This week we continue our sermon series entitled “Refocus”. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Nathan Gordon
The situation –
Paul’s teachings were misunderstood and applied out of context. (2 Thess 2:1-12)
Communication can be challenging in any setting, whether it’s at home, work, church, or in relationships. This was true even in the first-century church, where Paul’s teachings about the return of Jesus and the day of judgment were misunderstood. Many believed that Jesus would return during their lifetime, and as a result, they stopped working and waited for his return. In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul addressed this confusion and urged believers to get back to work both spiritually and practically for God’s glory. Additionally, Paul warned the believers to be cautious of idle and disruptive members who were causing trouble in the church. Some of these individuals had stopped working and spent their time gossiping and creating chaos.
Quote – Great mischief comes from attempts to steady other people’s altars.Mary Baker Eddy
The Complication –
Idleness leads to a lack of productivity and a loss of passion.
Ch 3:v6-8 (See others: 1 Cor 5:4, Rom 16:17, 1 Cor 11:2)
- The church in Thessaloniki believed they were doing the right thing by abstaining from work and waiting for Jesus’ imminent return.
- However, they had misinterpreted Paul’s teachings, which led to idleness and gossiping.
- It is a misconception that women are more prone to gossip than men since Paul did not single out any gender. Both Men and Women can become busybodies and create chaos in the church.
Challenge – As followers of Christ, we should prayerfully consider why we may want to withdraw from volunteering or helping with a particular mission or ministry. While our reasons may not be as drastic as the Thessalonian church, we need to be open to exploring new ways to serve God’s purposes. If we feel that God is leading us to stop working in a specific area, we should not allow our passion and motivation for advancing God’s kingdom to fade away due to age, work commitments, or lack of resources.
The Resolution & Celebration –
Refocus your passion towards making a difference for Christ. Ch 3:v11-15
As for other matters, brothers, and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you. Ch 3v1
- Paul commands the busybodies by the authority of Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. (Get back to work)
- Paul himself demonstrated his strong work ethic by working as a tentmaker to support himself financially while visiting churches.
- Furthermore, Paul encouraged the church to view secular work not as separate from ministry but rather as an opportunity to be a witness for Christ in all aspects of life.
- Paul encouraged the church to warn the believers who were idle but stressed the importance of not treating them as an enemy.
- There was hope for the idle busybodies that it was possible to regain their focus and passion for work.
Challenge – It is possible that we may have lost our passion for ministry work and serving God’s kingdom with our gifts and abilities. One sign of this may be an attitude of apathy or a loss of interest. However, we can take inspiration from fellow Christians and leaders who can encourage us back to Christian service for the glory of God, just like the Thessalonian church. Let us refocus our hearts on serving God with our gifts and abilities and let us not lose sight of the importance of Christian service for the kingdom of God.
The church has a lot of important work to do for the kingdom of God, and we should not waste our time on idleness and gossiping. Instead, let us refocus our passion on the things that bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ, such as winning the lost for Christ, discipleship, prayer, fellowship, and much more.
Snippet from an old song (Jesus use me)
Jesus use me.
Oh Lord please don’t refuse me,
For surely there’s a work that I can do.
Even though it’s humble,
Lord help my will to crumble.
Though the cross be great, I’ll work for you.
- How do verses 1-5 portray the role and importance of prayer in the spread of the Gospel?
- During the sermon, it was mentioned that some in the Thessalonian church had misinterpreted Paul’s first letter concerning the return of Jesus Christ. Read 1 Thess 4:13-18 & Ch 5:1-11. Discuss how Paul’s words could have been taken out of context as some do today.
- What are the possible effects of a local church consumed with busybodies and idleness?
- As believers, we should work hard because we know that whatever we do, we are working for Jesus Christ, not for man. How, or in what way, should this transform the way that we look at work from day to day?
- How would you apply the teaching about not associating with disruptive individuals in your life? (See v6)