Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2
Thesis: There is a very real "necessity" placed upon those who "believe" to follow the example of Paul's apostolic team.
Introduction: In our last study we saw that Paul "commanded" the Thessalonians to separate from any believer in their midst who refused to conform to the "traditions" he and Timothy and Silvanus had established while they were present with them. We also posited the rationale for this command: a little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Corinthians 5:6 and Galatians 5:9). This is the typical result of "tolerance" among believers, though it does not have to be that way. Nonetheless, there is no excuse for believers to disobey this "command", as we shall see in our study this evening.
March 20, 2015
- I. To Mimic the Apostolic Example is "Necessary".
- A. Paul begins by saying "you, yourselves, know how it is necessary for you to mimic us".
- 1. This is emphatic: You, yourselves... .
- 2. This is also inescapable: the "knowing" is "having a comfortable grasp of sufficient information so as to be at ease with certain of the conclusions to be drawn from it".
- 3. This is necessary.
- a. The issue of "necessity" is always an issue of "what happens if the necessity is refused?".
- 1) Clearly, the "brother" remains a "brother" even when disobedient in this context (especially note 3:14-15).
- 2) Just as clearly, the magnitude of the issue increases with the severity of the refusal (Matthew 18:17).
- 3) And it is inescapable that a host of consequences fall upon the resistant as Paul emphatically declared in Galatians 6:8.
- b. The greatest danger is that the concepts of "grace" and "faith" will be distorted so that "Life" becomes pretty much an empty concept.
- B. Paul returns to this thesis in 3:9, making it a primary concept in the paragraph.
- II. The Patterns Given to Follow Are Critical.
- A. In 2:15 Paul insisted that the Thessalonians "hold the traditions".
- B. In 3:6 he returned to the issue of following "the traditions".
- C. He calls a refusal "walking disorderly" in both 3:6 and 7 and 11.
- 1. The adverb "disorderly" fundamentally means "a refusal to conform to established norms".
- 2. The descriptions that follow indicate that the "norms" under consideration have to do with being diligent to not be a "burden" upon others.
- a. At issue is this root concept: each of us is responsible for himself before God as long as we have what is necessary to be so.
- b. Being responsible means to work to supply what is needed for our bodies, souls, and spirits.
- 3. The illustration has to do with "eating free bread" in a context of serious poverty (Note 2 Corinthians 8:1-2).
- a. Paul was not addressing the eating of "free bread" in a context of plenty; the notion of a "burden" excludes that.
- b. Paul was addressing putting a burden upon others that ought to be upon ourselves, even if it means working both day and night to address it.
- D. He denies that this pattern was "necessary" for his own situation.
- 1. He had the authority to "be a burden" (1 Corinthians 9:14).
- 2. There is a down side to refusing to exercise this authority (2 Corinthians 12:13) that consists of making it possible for others to refuse their responsibilities.
- E. But he explains that he was setting up a "tradition" that was incumbant upon all those who are not teachers/proclaimers of the Gospel.