2 Thessalonians 3:14-18 Bible study and commentary
Last time Paul made sure that everyone that could work was working. Apparently people were taking advantage of others by asking for support even though they could work. Paul explained that when he was with them he worked so that he would not be dependent on the people of the church. Paul was the example, and expected everyone to work.
Where do you find peace?
14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
17 The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Paul continues his thought about people not working and not obeying the Lord’s teaching. Paul says if a person doesn’t obey the word or in this case the letter that Paul was writing then the church should not fellowship with this person. The purpose is to cause shame. That might sound very harsh, especially today, but this is God’s word. We don’t get to pick and choose what we want to obey and not obey. The idea is not to make this person an enemy, but instead to admonish him as a brother. This is very important. We don’t want to drive people out of the church who aren’t obeying, but we do want to help them understand that we can’t fellowship with them the way we used to. We still love them, but we still want to warn them or reprimand them gently.
Paul now starts the conclusion to the letter. Remember that these people have been under heavy persecution and yet most are still working for the Lord and doing what Paul had taught them. Paul now asks that the Lord of peace give each person peace in their lives. Paul opened up this letter and the first letter asking that God would grant them peace. We know the Lord is the only one who can give us true peace. What is amazing is the way Paul wrote this. He didn’t say may someone come and help you that you might have peace. He didn’t say, may each of you help someone so that they may have peace. Instead he wants the Lord himself to deliver peace. We need to understand each day that peace comes from the Lord and he is the best source of peace. One way God delivers peace to us is through his word. The Bible says, if we keep our mind on Him, he will keep us in perfect peace. So the question is, what do you keep your mind on each day? If you are wondering why you don’t have peace in your life, maybe it is because you are thinking about the wrong things. Keep your mind on the Lord and his word and he will give you perfect peace.
Paul then asks that God’s grace be upon all of the people. Paul started the letter and the first letter the same way. Our Christian life starts because of God’s grace and will continue because of God’s grace. We don’t deserve his grace, but he gives grace anyway. First we receive God’s grace then we receive the peace of God and peace with God.
I hope you have enjoyed the podcasts on 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians. This church is a remarkable example to us all. If the church today would just do the simple things that this church did, our world would be much different. This church was known for their works of faith, their labor of love for each other and those outside the church, and their patience and hope they had for the return of the Lord Jesus. I hope that you will listen to all of the podcasts and share them with your friends.