Journal July 11, 2021
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-1 2
WARNING AGAINST IDLENESS
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which 1he received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Nowthose who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
Vs. 6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.Paul solemnly gives the saved Thessalonians a charge, we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ or by His authority. That you withdraw from every brother who walks ataktos disorderly or with slackness. To stello withdraw, in the middle voice, signifies ‘to shrink from a person or thing’ from everyone walking in this lawless way. Nothing like excommunication is set forth here—the church was to avoid all conversation with these disorderly neighbors. They are not to thrust them out of church fellowship, but they were to avoid all fellowship with them, showing in this way their decided disapproval of their inconsistencies which bring dishonor on the faith. The best way I can describe the situation, the individual or individuals are gadding about the neighborhood, not working anything but their mouth, busybodies, tending to everyone else’s business, marking the time of day so they would know the time to come back for an invitation to eat a meal with them next time. If they did not get an invitation, they had something else to complain about.
Vs. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you. Paul confirms and illustrates the wisdom and necessity of the previous command—you ‘yourselves know it’ we need not tell you now. You know how you ought to live, imitating us. Our lives bring you under obligation to copy us. On this point the reference is not the imitation of Christian graces but this special aspect of the apostle’s conduct you know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you. Paul appeals to his own conduct and to their estimate of it. He states what he felt assured they would all agree on.
Vs. 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. The food that we ate was not a didomi gift from any of you, we earned it for ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 9:14 the Lord has commanded those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel, but Paul was fearful of comments that could be made regarding him freeloading, and he gave no room for such examples to be made—he worked night and day and maintained himself by honest industry and manual toil that we might not be burdensome to any of you.
Vs. 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. We found out in the first epistle Paul knew of those that quit working because they waited for the Lord’s Coming, he gave them knowledge of events that must take place before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. It appears some enjoyed living as busy bodies roaming around and getting a free meal. He proceeds to tell the saved Thessalonians that he and his associates have the authority to require their physical needs be met; however, they wanted to make themselves an example of how you should follow us. A practical purpose, one of immediate necessity, was ever before the apostle in all his actions. There needed to be an example of honest, unashamed labor in that church, some members were prone to idleness, and the apostle in self-denying care set about correcting it by his working to utter weariness toiling day and night at hours when other individuals rested. He was in no way ashamed of his tentmaking or of the special form of it to which he had been trained.
Vs. 10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. It appears during the three weeks Paul was with them he commanded them regarding this matter, even when we were with you, we commanded you. It may be there was so much crammed into that short time they just forgot? But no, Paul says we labored and earned our bread, forgoing our just claim; that was our example, and this was also our familiar command—we were commanding you: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. The phrase can be given in the converse, since everyone does eat, therefore let everyone labor. It harks back to God’s command given in Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return. The form here is proverbial as the expression of a universal law. If one can work and refuses to, if he will not dig and is ashamed to beg, then he must starve or steal. Now there are exceptions that must be allowed, when a person has a physical inability or the economy is so bad work cannot be found, some measure of relief must be found, but only in these exceptions. (Another reason Socialism is bad and ungodly, everybody is going to be alike, if you don’t work, they will feed you, hello slavery!) Our Lord taught us to pray, Give us this day our daily bread.
Vs. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Paul tells the Thessalonians that word is getting around about their being ataktos disorderly with slackness (military term: like soldiers not marching in step), in other words they are not a credit to their church, those that labor with them, especially the Lord Jesus Christ. When this type of gossip gets started it is usually, we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, you know that’s wrong, what are you all doing about it? I hear that Mr. So and so is, not working at all and has become a busybody. Of course, when gossip gets started it usually has an ulterior motive—why they put on such airs, but they cannot even be faithful; remember Paul had heaped praise upon the Thessalonians—now look at them, this kind of information cuts to the quick, what have I done wrong?
Vs. 12Nowthose who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. Paul ends this instruction with this instruction. Those who examine themselves and find deficiencies have much to do to correct the matter in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not a small thing to the welfare of the church and the progress of the gospel. The guilty were to work with quietness and eat their own bread. They were to work and not go loafing around—intermeddling disturbers doing everything but what they ought to be doing. They were to find a right occupation and work at it with quietness. Their life and conduct were to be in contrast to what they had been. So far from idling they were to work; so far from overworking themselves in laborious trifling, they were to toil with quietness—with a tranquil mind without any unnecessary bustle. In working in this way, they were to eat their own bread. What is theirs as having quietly and honestly earned it according to the repeated injunction and after the example of the apostle who did not eat any man’s bread without paying for it and laboring and travail night and day, that he might not be chargeable to any of them.
AGAINST WHOM DO WE MURMUR?
And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord. Exodus 16:6
It is easier to murmur and complain when people do so against other human beings, rather than against the Lord. The people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron. But their rebellion was against Jehovah Himself. Their murmuring was about their living conditions—they missed the flesh pots and vegetables they had eaten in Egypt.
The parallel between the Israelites and professed believers today in churches is quite similar. The cause of murmuring among God’s professed people is usually about things which in themselves are often mundane. With the Israelites, it was the lack of the food they desired and were used to, with professing Christians today, it might be jealousy over who teaches Sunday School, who works in the church kitchen, who is the better cook at fellowship dinners or how a pastor preaches, changes some cherished action or seems to exercise his authority in a given matter.
If the church is God’s church and the work of the church is God’s work, then much murmuring is against the Lord Himself. The very ones who claim to be righteous and mature as believers are often the very ones who rebel against God-ordained authority. May our religion not be so short sighted!
Younger Catechism Question 105
Q: What is the mode of baptism?
A: Immersion in water.
23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.