Thursday, August 11, 2022

2022.08.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Thessalonians 3:13–18

Read 2 Thessalonians 3:13–18

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle call them in 2 Thessalonians 3:13? What does he urge them not to become? In what might they be in danger of growing weary? To what sort of person does 2 Thessalonians 3:14 refer? What word, specifically, does he not obey? What two things are they to do with him? Why? As what are they not to count him (2 Thessalonians 3:15)? How are they to think of him? what are they to do to him as a brother? Whose action does the blessing in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 summon? What, specifically, does this verse call him? What will He give them? At what times? In what ways? Who will be with them? How many of them? Who writes 2 Thessalonians 3:17? Why does he do so with his own hand? What does it show about this letter? From Whom does the final blessing come in 2 Thessalonians 3:18? What title/Name is He given here? What comes from Him? To whom does it go? To how many of them? How does the letter conclude?

What use ought we make of a genuinely apostolic, inspired letter? 2 Thessalonians 3:13–18 looks forward to the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that we should persevere in obeying God’s words, from God’s servants, by God’s own personal grace.

Perseverance is necessary for those who wish to do good. The apostle urges them not to grow weary in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 precisely because it is so easy to grow weary. The situation that he’s just been addressing is a great example: providing uncomfortable accountability for disorderly brothers. The apostle has had words for many different people in many different situations in this letter. All of these are covered by 2 Thessalonians 3:14, but there is perhaps a special focus on the lazy ones covered in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12

We see this especially by the command at the end of 2 Thessalonians 3:14 “do not get mixed up with him, that he may be ashamed.” It parallels closely the command in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 that they “withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly.” Doing hard things in relationships can become wearisome quickly. 

But we must not grow weary! It would be lazy just to write him off. It’s easy just to “count him as an enemy” (2 Thessalonians 3:15). The anonymity and immediacy of social media may have amplified it, but the laziness of just counting a brother as an enemy is nothing new. To refuse to, but keep “warning him as a brother” takes perseverance.

This perseverance comes from Christ. How can we persevere in pursuing peace? The Lord of peace Himself will give us peace in every way (2 Thessalonians 3:16). The peace of heart that we need to persist in our efforts. The peace of restored relationships and brethren recovered from their sin as a fruit of the Lord’s blessing on those efforts. Ultimately, it is the Lord Himself Who is with us (verse 16), so that from Him we who deserve only curse receive blessing, and from Him we who have only weakness in ourselves receive strength. This is that “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” with which the letter concludes (2 Thessalonians 3:18).

This perseverance Christ gives by His Word. Here is the great reason to distinguish true Scripture from all other writing. Men’s words cannot avail, because we need not just instruction but almighty, divine grace. And so Paul makes sure that every letter that he writes bears this seal of authenticity: the weak-eyed apostle writes the final greeting in his own, characteristic hand (2 Thessalonians 3:17, cf. Galatians 6:11). The church was recognizing inspired Scripture as it was written (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:37), because it was dependent upon the grace of the God of that Scripture.  He is the One Who has given Himself to us in Christ, and He does so through His Spirit’s blessing upon the Word.

In what good-working have you been in danger of growing weary? Where can you get perseverance for it? How can the good-working be effective? How do your habits show this hope?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for giving us such good work to do as loving one another and helping one another obey You. Forgive us, when we either slouch into accommodating each other’s sin, or else lazily write each other off as enemies. Grant that we would recognize Your grace, and indeed Yourself, as our only hope, and make us to persevere in doing good, we ask in Your Name, Lord Jesus Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH1B “How Blessed the Man”

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