The Christian Hope and the Daily Task

MEMORY VERSE: “Be not weary in well-doing.” —II Thessalonians 3:13

II THESSALONIANS 2:1, 2; 3:6-16

IN OUR lesson the apostle emphasizes the glaring mistake of the brethren at Thessalonica with the respect to the coming (parousia—presence) of the Lord. This mistake had led to other errors that had an adverse effect on their Christian life, and thus it became a serious matter with Paul.

In an effort to correct this error the apostle reminds the brethren of some things that they already knew from his past ministry—that there must be a series of things come to pass before the parousia. First, there must be a great falling away; and then, the rising to power of the man of sin; and finally, a general condition of unbelief and a time of judgment of the ungodly.

None of these things had come to pass, and therefore their expectation about the presence of Christ was unfounded. But even though this was a disappointment, the apostle admonishes them not to lose their confidence, but to “stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”—II Thess. 2:15

The point of the apostle’s emphases is that nothing should weigh against the facts—that they should not be “shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter … as that the day of Christ is at hand,” (II Thess. 2:2) but with calmness of mind observe the times and seasons and direct their efforts toward establishing themselves in the faith and “in every good word and work.”

The belief in the imminent return of Christ and the establishment of the kingdom had a very adverse effect upon a particular group of brethren. These neglected their daily work, depending for their support upon the generosity of their brethren. They were idlers, going about making trouble, interfering in the affairs of others.

Although impelled by an enthusiasm for the kingdom, nevertheless their motive was wrong, because this kind of behavior was directly opposed to the teaching of the Gospel, which requires a Christian to manifest a spirit of sacrifice and a desire to serve rather than he served. Their conduct represented a worldly or carnal spirit, which shows itself in selfishness and a desire to be served.

It was to set a good example that the apostle, when he was with them, supported himself. “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you: neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.”—II Thess. 3:7-9

This same spirit of worldliness was manifested among the disciples when James and John were seeking a preferred position in the kingdom (Mark 10:35-40), and Jesus admonished his disciples, “But whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”—Mark 10:43-45

The Apostle John, in I John 3:16, welds Jesus’ statement into the life pattern of the true Christian: “Hereby perceive we the love … because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

This is why we have been called; that we might lay our lives down in serving the brethren and the Lord, and his truth. And if faithful in this, the Heavenly Father accounts such a dedicated life as an acceptable sacrifice and part of the offering for sin. The Apostle Paul expresses his life of sacrifice for the brethren thus: “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.”—Col. 1:24

The apostle’s concern over the beginning of a worldly attitude among some of the brethren is understandable and his admonition to the faithful, “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing.” is more meaningful to us.—II Thess. 3:13

Dawn Bible Students Association
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