This week we study the Suffering Church. First Thessalonians 3 reveals what a Christian’s life should be in light of the Rapture. It reveals the rapture as a purifying hope.
Paul sent Timothy to establish the Thessalonians during their suffering for Christ (1-2)
Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:
Paul now writes to encourage the Thessalonians during their suffering for Christ (3-5)
3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 5 For 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 labor be in vain.
a. We are appointed to tribulation (3)
b. We are to expect tribulations (4)
c. We are to endure tribulations (5)
There are two areas of interest in these verses.
First, Paul loved and cared for the Thessalonians so much that he sent Timothy to teach, guide, establish and comfort them. Second Timothy 2:2 states, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” Paul had taught Timothy and now it was Timothy’s opportunity to minister to the Thessalonians. Paul challenges each of us to disciple others.
Second, afflictions and sufferings are inevitable. Paul is living through afflictions and sufferings. He told Timothy “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (2 Timothy 9-12) Even though we may suffer as we present God’s word, the end state is souls saved and on their way to Heaven.
We need to be encouraged by these verses.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001