I Thessalonians 3

 

v. 2 – The purpose of sending Timothy back to Thessalonica was to confirm

            the Thessalonians in the faith and to exhort them to perseverance

            in the persecutions to which they were exposed.

 

 

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v. 3 – “That no man should be moved by these afflictions:  for

            yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto”

 

The afflictions fit us for heaven and make us appreciate everlasting

rest – through them we learn patience and resignation – graces which

are not learned in peace and prosperity.

 

I Peter 1:3-8               II Corinthians 4:17-18

 

That man should not be moved by these afflictions -

Song - I SHALL NOT BE MOVED

 

Steadfastness - I Cor. 15:58

 

Prayer - Watchfulness - praying for perseverance,

being distrustful of self, trusting only in Christ, watching

always.  Expecting afflictions, chastisements, a necessary

part of Christian experience. 

 

Thus prepared beforehand, the affliction, instead of shaking

you, confirmed and solidified you in the faith that was once

delivered unto the saints.

 

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand

against the wiles of the devil……take unto you the whole armor

of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having

done all, to stand” – Ephesians 6:11,13

 

v. 4 – “we told you before that we should suffer tribulation”

 

I Peter 4:12-13 and 5:10

 

Acts 14:22

 

John 15:18-20 16:1-4,33         Philippians 4-7

 

v. 5 – “lest by some means the tempter have tempted you”

 

The temptation to which the Thessalonians were exposed was

that of apostasy from Christianity, through the fear or endurance

of persecution – making the labors of Paul useless.

 

“There hath no temptation taken you but such is common to man: 

but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above

that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way

to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” – I Corinthians 10:13

 

 

Remember, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment,

worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” –

II Cor. 4:17

 

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy

to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” – Romans 8:18

 

Remember “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”  -

I John 4:4

 

“this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” – I John 5:4

 

Our afflictions and sufferings in their nature, severity and duration are

limited by God.

 

I Peter 1:7

 

We are to endure hardness as a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” – II Tim. 2:3

 

v. 6 – Timothy brought back the good news that the Thessalonians’

            faith had not been shaken and their love had not waxed cold

            under the persecution which they were enduring – they were

            only drawn closer together in the bonds of Christian love!

 

“ye  have constant remembrance of us always, desiring to see us,

as we also to see you”  - a mutual feeling!

 

vs. 7-8 – Christianity promotes care for others.  It is directly opposed

            to a self-seeking exclusiveness as much in spiritual as in worldly

            affairs.  As it bids a man not to simply care for the enrichment of

            himself with material wealth, it equally forbids him to seek

            only the salvation of his own soul.  He is to labor most earnestly

            for the salvation and perfection of his neighbor.  That is the

            picture of a man when he is unhindered by selfishness and

            coldness.

 

v. 9 – “what thanks can we render unto God again for you?”

 

Their steadfastness in the faith was owing to God’s grace, thanks

was to be rendered to God on their behalf.

 

Joy in the spiritual welfare of others – John said “I have no greater

joy than to  hear that my children walk in the truth” – III John 1:3

 

The angels rejoice over one sinner that repents – Luke 15:7

 

The Psalmist asks “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His

benefits towards me?”  - Psalm 116:12

 

In ch. 5:18 – Paul said “In everything give thanks:  for this is the

            will of God concerning you”

 

THANKSGIVING IS THE OUTFLOW OF A LOVING HEART

 

v. 10 – “Night and day praying exceedingly”

 

How fitting that in the morning that we should turn to God and

concentrate to Him the powers He has renewed!  How fitting that

before returning to the world, to meet its temptations, to be entrusted

with opportunities of usefulness, to meet what Providence has awaiting

us – how fitting that before we take the first step we should implore

the favor of Him on whom the lot of every day depends!  How fitting,

too, that in the evening we should thank God for the benefits of the

day, that we should seek to be relieved of the burden of its trans-

gressions, and that we should commit ourselves through the night

to the keeping of Him who neither slumbers nor sleeps!

