Virtue #4: Diligence – 2 Thess. 3:6-12

Posted by: cghearn | 07/27/2014 | 5:34 pm

How Do I Live Out Diligence?

Diligence, as you may well guess, has much to do with being a hard worker.  Diligence is defined as, “careful and persistent work or effort.”  Work isn’t part of the curse of the fall of Adam and Eve from the garden; in fact God created men to enjoy work.

Illustration: Gen. 2:15 “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to WORK IT and keep it.”

You see, work was part of the original plan for mankind in God’s mind.  The curse was that work would be hard and that there would constantly be obstacles standing in our way to achieving the desired goal…this is one of the reasons that diligence is now so important because we just have to work harder.

It can be difficult in this life to make a living and provide for your family at times.  Most men tend to connect their masculinity with their ability to provide for their wife and children if or when they have them.  It’s as if our need to work hard and provide is ingrained within our very souls.  And women tend to look at their house and surroundings as an extension of themselves which is why they usually hate it when guests come over and the house is dirty.

Doctrine of sermon: Diligence is the key to having success in every walk of life.

How do I live out diligence?

Keep away from brothers who don’t work or are considered lazy

Paul is here stating that those who are lazy and live out in a slothful manner are to be avoided by the whole church.  He is giving a command that everyone must follow, for if one person in the church disobeyed, it might make the one who is caught in sloth believe that what they’re doing is okay.

Illustration: Scripture strictly prohibits any man who claims to be either a Christian or God-fearing to be lazy.  There is no place in heaven for people who are afraid of work.

Turn  to Proverbs 6:6-11

There are a 3 names that truly insult a man to his core when you call him by them: Liar, coward, and sluggard.  A liar and a coward may be roused enough to stand up for themselves, but the sluggard knows that in order to do so, he’d have to stand…

Illustration: In other countries, being lazy might cause both you and your family to starve.  Story about guy from Somalia who was totally ripped and moved more rocks without a wheel-barrel.  He considered anyone who didn’t grow his own produce to be lazy.

Redemption: The way to learn diligence is often to imitate someone who has a good work ethic.

How do I live out diligence?

Imitate the diligent example of Paul and the other apostles

What kind of example did Paul and the other apostles leave for us to follow? Probably one that I don’t see many Christians imitating today.

Illustration: The church I used to attend was closed one winter morning while Planned Parenthood was open for business.

Paul, during his ministry, was a tent maker so that he could support himself.  After Paul finally got into full-time ministry, he was almost always constantly on the road so that he could preach the gospel and plant local churches.  During his ministry he was subjected to being beaten, stoned, whipped, shipwrecked, and being starved.  Paul walked everywhere for his ministry (except when he was on a boat) which would have been hundreds if not thousands of miles of walking in between towns.

Illustration: Now, I’m not trying to pick on anyone but retirement is not really a part of the Bible’s portfolio.  (Tell stories of how the apostles “retired.”)

There are very few excuses why someone should not be able to labor in one way or another in order to ensure that they owe no one anything, save for the gospel. Now some of you in this room like to fake being sick.  Those of you who admit that there are times when you call into work because you’re faking being sick need to know that there’s forgiveness through Christ for that sin and those of you who say that you’ve never done that, I want to let you know there’s also forgiveness for liars like yourself.

Turn with me to Acts 14:19-20

Redemption: Being diligent in your work, when looking at how Paul dealt with it, was to not expect glory for your hard work, but to give glory instead to God.

How do I live out diligence?

Work quietly and earn your own way through life

What was happening in the church in Thessalonica was that there were people coming in who refused to work and yet would still ask for food from those within.  What Paul is saying is that if someone came into the church expecting hand-outs because Christians are supposed to be “generous” that the church should gently refuse to give this person food and should instead encourage that brother to earn their living quietly and independently.  They should also seek to lead their lives quietly and without a fuss.

This should be the rule of the household as well.  If someone is refusing to work, then that same person shouldn’t be allowed to eat anything.

ILLUSTRATION: How I deal with our kids (if they haven’t done their work, then they don’t eat).

There will be times when you are either jobless or perhaps you don’t have a job, however but are instead going to school.  That’s a little different, but not really.  If you’re in school or college, you’re doing a thing called either “homework” or “coursework.”  Both of these compound words contain what key word?  WORK.  Let me tell you something else, just because you’re sick or unable to go to work doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to contribute.

ILLUSTRATION: When I was in Texas, Rachel was working and I was looking for work.  Every night when she got home the house was spotless, dinner was made, and James was bathed and clean.

Redemption: In order for us to be diligent, we need to stand, work, and make our way through life; and as much as we are able to do, we must do this on our own.

Conclusion

Doctrine of sermon: Diligence is the key to having success in every walk of life.

Application: If you want a good education, it’s going to take diligence.  If you want a successful ministry, it’s going to take diligence.  If you want a good marriage, it doesn’t happen magically, it takes diligence.  If you want your children to be trained up properly, it takes diligence.  Diligence would have more friends if he smelled like cologne rather than sweat.  Diligence would have more friends if he had soft hands rather than rough callouses.  Diligence would have more friends if he wore clean clothes rather than his old work clothes on the weekends.  Diligence would have more friends if he lived in the city of convenience rather than of the town of toil.

ILLUSTRATION:

What lies on the other side of the hill of victory?  You’ll have to climb it to find out.