The verse displayed above is almost totally ignored by Christians today, but it's message is powerful. True, Bible-believing Christians are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to withdraw, or separate, from other Christians that are either walking disorderly or not observing the traditions delivered to us by the Apostles in the New Testament. As 2 Thessalonians 3:6 above points out, we are commanded to "withdraw from every BROTHER who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition..."
A True Christian must recognize that there are some Christians (i.e. "brothers") who walk disorderly and not according to the traditions of the Bible, and because they refuse to observe those traditions we must "withdraw" or separate ourselves from them. They may be our brothers or sisters in Christ, but since they walk disorderly and not according to the traditions of the Bible, we are commanded to withdraw from them.
This concept will be hard for most modern Christians to accept. Some will try to rebut what I have written above by exclaiming, "But we must, as Christians, 'love one another as Christ loved us'" (John 13:34)! -My answer to that is "ABSOLUTELY!" I'll even take it one further than that:
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." -John 13:35
If you do not yet know why it is actually MORE loving to withdraw from disorderly or disobedient brothers and sisters who are not walking according to the traditions, than you do not yet know love. Behold, it is written:
"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." -1 Corinthians 13:6 NIV
If a true Christian bears love, then he "rejoices with the truth." It would therefore be impossible for him to ever rejoice with those who do not practice the truth, but who delight in their own innovation (and most of modern Christianity is just man-made innovation). Therefore, it is impossible for him to fellowship with those who do not "rejoice with the truth."
TRUE LOVE FOR OUR BROTHERS
A true Christian brother or sister is one who will care enough about you to tell you the truth, even if it hurts. As it is written:
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." -Proverbs 27:6
Getting corrected or rebuked by someone who loves you may not be a nice experience initially, but if the correction was warranted, the person receiving the correction should not only thank their brother or sister that corrected them, but also thank God. As King David put it:
"Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it..." -Psalm 141:5
As Christians we are our brother's keeper (1Cor 10:24). We should deeply care about one another to the point that we are willing to be criticized or even ostracized for the sake of helping a brother flee from error and draw closer to Christ. As it is written:
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." -Galatians 6:1-2
"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." -2 Timothy 4:2
THEY MIGHT BE BROTHERS
Those that walk disorderly and who do not keep the traditions as they are delivered in the Word of God might be real Christians, but are, perhaps, ignorant of certain Scriptures. We who understand the commandments and traditions as they are delivered in the Bible must remember what the Lord Jesus said about those who are ignorant and do not know what they should do, and those that knew what they were supposed to do but did not do it; as it is written:
"And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." -Luke 12:47-48
Those who are currently walking disorderly or not keeping the traditions delivered in Scripture may have honestly never been taught those traditions. Therefore, be gentle to them my brothers and sisters. Correct them, but do so "with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:2-3).
On that note, my brothers and sisters, I beseech you by the love of Christ to remember the words of our beloved Apostle:
"Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men." -Titus 3:1-2
WARNING DISORDERLY BROTHERS
When we first encounter someone that claims to be a Christian we should automatically believe them and hope beyond hope that they are telling us the truth, even despite the fact that most people who think they're saved Christians today are neither saved nor Christians. This is because True Christians walk in love, and as it is written:
"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." -1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
We believe them because we walk in love and "believe all things". We hope what they say is true because we walk in love and "hope all things". Until, of course, they prove themselves to be something other than Christian, or we find that they may be a fellow Christian, but that they are waking disorderly and not practicing the traditions as they are delivered in Scripture.
However, upon discovering that the person we have just met is walking disorderly and not keeping the traditions, we should try to correct them with all meekness, humility, and gentleness in love and attempt to turn them from their error. As it is written:
"Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." -James 5:19-20
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." -Galatians 6:1
If the brother that you are trying to correct receives your correction, praise God! If he does not receive your correction than he has forgotten what the scripture warns:
"If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. -1 Timothy 6:3-5
When warning these types of Christians, be sure that you follow what is written:
"Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned." -Titus 3:10
Warn and admonish them once; warn and admonish them twice. After that: Withdraw. However, if they come back later and repent, accept them; remembering that it is written:
"Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."" -Matthew 18:21-22
"Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." -Luke 17:3
A SORROWFUL EVENT
Withdrawing from our brothers and sisters in Christ is a very sorrowful event that has caused me many sleepless and heartsick nights. As the Lord Jesus Christ has said:
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." -John 13:35
We love them, but they walk disorderly and do not keep the traditions as they are delivered in the Word of God, therefore we are forced to withdraw from them. They leave us with no choice but to obey God.
