Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: What is really inside the heart of a true pastor?


sermon ministry of


Thomasville, NC


October 12, 2003

1Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 5For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

6But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: 7Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: 8For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 9For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; 10Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

11Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 12And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 (NLT)

On our signboard outside the message reads,

Oct. is Pastor Appreciation Month¡K

Have You Hugged Your Pastor Today?

In light of that I was going to invite some of our guys to the platform for a ¡§group hug¡¨. I decided to keep my job instead!

It is an interesting coincidence, though that this is ¡§Clergy Appreciation Month¡¨ ¡V and, in our study of Thessalonians we come to this part of Paul¡¦s pastoral letter to a congregation which really opens up the minister¡¦s heart for the reader. A Pastor¡¦s heart; what do you find when you open one up? Among the normal stuff for a man, you will also find these four items¡K

Need for Co-workers Who Share the Same Burden

Wherever Paul was geographically and whatever his situation at the time, his mind was on the little congregation he had left back in Thessalonica. He had held off going there for as long as he could, and then he just had to know about them¡K

1Finally, when we could stand it no longer, we decided that I should stay alone in Athens, 2and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our co-worker for God and our brother in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. (NLT)

Paul had a strong co-worker in Timothy. Timothy was young man, but evidently strong in the faith. Paul sent him to see about his friends in Thessalonica; he also wanted Timothy to accomplish some very important business (v.2b):

We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, 3and to keep you from becoming disturbed by the troubles you were going through. But, of course, you know that such troubles are going to happen to us Christians. 4Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come¡Xand they did, as you well know. (NLT)

Co-workers in the faith are important because troubles come. Paul knew whenever Christ is honored and people come to faith, the next scene will have the enemy¡¦s turn at bat. Satan shows up after victories! The folks in Thessalonica had their share of persecution and there were those who were attempting to lead them astray. Paul sent his trusted co-worker to strengthen and encourage the brethren in their faith.

There have been times in our own church when the winds of trouble have blown. I can tell you we¡¦ve got some Timothy¡¦s in this place ¡V men (and women) who are trustworthy co-workers who can shore-up our faith. There are those you can count-on in this local body of Christ.

Trouble will come ¡V that is never in question. What is always in question is what will rule; will faith and the Word of God rule, or will it be popularity and selfishness. God wants to know that; He really does! He wants to know if we will choose to stick with popularity and ties of this world, or if we will honor Him with genuine faith, approved and tested by the Word of God. He wants to know if we will be like Timothy, co-workers with Him, sharing the burden of reaching the lost with authentic faith. God has a need of co-workers, that¡¦s why Pastor Paul had that in his heart too.

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