Summary: First in a series of sermons for dealing with difficult times.
“Handles for the Hard Times” (Sermon #1)
TEXT: I Thess 2 :17 - 3:5
· Army Chaplain had a sign on his door that said, “If you have troubles, come in & tell me all about them. If you don’t have troubles, come in & tell me how you do it.”
· Regardless of who you are, how old you are, single or married, children or no children, rich, middle class, or poor, you are going to have problems, trials, or difficulties in life
· Question is how we deal with and handle them
· Today lay a foundation and then beginning today and over the next four sermons look at 10 handles we can hold on to help us handle the hard times.
· Follow along closely (PB )
I. CONTEXT - PAUL IS LONGING TO SEE THE THESSALONIANS WHO HE KNOWS ARE
GOING THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES
A. Verse 17
1. Paul says he was “torn away” from the Thess
2. Gr - lit - “orphaned”
3. Feels the emotional pain, grief & loneliness of being separated from people he
a. Founded church, lived & worked w/ them, knew & cared about them
4. Longing to get back & see them again, but couldn’t because Satan hindered him
B. Verse 18 – “For we wanted to come to you – certainly, I, Paul, did, again and again,
but Satan stopped us.”
1. “Satan stopped us” - Gr - lit - “broke up the road & put up obstacles”
2. Don’t know what happened, but Paul convinced Satanic activity stopped him
from getting to the Thessalonians
3. Important for Paul to know what was going on
4. Paul knew the Thessalonians were undergoing trials & ...
C. Trials can cause casualties in the lives of Christians (Vss 2-5)
1. Verse 2: weaken & discourage people
2. Verse 3: unsettle - Gr “to shake you back & forth like a dog wags its tail”
a. Paul knew trials can make you feel like you’re being shaken from pillar to
post & like you’re coming unglued & unsettled
3. Verse 5: trials can lead the Xn into temptation
a. May yield to sin during difficult times & give in to things that you normally
wouldn’t be tempted to give into
b. Especially if you’ve been weakened, are discouraged, & feeling unsettled
D. What exactly is a trial?
1. Not the same as a temptation to sin
a. Internal; decide to yield to sin or to follow Christ
2. Greek word carries all of the following: External circumstances in our lives that
cause us trouble or that burden us or even cause us to be in anguish. We feel
pressure and/or feel trapped like an animal
(IL) Like Mr. Jones, who put an ad in the paper. When the ad wasn’t printed right the first day, he tried to get the paper to fix the problem
MONDAY: For sale: R.D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Phone 9480707 after 7 P.M. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him cheap.
TUESDAY: We regret having erred In R.D. Jones’ ad yesterday. It should have read "One sewing machine for sale cheap. Phone 9480707 and ask for Mrs. Kelly, who lives with him after 7 P.M."
WEDNESDAY: R.D. Jones has informed us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of the error we made in the classified ad yesterday. The ad stands correct as follows: "For sale R.D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 9480707 after 7 P.M. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who loves with him."
THURSDAY: I, R.D. Jones, have no sewing machine for sale. I smashed it. Don’t call 9480707 as I have had the phone disconnected. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Kelly. Until yesterday she was my housekeeper but she quit!
(IL) Man who goes to the doctor
Doctor: "I have bad news and worse news."
Patient: "So let’s have it."
Doctor: "The bad news is that you only have 24 hours to live."
Patient: "If that’s the bad news, I can’t imagine what could be worse than that!"
Doctor: "I forgot to tell you yesterday."
E. How do we deal with trials?
II. HANDLE #1: ACCEPT IT AS AN APPOINTMENT RATHER THAN AN ACCIDENT
A. READ Vs 3: “...You know quite well that we were destined for them...”
1. Paul telling this to Xns
2. Trials aren’t accidents, happenstances, or coincidences, but appointments
3. God has either actively decreed it or passively decreed it by allowing it to
B. Misconceptions about trials
C. Misconception #1: Are a sign of or punishment for your sin & disobedience
1. Not true - they happen to Q1
2. Not necessarily a direct result of your sin & disobedience
3. Mat 5:45: He sends his sun on the evil & the good & sends rain on the