MP3: The Tribulation Road Thru 2 Thessalonians 3
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
We have now reach the final segment of The Truth Will Set You Free podcast teaching series titled “The Tribulation Road.” Nathan Jones and Vic Batista have been your guides since the very first installment, going verse by verse through the Bible’s prophetic book of 2 Thessalonians. In concluding chapter 3, the Apostle Paul will end his message with a benediction of blessings.
Vic Batista: Before Paul closes his letter in 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18 with a benediction, let’s back up to verses 14-15 for just a minute to receive the Apostle’s last bit of advice.
“And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”
Verses 14-15 provide a very important lesson, for as Christians our conduct towards one another should maintain church unity, harmony, and purpose. The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, but we Christians sure at times have trouble being loving towards our fellow Christians whom Christ has yoked us with.
Paul’s admonition states: “If anyone does not obey your word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him.” That might seem a little harsh, but there comes a time when we need to choose our friends and who we are going to associate. Choose a backslidden Christian, or worse an apostate, and you will find yourself getting dragged down into sin as well.
Nathan Jones: The people Paul’s warning the church about aren’t following the Word of God and practicing God’s moral law. They are not listening to Paul when he says “get to work” and “stop being busybodies.”
Paul makes a call for church discipline, meaning when the church internally disciplines a believer for their immoral behavior. The call is not for the purpose of destroying the backslider, or for publicly humiliating them, but so that the shame of being disciplined will lead the person back into a right relationship with Jesus Christ by repentance. We must remember that this person is a brother or sister in Christ, and not an enemy.
Do some people refuse to repent and so end up leaving the church? It happens. But, if you leave one bad apple in the bushel, then all of the apples are going to start rotting. I opened up my refrigerator’s fruit drawer the other day and discovered I’d left this big cluster of grapes in there, and one had gotten moldy. It will potentially cause the whole batch to become moldy. That’s what Paul is saying here. Leave one bad piece of fruit in the mix and it will quickly make the whole batch go bad.
Paul reminds the church that we should work with Christians who have fallen into sin in order to help restore them to Jesus Christ. But, if they refuse to repent, then you have to use church discipline and remove them from the church body or they will soon corrupt others with their sin.
Vic Batista: Yes, and that’s why Paul in verse 15 tells us what the attitude of church discipline should be: “Yet, do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” That attitude should always be at the heart when dealing with sin. We admonish fallen Christians so that they can repent and return to the Lord, and He will bless them with His presence once more.
Nathan Jones: A brother is a relative whom you cannot get rid of. You might admonish your brother, but he is still always going to be your relative. You might not talk to them for years, but the family relationship remains. This person is still going to be connected to you through the Body of Christ, so kept working at restoring these folks to Jesus Christ. Show them Christian discipline in the right way by doing so in love and not in judgment.
The Grace of Our Lord
Vic Batista: Paul ends his letter to the church in Thessalonica, and to us as well, with the following benediction in 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18.
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
How can the “Lord be with you?” How can you have “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?”
If you don’t already possess that saving relationship with Jesus Christ, we want to now give you an opportunity to come to the Lord. First, know that God loves you. He has a plan for your life. And, it all begins by initiating a personal relationship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ. There’s a great urgency and importance in coming to Christ now, for we are living in the last days before Jesus’ soon return.
Nathan Jones: Yes, there’s certainly an urgency in reconciling with God because Jesus Christ is coming back soon. He is coming back to take those who have accepted Jesus as Savior off this planet in an event known as the Rapture.
You will die one day. That’s a fact! So, what is your future? Where do you see your soul going upon death? The Bible says that there are only two destinations for people’s souls after death: there is Heaven and there is Hell. In order to enter Heaven, you first must be forgiven for your sins. You cannot stand before the Father in Heaven and be considered forgiven and made pure and holy without having already accepted Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death.
Jesus died on the cross for your sins. He took the punishment of your sins upon Himself. And, when you in faith accept Jesus as the Son of God and are repentant and ask for forgiveness of your rebellion and sins, you will be saved from having to endure the just punishment of your sins in Hell.
If you are ready to be reconciled with God, pray from your heart in faith and repentance something like: “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” And, Jesus promises He will do just that. Your sins will be forgiven. The guilt will be gone. And, you will become a member of the Church and an inheritor of eternal life with Jesus Christ in Heaven.
Vic Batista: Paul as well would like you to come to know your Savior. Christ wishes you peace in every way possible. Grab hold of that free gift, free to you, but paid so handsomely by the shedding of Jesus’ own blood. And, when you have been reconciled with God through salvation, then find a good Christian church for Christian fellowship, accountability, worship, and spiritual growth.