Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Thursday, March 31, 2022

2022.03.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Thessalonians 2:17–3:2

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17–3:2

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Paul call the Thessalonians  in 1 Thessalonians 2:17? What has happened to apostolic ministry team? In what way had they not been taken away? What did this absence make them endeavor to do? How much? With what desire? What did they want to do (1 Thessalonians 2:18)? Who especially? But who hindered them? What three things does he call the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 2:19? In Whose presence, especially, are they these things? At what time? What two things does he say they are now (1 Thessalonians 2:20)? What couldn’t they do (1 Thessalonians 3:1)? Who stayed where? Who was the third that they sent (1 Thessalonians 3:2)? What three things do they call him? What two things did they send Timothy to do? In what, specifically, was he to encourage them?

Proper Christian ministers have a strong, emotional attachment to those whom they serve. The apostolic team were as nursing mothers (1 Thessalonians 2:7) and devoted fathers (1 Thessalonians 2:10-11) to the Thessalonians. But they were providentially restrained from ministering to them for a time (1 Thessalonians 2:17). 

The apostle has no problem personally identifying Satan as hindering them from coming back to Thessalonica. Still, the Lord sovereignly overrules—even over Satan. 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 cuts two ways: explanation for why Satan would hinder, but also explanation for why the apostolic team would persist to overcome this hindrance. Satan was against their ministry because it was so good. And it was worth overcoming him to persist in the ministry, because it was so good.

Christian action and ministry is much strengthened by seeing and seizing the glory and joy of the last day. The apostle sees in his mind’s eye the Lord Jesus Christ returned, and the Thessalonians perfected and glorified. He tastes the anticipation of seeing both and knowing that he was blessed and honored to have a part in that blessed reunion (1 Thessalonians 2:19b). This is his “hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing” (verse 19a).

Whatever the hindrance had been, it could stop three from coming, but not just one. And they gladly sent Timothy. He served God (1 Thessalonians 3:2). He labored in the gospel. It wasn’t the same as the three of them being there, but the main thing was God’s work, God’s gospel. And whatever part they could have in it, they would take or facilitate.

From all of this, let us learn to rejoice over the prospect of the last day. And let us learn to rejoice especially over what opportunity we have to participate in the sanctification of others and the glory that Christ will have in them. We are finite and cannot participate in all ministry. But, we much increase our privilege by fostering others’ ministry as well.

To whom do you minister? To whom else would you like to? Whom else can you support in ministry?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we bless You for Your work in applying Christ’s salvation to those whom You are redeeming, and we thank You for involving us in parts of it. Forgive us for giving in easily to Satan’s opposition of that work. And grant unto us zeal and diligence that takes whatever opportunity you afford to see others grown in faith, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP78B “O Come, My People” or TPH438 “I Love to Tell the Story”


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