1 Thessalonians 3 Summary Verses 6-10

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary Verses 6-10
1 Thessalonians 3 Summary Verses 6-10
Explaining the Book
1 Thessalonians 3 Summary Verses 6-10
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1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | Verses 6-10: What encourages you in this life? When things get difficult for you and you feel down, what is it that lifts you up?

The internet, of course, is full of ideas on how you can be encouraged. One Ph.D. author suggests that engaging in positive self-talk, watching uplifting videos on the internet, and seeking encouraging quotes are what you should use to encourage yourself.

https://www.goodfinding.com/encourage-yourself.html

Still others suggest that the key to being encouraged involves being proud of yourself, being your own best friend, keeping a good sense of humor, spending time on hobbies, exercising, and eating good food. Those are the things that are going to encourage you.

https://www.wikihow.com/Support-and-Encourage-Yourself

But for the believer, encouragement from God can take numerous forms.

In the passage before us this evening in 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10, Paul speaks of encouragement coming from fellow-believers - especially regarding the aspect of their faith.

As you recall, Timothy brought news to Paul concerning the Thessalonians’ faith - and that greatly encouraged him. And by the end of our passage tonight, Paul is going to tell those folks how he wants to come to them and reciprocate the favor by encouraging them. Their faith encouraged him and so he wanted to go encourage them.

So, what we see in this passage is this truth: Your Faith Encourages Other Believers.

Haven’t you experienced that? You hear of your fellow-believers standing strong - either in the present or the past - and there’s something about that that’s strengthening and encouraging.

Whether that be reading a missionary biography or hearing from a contemporary believer about undergoing trials but remaining steadfast in the faith - this’s encouraging to us.

And it was to the apostle Paul, as well.

So, let’s read 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10 and then examine this passage in closer detail and be reminded of how Your Faith Encourages Other Believers.

Verses 6-10

1 Thessalonians 3:6–10 AV 1873

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:

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;

10 night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

As you might remember, we ended our last message with the apostle Paul wondering if Satan had effectively tempted the recent converts in Thessalonica. Had they fallen away from the faith?

Because if they did, that would mean that numerous aspects of Paul’s tireless labor among them would have proven vain or empty. And what a discouragement that would have been for the apostle and Silas and Timothy.

That’s why they sent Timothy to the Thessalonians - to figure out what was going on with them and their new faith in Christ.

And that’s where the note of contrast in verse 6 couldn’t be more welcome. He starts that verse with this phrase …

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | Verse 6

1 Thessalonians 3:6 AV 1873

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:

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | But now

But now

6 Ἄρτι δὲ

This is indeed a sharp contrast to what Paul had previously been sharing with the Thessalonians.

In the previous passage in verses 1-3 of this chapter, there was a lot of discussion about the agony that Paul and Silas were experiencing as they were kept from these believers in Thessalonica. Paul wanted so greatly to see these people and to know whether they were still walking with the Lord in the midst of their afflictions. And it was unbearable for them to have to wait so long.

“But now”…

Paul’s fears were allayed and comforted - he was encouraged - by hearing of the faith of these Thessalonians, he says, …

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | when Timotheus came from you unto us

when Timotheus came from you unto us

ἐλθόντος Τιμοθέου πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀφʼ ὑμῶν

This in-and-of-itself was comforting and encouraging enough for Paul. Timothy’s return by itself would have been a great relief to the apostle.

•           Because this Timothy - who had been absent from Paul for quite some time - is the man who was known for his selfless service to the apostle (Acts 19:22).

•           Timothy was one whom Paul calls elsewhere his workfellow (Romans 16:21). Paul esteemed him as a true co-worker.

•           He was Paul’s dearly beloved son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2) who was faithful in the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:17).

•           He was one who worked the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:10).

•           He was a brother (2 Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; Philemon 1) and a preacher (2 Corinthians 1:19) and a servant of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:1).

As Timothy and Silas completed their journey of over 300 miles from Macedonia to Corinth where Paul was stationed - the return of this man of faith would have brought great encouragement to Paul.

