Southern Christian University

A Study of II Thessalonians

James A. Turner 


Please read all of the references. They will help you to get a fuller understanding.


II Thessalonians was evidently written just a few months, probably not more than six months after the first epistle. It looks like there are two primary reasons why Paul needed to write this second epistle.  One primary reason is that they were still anxious about the second advent of Christ, and Paul knew that Christ was not coming until there had been a great falling away, so he needed to further teach them as he does in chapter two about that, and he needed to further instruct them about those who were not working. Of course there are other reasons as to why he needed to write the letter, but it looks like that these were the primary reasons. They still had a big problem in the church at Thessalonica.  There were those who had never worked for a living and even after all the instruction that Paul had given them while he was with them, and in the  first epistle, he had told them again to go to work, "But we exhort you, brethren, that you abound more and more.  And that you study to be quiet, and do your own business and to work with your own hands, even as we charged you that you may walk becomingly towards them that are without and may have need of nothing” (I Thessalonians 4:10-11).  Some were still not working for a living, and he needed to instruct the church to withdraw from those who were “walking disorderly” by not working for a living.  At the same time they were not to count them as an enemy, but admonish them as a brother.


Okay, notice that Timothy and Silas are still with Paul, and Paul is still at Corinth on that Second Missionary Journey, and the date is about 52-53 A.D. He stayed there for a year and a half. “Paul and Sylvanus and Timothy unto the church of Thessalonians and in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."    I believe this is just the same as the salutation, to

I Thessalonians. "We are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren, even as it is meet for that your faith groweth exceedingly and the love of each one of you toward one another aboundeth."  Isn't that a wonderful report that Paul gives us about the brethren at Thessalonica?  Just to say that their faith was growing would be a good accommodation, but your faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of each one of you toward one another aboundeth.  They were really making process!  And anytime members of the church are faithful to the Lord, that is the way it will go.  Their faith will grow and their love will increase.  Their love, as stated here, toward one another aboundeth. 


Verse four,  "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God."  Remember that as far as the name church of God is just as scriptural and right as church of Christ.  What belongs to God belongs to Christ.  What belongs to Christ belongs to God. "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith."  A better word for patience would be steadfastness or perseverance.  "For your steadfastness, and perseverance, and faith, and all of your persecutions and in the inflictions which you endure (1:4).” In the New American Standard Version, verse four in the New International Version reads, “Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. There was still great persecution against the church, but they were enduring the persecution.  "Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God."  The fact that the ungodly were persecuting the Christians, Paul says is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God because he is going to hold them accountable.  "To the end that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which you also suffered."  Remember II Timothy 3:12, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."   God has ordained that we are going to suffer persecution, but he is going to reward us for enduring that persecution properly.  "For which you also suffer.  If so be that it is a righteous thing with God to recompense affliction to them that afflict you." 


Well, it is absolutely a righteous thing with God to recompense affliction to them that afflict Christians.  I believe it's when Christ opened ‑‑ Let's see. I am reading from the Revelation chapter six verse nine – It is talking about when Christ opened the book that had the seven seals.  "And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.  And they cried out with a great voice saying, ‘How long, O Master, the holy and true, does thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth."  If you have not noticed from the book of Revelation that expression is used, I believe, seven times in the book, "Them that dwell on the earth."  If you will read all of them in the context, you will see that it is talking about those that are unrighteous, those that are earthbound in their thinking and in their living (Revelations 3:1,6:10,8:12, 13:8, 13:14, 17:2, 17:8). And so the righteous, those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus ‑‑ John saw them under the altar crying out as to how long it would be before God would avenge their blood on them that dwell on the earth, meaning the unfaithful of the earth.  "And there was given unto them to each one a white robe, and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little time, until their fellow servants also and their brethren who should be killed even as they were should have fulfilled their course."  But you see it strongly implies that, yes, God is going avenge your blood. Paul is saying it is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God that you will be counted worthy of the kingdom, and it is a righteous thing with God to recompense affliction to them that afflict you. 

Verse seven,  "And to you that are afflicted (Those being persecuted.)  rest with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire."  So the Lord is coming with his angels, and it is stated here the angels of his power in flaming fire.  "Rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus who shall suffer punishment even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might.  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be marveled at in all them that believe, because our testimony unto you was believed in that day." 


