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The Rev. David Holloway: “Take it Easy, or Get Stuck in?” (2 Thessalonians 3)

February 24, 2010

For a sermon on one of the Seven Deadly Sins, here is an excellent message by the Rev. David Holloway of Jesmond Parish Church in the United Kingdom, titled Take it Easy, or Get Stuck in? In this sermon, based on 2 Thessalonians 3, Rev. Holloway talks about the sin of sloth, and lists three major headings:

  • the reality of sloth;
  • the seriousness of sloth, and
  • the answer to sloth.

His “seven short answers” to the problem of sloth really are helpful:

One, you need to be a believer like these Thessalonians. In 1 Thessalonians 1.9-10 we read they…

9…turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

If you are serving the living and true God, you will work for him and not be slothful out of gratitude for all he has done for you, and because you know he is good and wise.

Two, be confident, as 2 Thessalonians 3.3-4 reminds us, that the Lord is faithful. If you trust him, he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one as you try to do the things God commands – like combating sloth and all it means.

Three, if you are able, talk directly, but gently, with any who are obviously not pulling their weight in church or anywhere – we may assume this was going on in Thessalonica.

Four, encourage those who are not slothful. Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 3.13: “never tire of doing what is right.”

Five, generate a culture of God-honouring hard work. That will negatively mean, in so far as you can, verse 6, “keep way from every [one] who is idle.” People who don’t pull their weight can be so demoralizing to others in any group. In a church such a person, however, needs to be regarded not “as an enemy but warn[ed] as a brother,” verse 15.

Six, if you are in any leadership, make yourself a good model to follow, like Paul and his friends tried to do (verse 9).

Seven, keep Sunday special. This isn’t in 2 Thessalonians 3, but we know that the early Christians followed Jesus’ example of keeping one day special for coming together to worship God, to hear his word and to pray. As you regularly do that, it ensures your work on the other six days is in a proper perspective and with the right balance.

This is a good sermon for Lent, and if you’d like to listen to it, it can be heard here.

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