By Judy Laredo

First, let’s start with a quick overview of 2nd Thessalonians:
Paul is writing to the church to encourage them as they were facing heavy persecution. He encouraged them to continue to STAND FAST and HOLD the traditions in 2 Thessalonians 2 as we heard last week from Diane Caston. Again, STAND FAST means to “not move away from the truth of the gospel.”

Colossians 1:23 (NKJV) "if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister."

And the word "traditions" Paul used was “not referring to ‘man-made’ religious ideas that are not based on the Word of God" (Wiersbe). If we STAND, then we can HOLD. This word HOLD means to hold fast, to grasp firmly. We are to hold God's truth firmly (and not be careless with His word).

Secondly, Paul was writing because some of the believers were being troubled by false reports that the rapture had already happened. Paul wanted to enlighten them and correct their misunderstanding about the imminence of the Lord's return and our gathering together.

And thirdly, Paul wanted to exhort and command those who had stopped working, to work. Of course, Paul’s writings exhort and encourage us today. Therefore, we too must STAND FAST and HOLD FIRMthe word of God.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV) "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

PRAY FOR US: 2 Thessalonians 3:1–5

In this section of his letter, Paul is asking for prayer for himself, Silvanus, and Timothy. Silvanus is the Roman name for Silas.

In verse 1, we read the Apostle Paul, this man of great faith and works, is asking for prayer for himself and his companions. In fact, Paul asked for prayer in almost all his epistles: Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 6:18-19; Philippians 1:19; Colossians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; and here in 2 Thessalonians 3:1.

Paul also asked for prayer that the word of the Lord may run swiftly. In other words, that the word of God would ‘run it’s race; spread rapidly with no obstruction, without hindrance and without hesitation.’ We know that scripture tells us that Jesus often went away alone to pray. How much more should we?

Like the Thessalonians, we, as a church, should be praying for the success of the Word of God through all our pastors and teachers at CCAG. We also need to pray for hearts to be open to receive the word, for ears to be unplugged and for minds to understand. We need to pray that the word of God would run free from distractions

(i.e., cell phones ringing, people talking, etc.).

Acts 6:7 (NKJV) "Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith."

As well as offering up prayers for the safety and protection of the messenger in addition to the effectiveness of the Word being taught. Paul says, pray for us. Surround us with prayer.

It should be the same for our pastors (and all ministries here at CCAG). We should surround them with prayer and support them through prayer. True prayer is hard work, and we need the Holy Spirit to help us. We need to ask God to help us to pray without ceasing!

Paul requested prayer that the word of the Lord would be glorified. Meaning that the word would be honored, magnified, renowned. It’s to extol, to celebrate it, to render it excellent.

Acts 13:48 (ESV) "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."

In verse 2, Paul also asked for prayer that they may be delivered (rescued and preserved) from unreasonable and wicked men. Paul knew that everywhere he went, he would face persecution.

Romans 15:31 (NKJV) “that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,”

2 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV) “He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”

We too should be praying for our pastors to be delivered from unreasonable and wicked people. From people who just want to argue. And to be delivered from slander, from deceit, from spiritual warfare and even from their own temptations. And how much more so today as we know we are in the last days (the last hour!).

“For not all have faith.” That is, biblical faith, belief in the Gospel message, or conviction of TRUTH. They do not believe “that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things, the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Blue Letter Bible).

In Barclay's commentary, he writes, "we can be certain that Paul said it not cynically but sorrowfully. Once again we see the tremendous responsibility of free-will. We can use it to open our hearts and we can use it to shut them. Faith's appeal is not selective, it goes out to every man; but the heart of man can refuse to respond." Chuck Missler said, "Biblical faith is an unconditional surrender to Jesus Christ (it's a relationship not religion)."

Yet Paul reminds us, in verse 3, that “the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”

FAITHFUL: He is trustworthy. You can rely upon Him. He will establish your walk and your life in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NKJV) "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."

1 Corinthians 1:9 (NKJV) "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

ESTABLISH: To make stable, place firmly, to strengthen, set fast, fixed.

2 Corinthians 1:21 (ESV) And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,”

2 Thessalonians 2:17 (ESV) “comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”

GUARD YOU: To protect, to keep you from being snatched away, to have an eye upon you, watch over you and protect you from evil itself.

Psalm 121:7 (NKJV) "The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul."

Jude 1:24 (NKJV) “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,”

In verse 4, the word confidence speaks of trust and reliance. And, of course, Paul is not speaking about their own efforts, but in Christ Jesus who gives us the grace and strength and power to live for Him and follow His commands. God is working in us and working through us. “Both that you do" (what you are already doing now) "and will do" (what you will do in the future).

Philippians 1:6 (ESV) "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

The word COMMAND in verse 4 is like a military command: to do, to order you, to charge you. This is the secondtime Paul used the word command. It is used 5 times in Paul's letters to the Thessalonians: 1 Thessalonians 4:11; here in 2 Thessalonians 3:4 ; and again, in verse 6; verse 10; and verse 12. Jesus said, "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" (John 15:14, NKJV).

In verse 5, the word patience speaks of: Steadfastness, endurance, perseverance. This word patience describes the characteristic of a person, who, through even the greatest trials and sufferings, does not waver from their faith and reverence towards God. The prayer is that their hearts may be directed to love God and to display the patience of Christ. To be Christ-like.