So notice that the same time that Christ is coming to render vengeance to them that know not God and obey not the gospel, he is coming to be marveled at in his saints, which shows that the righteous and the unrighteous will be raised (John 5: 28-29) and judged at the same time. In the sixth chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus states four times that he will raise up the righteous at the last day (Jn.6:39, 40, 44, 54). Please remember that these references show that the premillennial doctrine of two bodily resurrections is false doctrine. According to that doctrine the righteous are going to be raised more than a thousand years before the unrighteous. The Bible teaches that the righteous and the unrighteous are going to be raised at the same time.  John 5:28-29, "Marvel not at this for the hour cometh, when all that are in the grave shall hear his voice."  The Lord is coming, you remember with a shout and with the voice of the archangel and with a trump of God, as we've studied in I Thessalonians 4:16.  All the dead are coming forth at the same time and all are going to be judged at the same time.  As recorded in Matthew 25, Jesus will, "Separate them as a shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats."  So all will be raised at the same time, all will be judged at the same time.  And to those who are not prepared for his coming, “rendering vengeance to them that know not God and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus." 


To know God in a real sense in most passages in the scriptures means to know God by obeying him and living according to his will.  It means that millions of people will not be prepared, who have at least an intellectual knowledge of knowing that there is a God and knowing that there is a Christ that died on the cross of Calvary, but they were not ready to obey.  They were not ready to obey the gospel.  And notice that if a person has not obeyed the gospel according to this passage, then the only thing for him at the end of the way is vengeance from the Lord, punishment, eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might.  So the gospel is something that must be obeyed.  How is the gospel obeyed?  It is obeyed in a form of the likeness of the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ. 


When we study I Corinthians in chapter fifteen, that long chapter about the resurrection of the dead, some among the Corinthians were saying that there would be no resurrection, that the resurrection had already passed.  And Paul begins chapter fifteen by emphasizing the fact that he had preached a resurrection gospel to them, and they had been saved by those facts of the gospel. "For I delivered unto you first of all how that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures”.  And Paul had preached those three primary facts, and they had obeyed them in form.  In Romans six beginning with verse three, the writer says, "or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death, therefore we were buried by baptism into his death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be raised also in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this that the old man, (the old man of the flesh, the old man of sin), is crucified with him, that we should no longer live in bondage to sin."  And so the gospel is obeyed in a form when one believes on Christ, repents of his sins, confesses his faith in Christ, and then is baptized into Christ where he reaches the blood of Christ.  Christ's blood was shed in his death.  John 19:34, when the soldiers were sent to break the legs of the three that were on the cross, they break the legs of the two others to hasten their death.  “But when they came to Jesus they found that he was dead already.  They pierced his side and forthwith came out blood and water." 


It is at the point of scriptural baptism that one applies the blood of Christ, which is the atoning power of God for every sinner who will obey Christ.  We sing the good old hymn, "When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you."  And that hymn is based first on Exodus the twelfth chapter when God instituted the Passover supper.  They were to kill the Passover lamb and take its blood and apply it to the lintels and the doorposts of their houses.  And God said, "When I see the blood, (Exodus 12:13), talking about the blood applied to lintels and doorposts of their houses, I will pass, over you."  Suppose they killed the Passover lamb but they refused to apply the blood to the lintels and to the doorposts of their houses, would God have led the people of Israel out of that bondage in Egypt?  Absolutely not!  But many people reason today that it is not necessary for them to apply the blood.  But it is the responsibility of each person to take those steps to apply the blood.  And he does it by obedience to the first principles of the gospel and baptism into Christ, marks the end of obedience to the first principles of the gospel. 


