Sermons

Summary: 10th in series, "Left Behind: 1 & 2 Thessalonians." Looks at being a part of God’s Team in the Last Days.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

Edward B. Rust, Jr., State Farm CEO, & James Owens Caterpillar CEO

To highlight its annual picnic one year, a company rented two racing shells and challenged a rival company to a boat race. The rival company accepted. On the day of the picnic, everyone entered into the spirit of the event. Women wore colorful summer dresses and big, floppy hats. Men wore straw skimmers and white pants. Bands played and banners waved. Finally the race began. To the consternation of the host company, the rival team immediately moved to the front and was never headed. It won by 11 lengths. The management of the host company was embarrassed by its showing and promptly appointed a committee to place responsibility for the failure and make recommendations to improve the host team’s chances in a rematch the following year. The committee appointed several task forces to study various aspects of the race. They met for three months and issued a preliminary report. In essence, the report said that the rival crew had been unfair.

"They had eight people rowing and one coxswain steering and shouting out the beat," the report said. "We had one person rowing and eight coxswains." The chairman of the board thanked the committee and sent it away to study the matter further and make recommendations for the rematch. Four months later

Some Folks don’t understand what it means to be on a team. In today’s text as Paul begins to wind down his letter to the Thessalonians, to me it begins to sound a lot like a coach’s halftime speech, or a general’s letter to rally the troops—he reminds them of the privileges and responsibilities of being on the team.

He begins with…

1. A Request

v. 1 Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith.

Paul says “you’re my support team—I need you to participate in my mission—because it’s really our mission.

Notice that in doing so he highlights their transformation from prospects to participants: “pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.”

No team consists only of the front line players. Basketball, football, movies, the military.(3/10 combat/support)

All of us who have trusted in Christ are part of the team and prayer is one of our solemn responsibilities. Jesus said we should pray for the harvest and for the laborers.

Specifically Paul requests that we should pray for the opportunity for the message to be shared and that it will be well received.

He further asks for prayers of protection. from those who would try to stop the message.

We need to be lifting these same prayers for those who spread the word. Pastors, missionaries—our young people in the schools. that they have opportunity and boldness, that the message be received and that the Lord will have his hand upon them.

Being part of god’s team means we are part of the prayer support.

Secondly Paul offers them a…

2. A Reassurance

3But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

Corrie Ten Boom: Often I have heard people say, "How good God is! We prayed that it would not rain for our church picnic, and look at the lovely weather!’" Yes, God is good when He sends good weather. But God was also good when He allowed my sister, Betsie, to starve to death before my eyes in a German concentration camp. I remember one occasion when I was very discouraged there. Everything around us was dark, and there was darkness in my heart. I remember telling Betsie that I thought God had forgotten us. "No, Corrie," said Betsie, "He has not forgotten us. Remember His Word: ’For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him.’" Corrie concludes, "There is an ocean of God’s love available--there is plenty for everyone. May God grant you never to doubt that victorious love--whatever the circumstances."

The Lord is faithful. No matter what circumstances we are in, we can be reassured of his hand upon us, protecting us from the enemy, strengthening us even through difficulty.

Who can forget the story of POW Jessica Lynch’s rescue by special forces soldiers calling out “We’re American soldiers” to which she famously replied “I’m an American soldier too.”

Brothers and sisters, here is a word of comfort: No matter how you may feel the enemy has you entangled, God’s promise is to be with you, you can boldly say, “I’m a soldier too.”

Finally as a part of God’s team we’re given a…

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