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9:45 am Sunday School
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Echo Evangelique

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7:30pm Bible Study
8:30am Bible Study
Sunday School
9:45am  10:30am

Paul's Concern and Inquiry about Perseverance of the Thessalonians

Text: 1 Thess. 3:1-5

Key Concepts:
- The young/new Christians need to be nurtured to maturity in their newfound faith.
- The nurturer also needs to be anchored in the faith and obedient to Christ.
- We are ambassadors on a special mission to strengthen and encourage the people of God

If you call yourself a servant of The Lord Jesus Christ, a laborer in the field of the kingdom of God; what then keeps you awake at night? What are your concerns for the people of God? Do you care more about you, your personality, comfort or do you care more about their spiritual growth? Do you have a desire to see them serve The Lord Jesus Christ? Paul teaches us that we should be more concerned about the spiritual growth of others than our own comforts (1 Thess. 3:1-5). We should put others before our own interests. The text refers back to the previous chapter where Paul expressed his love for the believers. It was because of this love that he could not abandon them when they where in deep spiritual need. Paul was not just an evangelist but also a pastor. He knew that winning souls to Christ was as important as nurturing them after conversion. He understood that new converts need to be taught and be established in the faith. Paul sacrificed his own comfort to remain in Athens alone to fulfill that role.

The word that translates from the Greek “to be left” (1 Thess. 3:1), speaks of bereavement. It is the idea of leaving loved ones at death. Paul did this to care for his flock with a evident paternal love. The new souls that The Lord has entrusted to us, what do we do with them? As overseers of these new souls, how much do you care? Paul was ready to risk his life for the sake of their spiritual lives. Not every believer is equipped to help other Christians grow spiritually. Ideally, all older Christians should be able to help another grow, but unfortunately some only walk backwards (Heb. 5). They forget even the basics and thus instead of being able to teach others, they themselves need to be taught all over again. It is as if they are going through another spiritual infancy. What kind of a person can help another believer to grow in The Lord? According to Paul, such a person must first of all be a Christian - one who is growing spiritually and is firm in the faith. But that caregiver needs to be taken care of, unless he/she runs dry and burns out. You need a source for resource; because ministry can be difficult, it can drain you out. We cannot lead another where we haven’t been ourselves; nor can we share that which we do not possess. Paul described Timothy as a brother in Christ, a member of the household of God, God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ. He was also a minister. The Greek word that translates to minister is the word deacon. Timothy was a deacon, not an unconcerned church goer. He was not afraid of the work, he served faithfully with Paul in Philippi. He knew his congregation and embraced Paul’s teaching which qualified him for his role. Because he was a disciple, he could also become a disciple maker. Discipleship is a serious ministry in the church, helping another to grow spiritually is a demanding thing. It takes time. It requires patience. New converts have many problems and rarely grow fast. Teaching a church that is new in the faith requires love and patience; Timothy had these qualities. He did not try to run everything on his own but had others to support him because he had learned from follow others. Paul used the language that described Christ to refer to Timothy, in saying sent his own; as in his right hand coming to his rescue.
Timothy is thus sent to back to Thessalonica to strengthen and encourage the believers in their new faith. This ministry of his is firstly spiritual. It is a special mission to enable them to face their spiritual responsibilities. It also had a focus on Christ, as the author and finisher of our faith. Timothy’s job was to help the new Christians see that Christ is their first priority, not the world. He was tasked with building them up in the faith. The believers needed to know about the ordinances of the church. They needed to learn about church leadership, Christian living, worship, discipleship, how to treat non-believers. Above all, they needed to know that the church is the body of Christ. The things they could not learn on their own. Without direction the people would go astray (Prov. 29:18). As sheep we need guidance (Ps. 23). In persecution, the congregation looks toward the leadership for guidance. To urge them to remain steadfast in their obedience to Christ, they needed leaders with integrity, leaders who stood firm in the faith, and prioritized God’s glory even above their own lives. Timothy along with Paul, did not want the church to be unsettled by the trials they were facing. Leaders in the church need to establish principles to promote spiritual growth and to consistently preach matters of doctrine to the people resist false teachers. We must clothe ourselves with the full armor of God.

The church of Thessalonica was persecuted for their faith. Why did God allow these people who went from living in sin to turning their lives around to go through such trials and not be spared? Where was God in the midst of their suffering?” God responded “… I let you go through all these so that I might humble you and test you in order for you to know what was in your heart … (Deut. 8:2). Our trials are not accidental, God is in control of them all. We suffer to test the character of our own hearts. Only adversity can test the true nature of our character. We must expect suffering Paul said, “we are appointed to this” (1 Thess. 3:3). Satan’s job is to cripple your faith (Matt 13: 4-7, 18-20). Paul was worried due to persecution; Satan would snatch the word from the people and cause them to go back to their lives of disobedience. That’s why timothy was sent to them to strengthen and encourage them. Although anxiety and fear are human emotions, the Christian knows to look to God who is in control and to rest on His promises. Faith becomes evident in the midst of trials, but it does not happen by itself. That is why we need leaders to train some who can in turn train others. In time of difficulty I rely on the word for strength, guidance and comfort. If you don’t care about your bible, how can you withstand these difficulties? How will you survive the next hour? You can’t blame your lack of studying of the word on persecution, what’s keeping you? You who are responsible for others, remember this is a matter of accountability. When God put us in charge of other souls, we have the responsibility to be faithful, to serve them with integrity of heart, to take them from spiritual infancy to maturity. We cannot compromise. We are appointed to our ministry; it is God’s work not our own. We are sent like timothy. We are on a special mission to strengthen and encourage, to help the people of God live by their spiritual convictions, unswayed by circumstances with an actual thirst for the word of God, to understand the Christian faith and be trained in matters of doctrine, so that they may live well. How is your spiritual growth? what about the people placed on your shoulders and breasts? May we be found faithful before our God.

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575 American Legion Hwy
Roslindale, MA 02131
Phone: 617-323-3107
Fax: 617-323-3165
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