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Thursday, April 14, 2022

2022.04.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Thessalonians 3:6–10

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:6–10

Questions from the Scripture text: Who has come to Paul and Silas (1 Thessalonians 3:6)? From whom? What has he brought? What two things is this news especially about? Also, how do the Thessalonians remember them? And what do the Thessalonians desire? How much? Who else desires this? What does he call them in 1 Thessalonians 3:7? What has he and Silas had? How were they comforted? How does 1 Thessalonians 3:8a describe their relief? How does verse 8b summarize the news? Whom do they credit for this (1 Thessalonians 3:9a)? What emotion does verse 9b doubly describe? Before Whom is this joy? What does this joy produce (1 Thessalonians 3:10)? How often? With what intensity? Praying for what to happen? In order to participate in what for the Thessalonians? 

If we read too quickly or carelessly, we will miss just how much this interaction between the apostle and the Thessalonians is really an interaction with the Lord.

Life in the Lord
The data of the good news that Timothy brought back was that the Thessalonians continued to believe and love, and that the great desire to see each other was mutual (1 Thessalonians 3:6). But the essence of the news was that since the Thessalonians were standing fast, the apostle knew that their standing was in fact “in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 3:8b). Remember, there had been that horrible thought that his labor had been in vain (end of 1 Thessalonians 3:5), meaning that there had not been a genuine spiritual work wrought in them. So this was wonderful news that they did stand fast, they were in the Lord, and the apostle’s labor had not been in vain!

In fact, despite all that he and Silas were suffering, this news of the Thessalonians’ genuine faith made them not only comfortable (1 Thessalonians 3:7), but to feel fully “alive”—that their purpose for living was being fulfilled (1 Thessalonians 3:8a). Indeed, so alive and so grateful did this news make the apostolic band that it issued in the thanksgiving and rejoicing that occupied the bulk of the first chapter of this letter.

Thanks and Rejoicing unto the Lord
There is, in fact, something that seems almost to trouble the apostle. God has been so good to him that he’s unable to pay God back (1 Thessalonians 3:9). But this is normal for believers. If they properly understand what is going on in their lives, they will rejoice with great joy before the Lord. If our thankfulness is just for people, and our rejoicing is just before people, then it will not be so very great. But if we see the Lord at work, and carry our hearts in His presence, the thankfulness and joy will be exceedingly great.

Asking Him for More
So, what does one do when he cannot possibly pay God back for what He has already done? Ask for more blessing, of course! The more God did, the more for which they asked Him, so that this praying is described as “night and day” and “exceedingly.” They asked not only that both of their desire to see one another would be satisfied (1 Thessalonians 3:6) but that this interaction might have the honor of being used by God to bring the Thessalonians’ faith to its assuredly perfect end (1 Thessalonians 3:10b). 

How does “good news” about others’ spiritual lives affect you? What might help you be more thankful and joyful about it? When has your thanksgiving resulted in even more eager and earnest praying? What are you praying for?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank you and praise You that the fruit that You give shows that it is You Who have given us and others faith and are making us to stand. Forgive us for when how little we think about You or credit You is exposed by the smallness of our thanksgiving and joy. And forgive us for when we are not hungry for more of that grace that does us such good and brings You such glory. Make us to love Your glory and seek to be used to magnify it we ask, through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP100 “All Earth, With Joy” or TPH100A “Shout to the LORD, All Earth”

 

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