When one does that all of his past sins are forgiven, and those sins are never brought against him again.  When a person has been baptized scripturally, he does not ever need to be rebaptized again.  Now, if a person was baptized, because he is already saved, according to popular teaching, he needs to be baptized again.  If he was baptized just because others were being baptized, he or she needs to be baptized again.  But when a person sincerely obeys the gospel, that baptism is sufficient for all time.  We have the second law of pardon, then as given by Peter to Simon who was a former sorcerer as recorded in Acts eight, " repent and pray God that perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."  See also I John 1:7-9. Verse eleven, "To which end we also pray always for you that our God may count you worthy of your calling."  That's the calling of the gospel, the calling of Christ.  "And fulfill every desire of goodness and every work of faith with power that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ maybe glorified in you."  Anytime we live as Christ has instructed us to live, then the name of Christ is glorified in us as he says, "In ye and him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." 

Chapter Two

 Now, about half of chapter two he spends telling them not to be so anxious about the second coming of Christ, that he will not come until there has been a great falling away, and the man of sin is revealed whom the Lord will destroy with the breath of his mouth.  "Now we beseech you brethren touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him to the end that you be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled either by spirit or by word or by epistle as from us."  This seems to imply that maybe some were troubling the Thessalonians and saying, that Paul has written this when Paul had not written such to them.  "Or by epistle as from us that the day of the Lord is just at hand.  Let no man beguile you in anywise, for it will not be except the falling away come first.  And the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. (perdition means eternal destruction) He that opposes and exhalteth himself against all that is called God are that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God setting himself forth as God.  Remember ye not when I was, yet with you I told you these things."  So Paul had taught the Thessalonians on a number of very important subjects. He had taught them that Christ would not come immediately, that first there would be a great falling away and there would be one who would exalt himself against God.  Instead of that being one person, I think, we can think of an institution or a system that exalteth itself against God.  And I do not know of anything that fits it better than the Papacy, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and the Pope claiming to have authority to make laws for God or change God's laws (Deuteronomy 2:4, 12:32; Proverbs 3o:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19).


Long ago when the Catholic Church sold indulgences to build Saint Peter's Church in Rome, Italy, there was a man by the name of ‑‑ I believe his name was Tetsel that had been authorized to sell indulgences. In selling the indulgences he had an appeal for everybody that if you will just make a liberal contribution, whatever sins there are against you, they will be forgiven immediately.  And no doubt many of you have loved ones that have gone on and you think that they are in purgatory, and if you will just make liberal contributions, then their souls will be delivered from purgatory as soon as you make a liberal contribution.  But he evidently recognized that there were those who were not ready to admit that they had any sins against them or ‑‑ and knowing that some wouldn't be so concerned about their departed loved ones that might be in purgatory according to the Catholic doctrine.  So he had another appeal, if you have sins that you intend to commit, and that is the reason they were called indulgences, just make a liberal contribution and those sins which you intend to commit in the future will be forgiven in advance! 


It was the preaching of Tetsel that caused Martin Luther to attach his ninety-nine thesis to the church door in Wittenbury, Germany.  So in the preaching of Tetsel he said, “the Lord no longer reigneth.  He has reined all power to Lord God the Pope.”  And think how the Pope is treated when he comes to the United States and newsmen refer to him as the Holy Father and so on.  I don't know of anything that would fit it better than the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and the claim that God has given his power on earth to the Pope.  He claims that he is God's representative, and he has the right to ordain this, that, or the other, change things as he sees fit.  But, anyway, Paul had taught them while he was with them.


Verse five, "Remember ye not that when I was yet with you I told you these things.  And now you know that which restraineth to the end that he may be revealed in his own season.  For the mystery of lawlessness does already work, only there is one that restraineth now until he be taken out of the way."  So the mystery of lawlessness was already working.  And Paul told the Ephesians elders “Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops (or overseers) to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood. I know that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30). And the falling away began with unfaithfulness in the eldership. They would elect a chairman elder, and then it wasn't long before there was more than one church under the same eldership, and that continued to climb until finally the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 


But the mystery of lawlessness was already working. In I Timothy chapter 4:1-3 Paul set forth two of the false doctrines that they would come with, “forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving, by them which believe and know the truth.”  Some of you may have seen one of the priests here in the United States begging the Pope to grant them the right to marry.  Well, the Pope doesn't have the authority to restrict marriage in the first place.  But, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians around 52-53 A.D. that the  “the mystery of lawlessness” was already working, and there is “only one that restraineth until he be taken out of the away”

 (II Thessalonians 2:7).  Some have reasoned that this was Paul himself. Paul was surely a restraining influence, but since there was not a Pope for several hundred years, it looks like to me it was maybe more involved than that. Some say that it was the Roman government was that restraining influence from keeping the Catholic Church from becoming so powerful.  Still others reason that all governments that do not maintain proper law and order are contributing factors to that lawlessness-taking place. We can see the logic of that. As long as civil governments do not maintain proper law and order, then that always helps the devil in his work.  Satan will take every advantage that is given him (Ephesians 4:26-27; II Corinthians 2:5-11). So the lawless one would really work. 


