Paul’s request for Prayer: 3:1-5.
Paul requests prayer for the advancement of the gospel of Christ. The gospel is all about Jesus Christ and it is the word of God (1 Thess 2:13). Apostle was more concerned about the gospel of Christ than his own safety. To that end he has worked, prayed and asked others to pray that the gospel would spread and be honored by all. Paul also asks others to pray that he and his companions would be delivered from the wicked and evil men who oppose the gospel (3:2). The world hates them because it hated Christ (John 17:14). Paul is confident that the Lord is faithful to establish and guard them from the evil one, the Satan (3:3; 1 Thess 5:24). Also he is confident in the Lord that the Thessalonians would obey the word of God as they have been doing. He also prays that since it is the word of the Lord, he will direct their hearts to obey it. Human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked and only God can change it (Jeremiah 17:9; Heb 4:12). Only with the help of the Holy Spirit we can have a deeper understanding of God’s love and remain faithful in spite of difficulties. Ask God to help us to love God and remain steadfast in faith. Pray fervently for the advancement of the gospel in the world.
Warning against Idleness: 3:6-15.
As Thessalonians waited the for the return of Christ, some of them had fallen into the sin of laziness. So apostle Paul gives his authoritative instructions on Christian work ethic. He gives this command with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of them quit their job and continued living disorderly among others. They did not follow the teaching and example of Paul. So Paul urges them not to be idle but to imitate him and his fellow workers. Christians live disorderly, when they refuse to summit to the authority of the word of God. It is a military term. While Paul and his companions were in Thessalonica, they worked day and night to support themselves. They had every right to demand support from the believers. But they purposefully avoided using this privilege to the benefit of the believers (3:8). Laziness not only affects the idle person himself but also his family and community. It dishonors the church before the watching world. They pretend spiritual, but refuse to submit to authority and waste their time meddling in others business. They became so heavenly-minded that they were of no earthly good. Paul admonishes that whoever does not work should not eat (3:10). Such people should be warned and encouraged to earn their living by working. If they refuse to obey, stay away from them so they will be ashamed (3:14). But they should not be treated as enemies but warn them as brothers. Also Paul reminds believers that they should never get tired of doing good (3:13; Gal 6:9).
Paul ends his letter with a final encouragement for the believers who are facing persecution. Life will have its difficulties until Christ returns. But the Lord will accomplish his work in us and will give his peace no matter what happens (3:16). Trials and difficulties should not have control our lives. Jesus will bring complete relief someday. The Lord is able to give us peace at all time and in every way (3:16). Paul writes the final greeting with his own hands to show the genuineness of the letter and to prove that this epistle is from him (3:17). He concludes the letter by praying that the grace of God may strengthen the believers in their trials. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all my readers.