And yet, what was even better to Paul was the message that Timothy brought back from the Thessalonians…

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | and brought us good tidings

and brought us good tidings

καὶ εὐαγγελισαμένου ἡμῖν

This phrase in the English, “brought … good tidings” is actually the word from which we get the term “evangelize”. The concept is “bringing good news”. And of course, the best news one can ever receive is the message of forgiveness of your sins through Jesus Christ.

But sometimes this word refers to bringing other kinds of good news - not as good as the Gospel itself, but good nonetheless.

What good news did Timothy bring to Paul? …

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | your faith

your faith

τὴν πίστιν … ὑμῶν

Timothy brought good news concerning the faith of the Thessalonians.

•           It’s this faith of theirs that Paul remembered back in chapter 1 and verse 3 where he could recall that this  faith of theirs caused the Thessalonians to be engaged in encouraging work for the Lord’s sake (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

•           The faith of these Thessalonians was spread all over the place - in Macedonia - their region - and in Achaia - a region a little father - and even beyond that (1 Thessalonians 1:8).

•           And it was this faith that Paul and Silas sent Timothy to the Thessalonians to strengthen and encourage (1 Thessalonians 3:2).

•           But toward the end of our last message, Paul was very concerned that perhaps the Tempter had effectively tempted those believers. And so the status of the faith of those believers in Paul’s mind was in question (1 Thessalonians 3:5).

But now Timothy’s return to Paul with good news concerning the Thessalonians’ faith was a great encouragement to him.

And along with the faith of these believers, Timothy also had an encouraging update concerning their love

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | your … charity

your … charity

τὴν ἀγάπην ὑμῶν

That’s of course the idea behind the KJV’s “charity”.

•           This notable love of the Thessalonians is why Paul opened this letter commending their faith and love - and noting how these two virtues caused those believers to act (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

•           These two aspects of faith and love are something for which Paul - in his second letter to them - just can’t stop giving thanks to God (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

•           And yet, in keeping with Paul’s theme in this letter of already attaining but still pressing on to to more godliness, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians later on in this letter to put on “the breastplate of faith and love” (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

So, not only was the faith of the Thessalonians an encouragement to Paul. The love that sprung forth from that faith was a great joy to him as well.

The Thessalonians’ faith was directed toward God. Their love was directed toward God - and likely toward one another.

And now, Paul points to one other dynamic that was very encouraging to him. And that’s this matter of how the Thessalonians felt about the ones who originally brought them the gospel…

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | and that ye have good remembrance of us always

and that ye have good remembrance of us always,

καὶ ὅτι ἔχετε μνείαν ἡμῶν ἀγαθὴν πάντοτε

In the apostle Paul’s last letter to his son in the faith, Timothy, he says this very thing. That he had remembrance of Timothy. The minister - Paul - remembered the one to whom he had ministered - Timothy.

But here in 1 Thessalonians 3:6, it’s actually the other way around. The ones who were ministered to are remembering the ones who ministered to them.

And this remembrance was good

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | good remembrance

Sure - the Thessalonians hand’t forgotten about the apostle Paul and his helper Silas.

But what’s more - the Thessalonians had not become what certain other churches to whom Paul ministered were tending to become - those whose remembrance of the apostle would not have been characterized as “good”…

You think of the church in Corinth. And in both of his letters to that church - which Paul himself founded! - he finds himself in the strange position of having to defend his own apostleship and calling of God to those folks who should have known better.

Or how about the churches in Galatia who - at least some of them - had abandoned the gospel all together! They had started to drift away from salvation by faith alone through Christ alone and had started to adopt a works-based Christian-like religion.

Paul - no doubt, with great grief - could not have said to those two churches that they had good memories of him.

But it was different with the Thessalonians. They “had good remembrance of” Paul and Silas.

And they remembered those two who has brought them the gospel - always

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | always

As often as the Thessalonians thought about Paul and Silas, their memories of them were good. And this thought must have crossed the minds of the Thessalonians often.

You might have someone like that in your life. Where this man or woman was greatly used by God in your life to bring you to faith in Christ or to mature you in the faith. And every time you think about that individual, your thoughts and memories of them are good. They’re pleasant. You’d like to be with them again if you could.

