Paul’s Prayer Request, Exhortation, Command, and Salutation, 2 Thes 3:1-18

Paul’s prayer request concerning the opposition of wicked men – 2 Thes 3:1-2.

Paul asked the Thessalonians to pray for him [Eph 6:18-19].  It’s necessary to pray for pastors, preachers, and missionaries.  Paul asked them to pray specifically for three things:

That the word of the Lord would have free course.  Their prayers were answered.  In Ephesus, “all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord,” [Acts 19:8-10].  Paul wrote Timothy, “the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear,” [2 Tim 4:17].

That the word of the Lord would be glorified.  The reason many are lost today is that they have not glorified the word of God.  They don’t believe it.  People get saved when the word of God is glorified [Acts 13:48-49].  When they don’t glorify God and the word of God, they become “vain in the imaginations, and their foolish heart (is) darkened,” [Rom 1:21].

That they would be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men.  Paul met with opposition everywhere he went because “all men have not faith.”  They all hear but they don’t all believe.  God had to deliver him from these men and he did [2 Cor 1:8-11; 2 Tim 4:18].  

Paul’s exhortation concerning the faithfulness of the Lord – 2 Thes 3:3-5.

The Lord is faithful.  All men aren’t faithful, but, by contrast, the Lord is always faithful.  Here Paul says that the Lord is faithful to do five things: 

  • To stablish you – through the gospel [Rom 16:25], through abounding in love [1 Thes 3:12-13], through suffering [1 Pet 5:10].
  • To keep you from evil – we should pray for this [Matt 6:13], Jesus did [Jn 17:15].
  • To help you do the things we command you – he is working in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” [Phil 2:13].  See Heb 13:20-21.
  • To direct your hearts into the love of God – because the is the highest priority [Matt 22:37-38].
  • To direct your hearts to patiently wait for Christ – because apostasy is so prevalent before his coming [2 Thes 2:3].  “Be not weary in well doing,” [2 Thes 3:13].

Paul’s command concerning the disorder of freeloading brothers – 2 Thes 3:6-15.

Paul’s command, in the name of Jesus, was “that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye received of us,” [2 Thes 3:6].  The tradition that they received from Paul and his companions was that “with quietness they work, and eat their own bread,” [2 Thes 3:12].  Paul set this example [2 Thes 3:7-9].  He commanded “that if any would not work, neither should he eat,” [2 Thes 3:10].  But there were some which were “disorderly, working not at all, but (were) busybodies,” [2 Thes 3:11].  

The Thessalonians apparently didn’t know how to handle a free loader.  Therefore, Paul commanded them to “note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed,” [2 Thes 3:14].  When he gets hungry enough, he’ll work so he can eat [Prov 16:26].  They were instructed to “count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” [2 Thes 3:15].  To exclude someone from fellowship because of sin or disorder is always a very difficult thing to do.  That’s why Paul put this down as a command “by our Lord Jesus Christ,” [2 Thes 3:12].

Paul’s personal salutation in peace and grace – 2 Thes 3:16-18.

In his own hand writing, Paul commended the peace and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to them.  With the mercy of God, these are the things that will get you through this life till Jesus comes.