2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:18, pt.2

Tonight, we are concluding our discussion of 2 Thessalonians with 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3.18.  Paul concludes his letter with a rebuke of those in the community who aren’t living as they should.  If you remember back to 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, Paul tells the Thessalonians to live quietly, mind your own affairs, and work.  At the end of this letter, Paul seeks discipline for those who are idle and busybodies. Paul’s admonition in 3:10 that “he who does not work, shall not eat” brings up the struggle we all face in caring for those in need.  Jesus separates the sheep and goats based on whether we came to the aid of those in need.  Matt 25:31-46. From the earliest churches in the Roman Empire, who cared for the poor and diseased, through innumerable charitable works today, the church has always cared for the disadvantaged.  But what of those who seek relief but aren’t in need?  Paul tells his congregation to separate themselves and to not let the malingerers eat.  A few decades later, the Didache (c.125), will instruct its readers to “Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.”  How are we to fulfill the commands of Jesus but not be taken advantage of? Paul is writing to a community where everyone is well-known to each other.  Are there different rules for community members and strangers whose circumstances we don’t know?  Think about the outreach organizations in our community today – Helping Hand, New Directions, Mobile Meals, etc. – and how these community groups help us work through these issues.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is breakfast. Discussion about 6:45. I will be back next week when we begin John Stott’s workbook The Beatitudes: Developing Spiritual Character.  If you need a book, please let Amy know. The cost is $10.

Whatever your task, work heartily, at serving the Lord and not men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; for you are serving the Lord Christ. Col. 3:23-24.

Collossians 3:23-24

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