 

My earliest childhood memory is of my mother at night praying

we me “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I awake, I pray the Lord my soul to take”

 

“that we might….perfect that which is lacking in your faith”

 

 

Paul had previously extolled their faith – ch. 1:8 – from this we

can infer that even those who surpass others are still far distant

from the goal.  Whatever progress we have made, let us remember

our deficiencies and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high

calling of God in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 3:14

 

v. 11 – “God Himself” – The word  (Himself) is emphatic – He

            only can save - He only is the Giver of all good things – He only is the

            Giver of joy – He is able and willing to help us – His is the kingdom and

            the power and glory – also Jesus Christ is mentioned and the verb is

            singular which can only be explained by Christ’s words “I and my Father

            are one” – John 10:30

 

Paul prayed to have his way directed unto the Thessalonians.  In the same

way the servant of Abraham prayed to have his way prospered in the

obtaining of a wife for Isaac.  We may learn that we are to make even

external arrangements subjects of prayer.

 

It is amazing to me, how over the years, that my paths have crossed with

people that I have prayed for!

 

Never think that anything is too little for your Heavenly Father’s love to

think upon!   CH Spurgeon

 

“Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and

supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known

to God”  - Philippians 4:6

 

v. 12 – “the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one

            toward another and toward all men” – toward fellow-Christians

            and toward the human race in general.

 

Love is most like God of all the human experiences.  We are nearest to

God when we love one another most. 

 

Love is the most fruitful grace.  It does the most good to the world and

inspires the best service to God. 

 

Love is the foundation of all other graces.  It opens the eyes of knowledge,

it kindles the ardor of zeal, it inspires the life of faith and breathes holiness

into the soul.

 

Love begins in Christ – we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind

and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves -  Mark 12:29-31

 

Christian love is not confined to the Christian community.  Christian

love is contagious.

 

It is the character of Divine love to encompass all whereas it it typical

of fallen man to be a respecter of persons.

 

This teaching is in conformity to what Peter says that to “brotherly

kindness” we are to add “charity” – II Peter 1:7  There is a concentration

of our affection in our home but we are not selfishly to confine it there;

rather we are to get there refreshment for a wider circle.

 

Say what you will about the Unites States of America.  She  has put

this Biblical teaching to practice.

 

 

We are to be “rooted and grounded in love….to be strengthened with

all might by His Spirit in the inner man” – Ephesians 3:16-17

 

v. 13 – “To the end that He may stablish your hearts unblameable in

            holiness before God, ever our Father, at the coming of our

            Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints”

 

 

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“holiness” – “without holiness no man shall see the Lord” – Hebrews

12:14  - “be ye holy, for I am holy” – Leviticus 11:45

 

God the Holy Ghost sanctifies the elect of God – He can make the soul

that was unclean pure and blameless.

 

He will do this “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”

 

“with all His saints” – Jude 1:14 – “Behold, the Lord cometh with

ten thousands of His saints”.

 

Ponder:

 

The subject of the Divine culture is “your hearts” –

 

“My son, give me thine heart” – Proverbs 23:26

 

God aims at renewing and purifying the heart.  He is not

satisfied with decorous conduct as a mask for a corrupt heart!

 

WITH PURITY OF HEART, RIGHT CONDUCT WILL FOLLOW!

 

“stablish your hearts” – STABILITY!

 

Knowledge acquired simply to meet an examination is quickly

forgotten.  This is not education.  God aims at more than the

momentary elevation of rare seasons of grace. 

 

He will have a firm and lasting character – a spiritual life

which is also an eternal life!

 

“unblameable in holiness”  - God does not stop with the forgiveness

of the past – He aims at real and positive holiness.

 

Holiness is more than dutifulness, more than virtue.  It includes

these human types of goodness but goes beyond them.  It includes

the thoughts, affections, and conduct.  It involves clean hands and

a pure heart.  It rises to the character of God Himself. 

 

Holiness is godlike goodness, as virtue is human goodness.

 

THE TEST WILL BE APPLIED AT THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST!