Summary: Is your heart and life being directed by the Lord, or are you the director? Do you care about others who still need to hear the good news about Jesus? Paul addresses these issues with encouraging words.

The God-Directed Heart

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.

Intro: [Recap ch.2 and lead into ch.3, then read text]

A God-Directed Heart…

1. Prays for the messengers of the gospel (1-2)

A. That the Lord’s message will spread quickly and be honored

-As a group of college students toured the slums of a city, one of the girls, seeing a little girl playing in the dirt, asked a guide, “Why doesn’t her mother clean her up?”

“Madam,” he replied, “that girl’s mother probably loves her, but she doesn’t hate dirt. You hate dirt, but you don’t love her enough to go down there and clean her up. Until hate for dirt and love for that child are in the same person, that little girl is likely to remain as she is.”

-Likewise, we must hate the dirt of sin in people’s lives as well as love them in order to have a heart for sharing the gospel with them. Hate sin and love the sinner (Steve Shepherd,

-There is nothing wrong with the gospel that we need to pray for it to improve or be stronger. It already is the power of God that leads to salvation. The main focus of our prayer needs to be for the messengers and the recipients (the tellers and the hearers).

-Missionaries are the main ones who come to mind here. We currently support 9 [Powers (Africa & Wash. DC), Blatchley’s (Davao City, Philippines), Stewart’s (Ghana), Shipley’s (Iran), Tamara Henkes (Romania), Walker’s (Mexico), Jim Book (Global), Jamie DeWees (Chi Alpha), and most recently Phil Malcolm (children of Africa)].

-As you pray for them, pray first that the Lord’s message will spread quickly and be honored. Why quickly? Why so urgent? B/C people are dying every day without Jesus and they need to hear about Him so they can call on Him and be saved.

B. That they would be delivered from wicked people

-The struggles are many! There are days when everything seems to happen at once and the resistance to the gospel is so strong that a person feels like giving up. And if people were not praying and giving and participating in their ministries, more of them probably would call it quits.

-There are wicked people who will go to any length to hinder the spread of God’s truth and love. Prayer can bring deliverance to the messengers, the missionaries, so that what the enemies intend for evil God turns around for good!

A God-Directed Heart…

2. Recognizes the Lord’s faithfulness (3a)

-In contrast to those who have not trusted and cannot be trusted, Jesus can be trusted! He is reliable. That is part of His nature and character.

Lamentations 3:22-23 22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Revelation 19:11-12 11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.

A God-Directed Heart…

3. Accepts the Lord’s strength and protection (3b)

-Why could Paul speak so confidently about the Lord’s faithfulness to strengthen and protect? Acts 18:9-11 9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." 11 So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

A God-Directed Heart…

4. Yields in obedience to God’s word (4)

-Property Laws of a Toddler

1. If I like it, it’s mine.

2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.

3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.

4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.

5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.

6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.

7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.

8. If I saw it first, it’s mine.

9. If you were playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.

10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.

-This selfishness is something all toddlers go through to some extent. But if toddlers are not taught and made to obey, they will continue in their selfishness until it will eventually become willful sin at some point in their lives. They do grow up.

-So instead of living a self-directed, self-centered life, we must yield ourselves to God and obey His word.

A God-Directed Heart…

5. Stays in God’s love and never gives up! (5)

-Some people say they don’t get mad, they get even.

-Bill once had a job as a truck driver. Twice a week, he hauled loads between Cincinnati and Atlanta. He always stopped for lunch at Joe’s Diner, a friendly little truck stop about halfway between the two cities.

-One day Bill parked his truck, walked into Joe’s Diner, sat down on a stool at the counter and ordered lunch. Off in the distance, there was a roar and a cloud of dust. As the roar got closer, out of the cloud of dust came 12 bikers. They parked their hogs and stormed into the Diner. They crowded around Bill and started to snap their fingers in rhythm. Bill just acted like they weren’t there and kept eating. Then the leader of the pack silenced his men, pointed at two of them, pointed at Bill, and snapped his fingers.

-One of them poured iced tea over Bill’s head, and the other one pushed Bill’s face into his mashed potatoes. Then the two of them pushed Bill off of his stool and beat the tar out of him. Bill never said a word. He got up, brushed himself off, paid Joe for his lunch and left.

-The leader of the gang swaggered over to Joe and said, “that guy’s not much of man is he? He didn’t even try to defend himself.” “No,” Joe replied as he looked out the window, “and he’s not much of a driver either. He just ran over twelve motorcycles.”

-As tempting as it might be to get even like Bill did, God wants us to leave vengeance to Him and not return evil for evil.

Romans 12:17-21 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


The one whose heart is directed by the Lord PRAYS

1. (P) Pray for the messengers of the gospel (1-2)

2. (R) Recognize the Lord’s faithfulness (3a)

3. (A) Accept the Lord’s strength and protection (3b)

4. (Y) Yield in obedience to God’s word (4)

5. (S) Stay in God’s love and never give up! (5)

-Is your heart and life being directed by the Lord, or are you the director? Do you care about others who still need to hear the good news about Jesus? Pray! Are you getting hit hard with the obstacles of life and opposition? Remember that the Lord is faithful! Accept His strength and provision. Yield yourself to Him and obey Him fully. Stay in His love and don’t give up!

-For proper heart direction we often need some heart correction. If you aren’t where you should be in your relationship with the Lord, will you ask Him to correct you? “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10