October 15 - Dealing with Opposition
The servants of God are ever aware of the forces of opposition as they seek to do God’s will. Paul asked the Thessalonian believers to pray for him in this ending chapter of the second epistle. He asked them to ask God for the Word of the Lord to be speeding ahead and be honored among those who did not know God. This is the offensive part of preaching the gospel, taking people from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. Then immediately after this request is the follow up request of the defensive part of preaching the gospel, that he might be delivered from wicked and evil men who were the servants of Satan trying to stop Paul.
When Paul was writing this epistle, he was in Corinth under the persecution of the Jews for persuading people to worship God contrary to the law. These wicked and evil men were not those who did not have a faith in God, they did this because of not having faith in God. Their lack of faith became evident as they were not faithful towards God but insisted on their own ways. Not having faith can turn some of God’s people into the enemies of the gospel. But the Lord is faithful and He will establish and guard us against the evil one.
Not having faith towards God is one way in turning us into God’s enemies, but there were more examples that Paul was citing. There were those who were walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that Paul gave them. This group was mentioned in the first epistle and the situation had become progressively worse. They became sinful and disruptive in the church, so Paul gave the command to the church to keep away from this group of people. It was not a complete withdrawal of all contacts with them but a withholding of close fellowship. We must draw the line with those who are sinful and disruptive in the church for they are, knowingly or unknowingly, opposing the work of God.
Paul exhorted the church to imitate his example, working day and night to support himself instead of insisting on his right of being supported by the church. Idleness, not busy or not willing to work but becoming busybodies was not to be condoned. Such persons would often discourage others in the church as they might grow weary in doing good while some others are not doing anything. Paul went on to say that if anyone did not obey what he had said in the letter, they were to take note of that person and have nothing to do with him, that he might be ashamed. However, that person was still not to be treated as an enemy but to be warned as a brother.
Are you aware of these enemies of God within your church? Are you one of them? Check your faith in the Lord. Always keep yourself in Him so as to avoid becoming a stumbling block to the work of God in the church.
Ps 116:1-6 Jer 26:1-27:22 2 Thess 3:1-18 Prov 25:16