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Prayers of the Apostle Paul

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THE PRAYERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

Introduction:

            There is no doubt that God greatly used the Apostle Paul in many aspects of the Christian faith.  He was used to write a good portion of the New Testament.  He experienced a wide variety of events in his life (Acts 14, 27,28; II Corinthians 12).  Over the next few weeks, we want to examine some of the prayers that were penned by the Apostle Paul and are part of the inspired Scriptures.  By reading and studying these various passages of Scripture, we can gain an insight into the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul and the ultimate care and concern that he had for the believers in various cities where he ministered.   

            This week we will look briefly at the first chapter of the book of 2 Thessalonians.  We know that this book was written by Paul to the Thessalonians from Corinth in about AD 50 or 51.  It was the second of two letters written to this model church.  We must understand that even though the Thessalonian church was referred to as a model church, it was not a perfect church.  The reason for such a reference was because of their perservance and faith in the midst of their trials and persecutions. Acts 17 is a good parallel passage that gives us the account of the beginning of the church at Thessalonica.

“Much praying is not done because we do not plan to pray… What we actually do reflects our highest priorities.” – D.A. Carson

 

1.     Paul was thankful for

A.   Their growing faith – (vs.3)  This was not referring to their conversion, but rather their increasing dependence, faith, and trust upon the Lord Jesus Christ.  Increasing trust results in reliability.  “You can set you watch by them” etc.  “You can always count on them”.

B.   Their abounding love (vs.3) – This was referring to the love that these believers had for one another.  (John 13:34-35).  The church is a varied organization, people from all backgrounds, all walks of life, etc.  What holds them together in spite of these differences, is the love for Jesus Christ and ultimately love for one another. 

2.     The content of Paul’s Prayer

A.  God would count you worthy of this calling (vs. 11) – The calling here refers to the fact that they were Christians (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 4:1) They were not worthy of this calling, but rather they would live up to the expectations of that calling. To pray such a prayer is a deliberate asking for God to do a work in the lives of believers. We ultimately acknowledge that we cannot do anything apart from God.  “For without me, ye can do nothing” (John 15:5) How often do we pray for ourselves and others that we would live lives that are worthy of what it means to be a Christian.  [Ill:  If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you, or would you produce enough evidence in your conduct and priorities to create a “reasonable doubt”]

B.  Fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith with power (vs. 12) – This means that we lay aside our dreams, plans, agendas, and develop new goals and priorities, shaped by goodness and faith, decidedly Christian goals.  We need to constantly ask ourselves, “What are our goals?”, “Where are we going?”  “What are we doing?” and “What should we be doing?”

C.     Why? That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (vs. 12)  The verb here in the Greek is in the subjunctive mood, which is the mood used to represent uncertain but probable, the mood of probability.  We acknowledge that nothing can be done and that nothing is possible apart from grace. 

What are we thankful for?

Are we growing in our faith or stagnating?  Were we once a strong vibrant Christian, faithful and now we are not faithful?

Are we living with eternity in view?

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