"And then shall be revealed the lawless one whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth” 2:8.  In other words just as Jesus brought the world into existence by the word of his power, Genesis 1:1, 1:3, 1:6, 1:9, 1:11, 1:14, 1:20, 1:24). “The lawless one”, Jesus will slay by the power of his word  (Revelations 19:11-16; John

5:22)? John 1:1-4reads, “In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men --- 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” In Hebrews 1:1-2 the writer says that God  “hath at the end of these days (these last days, K.J.V.) spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.” Colossians 1:16-17reads, “for in him (Christ) were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things and in him all things consist.


Verse nine,   “Even he whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2:9-10). Could anyone do adequate research to determine all of the signs and lying wonders that the Catholic Church has come with? Does a year go by without our hearing about some of the signs and wonders that they come with? Some of the people of that faith go to this place or the other to see the “Virgin Mary” or whatever sign or wonder that they are proclaiming.


Verse nine, in The New International Version reads, “with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders”, Contemporary English Version, “Satan, will pretend to work all kinds of miracles, wonders, and signs”. New Revised Standard Version, 2:9-10, “in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, did every kind of wicked deception”---! The New American Standard Version, ‘ "When the wicked one appears Satan will pretend to work all kinds of miracles, wonders, and signs. Lost people will be fooled by his evil deeds."  And think how many lost people are fooled by the evil deeds of the so‑called powers and signs and wonders. 


Back to verse ten, "With all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish because they receive not the love of the truth; that they might be saved."  Anytime a person does not have proper respect for the truth, according to this passage, he is in terrible danger, and they are easily deceived.  Any man who does not have respect for truth regardless of what area that truth maybe, he is in danger.  And he is especially in danger if he doesn't have respect for the word of the Lord.  "With all deceit of unrighteousness with them that perish,  They are going to perish.  Why, because they have received not the love of the truth that they might be saved."  So a person must have respect and love for the truth that the Lord has given or else he will be eternally lost.  "For this cause then God sendeth them a working of error that they should believe a lie that they all might be judged who believe not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."  Some seem to think that verses eleven and twelve are contrary to such passages as II Peter 3:9.  "For the Lord is not slack concerning his promises as some men count slackness, but is long suffering to us not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."  And that passage in Timothy that says that, “God would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”  (I Timothy 2:4).


Well, God does desire all men to be saved.  But when there are those who do not have a love for the truth, then God is ready to send them a working of error, this passage says, “that they should believe a lie, that they all might be judged or that they all might be damned, (I believe, the King James says) who believe not the truth but have pleasure in unrighteousness".  Many people, because they do not have a love of the truth, are being deceived by the signs and lying wonders and other ways that the devil can deceive man.  "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren, beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth."  People are called into the kingdom of Christ by the gospel, by believing the truth and obeying it (Hebrews 5:8-9).  "Where unto he called you through our gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Now, notice that,) to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Remember Philippians 3:20‑21), "For our citizenship is from heaven, from whence we all also look for our savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory."  And, of course, we can obtain in some sense the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ by following closely in the footsteps of Christ and living as he lived. 


Verse fifteen, "So then brethren stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught."  And here he is referring to God given traditions, and Paul had given those traditions to the Thessalonians, those God‑given traditions.  And hold the traditions which we were taught whether by word or by epistle of ours.  "Now, our Lord Jesus and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.  Finally, brethren, pray for us." 

