1 Thess 3 Enduring the Wait
Enduring the Wait
Read Verses: 3
Main Idea: God keeps us waiting for the right time to enact His plan
I. While we wait, We can Endure the Suffering (1-5)
This portion of the letter really starts at chapter 2 verse 17 when Paul says, “but we were torn away from you,” Thessalonica. They had to leave rather quickly and Paul and his team had to keep moving from Thessalonica to Berea, and then to Athens.
But Paul reassures that even though they were separated physically, the new church was still in his thoughts. In chapter 2, verse 20, he tells the church that they are our glory and joy. This made the separation unbearable for Paul. Here in Thessalonica, you have a new church, with a mixture of Jews, Gentiles, and Greeks worshiping God instead of pagan gods.
The church was one of Paul’s first children and in chapter 3 vs 1 Paul, and he did not know how they were faring considering the abruptness with which they had to leave. The not knowing was the hardest part, but they waited as long as they could but then Paul says in verse 1, when we could no longer endure it or stand it, we sent Timothy to you.
Paul was worried, but he wasn’t really worried about himself, he was worried about the church. He was concerned about what was going on in Thessalonica. But notice, what Paul says here in verses 2 and 3. Paul sends Timothy to strengthen and encourage their faith. So that you will not be shaken by these afflictions.
When they were in Thessalonica, Paul, Timothy, and Silas warned the new church of the challenges Paul and his already faced in other cities and they knew what was coming. So he sends them a helper. Not because misery loves company, but because it is better with people to help you
Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.
You can endure the suffering because you are not alone in the problem.
Application point: Look around to see who God has sent you to help you through your suffering or waiting.
Paul sends a helper to the church. The church seems to accept Timothy’s help
This is a biblical concept. says 9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Timothy came to pick the church up if they fell in their faith or wavered. And to keep them safe from the Enemy.
Who has God sent to you to help you through something?
Who has God you to help them through their problem?
God the Holy Spirit is called the comforter
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He
Paul explains in his second letter to the Corinthian church
(3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
(4) Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
(5) For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
(6) If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
(7) And our hope for you is firm because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
TS: As we go through through the suffering, we can take the good news that we receive and we can build on that
II. While we wait, We can Gather the Reports (6-10)
I want to make sure we are clear, this is not a pep talk or a rely on yourself the of speech.
But we see Paul’s encouragement and possible relief at the news he received from Timothy’s report after he rejoins the team. Verse 7 is the key to How Paul feels. Therefore, in all our distress and affliction we were encouraged about you through your faith.
Their faith and strength in their faith encouraged Paul and Silas. They are relieved.
They are also Joyful about the church's faith. When you get the news that your kid or spouse made it to their destination or graduation, we sleep easier. We thank God that he delivered both your kid and ourselves through our own situation.
June of 1993 the police in South Windsor, Connecticut, pulled over motorists in larger numbers than usual, but not because scofflaws had overrun the city.
One person stopped by a patrolman was Lori Carlson, according to the Reuters news service. As the policeman approached her car, she wondered what she had done wrong. To her amazement, the officer handed her a ticket that said, “Your driving was great!—and we appreciate it.”
On Wednesday, June 9, the authorities in this Hartford suburb had begun a new program to give safe drivers a two-dollar reward for obeying the speed limit, wearing safety belts, having children in protective seats, and using turn signals.
“You are always nervous when you see the police lights come on,” said Carl Lomax, another resident of South Windsor pulled over for good driving. “It takes a second or two to adjust to the officer saying, ‘Hey, thanks a lot for obeying the law.’ It’s about the last thing you would expect.”
When situations or problems arise, we have no idea who’s it will turn out. Sometimes it turns out for the better, and sometimes it turns out in a tragedy.
Application Point 2: No matter what happens, we must focus on the Good News.
Sometimes we get good news like Paul received that everything worked out. Or like the illustration, what you thought was a problem with the police pulling you over turns out to be something positive. But other times something happens that we can not see anything good. But here is what we can always keep in mind; The good news is that God is still on the throne. God is sovereign and nothing is working outside of His Kingdom and decrees.
No matter how Timothy’s trip would have gone, we now that the Church’s growth is decreed by God to happen, in part to be included in our Bible to encourage us today but more importantly to advance the Good News of Jesus Christ. That he was born, lived and died to reconcile His children to God.
TS: When we are focused on God it takes the focus off of ourselves and we can then move it toward others.
III. While we wait, We can Pray for Friends (11-13)
Paul is writing the church and he wants to know that he is encouraged by them but that he is also praying for them.
