Thessalonians Series #9
Beware of Idles
1 Thes 3:6-18
1. Out of Order
we "command" you - word means an order handed down by a superior military officer
A. 4 Letter Words?
1. work may have 4 letters but it isn't a BAD word
2. busy also 4 letters but isn't a bad word
3. according to PAUL though IDLE is a BAD 4 letter word
4. 8 letter word that is a bad word - "busybody" and it's partner gossip 1 Tim 5:13 - "busybody" - def - officious or inquisitive person - now maybe some of you are better at English than this simple preacher but I figured officious wasn't a good word but I wasn't sure so I looked it up - the "archaic" or meaning was kind and dutiful, but the word currently means - "volunteering one's services where they are neither asked nor needed; meddlesome" and of course the root for the word is office. So, a "busybody" is a person who has made it their JOB or office, to inquire into things that are not their business and volunteer their services to areas where they are not wanted or needed in a meddlesome uninvited way.
The Greek word translated busybody means "to be working around or fooling around … to bustle about uselessly … trifling in needless useless matters"
A Persian Fable Of Three Animals
There is an old Persian fable of a hen, a mouse, and a rabbit who lived together in a little house. They were happy and contented because they shared all the work. The rabbit cooked the meals. The chicken carried in the firewood. The mouse brought the water from the nearby brook. Each did his work faithfully and contentedly.
But one day while the hen was going to the forest for wood a busybody crow asked her what she was doing. When told, the crow complained that the hen was doing the hardest part of the work and that the rabbit and mouse were making an easy-mark of her. Try as she would, the thought kept rankling in the hen's mind, and when she returned home with her load of wood and her still heavier load of discontent, she cackled: "I do the hardest work ever. We ought to change our jobs."
Discontent spreads, as you know, and immediately the rabbit and mouse also thought they had been doing the hardest work. They agreed to change jobs: the mouse would cook, the rabbit would gather the firewood, the hen would bring the water.
As the rabbit hopped into the woods, a big fox trailed him, caught him, and ate him. The chicken put the pail into the creek, but the current pulled the pail down under, and the chicken with it. The mouse wondered why they did not come back, but not for long. While he was sitting on the edge of the big pot of soup, he lost his balance and fell in. Through discontent all three not only lost their happiness but their very lives.
Becoming a busybody is a dangerous thing because we get into things we have no business in and hurt people who we think we can help
5. when a person is NOT busy doing the things that God calls them to do, they are in grave danger of becoming busybodies
- Sayings on idleness -
Romans - by doing nothing, men learn to do evil
Isaac Watts - For Satan finds mischief still for idle hands to do"
Jewish Rabbis taught - He who does not teach his son a trade, teaches him to be a thief
B. Our Nature is to be Busy
1. we do NOT work simply because of the FALL
2. work got harder after Adam and Eve sinned but WORK was theirs given by God in the Garden - Gen 2:15 (work it and care for it)
3. so when we aren't busy about the work God has assigned us, we are NOT fulfilling our God given role in life, in the church, and in the world.
4. God called already busy people to his work -
a. Moses - tending sheep Ex 3
b. Joshua - was serving Moses Ex 33:11
c. Gideon was threshing wheat Jud 6:1
d. David was tending sheep 1 Sam 16:1
e. Peter, Andrew, James, John - were fisherman tending their nets
f. Matthew was busy as a Tax Collector
g. Jesus was a Carpenter before he began his ministry
h. Paul was a Tent Maker, teacher and when the Lord called him, he was BUSY - he was persecuting the church, but he thought he was serving God
C. Some believers are out of order
Paul says "we command you … stay away from idle ones … if you are idle settle down and get busy"
The word translated command isn't just any command, it is a military order coming down from a superior officer - If we are idle or put up with idleness we are out of order, out of rank,
1. what are our orders? You are the light of the world. Shine your light in the darkness. Feed, Clothe, Visit, Care, be witnesses, baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit
2. when folks become idle in the church, Satan gets a chance at a foothold
3. two things led to them being Out of Order
a. Jews honored work, even the Rabbis had a trade to fall on when needed and honest labor was respected by all. However the greeks despised labor and let it to their slaves. - So, this Pagan influence in the church was a contributing factor to this idleness
b. wrong ideas about the doctrine and truth about the Return of Christ
2. Source and Authority of Orders
Paul begins by saying … In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ - Means -
Lord (Jehovah God) Savior(Emancipator from slavery to sin) Messiah(anointed of God, appointed to be Lord and Savior by God Almighty)
We cannot be idle with our money, idle with our time, idle with our ministry, idle with our family not because it's the easy or lazy way out but because Jesus as Lord and Christ requires it. Anyone who serves under him must be about his business, must be accountable for the way we operate in this world.