Being a Christian that actually walks orderly and keeps the traditions as they are delivered in Scripture today is a very lonely journey, but all is just as it has been prophesied; as it is written:
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." -2 Timothy 4:3-4
I believe that time has come and has remained for quite some time. Will you be one of those True Christians that actually follows Jesus Christ with their whole heart, walking orderly and according to all the traditions as they are given in Scripture, or will you instead follow the crowds of modern Christians down their path of ignorance and complacency?
I beg you, my brothers and sisters, in the Name of Jesus Christ, and in humility and gentleness: accept my words and begin to walk orderly and according to the traditions of the Bible, remembering the warning of the Lord;
"These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." -Revelation 3:14b-16
SOME, HOWEVER, WE MUST AVOID COMPLETELY
Regardless of the reasons why a Christian would walk disorderly or disregard the commanded traditions, we must withdraw from them (2Thes 3:6). However, though we withdraw from them and do not pray, fellowship, or partake of the Sacraments with them, it should be noted that we should not treat them the same way that we are commanded to treat false brethren (2Cor 11:26; Gal 2:4). For those that are false brethren we have been commanded:
"But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore, put away from yourselves the evil person." -1 Corinthians 5:11-13
False Christians are people that claim to be Christian, but are any of the things underlined in the Scripture above. These types of people we must completely shun, even ensuring that we do not eat with them. Yet, this verse actually brings up another reason why most churches of our day are walking disorderly: because they do not shun the types of people I have underlined above in 1 Corinthians 5:11.
For example, Catholics call themselves Christians (i.e. brothers) but are complete idolaters (which should require no proof on my part -just enter a Catholic church and look around yourself). Due to this fact we are commanded to shun them and not even to eat with them, yet today most Christians are completely ignorant of this.
The statement that the holy Apostle Paul makes in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 is powerful. There is no question about that. However, some question the context in which the statement is made. Some will argue that Paul is only addressing those that do not work to support themselves or their families based upon the fact that Paul specifically points to this issue below his statement in 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Their argument is quite unfounded.
Paul is beginning his topic with a broad statement that covers all bases in simply stating:
"But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us." -2 Thessalonians 3:6
After this statement, Paul goes into details about the specific problem being faced in the Thessalonian Church at the time; namely, people not working and becoming freeloaders:
"For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies." -2 Thessalonians 3:10-11
The context of this entire passage of Scripture (2Thess 3:6-15) is not stated in verses 10-11, but rather, it is stated in its heading (2Thess 3:6). In other words, Paul BEGINS the topic with the context; namely, what is stated in verse 6.
Others may say, due to bad translations of this passage, that Paul is not addressing "disorderly" brothers, but only "idle" brothers; as one translation puts it:
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don't follow the tradition they received from us." -2 Thessalonians 3:6 (NLT)
First of all, the NLT is not a word-for-word translation of Scripture (nor is it even a decent translation). Secondly, the Greek word that they are translating as "live idle lives" is "Ataktos". The Greek word "Ataktos" would most accurately as the NKJV already translates it: "Disorderly." (Click on the underlined word and see for yourself)
However, if one is still illogically inclined to doubt what I have said here about the context, I would encourage them to look at similar statements made by the Apostles throughout the New Testament, like those in the following references: Romans 12:9, 16:17; 1Corinthians 5:6-8, ; 2Corinthians 6:14-18; 1Thessalonians 5:22; 2Thessalonians 3:14; 1Timothy 6:3-5, 20-21; 2Timothy 2:16, 23; Titus 3:9; Revelation 2:2, 6
May God grant all of His People the knowledge and wisdom required to escape from perishing (Hosea 4:6).