Summary: When we really care about those we influence for God, we experience a broad-spectrum of intense feelings.
The Emotional Intensity of Caring
1. Pastor Marc Axelrod shared this: ?
My nephew Justin is a Marine. Right now, he’s going through boot camp. And other than me, he is probably the only Christian in the family. And so Jeanne and I have been praying for him alot. It’s the first time he’s been out on his own. And we’re concerned about what kind of habits he’s going to pick up. And how he’ll handle temptation. And alcohol. And women. And all that stuff. And Grandpa told me, "Oh, there’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure he’s doing what every normal young man does while he’s in the service."??And I’m thinking, "Thanks a lot, Grandpa! That’s not exactly what I was looking to hear!"
And so Jeanne and I have been asking God to help Justin get stronger in his faith.?And last week, we got a letter from him. And this is what he said:??"I want you to know that I go to church every Sunday and it’s a relief for an hour. We get four hours on Sunday to ourselves and church takes up one of those hours...They sing songs, but they also have sermons talking about Christ. It’s weird though, because I pray every night, and the next day is better than that day. But there were a couple of days when I was so tired that a little bit after I hit the rack I fell asleep and didn’t pray. And the next day was hard. The platoon got in trouble a lot. Every night before we go to bed, we get into a group and pray. But when its time to get into bed, I pray by myself, too. I pray in the bed, and that helps me alot the next day."?
Let me tell you: This letter made my day. Justin’s strong faith in Jesus is an encouragement to me. Because now I know that all those years of praying for him and talking to him about the Lord weren’t in vain. That God’s been working in his life the whole time we’ve been apart. And by him standing firm in his faith, it makes me feel stronger in my faith! (from Sermon Central)
2. Pastor Axelrod’s experience was similar to Paul’s. Paul was worried about the Thessalonian believers, drying to hear from them. When he heard the good news that they were standing firm, it gave him great joy.
3. Every believer has or should have a ministry. We reach people, we help people, we nurture people.
4. Sometimes they grow; sometimes they deteriorate; sometimes they blossom, sometimes they wash out.
Main Idea: When we really care about those we influence for God, we experience a broad-spectrum of intense feelings.
TS----------> Paul was no different; he experienced a full range of emotions because he cared.
I. A Holy WORRY and FEAR (1-5)
A. Stated His Anxiety UNASHAMEDLY (1a)
• After being forced to leave Thessalonica, Paul, Silas, and Timothy ministered in Berea. Then Paul left Silas and Timothy behind in Berea because the hostile Jewish leaders had started trouble for Paul in Berea.
The Berean Christians sent an escort with Paul into Athens, and then they departed. In time, Timothy joined him, but he had no word about the Thessalonian believer.
Paul could get no current information out of Thessalonica. He was both worried and afraid.
• Some of us have been taught it is a sin to worry or be afraid; the church may have taught us to lie; instead of saying worried or afraid, we use the word "concerned." Somehow, that is supposed to make things different.
A lot of things that are sinful in excess are good in moderation. And, a lot of times, what we are worried about makes the difference.
Superficial people are worried about superficial things; deep people, deep things.
• You might be worried about a wayward child or lost relative, while the guy next to you at work is worried about having enough alcohol to last the weekend…
• Even in our holy worrying, our anxiety is moderated when we contemplate the sovereignty of God
B. SENT his best man (1b-2a)
1. A sacrifice on Paul’s part
2. A revelation of his concern to the Thessalonians
C. Was concerned about the BIG issues (2b-3a)
1. their FAITH
If we are doing okay financially, morally, relationally -- but our faith is destroyed or negligible, we have failed most miserably
The Gospel is not a message targeted to give us great financial success in this life; it is not targeted to make us physically healthy in this life; it affects these things and our nfaith, and without faith we have failed miserably no matter what else we have.
2. their TRIALS
Jesus told a parable about a sower….the seed that fell on stony ground had no root, so it sprouted and died; some people we think we have won to Christ are just like this…when trials come, they abandon ship…