Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
“We’ve missed you… where’ve you been?” Being a Christian is meant to be an ACTIVE thing. You cannot passively become a member and then attend from time to time and also grow in your faith. The word “lazy” isn’t in the Christian dictionary. We should make hay why the sun is shining, and the sun is shining my friends. Who are you bringing to church? Who are you investing in to help them come to know Jesus? We don’t take breaks, we don’t slow down, there is a lost world who needs a Savior… we are the light… shine! Serve… do… be!
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
We learn how to follow Jesus in a variety of ways. We go to church, we get to know brothers and sisters in Christ. We imitate and do what others do, and we test it all by the Scriptures. You can’t truly follow Jesus apart from your Church. You need those around you to see how to follow Jesus. They need you, to see how you follow Him. These are our “traditions,” following Jesus within our specific context. These are always developing and changing, and always tethered to the truth of the Word of God. Don’t have a thin faith that is only between you and God, we are a community, a body, we are the Church… join us.
when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
Jesus is coming back. We don’t know when, it could be tomorrow, it could be 10,000 years from now… but it’s a fact, He is returning. Sometimes we get so caught-up in the here-and-now benefits of being a Christian (or at least what we think we should get) or how we should live day-to-day (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing to contemplate) that we miss the fact that all of history is pointing to A DAY. Jesus and His angels are gonna come in hot! Are those persecuting the church? Is there someone making your life hard because you’re a Christian? Is anyone mocking Believers on Social Media… we don’t have to worry about “getting even” with them. We can simply feel sorry for them. Pity is the proper response to the unbeliever, or the person who thinks they are a Christian, but don’t honestly follow Jesus (how terribly sad). Jesus is coming. Wonderful news for Christians, literally the worst possible news for those who are not. We don’t have to worry about jihadists getting “justice,” they will, they certainly… make no mistake about it. Here comes the judge and executioner. This is not the “hipster Jesus” pictured asking us to all get along, this is a King coming to bring a reckoning, it’s going to happen… be sure you are ready, be sure your family is ready, be sure your neighbors are ready. RUN to church, huddle with Believers, worship, pray, study God’s Word, and live it out. Eternity is long… don’t be wrong. We will bring Him glory and we will MARVEL at the spectacle. And all because you believe… make sure you do!
So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Wake Up! Too many Christians are asleep in our own little bubbles. There is a lost world in the darkness, they need the light we have. We have nothing to be ashamed of or anything to fear, we don’t need to slink around in the shadows, let’s shout it from the mountain tops “Jesus is Lord!” Jesus died so you might be saved, that’s pretty good news that we need to get out there. We need to build each other up and encourage our fellow believers to get out there and tell the world! Keep it up, it’s up to you!
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
We’ve all worried about our loved ones who have passed on, or perhaps we’ve thought “what’s going to happen to me when I die?” The answer Paul gives is “don’t worry.” God is going to take care of all of us. There will come a day when Jesus is going to return and do something different. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so to the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable (see 1Cor 15) and then Christians who are still alive will be immediately transformed (bypassing death altogether). Jesus’ resurrection is our model for what is to come for us, a glorified body with no sin, corruption, or decay. This is good news and we need to tell this to encourage people. “Jesus is coming back!” And when he does, we’ll be with Him forever!