Summary: How to deal with the trials of life.
So far we have looked at the people and the messengers.
• We have seen how they have changed and how Paul and his traveling companions have bonded with the Thessalonians
• But we have to keep in mind that has been a while since they have been together
• The Thessalonians have been living among sinful people
• And Paul is getting worried that they may have Backslidden.
So lets pick up where we left off at the beginning of Ch.3
Paul as I said before was worried
At the end of Ch. 2:18 “We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us.
(Examples of wanting to do something but being prevented from doing it)
• But what we see here is when Paul cant stand it any longer, since he himself cant go to them he sends Timothy
• Paul sent Timothy to check up on them but at the same time
• But Another purpose of Timothy’s visit was to make sure the Christians wouldn’t lose their spiritual balance and stability
• As a result of the trials they were going through (cf. 2:14).
• Paul didn’t want them to become unsettled.
• Not being able to make up their minds about what they are doing.
• Paul goes on to say that trials are not necessarily a sign that God’s mad at you,
• But they are a part of every Christian’s life.
• When trouble comes, We often react by doubting that we are where God wants us to be;
• We often think that we have done something wrong and that God must be displeased with us.
• Even some mature Christians react this way,
• And this is what is happening here
• It’s obvious by Paul’s words of reassurance to Timothy many years later.
• (2 Tim. 3:12) Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Paul Himself says I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.
• Conflicts happen in the Christian life
• The trials and testings that are a part of our lives aren’t accidents
• They are appointments.
• We have to understand that we are going to “suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29).
• Persecution isn’t anything new for the believer (1 Peter 4:12ff),
• Paul had repeatedly told them this while he was with them.
• And we today must warn new believers that the Christian life isn’t as easy as they think.
• If we don’t educate people about these trials and testings, when they come,
• These babes in Christ will become discouraged and defeated.
And who is the one behind all of these Trials and Testings?
• It’s Satan, the number 1 enemy of al Christian
• (1 Thes. 3:5). He is the tempter, and he seeks to ruin our faith.
• Pay attention to the emphasis on faith in this chapter.
• Satan can be compared to a roaring lion,
• (1 Peter 5:8-9) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters* all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
He stalks believers; and we have to resist him
• When Satan tempted Eve, he began by weakening her faith in God:
• (Gen. 3:1) Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
• As a serpent, Satan deceives; But as a lion, he devours.
• He will use any means possible to attack a Christian and weaken their faith in God.
• Satan often flatters the believer in order to lead him astray.
• Satan told Eve she would be like God if she ate of the tree,
• And she fell for his flattery.
• Satan is more dangerous when he flatters than when he frowns.
Timothy’s task was to establish these believers, to encourage them and to comfort them in their faith.
• Because it’s faith in God that keeps our feet on the ground when the enemy attacks.
• If we didn’t have Faith in God, we would be defeated.
• (1 John 5:4). For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
The believer is built up by the Word of God
• Paul reminds them of the Word that he has already taught them.
• He had warned them that troubles were coming,
• But it seems like they may had forgotten what he had taught them.