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You Can Keep At It      2 Thess. 3:1-18      Feb. 22, 2009

                                    

Introduction 

        In the past 8 months the church I pastor celebrated with a faithful lady on her 90th birthday and she served all the Lord all her adult life. Then in January we celebrated with a 90 year old man who served faithfully all his adult life. Both of these members are faithful attenders to all the services. They give the testimony You Can Keep At It.

 

1.    You Can Keep At It Through Specific . . Prayer. 3:1-2

       A.   Keep At It By Praying for A . . Rapid Spreading of the Message. 3:1 

               1 Finally, pray for us, brothers, that the Lord's message may spread rapidly and be honored, just

               as it was with you,

 

       B.    Keep At It By Praying for A . . Release Of Spiritual Men. 3:2

2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not all have faith.


        Paul encourages specific prayer for the rapid spreading of God’s message and his personal release from wicked-evil men. Did you realize Paul was the only New Testament writer who requested the people to whom he wrote to pray for him? Of course Paul wrote more than any other writer.

 

v 1-2       Why did Paul want them to pray for him? ______________________________________________


               _________________________________________________________________________________

 

2.    You Can Keep At It Through . . Persistent Faithfulness. 3:3-5

       A.   Keep At It With A Persistent Faithfulness . . Displayed By The Lord. 3:3 

3 But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one.

 

       B.    Keep At It With A Persistent Faithfulness . . Demonstrated By the People. 3:4

4 We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do what we command.

 

       C.   Keep At It With A Persistent Faithfulness . . Directed By the Lord. 3:5

5 May the Lord direct your hearts to God's love and Christ's endurance.


        In Thessalonica persistence is displayed by the Lord, demonstrated by the people, and then further directed by the Lord. Paul’s confidence in the Lord and His people find expression in God’s protection, the peoples obedience, and God’s direction of their hearts. That represents quite a compliment in the confidence of Paul. It is very nice when leading Christians expect other Christians to demonstrate the qualities of Christ. Hopefully those who know us would expect those qualities from us. Amen?

 

v 3          How is the Lord faithful? ____________________________________________________________

 

v 4          What kind of confidence does Paul have? _______________________________________________

 

v 5          What two areas did Paul want their hearts directed? _______________________________________


 

3.    You Can Keep At It Through . . Pursuing Responsible Behavior. 3:6-12

       A.   Keep At It By Pursuing Responsible Behavior Through . . Obedience. 3:6-7

               6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every

       brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us. 7 For you yourselves

       know how you must imitate us: we were not irresponsible among you;

 

       B.    Keep At It By Pursuing Responsible Behavior Through . . Occupation. 3:8-10

8 we did not eat anyone's bread free of charge; instead, we labored and toiled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 It is not that we don't have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us. 10 In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: "If anyone isn't willing to work, he should not eat."

 

       C.   Keep At It By Pursuing Responsible Behavior Through . . Objections to Laziness. 3:11-12

11 For we hear that there are some among you who walk irresponsibly, not working at all, but

       interfering with the work of others. 12 Now we command and exhort such people, by the Lord Jesus

       Christ, that quietly working, they may eat their own bread.

 

v 6          About what did Paul Command these believers? __________________________________________ 

 

               _________________________________________________________________________________

 

v 7          Why would Paul asked them to imitate him? ____________________________________________

 

v 8          Why did Paul work night and day? _____________________________________________________

 

v 9          Why didn’t Paul ask them to support him? _______________________________________________

 

v 10        What does Paul say about someone who is not willing to work? ______________________________

 

v 11        What had Paul heard? _______________________________________________________________

 

v 12        From what authority did Paul speak to these people? ______________________________________


        Christians can keep at it through their obedience, occupations, and objections to laziness. Paul gives several (7) strong statements for those who are lackadaisical and lazy in their work habits. In verse 6 he commands withdrawal from them. Verse 11 states “if they don’t work they don’t eat”. In verse 12 again he gives commands about work, in verse 13 they must not grow weary in doing their work, in verse 14 not to associate with these people, and in verse 15 to warn them as a brother. If all of the men followed Paul’s admonition these statements would not have been necessary. The occupation of all men and the objections to laziness even surfaces today. Recently I heard a person who works at the welfare office say 99% of their clients abuse the system. If you really want to keep at it in reference to sharing the gospel message you will set an example in your work habits.

 

4.    You Can Keep At It Through . . Persevering In Doing Good. 3:13-18 

       A.   Keep At It Persevering Through . . Faithfulness. 3:13

               13 Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

 

       B.    Keep At It Persevering Through . . Frankness. 3:14-15

14 And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don't associate

       with him, so that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet don't treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

 

       C.   Keep At It Persevering Even Through . . Final addresses. 3:16-18 

16 May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

       17 This greeting is in my own hand—Paul. This is a sign in every letter; this is how I write. 18 The grace

       of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. HCSB

 

       To encourage the Thessalonians Paul encouraged perseverance through faithfulness, frankness, and a final address. Christians need never grow weary in doing good, but sometimes we get our eyes on things and people and some temporarily question their faithfulness. When the focus gets back on the Lord we receive the motivation to again persevere. Sometimes, like Paul, we need to be frank with a disobedient brother or sister. Perhaps all of us need a frank rebuke at times! In the final verses Paul gives his final address to them and pronounces a blessing of grace upon them. In grace You Can Keep At It. Amen? Amen!                                                   

 

v 13-15  What advice does Paul give?   _________________________________________________________

 

v 16       How did Paul want them to get peace? __________________________________________________

 

v 17       Who wrote this letter? ______________________________________________________________

 

What do these verses say to you? ____________________________________________________________