Summary: So tonight as we face discouragement, we will learn three areas of our spiritual lives where we can be encouraged.
Pm November 15th 2009
If we look around our world today it is so easy to be discouraged. We here that the unemployment rate in on the rise, some folks go to work each day worried that it will be there last day.
Divorce rates on climbing each year, ten years ago the divorce rate in America for first marriages was about 30 percent, last year it was at 50 percent.
More of our children our dropping out of school than they ever have before.
In church circles, churches are baptizing less and less people each year, even in the age of communication, we still have churches splitting everyday because of miscommunication.
In the Apostle Paul’s day, particularly tonight to the Thessalonians, it would have been just as easy if not easier to be discouraged. In the time between Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians and the second the persecution of the church actually got worse, the church was literally hiding and Christians were literally running for there lives.
Then not only that, but in the time between the two letters from Paul, someone else wrote them a letter stating that Jesus had already come back and they were left behind, so they were really discouraged.
So tonight as we face discouragement, we will learn three areas of our spiritual lives where we can be encouraged.
Read Scriptures: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
I. We can find encouragement in Praise
Vs. 1-4 “Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.”
One of the hardest things to do when things are not going very well in life is to praise God, to thank Him for the hard times. It is not normal for us to do that.
During World War II, when the enemy armies invaded North Africa, the missionaries had to flee; and there was great concern over the churches left behind. But when the war ended and the missionaries returned, they discovered strong, thriving churches. The sufferings of war purified the church and helped strengthen the faith of the true believers.
Paul said, “among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.”
They distinguished themselves from other believer’s in how they responded and handled persecution. We can be encouraged in tough times by praising God in the midst of the trial.
II. We can find encouragement in God’s Promises
Vs. 5-10 “All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”
No matter how difficult there current situation was for the Thessalonians, Paul reminds them of there secure glorious future.
In fact there sufferings were evidence, “a manifest token,” that God was working out His great plan for them.
We are prone to think that that suffering proves that God does not care, when just the opposite is true. Not only that, but the way we act in times of trial proves to others that God is at work.
What is the Apostle Paul saying to these Thessalonians? He is saying; “I know you are going through some fiery trials, but remember God’s promise of the return of Christ, and remember that those who unbelievers they will be paid in full by the wrath of God on sin when He does return. “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”
Not only can we find encouragement in praise, but also in God’s promise.
III. We can find encouragement in Prayer