Summary: Concern for the persecuted, confirmation of faith and love, committal to the Father and the Son

A. Intro & Conclusion

Shawshank Redemption- the beers

• Are we desiring to live an increasingly Christ-like life?

• Are we devoting our whole lives to the love of others, and the building-up of younger Christians?

• Are we being picked on for being like Jesus, and how are we coping with that?

• Are we living each day with joy and fear as if it might be the day of Jesus’ return?

B. Background (see Mark Copeland)

• Author- Paul, Silas, Timothy

• City- capital of Macedonia

• Church- mostly gentile, troubled beginnings

• Time & place- earliest? 52AD? Written from Corinth (south of it) on second journey?

• Purpose- concern prompts Paul to send Timothy back from Athens to encourage and ground the new disciples in the faith, and to learn how they were enduring persecution

o To praise them for their steadfastness under persecution (chapters 1-3, esp. 1:6, 2:14)

o To instruct them concerning holy living (chapters 4-5)

o To correct any misunderstanding, especially about the second coming of Christ (chapters 4-5)

• Theme- Holiness in view of the coming of Christ (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:23)

C. Chapter 3

1. Concern for the persecuted (1-5)

• v1- Passionate Love. Paul loved the people he debated with- would they continue? Very emotional language (“when I could no longer endure it, ‘to bear up ender it’- twice!). What is it you can’t endure? Not being married? Not having an amazing job? Or not having your Christian brothers encouraged and built up?!

• v1- Everybody. Paul had sent for Timothy to come to Athens, but would rather give up Timothy’s fellowship for the sake of others; note importance of ‘less-conspicuous’ Christians- vital that ‘sidesmen’ are active and available

• v2- establish (cf. Rom 1:11; fix, set, strengthen- sterix, a prop!) & encourage (parakaleo- call to one’s side, perhaps like Jesus on road to Emmaus). New Christians need these things- TJ

• v3,4- afflictions are likely to be shake people but- counter-intuitively- they should establish us! John 16:33. TJ&Emily. It’s inevitable and it’s a sign of God at work in us!! Phil 1:29. A real privilege. When things go wrong for unbeliever, how can they account for it? Also, affliction makes us run to Christ- Ps 119:67,71. Man in desert with wind & sun

• v5- devil is at work; Paul trusted God’s sovereignty, but he was also aware of how God uses his earthly agents to thwart the works of the Enemy; Toi & Arni at Pagan Festival. Satan will almost certainly try to snatch away seed that is sown. We know about battling our own temptations. How can we help others to battle theirs? Accountability? Jon B & Mike

2. Confirmation of faith and love

• v6- Requited love. Reciprocity. All Christian relationships are three-way. Most godless relationships are barely even one-way. Are there Christians you are not desiring to see? Do we skip to church on Sunday morning? Do we stay in contact with Christians we’ve known in the past, to make sure they are persevering? Email: Claire W & Anne W Psalm 122, 133

• v7,8- Fruit of faith compensates for and justifies affliction. If through our being bullied people come to faith, then what a good thing that is. Acts 16- Philippian gaoler. Paul’s life is entirely bound up with the faith and life of his brothers. Working hard all year: Exotic beach, cocktail in hand- Ah, this is the life! This is real living!?!

• v9- Gratitude! Astonishing. You’d think Paul wants thanks for ‘giving’ them the gospel, but really he’s overwhelmed that God should be so kind to give him joy through the conversion of other people!

• v10- Intercession. Fervent, repeated, effective prayer. Night and day. Daniel.

3. Committal to the Father and Son

• v11- Ever-increasing love. Comes from God; is towards household of faith, and spills over to others. Two words- increase and abound.

• v12- Love is key to blameless holiness. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Everything else will be burnt up at the day of His coming. And we will see these Thessalonians again! And think, if Paul had great longing to see them, how much more longing must he have to see us now he is glorified! And how much more longing, even greater than that, must our precious Lord Jesus have to return to us, and take us to Himself, to be reunited with Him and His saints forever!!!!

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