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.
Have you ever had the opportunity to lead someone to Christ, invest time disciplining them, and then they leave? You wonder whatever became of that person. Did they continue on to maturity in Christ? Did they lead others to Christ and disciple them? Then you receive a report that they have grown, matured, and are actively ministering for Christ. We rejoice at the good report.
This is exactly what has happened for Paul. Report comes to Paul about how well the Thessalonians are doing. He rejoices and gives thanks to God for their spiritual growth.
Paul rejoices in the good report of Timothy and their desire to see him. (6)
6 But 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:
Paul gives thanks for the spiritual growth of the Thessalonians. (7-9)
7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: 8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;
a. For the Comfort that word of spiritual progress brought to Paul during a time of affliction and distress. (7)
b. For the new life their progress brought to Paul. (8)
c. For the joy their progress brought to Paul. (9)
Remember that although God may use us to lead people to the Lord and disciple them, it is God who transforms their lives. We are God’s instruments.
Having said that, God wants to use us in seeing men and women come to Christ. He is looking for workers. The Bible states “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2) Will we be those laborers?
The Great Commission commands us to teach or disciple God’s converts. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20) Have we ever taken the time to teach a new believer the fundamentals of the Bible? Will we given the opportunity?
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001