Editor’s Note: Once again I welcome David Hundert as guest blogger this week! Thanks David, for filling in for me. In this four-part series, David concludes our Advent 2021 series, Ready for the Return, in which we studied 2 Thessalonians.
What do you think is the best way to tell people about Jesus? You might be surprised at a method that Paul advises.
Paul concludes 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, instructing the Christians what to do if the disruptive/idle individuals in their church don’t heed Paul’s instructions; those idle people are to be shunned, not as punishment but, again, with the goal of redemption. Shunning them? Isn’t that the opposite of what it means to tell people about Jesus? A careful reading of this passage reveals that Paul is clearly concerned for the disruptive/idle individuals; he wants them to become active participants in the community of faith.
Paul encourages those that do the “shunning” to not regard those who aren’t acting as they should as the enemy. That is critical! We in the body of Christ should never be judgmental, biased, or bigoted. These were fellow believers that the Christians were to walk away from. Even if you don’t know where the person stands with the Lord, don’t regard them as the enemy. They, too, are image bearers, created in the image of God and they need to know Him. Treating them as the enemy would shut down any opportunity to witness to them.
One commentator states, “Nonetheless, at the end of the day Paul’s greater concern, as usual, is for the community as a whole and their role as offering evidence of God’s rule on earth through their conduct in general and relationships as a community in particular.”
I love this. When the family of God works together as they should, they provide evidence to the world around us of God’s rule on earth. People can look at us and see a difference. They see something that is desirable. It begins to break down the walls that they build around that God-shaped hole in their lives, and they begin to realize that their lives are empty and missing something.
In case you need a reminder, we have that answer! We just need to demonstrate it for them. Evangelism is more than passing out tracts and openly proclaiming the gospel on a street corner.
While those are both commendable activities, evangelism is about living our lives in such a way that the world around us wants what we have!
It’s about opening the church doors and opening our arms to those that visit us and welcoming them into the shalom that we share with one another.
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash