Sunday, May 22, 2016

Paul's Epistles - I Thessalonians Part 3 – Timothy’s Report

Paul's Epistles - I Thessalonians
Part 3 – Timothy’s Report
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


We began looking at the basics of Christianity and the foundation of the church. How it was constructed, how it is to operate, and the instructions we as followers of Christ are given.

We looked at the Book of Acts, which shows the ups and downs of the Apostles and the early church. Many of the issues they had then, we still deal with today. So it is good for us to read these books and keep an eye on ourselves.

After Acts, we looked at the first few chapters of Revelation to read what the letters Jesus sent to the churches consisted of. We learned where the church were doing good, where they were messing up, and in all cases, how they were “supposed” to be.

We took those letters, compiled them and read them as if it were Christ’s instructions to us, as individuals, and as a church.

From the letter’s of Christ, we turned then to Paul’s letters, or epistles.

First looking at the Book of Romans, then to I and II Corinthians, from there to Galatians, and now we are looking at his letter to the Thessalonians.

This letter is believed to be Paul’s first letter.

We will now look at Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica.

So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them.In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

a. Unable to leave Athens, Paul sends Timothy to check on the church

b. Timothy was qualified, though he was young
                                                                                  i. Paul says he was a coworker in God’s service

                                                                               ii. Spreading the Gospel of Christ

                                                                            iii. Timothy would strengthen and encourage their faith

c. Paul wanted to ensure that the Thessalonian church was OK
                                                                                  i. Paul feared they may become unsettled because of the persecution

                                                                               ii. Friends, family and other Jews persecuted followers

                                                                            iii. The Jews failed to see Christ as the Messiah

                                                                              iv. Christianity isn’t a “different” belief system than Judaism; it is the fulfillment of it.

a. Paul knew firsthand how their family, friends and Jews would react to their following Christ

                                                                                  i. Paul also received persecution for preaching Christ to the Thessalonians

                                                                               ii. He feared the pressure may be too much for them, and they would be persuaded to leave Christ

b. Paul worried they may be tempted by the tempter
                                                                                  i. The devil usually leaves you alone, unless you are a threat to his kingdom
1. Following Christ (getting saved)

2. Obeying the Word of God

3. Preaching Gospel of Salvation

4. Helping brothers and sisters grow spiritually

5. Preaching / Teaching

6. Producing Spiritual Fruits

7. Using Spiritual Gifts

                                                                               ii. If you are not meeting with resistance in life, you are not a threat to the devils kingdom and should re-evaluate your service to the Lord.

                                                                            iii. Tough life, chaos, struggles, are not always the devil trying to stop you.
1. Sometimes we create our own storms in life

2. Not all persecution from the world is because you are doing something “right”

3. However, if you are truly serving the Lord, you will recognize the struggle, and why it is taking place.

c. When the seed is sown the devil begins his work
                                                                                  i. Matthew 13:1-23

13 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore.He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”
11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don’t really see.
    They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
‘When you hear what I say,
    you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
    you will not comprehend.
15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
    and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
    so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
    and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
    and let me heal them.’
16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.
18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

a. Paul says Timothy returned with a great report
                                                                                  i. They were doing well, standing strong, and missing Paul

b. Paul himself was distressed and persecuted
                                                                                  i. More than once we read about Paul stressing over others. Many times he could not wait to get word on how someone was doing.

                                                                               ii. He was anxious, stressed, but most of all relieved when he got good word back.

c. Now we can really live
                                                                                  i. Since you stand firm in the Lord!

                                                                               ii. How can we thank God enough for you?

1. This being the third time Paul mentions he thanks God for the Thessalonian church

                                                                            iii. We pray we can return to you and supply what you lack in faith.
1. Although Paul praised them many times for their faith, there is always room to grow with the Lord!

CONCLUSION Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.

12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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