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Paul the Orphan from His Children

1 Thessalonians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In this message, we will be reminded again of Paul's deep affection for the Thessalonians. We will also learn how he understood his opposition.

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Introduction:

Given everything happening in our society, we should not discount the importance of developing bonds with one another.
Thus far in this letter, Paul has indicated his bonds with the Thessalonians through family comparisons:
Infants (1 Thess 2:7)
A nurse her own children (1 Thess. 2:7)
You all came to be loved ones to us (1 Thess. 2:8).
A father to his children (1 Thess. 2:11).
Paul also intends to remind the Thessalonians that he is not their opposition.
Note the “not pleasing God” reference in 1 Thess. 2:15 compared to 1 Thess. 2:3.
He yearning affection for them, he proclaimed in 1 Thess. 2:8.

Absence Lead to Concern

Paul begins to explain why he sent Timothy to them.
He was concerned about their faith and their view of him (Note 1 Thess. 3:6).
He describes his separation from them in family terms.
Here he has been “orphaned” from them for short time. It could imply forced separation in the sense of deprivation. Paul, then, would be deprived of them.
The separation was physical only. They remained in his heart.
Being orphaned from them lead to his eagerness, with much desire, to see them in person.
We are gain reminded that Paul did not think of his relationship with the Thessalonians as transaction or temporal.
He was not merely “doing the Lord’s work” starting yet another church, as though that were the end goal itself.
Instead, biblical Christianity depends upon the creation of close-knit bonds, personal interaction, and friendly associations.

Satanic Opposition

Paul, too, faced opposition, but now he expresses it in very strong terms.
He wanted to see the Thessalonians in person and intended to come to them personally.
What must he have thought about their faith and their view of him?
Time and again he wanted to come to them.
Satan, however, “cut in” on him.
This term might have had a wartime usage to refer to an army “cutting off” a road to make it impassable.
Paul’s inability to come to see them himself, then, was not merely a matter of earthly or physical opposition.
It also was not from a lack of intense desire to see them.

A Proud Pastor

Paul saw his relations with churches in eschatological, rather than temporal terms.
The final statements of 1 Thessalonians 2 explain, yet again, why Paul was eager to see the Thessalonians.
He now uses another triad:
Hope
Joy
Crown of boasting
In Jesus’ parousia, Paul sees the Thessalonians as his victorious achievement.
That’s what he expects them to be, then, because they are that now (1 Thess. 2:20).
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