Why? Because we serve Jesus, not just Jesus, Mary's little Baby, or Joseph's Son, who was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. This is NOT even just Jesus Christ, The Anointed One, chosen and anointed as the Savior of his People. No, this is Jesus Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ, Savior, Anointed, Died, Buried, Resurrected, and Ascended to Heaven where he was given the name of Lord.
Because he is LORD we cannot be Idle. He is the Exalted Son of God, Head over all the things and people, and of his church which includes our house, our work, our money and our operation in this body.
3. Our Marching Orders
What do we do with this Word
A. Be Busy -
1 Thes 4:11 - "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you"
Col 3:23 - "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men"
B. Submit to Authority
a. if we are "out of order" then we are not in submission to the Lord -
b. The Lord be with all of you - we carry him with us in faithful obedience
c. We recognize his Lordship and presence with us when we submit to him
2. Church Leadership
a. God is a god of order not disorder -
b. God places leadership in the body for the sake of order
C. Submit to Teaching from the God Ordained Leadership
1. Paul tells them to keep to his teaching
2. Paul even said, "we command you" - he recognized God's order and teachings and passed that on that the church might be built up to honor the Lord
3. there is a purpose for submitting to the teaching of those God has placed over you. - It is to build relationship - it is because God has sent them to YOU. Not just to the church as a unit -
4. if you can't be a part of our teaching on Sunday nights or Wednesday nights, get the tapes
D. Find Your Ministry
1. "settle down" - he's talking about in their work life, but the principle is true in the church
2. Paul says the reason that they are "busybodies" is because they are NOT busy - so GET BUSY
3. Don't know what your ministry is? Don't know where you fit in the body?
a. Prepare for ministry
b. study God's word personally
c. study God's word from Sound God ordained teaching - God uses already busy people, so get busy, studying, preparing, don't just sit on a pew waiting for God to call you to something
E. Practical Things to Keep us Busy
1. Pray / Intercede
2. Love in Action - Serve
3. Do not entertain busybodies/gossips. Gossip is the companion of busybodies.
1 Tim 5:13 - "they get into the habit of being idle, and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to"
> we call it "sharing" - or sometimes even a prayer request but if it is self-serving it is gossip
Abraham Lincoln used to ASK "if a man were to call the tail of a dog a leg, how many legs would the dog have" "FIVE" they would reply to which Lincoln would reply "the dog still has four legs. Calling it a leg doesn't make it one"
4. Paul says "do not associate with him in order that he may feel ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy but warn him as a brother
a. "do not associate with" means "do not be mixed up together with, or have company with or intimate fellowship" - the Greek Word was used by Hippocrates to describe the mixing of ingredients for medicine. It was used by horticulturists in describing the mixing of weeds into wheat that would spoil the crop.
b. Paul was not saying to mistreat them or treat them as an enemy but to keep yourself from being "mixed up together" with them, to keep YOUSELF pure
c. you recognize an idle one, encourage them in the Lord to get busy.
d. if they move from idlers to busybody, don't get mixed up together with them, pull away from them in regards to close fellowship, do it in love, say "I love you but I cannot listen to the gossip, I cannot meddle where I have no business", I am praying for you, I am here for you, but I cannot be WITH you on this."
We don't have time to be idle
There is too much to do
People need the Lord
This Life is short, we don't know what tomorrow holds, we may have 70 years we may have 1 more, we may have tomorrow, we don't have time to be idle
The writer of the words to a song we sang earlier was only 24 when she died in the 1800's. Plenty of time to be idle right, plenty of time? Reading the words though you get the impression that perhaps she was sick, so she had the right to be idle right? She had the right to sit down, to talk about the struggles, but no, that girl who died at 24 sang those words, that said, "I LONG to be in God's presence and be free from her pain and struggle, but NO, perhaps not knowing how much time she had left, she wrote …
We'll work till Jesus Comes
We'll work till Jesus Comes
We'll work till Jesus Comes and we'll be gathered home