Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1
Thesis: Fundamental to "hope" is the association with others who share it.
Introduction: This evening we are going to begin to look into Paul's "commands". In the previous paragraph Paul claimed that he had been persuaded by "The Lord" that the Thessalonians would continue to act in ways that are consistent with the "hope" that lies at the root of the Gospel. In that paragraph, Paul introduces the concept of "doing and continuing to do what things he had 'commanded'". I say "introduced" because there are almost no "commands" given in the letter to this point and because the word "command" is used four times in this paragraph and in no other paragraph in this letter.
March 13, 2015
- I. The Issue of a "Command".
- A. The word is used across a large spectrum of settings.
- 1. It can have the "minor" meaning of "telling someone to take a seat" (Mark 8:6).
- 2. It can have the iron-fisted meaning of an "inflexible demand" such as is used in an exorcism (Luke 8:29; Acts 16:18).
- 3. But it every case it expresses the intention of the speaker to be obeyed.
- B. Its fundamental etymology is "to bring a message alongside" with the mental picture of a sender of a message, a messenger who will carry it to others, and recipients of the message as a word to be obeyed.
- II. The Weight of This Command.
- A. Is revealed in part by the persons who are bringing it: Paul and his ministry team.
- B. Is revealed in part by the persons who are receiving it: "brethren" as those who have received a large abundance of grace from God as those who have been chosen from the beginning unto a salvation that includes a significant participation in the glory of "our Lord Jesus Christ" (2:13-14).
- C. Is revealed in part by the Person from whom the command comes.
- 1. There are nineteen references to "The Lord" in 2 Thessalonians, and ten of them are attached to the combination name/title: Jesus Christ.
- 2. This number, alone, found in three short chapters means that the believer's "hope" rests solidly upon The Sovereign Savior King as the primary Actor in the salvation that leads to participation in the future and eternal glory of God.
- III. The Essence of the Command.
- A. The verb means "to avoid" and is used when there are consequences involved in being "mixed up together" in something.
- B. Essentially, the command is to "avoid" every brother who is walking in a way that is contrary to what a vibrant "Hope" would produce.
- 1. The issue of a "brother" is further developed in 3:14-15.
- 2. The issue of the extent of "avoidance" is also further developed in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11, but not to be limited to simply "not eating together".
- 3. The issue of "disorderly" is further developed in 3:8-11.
- IV. The Reason For the Command.
- A. In the larger picture, "Hope" is a tenuous possession that, for the most part, cannot be maintained in isolation.
- B. Paul's point is the same as Moses' in the instruction to annihilate all of the inhabitants of the land: the unbelieving have a far greater "pull" than do the "believing".
- C. The only way to maintain a vibrant hope is to simply not develop close relationships with any who do not share it.