Chapter Three

And again, note the emphasis, Paul wanted them to pray, and he asked them to pray for a particular thing.  "Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified."  He means by that, that the word of God would have free course, that there would not be those that would prevent the preaching of the gospel and that the gospel would be received, may run and be glorified.  And, surely, the word of God is glorified when men receive it as God’s truth and obeys it.  "Even as also it is with you."  Remember he said that they had received it not as the word of man, but as it is the word of God.  "And that ye may be delivered and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and evil men for all have not faith.  But the Lord is faithful who shall establish you and guard you from the evil one."


 Peter talks about how that the Lord has given us “precious and exceeding great promises that we may be partakers of his divine nature.” (II Peter 2:4) And surely he has.  And we need to take those steps necessary and claim these wonderful promises.  Those promises are conditional on our part.  And here is a wonderful promise that the Lord is faithful who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.  And we can depend on the promises of the Lord, but it's up to us, if we do not want to be guarded, then we can take those steps.  The Lord is not going to force us to go the right way.  But here is the promise that he will guard us from the evil one.  I Corinthians 10:13 is a passage that every child of God should know by memory.  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:  But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that which ye are able; but will with the temptation give away of escape, that ye may be able to bear it."  Now the Lord knows exactly how much we can be tempted without doing wrong.  And, again, Paul is saying that he will not allow us to be tempted above that which we are able to bear.  And that he will provide a way of escape.  But it is necessary for us to have that attitude that I will take that way of escape and then take it when that time comes. For Joseph the way of escape was to leave his garment in Potifer’s wife’s hand and fee. Joseph had prepared himself to be ready to take the way of escape (Genesis 39:7-12). 


Verse four, "And we have confidence in the Lord touching you that you both do and will do the things which we command."  And so Paul had confidence in the Thessalonian brethren.  As we study the epistles of Paul we can see that it was characteristic of him to have confidence in his brethren.  And it was not an unrealistic confidence.  He believed in the power of God to change men, and he had confidence that they would do as he instructed them to do.  And here he expresses that confidence. We appeal to the very best in people when we express, not improperly but properly, confidence in them.  And thus Paul says, "We have confidence in the Lord touching you that you both do and will do the things which we command."  I don't believe there is much place for that spirit, well, I am going to tell you, but I know that you are not going to do it.  That is not the right spirit!  That was not the spirit of Paul, and it should not be our spirit today.  "And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ."  And again, that steadfastness and perseverance in Christ. 


Verse six, "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 traditions which you received of us."  Now, the disorderly persons that he is talking about in this passage were those that were not working for a living.  Now, that rule applies to other things.  Anytime a person is out of step with the commands of the Lord, he is walking disorderly.  And, surely, those that were not working were going contrary to the way of the Lord.  They were out of step with the Lord!  And Paul says you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, not after the tradition, which you received of us.  He had taught them very plainly while he was with them that they were to work for a living.  He had given them an example, but some still were not working. "For yourselves know how you ought to imitate us."  In other words we were an example to you, and you should follow our example.  Imitate us.  "For we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you, neither did we eat bread for naught at any man's hand, but in labour and travail working night and day that we might not burden any of you." 


Remember, II Corinthians 8:1‑5, the people in Macedonia, not only were those Christians in much affliction from persecution, but they were in deep poverty. For one thing, Paul didn't want to burden any of them, but he wanted also to be an example to those who had never worked, that they would follow his example and go to work.  "That we might not burden any of you.  Not because we have not the right, (They had a right to their support.), But to make ourselves an example unto you that you should imitate us.  For even when we were with you this we commanded you if any will not work, neither let him eat."  Think how America has for so many years been cursed by a welfare program that went contrary to the command of the Lord. Any time an individual, a church, a community, or nation starts going contrary to the laws of God trouble is coming; God’s law of sowing and reaping is never canceled. Galatians 6:7 reads, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Think of the terrible plague of aids today which has come because of wrong doing by many, and now many thousands of innocent children are being born with the disease (Genesis 19; Levities 20:13; Judges 19:12-20:48; Romans 2:24-27) Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.” "If any will not work, neither let him eat." 


