Summary: The impact of standing firm in the faith in Christ!
We continue our study of the First Letter to the Thessalonians. Please open your Bibles to 1 Thessalonians Chapter 3….
We noted that the Thessalonian church was a church to be imitated; it was a church truly in Christ! But because the church was faithful to Christ, it was persecuted! We are to enjoy life but we need to be real; Jesus himself said, “In this world, you will have troubles.” How did the Thessalonian Church do?
The apostle Paul who wrote the letter had been concerned about the church because of the persecution and desired to visit the church personally but he was somehow stopped by the devil according to 1 Thessalonians 2:18. We will note that in our passage today, Paul and Silas stayed in Athens but sent Timothy to Thessalonica to check on the church. Let’s find out what happened and note Biblical Principles for our lives today……
Before reading, let us pray together our commitment to God’s Word………..
Read along with me now, 1 Thessalonians 3………
What does the beginning of v1 indicate? When the earthquake hit the Philippines several weeks ago many of us were concerned about our relatives and friends there. When we could not contact them, we were really concerned about their situation and we tried every resource to find out how they were doing! We were very concerned because we love them. This was the situation with Paul, Silas, and Timothy; v1a: they loved the people in the Thessalonian church and couldn’t help themselves to find out how the church was doing and if help was needed.
By the way, Paul was quite a way from Thessalonica, about 300 miles from Athens, and the best mode of transportation 2000 years ago was 2 horsepower!
And so, what do you think the second part of v1 indicate? Those godly men thought about the situation then made a decision; but what else do you think those godly men did??
v1b: The godly men evaluated, prayed, and took action on the situation!
And so, with God’s help, what did they do?
v2: Paul and Silas sent Timothy (a Christian missionary) to Thessalonica!
I noted something interesting here: God allowed Satan to stop “The” Apostle Paul from going to Thessalonica but God allowed a young novice Christian Timothy to go. Why do you think this happened? What’s the difference between Timothy compared to Paul and Silas??
Although Timothy had a Jewish mother, he had a Greek father. Timothy knew personally the Greek culture! Timothy was the best man for the ministry in Thessalonica!
v2-3: Timothy was sent to be an encourager of the Christian faith in spite of problems!
Now, what else could have been a problem for the Apostle Paul to go to the Thessalonians at that time? Look again at v5….
v4-5: The apostle Paul had an egotistic and pessimistic attitude at that time! Surprisingly, we can note that Paul would not have been a good cheerleader for Christ to the Thessalonians!
The Apostle Paul thought of the worst for the Thessalonians thinking that all his work would have been useless!
But what do we read in v6-13? What did Timothy find out?
v6: in spite of how Paul was thinking, the Thessalonians loved Paul, Silas, and Timothy!
v8: Thessalonians stood firm in their faith in Christ!
And what did this perseverance of Christian faith by the Thessalonians do?
v7: encouraged other Christians facing troubles!
And what was being said in v8?
v8: Perseverance in faith enriches other Christian lives!
v9: Perseverance in faith produces gratitude to God!
v10: Perseverance in faith encourages earnest prayers!
And we note the prayers of godly men to the Thessalonian church:
In v11: the reality of being together for encouragement
v12: an overflow of love for one another
v13: strength in hearts to be blameless and holy
Before we pray ourselves for one another, let us note the main biblical principles for us to apply.
1. Love each one at church; find out how your brothers and sisters are doing. Get to know everyone at church! Our lunch time is a great time to meet others but you can always call or email one another during the week. How are you doing in getting to know the people at church?
2. Pray daily for opportunities to encourage someone from church! Note that God will only call you to do what you are capable of doing (God knows the best person for a specific situation).
3. Watch out for your own ego and realize that God can always do the impossible! Never give up! God can always do the right thing!
4. Know clearly your faith in Jesus Christ and persevere in it!
5. Pray right now and everyday for our church:
a. We will all commit to being together on Sundays!
b. An overflow of love with each other!
c. Strength in hearts to be blameless and holy for the Lord!