Summary: Paul identifies three ways Satan tried to stop Paul from returnign to the Thessalonias. Satan will try and stop us too. This message looks at how he will try and what we can do about it.
DON’T LET SATAN STOP YOU
1 THESS 2:17-3:7
1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:7 But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you--certainly I, Paul, did, again and again--but Satan stopped us. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy. 1 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.
4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. 6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.
I DON’T LET SATAN STOP YOU FROM DOING WHAT IS NECESSARY
A The Story
1 Paul wanted to stay with the Church in Thessalonica
a It was a young church
b It was a church Paul founded
c The believers were all new converts
2 Paul left because of persecution
3 Paul was unable to return though he wanted to
a “torn away has two meaning, both are applicable
1 What we are doing is not what we desire to do, but what we need to do
2 We were “torn away” from an intimate relationship – like a child suddenly orphaned from a mother
B Sometimes ministry does not agree with desire.
1 Desires are often emotionally triggered
2 Duty is related to need, goals, and calling
C Satan will can and will use our most powerful feelings against us
1 Use our feelings to stay when we should go
2 Use our feelings to go when we should stay
3 Use our feelings so that we never start
IN OUR WALK WITH CHRIST WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN OUR WALK WITH HIM ARE.
• What things in our life are ministry driven
• What things in our life are emotion driven
• If we confuse the two Satan will stop us from doing what we need to do!
II DON’T LET SATAN STOP YOU WHEN YOUR PLANS ARE FRUSTRATED
A We need to understand that Satan and his forces are real and adversarial!
1 Satan is active
2 Satan is at work each and every day
3 Satan has a plan and a strategy!
B We need to understand that Satan is a DEFEATED foe!
1 Satan was defeated at the cross redemptively
2 Satan can be defeated daily relationally
3 Satan will be defeated in the end judicially
C Satan had stopped Paul from returning
1 The word stopped/hindered means to “cut in a road” or to make impassable
2 Impassible does not mean impossible
3 Delay does not mean deny
4 Delays are conquered by affirmation and alternative, not by faltering and fatalism
a If we are doing something that is of our own design or desire (not God’s), then Satan does not have to bother with us. Our frustrations are either our own, or God’s redirection. And what we are doing is not forwarding God’s plan or will, and so it is of NO consequence to Satan.
b If we are doing what God has put on our hearts, THEN Satan is actively trying to frustrate our efforts because what we are doing is forwarding God’s plans and will.
c Roadblocks may make our progress difficult, but they do not make it impossible
d Some roadblocks are actually for our good
• When the trial produces Character – James 1:2-4
• When the trial produces Perseverance – Rom 5:3-5
• When the trial produces sensitivity towards others – 2 Cor 3:1-7
5 We need to focus not on what has stopped our progress, but what we can do about it