truth that is spoken. Just know, that doesn’t mean they will. You may even be gas-lighted, to quote a modern term, by speaking the truth. Jesus Himself told us this would be true even amongst family. Please refer to John 12 for this. What we are being told today is we cannot challenge someone with Scripture. We cannot direct someone towards truth. We cannot speak out against something false for the sake of their feelings and not showing love. These are, at their core, lies. In reality, even the truth of God’s Word has been wickedly twisted by those who wish to silence the truth.
Wiersbe has a couple good quotes regarding to speaking truth:
1. It is [the pastor’s] task to feed the sheep – not entertain the goats. -Dr. Donald Coggan
2. It is when the sheep are hungry that they start biting each other, becoming sick, and wandering away.
On the contrary, Wiersbe notes, “When the Word of God does the work, then God gets the glory.” He then quotes Dr. Bob Cook who states, “If you can explain what is going on, then God isn’t doing it.” Many will say let the Holy Spirit do the work. The Word of God cannot run swiftly if we are silencing the truth of God’s Word by road blocking it. It may be uncomfortable at moments, but when truth must be spoken, we must speak it. Our execution of that with both our relationships and the presentation of the truth is the love part.
2 Thes. 3:3 refers to the evil one. We must never, ever forget that our entire life is a battle. It is a spiritual battle between our flesh and spirit. Satan both masquerades as an angel of light and prowls about like a lion seeking to whom he should devour. If we keep this very concept in mind, everything makes more sense. This doesn’t mean we are perfect. It doesn’t mean we are not going to trip and fall. It just means we need to be alert to it and make confession when we succumb to temptation. None of us are righteous. If we were, Jesus’ sacrifice was for not.
The first five verses, Wiersbe concludes with four great responsibilities: believe the truth, guard the truth, practice the truth, and share the truth. This is definitely cyclical. If we do not believe that there is salvation in none other than Jesus and His Word is truth and right, the rest makes no difference. This separates the relationship that salvation brings, with simply religious practices. Then, we can guard that truth, practice it, and share it with the unbelieving world.