And that’s just what we see these good thoughts of the Thessalonians about Paul and Silas leading them to. Those thoughts led those believers to a certain inner compulsion to see Paul and Silas again…

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | desiring greatly to see us

desiring greatly to see us,

ἐπιποθοῦντες ἡμᾶς ἰδεῖν

This great desire that the Thessalonians had to see Paul and Silas and Timothy is akin to the desire that a baby has for milk - which was of course the only nutritional option for babies of the 1st century (1 Peter 2:2).

As I was in our church’s lobby the other evening I heard a baby crying. And it could have been a tired cry - but if I remember my baby-cries correctly from 8 or 9 years ago with our last baby - I think it was a hungry cry. You can tell the difference sometimes.

And of course that’s what babies do. They’re greatly desiring milk to feed them and to keep them alive. And they’re not just going to let out a little whimper about it. They’re not going to just quietly clear their throat and hope that someone pays attention. They let out a great and lamenting cry. They’re determined to be noticed!

And while the Thessalonians probably weren’t bellowing-out with great agitation to see Paul and his company - they at least harbored that inner feeling about seeing the men that had been so greatly used by the Lord in saving them from their sin and starting them off on their walk with the Lord.

And the truth of the matter was that this wasn’t a one-sided deal. It wasn’t just that the Thessalonians so greatly desired to see Paul and Silas and Timothy. No - it was a reciprocal feeling…

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | as we also to see you

as we also to see you:

καθάπερ καὶ ἡμεῖς ὑμᾶς, 

There’s no verb in that phrase in the Greek text. And in English you can observe that the phrase “to see” is in italics, which indicates that the King James translators added it to enhance understanding of the readers - but that it’s not there in the biblical text.

So, the operative verb is actually understood from what preceded this phrase. The Thessalonians so greatly desired to see Paul and Silas and Timothy - that’s the verb. And that feeling of desire was mutual. Paul and Silas and Timothy greatly desired to see those believers in Thessalonica from whom they had been violently torn away by that mob in that city.

And that abrupt parting from one another that these folks had to experience was an affliction and distress to Paul and Silas. It was a discouraging hardship that really only the word that Timothy brought back from the Thessalonians could comfort and encourage them about…

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | Verse 7

1 Thessalonians 3:7 AV 1873

7 therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress, by your faith:

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress, by your faith:

7 therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress, by your faith:

7 διὰ τοῦτο παρεκλήθημεν, ἀδελφοί, ἐφʼ ὑμῖν ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ ἀνάγκῃ καὶ θλίψει ἡμῶν διὰ τῆς ὑμῶν πίστεως, 

Let’s break that down a little bit …

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | therefore … by your faith

therefore … by your faith

διὰ τοῦτο … διὰ τῆς ὑμῶν πίστεως

Therefore is literally “because of this”. And then the last phrase in this verse by your faith is literally “because of your faith”.

So - because of this…

Well, because of what?

Because of your faith.

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | we were comforted

we were comforted

παρεκλήθημεν

Now, it was because Timothy brought back word of the Thessalonians’ faith and love and their sweet spirit toward Paul and Silas and their great desire to see them - because of all of that - which can be summarized as their faith, Paul and Silas and Timothy altogether were greatly encouraged or comforted. That Greek word can mean either concept depending on the context.

There was a real grief in the mind of the apostle as he contemplated the possibility that these folks to whom he had preached the gospel and ministered - that perhaps they were tempted by Satan and fell away from Christ. Paul was cognizant of that real danger in their lives. And perhaps emotionally he had prepared himself for the worst concerning those people.

This inner turmoil that Paul would have faced was a lot like when the young man in Acts 20 fell asleep and then fell out of the window and everyone was dismayed and thrown into despair concerning the death of that one. But then Paul came and miraculously brought him back to life. And it says that they were “not a little comforted”. They had come to reckon with the worst-case scenario for that young man. But then God graciously changed the outcome.

And I think that’s what happened with Paul and the Thessalonians. Paul had reckoned that the worst had happened - that the Thessalonians had fallen away from Christ. So, when Timothy comes back to him and gives him this great news about them - Paul is comforted - as if he were receiving them back from the dead - at least in his mind.