11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you. 13 May he makes your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Amen.[b]
He prays for three specific items for Thessalonica:
That God will direct Paul’s and his team’s way to them
That God may cause their love for one another just try to love everyone
That God makes Their hearts blameless before God.
Very specific to the church yet they are universal prayers that can be used today.
Even though Paul received Good news, he was praying for the continual growth and success
Application Point 3: Never Stop Praying
On November 14, 1983, two American students named David and Ray teamed up to pray for the 40,000 Tira people in Africa. The large group had no Bible in their native tongue.
Two-and-a-half years later, other Christians, Jerry, and Jan, joined them in praying daily for the Tira. Then, in March 1990, Jane and Marjeanne wrote to the Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project of Wycliffe Bible Translators, asking for the name of a Bibleless people to pray for. They too began praying …
In August 1990, we heard that Avajani, a young Tira man was beginning to translate the Bible. Great news! We wrote, telling him of those praying and how he was an answer to their prayers.
“I’m grateful,” Avajani wrote back. “I have never known that there are teams praying for the Tira people. It is wonderful news to me. The same year and month when David and Ray started praying, I got saved. When Jerry and Jan began praying, I was accepted for theological studies … and now I have finished. Jane and Marjeanne can praise the Lord with me, too! In March 1990, a miracle happened. I met a man (a Wycliffe translator) who was able to arrange for me to study biblical translation principles and linguistics.
“God did another miracle. Many young Tira has become Christians.”
Today, seven years after David and Ray began praying in faith, the Bible is being translated for 40,000 new readers.
Although we don’t always see the effect of our prayers at the time, God hears and answers.
40,000 new people at that time have heard God’s word and the Good News of Jesus.
Michael Horton recalls a somewhat common conversation:
“Sometimes people ask me, ‘Why to pray if God is sovereign?’ I respond, ‘Why pray if he isn’t?'”
So while there’s more than just six, here are six reasons why every Christian should pray, as Calvin outlines in his Institutes:
Reason #1: For increased zeal.
Calvin starts with zeal. For without communion with the Lord, you can’t expect to be zealous for the Lord.
Reason #2: For the right desires.
Then, Calvin goes to desires. But not just to any desires, but holy ones.
“Secondly, that there may enter our hearts no desire and no wish at all of which we should be ashamed to make him a witness, while we learn to set all our wishes before his eyes, and even to pour out our whole hearts.”
Reason #3: For increased gratitude.
Now, we’re on to gratitude. The world wants to increase our discontentment, but through prayer, we can be grateful people.
“Thirdly, that we are prepared to receive his benefits with true gratitude of heart and thanksgiving, benefits that our prayer reminds us to come from his hand.”
Reason #4: For a reflection on God’s answers.
We should pray for blessings. But after receiving them, if God wills them, we should spend time reflecting on God’s goodness through prayer.
“Fourthly, moreover, that, having obtained what we were seeking, and being convinced that he has answered our prayers, we should be led to meditate upon his kindness more ardently.”
Reason #5: For greater delight in God.
Delight and duty go together. Our duty is prayer, and our delight is God. But only through prayer can we actually delight in him (and the blessings he gives).
“And fifthly, that at the same time we embrace with greater delight those things which we acknowledge to have been obtained by prayers.”
Reason #6: For confirmation of God’s Providence.
I love Calvin because he always seems to bring things back to God’s Providence. Nevertheless, he does the same with prayer, and we should end prayer to help us confirm God’s Providence.
“Finally, that use and experience may, according to the measure of our feebleness, confirm his Providence, while we understand not only that he promises never to fail us, and of his own will opens the way to call upon him at the very point of necessity, but also that he ever extends his hand to help his own, no wet-nursing them with words but defending them with present help.”
Jesus Prayed for numerous people. is one very good example of His prayers. And even though it was before his arrest and death, he prayed for others. If we are to be like Jesus, then we should pray because prayer is one of the common themes in the Bible because it is the way we talk to God.
There is also an undertone, especially in this letter about waiting for the Lord’s return
While we are waiting for God’s plan to unfold, we will go through a lot of things in our lives, some of it is joyful and exciting and encouraging and other times it is painful, terrifying, or depressing or somewhere in between.
While we are waiting we had people to help us and suffer with us. Even if we don’t see people around us, we can stay focused on God, because he does not leave us by ourselves.
We can pray for our situation and other going through their situations as well.
How are you doing with waiting?
How can you improve how you wait?