Summary: We as Christians are called to increase in our love for others, but we are not always successful in loving others. Thus, we need to return to the source of love Jesus Christ.
A surprising report.
Paul received a surprising report from Timothy
God’s love had worked miracles in the town of Thessalonica. God’s love in Christ was so great that it over came the hardship of persecution in Thessalonica when Paul was there.
because he only spent a little time with them because he was chased out by persecution
In the book of Acts we read how Paul and Silas were journeying around in the area of modern day turkey and Greece when they came to a town called Thessalonica. Paul would normally go and speak to the local Jews at the synagogue to share with them the Gospel and how it was the fulfillment of the prophecies. While they were doing this there was a group who was not very happy to see the Gospel touching people’s lives and they sought to do Paul and Silas harm and so Paul and Silas were snuck out of the city before the rioters could get to them and do them any harm. Paul would normally stay for an extended period but this time he was only able to stay three days.
So you can imagine his surprise and joy when heard the happy news from timothy that God had used that time to create and sustain faith even in the face of adversity
Paul is encouraged by this display of God’s love and so he offers a prayer that they would continue to increase in love and be strengthened .
Paul’s prayer is one of rejoicing and at the same time one that communicates a need for increase, to strive for greater levels.
Paul recognizes that Love is a powerful force for change and he doesn’t want them to be satisfied with the level that they are at no matter how low or high.
It is our tendency as humans to reach a level and become satisfied and complacent never seeking to grow and expand.
This means reaching out beyond our current boundaries.
Pastor Buchanan tells the story of a member of his church who’s name was Ken. Ken was going throw a very tough time in his life when he darkened the door of the church. You see Ken had AIDS. Since the day Ken had been found and rescued by Christ he faithfully attended services. Even after his illness started getting the better of him making him too weak to stand and deformed his body he continued to come. But people were afraid to be around Ken because of his disease. Then one day when Ken was too weak to even lift the hymnal to sing one of the ladies who had struggled mightily with how to approach Ken saw him and her heart ached for him. She went over to him tossed his arm around her shoulder and put her arm around his waist and picked him up so that he could join the rest of the congregation in singing the hymn. She had been afraid of catching Ken’s illness but she could no longer stand by
Moved by the plight of Ken this woman moved passed the boundary caused by her fears, reached out to her Christian brother, and gave him the support that he needed in order to join into the activities of their congregation.
Increasing love is a powerful thing; it reached out and preserved the church in Thessalonica in the face of great trials. It enabled them to overcome.
When talking to couples who are preparing to marry the one thing that I try to get through to them is that, they will not always get along, but when it comes difficulties they have to work together to come to an agreeable resolution even if it means one of them has to make major changes. It is not easy, but it is well worth it. Love really is all they will need because it will cause them to seek to help each other out and come to a resolution.
Increasing in Love is not an easy thing to do. In fact, I will be perfectly honest with you,
I have trouble myself. It is easy to find your self-content and satisfied with your current level. It is a pretty comfortable feeling to stay with in your box. It is hard and sometimes uncomfortable to move out of your box.
Of course loving your fellow man can sometimes be very difficult particularly when you need to get some place quickly and you find yourself behind a person who has not full grasped the concept of the gas pedal and acceleration.
Paul led by the Holy Spirit recognizes this difficulty and draws them/us back to the source of love
That is the love of God that lives in our hearts by God’s grace through faith. "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him" (1 JOHN 4:16,17).