II Thessalonians 3:6-18
If a problem is not dealt with it usually doesn’t go away...instead it gets worse.
Ill.—small splinter in finger is just irritating at first, but eventually it will become infected and much more serious over time. And some refuse to go to the Dr. for symptoms, hoping they’ll just go away. I’ve known people who won’t open a certain bill that comes in the mail because they don’t want to have that pressure on them.
The same is true in God’s congregation. Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. Sweeping things under the rug is a poor idea...we must face the music.
The Thessalonians were good people, but a few bad apples were spoiling the bunch. I mentioned in an earlier message that some got lazy when they heard the teachings about the imminent return of Christ. They took it as an ‘immediate’ thing.
Ill.—Pastors can opt out of paying into Social Security as a benefit. But if you do you must make your own retirement...not like some pastors who have pocketed the money, counting on Jesus to come before they grow old. I know many of them who can barely get by today.
I expect the Lord soon, but I’m preparing for my retirement. I know good prophecy teachers who see this current economic crisis and other signs of the times and say they are surprised each morning the sun comes back up...and yet if you look at their calendars they have meetings booked for the next few years! And that’s wise.
Some of these characters in Thessalonica said praise the Lord, Jesus is coming, we’re not paying our bills anymore, and if we need something, we’ll get help from one of our brothers...over here or over there, someone will take us in...it’s only for a short while!
3 times we see this word disorderly in our passage.
v. 11 Here’s the definition: not only do they not work, but they don’t mind interrupting your work either! Have you ever known someone like that?
Are you lazy? Here’s how to tell:
Joke—a businessman drove down a country road where he saw 3 country boys lying under a shade tree. He got out and said, I’ll give $10 to the laziest man here. The first man jumped up and said, it’s me. “No, you’re not.” The 2nd man reached out his hand for it. “Not you.” The 3rd man said, sir, if you don’t mind, roll me over and stuff that in my pocket. Ding ding ding, we have a winner!
Joke—what’s white and sleeps 3? City work truck!
Joke—2 highway department workers got on site and realized they forgot their shovels. They radioed the foreman and asked him to bring their shovels. He said, be right there boys, and you can lean on each other ‘til I get there!
I’m sorry to say that preachers have the reputation of being lazy. They say we only work Sundays! We need to overcome this. We can’t ask our people to do what we are not willing to do ourselves. I have to exercise on purpose, because sitting at a desk or over a meal w/ somebody will get me out of shape in a hurry.
Joke—a man stood staring at a tombstone in a cemetery for a long time. Someone asked him why. He said, look at what it says, “Here lies a preacher and a very diligent man.” “Yeah, so what?” “I’m just trying to figure out why they’d bury two fellas in the same grave!”
Ill.—W.A. Criswell’s father used to love to ask his granddaughter, “Where does your daddy work?” because she would always reply, “Grandpa, you know daddy doesn’t work, he’s a preacher!”
We can laugh at laziness, but the Bible has much to say about this as a sin. There’s 2 words in the Bible for this: Slothful and Sluggard. We’ll see both in a few passages now, and then we’ll see the opposite, which is diligence.
A lazy person is irritating to his / her employer. Many people don’t do what you expect, only what you INSPECT.
Lazy people want things that they are not willing to work for. They are itching for things they are not willing to scratch for.
Ill.—I asked my dad if I can have a car. He said “Sure.” “How do I get it?” He said, “I don’t know.” [Insurance? Gas? Repairs?]
Lazy people look for excuses not to work. And if you look you’re sure to find it. If it’s not too cold or too hot then maybe it’s just right...and if so, you wanna do something else!
Lazy people are mentioned alongside the drunkard and the glutton. [‘Drowsiness’] What do all 3 have in common? A lack of self control.
Diligence brings you to the attention of the right people and opens doors of opportunities. It’s not the government’s job to give you an opportunity. It’s your job to earn it!
Diligence is the Biblical road to prosperity. Prosperity is not a right, and it doesn’t come from piety or faith. It comes from hard work.
Diligence develops a creative and resourceful attitude.
Some people have the false idea that the world owes them something and has been unfair to them. But Paul says, I am a debtor to all men. We owe it to them to tell them the truth, as I’m doing to you tonight.
Back to our text:
2 Thess. 3:10 doesn’t say ‘if any COULD not work, neither should he eat’ but, ‘if any WOULD not work...’ I’m glad our government is sensitive to those who are truly disabled, or to ladies whose deadbeat husbands abandoned them and the kids. But when able bodied people draw subsidies simply because they can, it’s sin.
Paul tells it like it is, and it’s a challenge to us all as we strive to be the ideal church, the ideal servants, and to walk the ideal walk until He comes!
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