And that period in which Paul was entertaining in his mind the worst-case scenario about the Thessalonians - he describes that time as “affliction” and “distress” …

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | in all our affliction and distress

in all our affliction and distress

ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ ἀνάγκῃ καὶ θλίψει ἡμῶν

That word distress often refers to neediness.

You’re in a hard position because you’re so incredibly needy. You have needs that are going unmet. And that’s a painful situation to find yourself in - and one that the apostle Paul was no stranger to.

And for Paul in this context, his need was to see those believers in Thessalonica and to know that they were still walking with Christ. And Timothy’s report to them was something that comforted Paul about his distress.

Now, that word affliction oftentimes refers to trouble that comes on someone because of other people.

The way that Paul and Silas were sent out of Thessalonica was this kind of affliction. And it was fresh on Paul’s mind as he’s writing this letter.

But the news from Timothy about these believers in Thessalonica comforted and encouraged Paul about this awful memory which he hadn’t been able to forget.

So, because spiritually the Thessalonians were indeed alive as Paul discovered from Timothy, Paul and Silas and Timothy all felt a new sense of life in themselves …

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | Verse 8

1 Thessalonians 3:8 AV 1873

8 for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | for now we live

for now we live

ὅτι νῦν ζῶμεν

The only other place in the Bible where Paul uses these two words “now” and “live” together in the same context is Galatians 2:20. There Paul’s telling the Galatians that he was crucified with Christ - and yet amazingly he still lives. But the life that he “now lives” in the flesh, he lives by faith in Christ.

He’s speaking there of new resurrection life. Of being dead in a spiritual sense - and then being raised spiritually to new life.

And I think that’s the concept that Paul’s communicating here, though there’s a little different angle to it. In 1 Thessalonians 3:8 Paul is viewing himself before hearing from Timothy about the Thessalonians’ faith as if he were dead. That’s how affected Paul was about the plight of these relatively-new Christians. But now that Paul heard from Timothy - now he lives again! As if he were raised from his emotional death by this wonderful good news of the Thessalonians.

And Paul says here that the good news which raised him back to life - as it were - is that the Thessalonians stand or stand fast

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | if ye stand fast

if ye stand fast

ἐὰν ὑμεῖς στήκετε

So, clearly, standing is the opposite of falling.

The Thessalonians could have done the spiritual equivalent of falling in their faith. They could have renounced their faith in Jesus. They could have fallen away to some sort of perversion of Christianity that was works-based to avoid some of the persecution they experienced.

But they didn’t do any of that. They stood or stood fast or stood strong.

And they did this in the Lord

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | in the Lord

in the Lord.

ἐν κυρίῳ

Paul said this very thing to the church in Philippi. But instead of stating that they were in fact standing in the Lord, Paul commanded the Philippians to actually do this.

And the context there in Philippians 4:1 connects this idea of standing firm in the Lord with being imitators of Paul and rejecting the example of those who are, as Paul says there with tears, “enemies of the cross of Christ”.

To imitate Pauline example then is to stand firm in the Lord. And that’s just what we’ve seen to be true of the Thessalonians so far in this epistle.

•           You might remember that in 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Paul commended them there that they became followers of Paul and Silas and of the Lord Jesus himself by receiving the word that Paul and Silas preached to them.

•           Then 1 Thessalonians 2:14 told us that the Thessalonians became followers of the good examples of the churches in Judea in their suffering at the hands of their fellow-citizens.

So, the Thessalonians had stood firm in the Lord. And this was evident by their imitating godly examples in their lives.

For you and me, there are a lot of examples for us to follow. Some are good and many are not. Social media allows anyone to publish and document their lifestyles for everyone to see and follow.

What examples are you following? What examples are you shunning? The examples that you follow will have an eternal impact on your life. If you want to stand firm in the Lord you’ll need to follow those good and godly examples that you have all around you - both (and primarily) in the Scripture but also in life - in this church and among other believers.

The Thessalonians had followed good godly examples and were thus standing firm in the Lord - rather than falling away from the faith. And this caused the apostle Paul to rejoice and to feel as though he were brought back from the brink of death, emotionally. That’s what we’ve seen in verse 8.