Now, I believe that we need a good welfare system for those that are not able to help themselves.  But when the government starts handing out to those that are too lazy to work, it violates this passage.  And our country has been hurt in a terrible way by that system.  I think we ought to be glad that at least we are in the process of trying to get away from that matter of handing out to those who are too lazy to work.  The Lord's rule is “if any will not work, neither let him eat.”  "For we hear of some that walk among you disorderly."  Walk means live. live among you disorderly.  They are not living right.  "That work not at all, but are busybodies."  Well, what category of people do the busybodies come from?  Isn't it those that are not doing anything much for themselves, and they've got plenty of time to try to get into the business of others, and they become busybodies.  "Now them that are such."  Now, he gives another command that they go to work.  "Now them that are such, we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ by the authority of Christ that with quietness they work and eat their own bread." 


Christians are not to be rabble raisers.  They are to go about their work quietly making a living for themselves.  And up and beyond that in Ephesians 4, I believe around verse twenty-nine, "Let him that stole, steal no more, but let him labour, working with his hands at the thing which is good that he may have to give to them that are in need."  So a child of God has responsibility, if he is able, to make a living for him self, and up and beyond that to have some to spare that he may give to them that are in need.  "But ye brethren be not weary in well doing."  Do you see the good logic of verse thirteen?  In our day there are those who travel from state to state taking advantage of churches and some are not ready to do anything in regard to benevolence until every thing has been checked out to an extreme degree. But, Paul is saying in substance, now look brethren just because some are not working, and they shouldn't be supported that does not mean that there are not others that you are to help.  "But ye brethren be not weary in well doing. And if any man obeyeth not our word by this epistle."  Those that are not working, if they do not go to work, after they hear the instruction of this epistle.  Remember that the epistle was to be read to the whole church. "Note that man that you have no company with him to the end that he may be ashamed, and yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."  When we get to I Corinthians five, two of the primary reasons for the withdrawal of fellowship:  One is to turn the sinner back to right, and the other is to prevent sin having that leavening influence in the church.  "And yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 


Verse sixteen, Now the Lord of peace himself, give you peace at all time and all ways.  The Lord be with you all. The salutation of me, Paul, with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle, so I write."  So it looks like some one else did the writing for Paul, but Paul took it in hand and signed the epistle so that they would know it was from him to prevent the forging of epistles.  So he says this is a token in every epistle, so I write “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all” (II Thessalonians 3:18).  Now, it might be that if you are just reading from the King James or the American Standard that you might not really get the meaning of what Paul is talking about here as walking disorderly.  Let me read from the New Revised Standard Version, beginning with 3:6, "Now we command you beloved in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that you receive from us.  For you, yourselves know how you ought to imitate us.  We were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labour we worked night and day so that we might not burden any of you.  This was not because we did not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate.  For even when we were with you, we gave you this command, anyone unwilling to work should not eat.  For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.  Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.  Brothers and sisters do not be weary in doing what is right."  I believe the New International Version reads essentially the same as that.  This is the Contemporary English Version put out by the American Bible Society.  And let me read from it. It reads a little differently but with the same meaning as far as I can see.  Verse six beginning, "My dear friends, in the name of the Lord Jesus, I beg you not to have anything to do with any of your people who loaf around and refuse to obey the instructions we gave you. You surely know that you should follow our example.  We didn't waste our time loafing, and we did not accept food from anyone without paying for it.  We didn't want to be a burden to any of you, so night and day we worked as hard as we could.  We had the right not to work, but we wanted to set an example for you. We also gave you the rule that if you do not work, you don’t eat. Now we learn that some of you just loaf around and won’t do any work, except the work of a busybody. So for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask and beg these people to settle down and start working for a living. Dear friends, you must never become tired of doing right. Be on your guard against any followers who refuse to obey what we have written in this letter. Put them to shame by not having anything to do with them. Don’t consider them your enemies, but speak kindly to them as you would to any other fellow.”


“We also gave you the rule that if you don't work, you don't eat.  Now we learned that some of you just loaf around and won't do any work except the work of the busybody.  So for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, we ask and beg these people to settle down and start working for a living."  All right.  What are they doing?  Loafing around.  And you know those people move around.  They are parasites on other people. They are  over here and then over there.  But settle down and start working for a living.  Dear friends you must never become tired of doing right”.  Even though there are those dead beats, let us not loose the sight of those who are not able to help themselves, and they need to be helped.