James 1:3-4 (NKJV) "3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

The Pulpit Commentary reads, "The Thessalonians were exposed to persecutions, and therefore Paul the apostle prays that they might be directed into the patience of Christ, as this would enable them to bear all their sufferings with composure."

WARNING AGAINST IDLENESS: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12

In this next section of scripture, Paul addresses bad behavior and bad thinking and warns them against bad living. Living in idleness. Paul is dealing again, as he had in the previous letter, with those who took the wrong attitude regarding the second coming of Jesus. In 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 and 5:14, Paul had already urged them how to "walk properly" and admonish those who were not walking according to rule. They were not walking in the Spirit.

In verse 6, again, the word COMMAND is used for the 3 rd time. "Command is a word with a ring of authority" (David Guzik). Paul commanded the brethren “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a solemn reference to the high authority of this command. Paul isn't making a suggestion, this is a command in the name of the Lord. This is serious!

1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NKJV) "Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;"

The Thessalonians were warned to withdraw from those who are persistently walking (practicing) in a disorderly manner. The word withdraw is to avoid, remove oneself from, depart, keep away, keep aloof. Now, this is not directed toward the weak or new believer that may have slipped once or twice (and hates that they did). No, this is about a rebellious person who claims to be a believer.

And the command to withdraw is not just pertaining only to those who refuse to work. In 1 Corinthians 5:11, Paul wrote, "But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people" (NIV).

However, our withdrawing from them isn't to condemn the person, but to bring out repentance and salvation.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (NIV) "9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."

The word disorderly speaks of being undisciplined, unruly, like a military term “out of rank.” These Thessalonians were walking in idleness, and not walking according to rule.

Romans 16:17 (ESV) "I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them."

In verses 7 and 9, Paul said to follow their example. It’s another way of saying, imitate us, as an example, a model or as a pattern. Paul, Silas, and Timothy did not come to the Thessalonians to take advantage of them, they came to share Christ with them. They gave themselves as examples to the Thessalonians on how they ought to live. They worked hard to provide their own food so as not to be a burden to the people. They worked hard with a willingness to sacrifice. They worked hard to meet their own needs and to help meet the needs of others.

Hebrews 13:7 (ESV) “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”

3 John 1:11 (NKJV) “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.”

Barclay, in his commentary, said, "a tree is known by its fruit and a man is known by his work."

Again, in verse 10, we see the word COMMAND. This is the 4 th time the word command has been used. And we know that Paul isn't talking about people that “cannot” work but to those who "will not" work.

Proverbs 13:4 (NKJV) "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

I believe it was Warren Wiersbewho said, "You can pray and ask the Lord to supply your need like the raven did bringing food to Elijah. But don’t be surprised in your praying time you hear God say, get a job!"

And finally, in verse 12, the word COMMAND is used for the 5 th and time in Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Again, Paul is exhorting them (instructing them, encouraging them, entreating them) in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And he is giving this admonition to those who are unwilling to work, not to those who are unable to work. There is a difference between an unwillingness and an inability to work.

Paul had to deal with those who "took the wrong attitude to the second coming" (Barclay). People just stopped working and waited for Jesus to come. Barclay said, "they waited in excited idleness for Christ to come."

Paul needed to correct wrong behavior and wrong thinking. Paul is encouraging and exhorting those in Thessalonica to obey the word of the Lord. Pastor Jack Hibbssaid, "God never calls believers to a spectator type of Christianity while awaiting the rapture."

1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV) “And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”

1 Corinthians 7:19 (NKJV) “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.”

In Holman's Bible Handbook, it states, "there are only two kinds of people: those who have received the Word of God and those who have rejected it”. Believers and non-believers!

James 1:22 (NKJV) "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV) “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”

We are encouraged (instructed) to be busy about the Lord's work. In John Walvoord's commentary, he said,

"Idleness is fertile ground in which the devil can sow seeds."

Matthew 13:25 (NKJV) "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way."

As mentioned earlier, Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians to encourage, to enlighten and to exhort the church to obey the word of the Lord and to continue in the work of the Lord. Therefore, true faith, trust, and obedience in the word of the Lord will bring about a pattern of good works. (Good fruit!)

And that means the same for us today. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we too should have a good "works" ethic. So, what is a good "works" ethic? Here are a few scriptures, compiled from different commentaries, to help guide us in doing good works.


Ecclesiastes 9:10a (ESV) “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”

Ephesians 6:7-8 (NLT) "7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free."

Colossians 3:23-25 (NKJV) “23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”


Matthew 5:16 (NKJV) "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."


Matthew 6:19-21; 24 (NKJV) “19 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also . . . ; 24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Mark 2:27 (NKJV) "And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."

In closing, during a Children's Ministry Conference I attended earlier this year, in one of the workshops the instructor said, "you need to take the word 'volunteer' or ‘helper’ out of your vocabulary and replace it with 'servant.' "

The instructor reminded us that we are not helpers or volunteers; we are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, a "volunteer or helper" is more than likely to take their responsibilities a little less seriously. I was reminded how the bible described a hireling. And it's not a good description.

John 10:13 (NKJV) "The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.”

According to the bible, a hireling does not care. So, as servants of the Lord, we need to remember that, though we serve in this church, it is not Calvary Chapel we're serving. We are serving the Lord Jesus Christ. (And it’s a lot harder to “call in sick” to Jesus!)


1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT) “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”