And Paul continues expressing his great relief at the good news of the Thessalonians’ standing strong in the Lord in verse 9, but this time in question form…

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | Verse 9

1 Thessalonians 3:9 AV 1873

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;

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | For what thanks can we render to God again for you

For what thanks can we render to God again for you

τίνα γὰρ εὐχαριστίαν δυνάμεθα τῷ θεῷ ἀνταποδοῦναι περὶ ὑμῶν

So, in case anyone would think that Paul’s describing himself as coming back to life from being dead was an overstatement, he wants to make clear here that it was not. He now explains why he was so relieved at the news that the Thessalonians still stood strong in Christ.

In summary, he could never ever pay God back for all of the joy that the Thessalonians had caused him.

This giving of thanks is to characterize our speech (Ephesians 5:4). It’s to characterize our prayers (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2) - especially concerning our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1). It’s even to characterize our hearts as we receive food at our mealtimes (1 Timothy 4:3-4).

And for Paul, this giving of thanks was characteristic of his thoughts and heart attitude toward God every time he thought of those Thessalonian believers.

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | For what thanks can we render to God again for you

For what thanks can we render to God again for you

τίνα γὰρ εὐχαριστίαν δυνάμεθα τῷ θεῷ ἀνταποδοῦναι περὶ ὑμῶν

And yet that wasn’t enough, he says. He could never render an appropriate amount of thanksgiving back to God for these folks.

It’s like inviting to dinner at your house a person who has no money and no home. He could never repay you (Luke 14:14).

That’s how God pictures himself in Job 41:11 where he’s confronting Job about this creature identified as Leviathan. This creature - who seems to be something like a crocodile - is fierce and unpredictable and uncontrollable. And God is showing Job that if a creature that he created is like that, then how can Job possibly ever hope to control God?

And in the midst of that confrontation from God, he says “Who has [‘given to, Romans 11:35”] me that I should repay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.”

So, the point is that any amount of thanksgiving that Paul and Silas and Timothy could possibly return to God for the Thessalonian believers - it wouldn’t be a true pay back to God. Our best attempts at thanking God for his wonderful gifts to us always pale in comparison to the true value and worth of those gifts.

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God

for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;

ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ χαρᾷ ᾗ χαίρομεν διʼ ὑμᾶς ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν, 

And in this case, the gift that Paul knows he can’t repay God for is joy.

Does God’s spiritual work in this world cause you any amount of joy? If you were here Sunday evening to hear about missionary Rachel Steffensmeier’s work in the Philippines and that of her co-workers there, was your response to what God’s doing in that area of the world joy? As you hear about new believers and what the Lord is doing in their lives - does that cause you joy?

It should. It did for the apostle Paul.

And this joy was some kind of joy! The wording there is that the apostle Paul and Silas and Timothy “joyed a joy” - or that they “rejoiced a rejoicing”.

And the joy was abundant - it was all the joy that they rejoiced.

Something similar happened with the church in Corinth. After several difficult letters and visits to that troubled church, Paul could finally write in 2 Corinthians 7:13 that he “rejoiced a rejoicing” or “joyed a joy” after Titus had returned from that church with good news concerning their attitude toward Titus and toward Paul himself.

So, why wouldn’t Paul feel the way he did about those Thessalonians? He could never possibly repay God for the joy brought to the apostle by what God was doing in their lives.

And yet, though Paul would never get close to repaying God, he was still determined to pray for those relatively new believers as fervently as he possibly could…

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | Verse 10

1 Thessalonians 3:10 AV 1873

10 night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | night and day praying exceedingly

night and day praying exceedingly

νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ δεόμενοι

So, Paul and Silas and Timothy weren’t communicating merely thanksgiving to God for the Thessalonians. They were also engaged in prayers for them.

Often this word is translated in other passages as beg or beseech or plead. There’s a balance to Christian prayer. It’s not all joy-filled thanksgiving. Neither is it all striving agonizing requests for dire needs in our life and the lives of others. It’s both - and more.

And so, Paul and his company knew the great joy of joy-filled thanksgiving on behalf of these believers in Thessalonica. But they also knew heart-rending begging and beseeching on their behalf.

