Summary: Our Adoption, God's providence, Love
FOLLOW THE LEADER – Adoption Day
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (pg. 825) August 23, 2015
Have you ever loved someone so much that after a period of time you had to see them again? I mean you just couldn’t stand being separated from them? And maybe, because of circumstances or distance...it was impossible.
[Kari and I dated for 2 ½ years while I was in school in Knoxville, TN and she lived in Fort Pierce Florida....About 900 miles and limited funds separated us for long periods...we talked every Sunday night. I had to use a payphone in the hallway of Brown Hall at Johnson, but I could hardly stand not seeing her in person...and as soon as I got the chance I’d get in my little pick up and head south on 75.
While my son was in Iraq for almost 2 years...we got to see him once...during his 2 week furlough...we wrote to each other...emailed...calls were more difficult, but there were a few...usually “I can’t talk long Dad...we’ve got a mission, but I love you...see you soon.”
I could hardly stand it...and couldn’t wait to wrap my arms around my son.]
The apostle Paul uses that same phrase 2 times in 1 Thessalonians chapter 3....
Right after he tells the Thessalonians... “You are our joy and crown.” He says
“So when we could stand it no longer...we sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you.”
Both Paul and the people he loves are in the middle of a war...A war of trials and persecution of their faith...He says in verse 5... “For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent (Timothy) to find out about your faith...I was anxious that in some way the tempter had pulled you away...and I was afraid our labor might have been in vain.” (v. 5)
Paul uses the word “labor.” It’ s the same word that’s used to describe what a mother endures when giving birth to a child.
I’m not sure any man has the right to use that word...but the Apostle Paul says... “Labor...pain...work” was involved in the Thessalonians being “adopted into God’s family.” His labor...Silas labor...Timothy’s labor...was a part of these believers being born again.
You see most men can biologically sire a child...but making the choice to become a father is completely different...It involves a lifetime of love, sacrifice, and time.
It made the Apostle Paul tell his adopted spiritual children “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.”
(1 Thess. 3:10)
It seemed impossible for Paul to get back to Thessalonica...but he knew something about our heavenly Father.
I. GOD WILL CLEAR A WAY FOR US
There’s a song that goes “God will make a way when there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see...God will make a way for me.”
It’s why our text begins “Our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus can clear the way for us to come to you.” (v. 11) That’s what we’re praying for!!”