1Thessalonians, Chapter 3
Copyright 1999 Darroll Evans-All rights reserved

1Thessalonians 3:1-3
1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;
2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:
3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

Because of the circumstances of their stay in Thessalonica, Paul went to Berea.

At Berea he met the same problems as in Thessalonica when his enemies came to Berea.

Paul then moved on to Athens alone.

It seems interesting to me that Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea.

Apparently they did not present the same threat to Orthodox Jews as did Paul.

Upon their joining forces again in Athens, Paul and Silas sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to continue the work begun there.

That was done so that the opponents of the gospel would not find the flock there unattended.

1Thessalonians 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

Paul explained that while he, Silas, and Timothy were there, They told them about the things they must endure.

Enduring things for the sake of Christ is not a popular subject.

1Thessalonians 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

Paul expressed deep concern about the welfare of the Thessalonian Church.

He had left during a time of great turmoil and wanted to know how they were.

Let's look at the story.

Acts 17:1-15
1 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said.
4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.
5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.
6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here,
7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus."
8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.
9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
13 When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up.
14 The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea.
15 The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. (NIV)

As you can see success in evangelism may not translate to popularity.

Paul was successful, and that was an irritant to many in that day.

Things have not changed.

Evangelists are not looked on in all quarters as welcome.

Even Paul wanted to know if he had been successful or had worked in vain.

With our view, it is difficult to understand that Paul the great writer of much of the New Testament would have any doubts as to his work, and yet he did.

1Thessalonians 3:6-8
6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:
7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:
8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

Timothy was sent to see what effect the persecution had on the new believers in Thessalonica.

He brought back good news. They were remaining in the faith.

We must remember that the Thessalonians had but a few weeks training in the foundations of the Christian faith.

Timothy's report brought great joy and comfort to Paul and the others in his party.

The eighth verse is interesting to me.

It says, "For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord."

Evidently Paul considered that his very life, or reason for living, depended on his presentation of the gospel.

That is intense!

1Thessalonians 3:9-10
9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;
10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

Here we see the proper response to success in Christ.

It is rejoicing in prayer.

Many years ago, I served on a committee in charge of a large citywide crusade.

I recall one meeting, a prayer meeting for the Pastors and committee chairmen.

The reason that meeting in so etched in my mind is that during that "prayer" meeting, that just 45 seconds of prayer was actually offered to God.

I was so disappointed that while the others bowed their heads at the close of the meeting (no prayer was offered at the opening), I timed the closing prayer.

On the flip side of that coin, George Mueller started an orphanage in England with nothing but prayer.

The orphanage is still in business today.

The citywide crusade was a flop.

Prayer is the key to success.

1Thessalonians 3:11-13
11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.
12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Instead of commentary, let me offer you my personal translation of Paul's prayer:

"May our God and Father and our Lord Jesus guide our way to you.

May the Lord cause you to increase to the point of superabundance in love for each other and for all others as well, just as we love you.

When we acknowledge Christ Jesus, He establishes our hearts as unblameable and holy before our God and Father [as you stand in grace] in the presence of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

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