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | exceedingly

And there really was a great earnestness and urgency to their praying to the Lord for these believers. It was done “exceedingly”.

That’s the word used to describe how God can do for us so much more than we would ever think to ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). A common definition of the word would be “beyond all measure” or “super-abundantly”.

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | night and day

And that concept of the super-abundance of Paul’s praying for these Thessalonians is reinforced by that phrase “night and day”. This is to say that it always happened. These are the two parts of every 24-hour cycle - night and day.

Summer is just a season away at this point. And that means gardening will finally be possible. Even now, some things are growing out in our yards. And the Bible describes that process of seeds germinating and growing in this way as “night and day”. It’s a constant and continual process (Mark 4:26-27).

And what’s interesting is that Paul and Silas said earlier in this letter that their physical labor for these Thessalonian believers was this kind of constant and continual occurence. They labored physically “night and day” for them (1 Thessalonians 2:9).

And now here in this passage in chapter 3 we don’t see the physical aspect of their work for these believers. We see the spiritual aspect of it.

Well, Paul and Silas and even Timothy were all constantly praying for the Thessalonians.

And they were doing so with two purposes in mind. First…

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | that we might see your face

that we might see your face

εἰς τὸ ἰδεῖν ὑμῶν τὸ πρόσωπον

So, just like Timothy had reported back to Paul and Silas how the Thessalonians longed to see them, so too did Paul and Silas want to see the Thessalonians. It wasn’t enough to write them a letter. They wanted to see their face and be in their physical company.

And they made it a matter of earnest constant prayer that they would be able to do this.

I’m guessing that you’ve sometimes experienced some strong desire about something - and maybe that thing was good and godly and right for you. Maybe it was even God’s will for you. But isn’t it strange how sometimes we don’t even think to actually address God about it? We just kind of let the desire linger in our hearts as if that were enough.

That wasn’t enough for Paul and Silas. They took their deep desire to see these believers and they turned it into prayer to God - who is the only one who’s able to fulfill our every good and holy desire.

And let me note for our edification that Paul and Silas and Timothy prayed this way for a while. And yet only Timothy was able to see these Thessalonian believers.

So, be encouraged that what you feel constrained to pray for - even if the answer is long delayed - it doesn’t mean that God wants you to stop asking.  He might be testing your faith to see if you’ll continue in seeking him concerning whatever thing that you think is his will for you.

Alright. So, that’s the first item on Paul’s prayer list concerning these Thessalonians - that he and Silas and Timothy would get to see their face.

And when they saw their faces, here’s what Paul was prayerful would happen…

1 Thessalonians 3 Summary | and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith

and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

καὶ καταρτίσαι τὰ ὑστερήματα τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν;

This at first might sound like a backhanded insult. But obviously that’s not what the apostle Paul is doing here.

When Paul speaks here of perfecting the Thessalonians, he’s using the word that’s used of fixing fishing nets (Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19). Where there should have been a perfect pattern of net, some areas were bare - lacking the netting. And those empty areas needed to be filled-in.

But in the case of the Thessalonians Paul isn’t talking about a net. He’s talking about their faith. And he’s aware of some lack there.

This lack isn’t a result of sin. It’s just a matter of immaturity.

Now, obviously, the Thessalonians had faith enough to save them from their sins. They had truly trusted Jesus Christ to save them from their sins. And so in that aspect they lacked nothing in their faith.

And yet, there were some areas of their walk with Christ that did indeed lack - in the same way as the widow who gave her meager living to the offering is described. That lady had a very small amount of income on which to live (Luke 21:4). And so it is with new believers. Some aspects of a life of faith just aren’t fully developed yet. They’re lacking in certain ways. And Paul will go on in chapter 4 of this letter to detail some of those areas.

Well, what’s the solution to that lack? It’s that mature believers empowered by the Lord would come along and prayerfully seek to edify - to build up - to perfect - that newer believer in the faith.

And as that happens, there’s encouragement all the way around concerning the faith of everyone involved, isn’t there?

We could hope to experience that kind of ministry from others and to others in our life for the rest of this week.

[S] Because the reality is that Your Faith Encourages Other Believers. So, let’s seek the Lord about experiencing that more and more in our lives.

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