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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
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Pastor's Pen - December 14, 2007
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December 14, 2007

II Thessalonians 1-3
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II Thessalonians
Chapter 1
  1. Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
  2. Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
  4. So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
  5. Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
  6. Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
  7. And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
  8. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
  9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
  10. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
  11. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
  12. That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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II Thessalonians
Chapter 2
  1. Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
  2. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
  3. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
  4. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
  5. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
  6. And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
  7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
  8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
  9. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
  10. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
  11. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
  12. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
  13. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
  14. Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  15. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
  16. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
  17. Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

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II Thessalonians
Chapter 3
  1. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
  2. And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
  3. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
  4. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.
  5. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
  6. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
  7. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
  8. Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
  9. Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
  10. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
  11. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
  12. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
  13. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
  14. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
  15. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
  16. Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
  17. The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.
  18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
    (The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Athens.)

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Thought for the day:
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 II Thessalonians 3:6-15 gives us some principles concerning personal separation. Verse 6 opens with the injunction to withdraw from every brother that walks disorderly. This is not simply a suggestion, but is a command from God. The word "disorderly" applies to the wayward believer's lifestyle. It literally means to be irregular, as in not behaving in the way that a "regular" Christian ought to behave. Paul helps to define the term by stating that being disorderly includes living "not after the tradition which he received of us." In verse 14 he puts it this way,

"And if any man obey not our word...".
Paul's teachings, as based on the Word of God, set a standard for behavior that should not be deviated from. It is also worth noting here that Paul's actions supported his teachings. In verse 7 he reminds the church that he did not behave in a disorderly manner while he was with them. Paul was not a hypocrite: he practiced what he preached.

 What does it mean to "withdraw"? Verse 14 says that it means to "have no company with him." This would mean that there is no longer to be any socializing with the individual, whether at church, at home, or out in the work place. I believe that any contact that does take place should revolve exclusively around attempts to bring the individual back to the Lord. Once the appeal to repentance has been rejected, the communication for that moment should be ended.

 While withdrawing from a brother may seem harsh, the reason for this kind of action is given to us in verse 14, "that he may be ashamed". If someone is living in open sin, and yet all those who know him and supposedly love him act like there is nothing wrong, then what motivation does the erring brother have to get right with God? Certainly the threat of divine punishment looms over him, but unfortunately many Christians don't think about that. They are preoccupied with the here and now. Therefore, Paul teaches that fellow Christians need to make the backslider's current condition so difficult that he will be compelled to repent of his deeds. Paul does remind the Thessalonian believers that this man that they are dealing with is a brother in Christ (15). He is not their enemy, even though the actions that he is taking are harming the work of the Lord and bringing a reproach upon His church. He is to be warned based on love, not scorned as an enemy.

 While individuals need to practice separation, I believe in this passage that the church as a whole is being led to withdraw themselves. According to verse 14 the church is to "mark" the man, which means that he is to be pointed out. This could only be done as an organization. Thus, church discipline would also be used here.

 Something else that is interesting here is the specific sin problem that Paul is referring to. According to verse 11 there were people in the church who were refusing to work. Because they were church members, apparently the rest of the congregation felt responsible for them and provided food for them. Since these backsliders now had so much time on their hands, they became busybodies who intruded into the lives of those who were trying to work to support their both own families and the lazy ones. Paul had no time for this kind of behavior. He made it very clear that "if any would not work, neither should he eat" (10). He gives his own testimony that, even though he, as an apostle, would have had the right to simply live off the benevolence of the church, he chose to work so that he could set a proper example. He exhorts these slothful Christians to work, be quiet, and eat meals that they have worked for, not meals that they have begged off of their fellow church members.

 In verse 13 Paul tells the faithful believers to "be not weary in well doing." Sometimes it gets difficult to so the right thing. It is hard to work for your food and work for your Savior at the same time. It gets more difficult when you see other Christians who refuse to do right and force you to pick up the load for them. Even separation can be taxing. Don't give up. Keep doing what the Scriptures say, and God will bless you for it.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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