Standing For The Gospel

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Standing Staunchly

1 Thessalonians 3

The goal of the Word of God is salvation but God’s Word goes much further by teaching us all how to walk worthy of Him.

God has a specific purpose for His Word and a specific purpose for each of us.

The rewards for serving the Lord go far beyond anything we can see on this Earth.

We should also clearly understand, Satan does not rest, and the next trouble we see will not be an “if” it will be a “when”.

We must take our stand on the Word of God and then stand unmovable!

Before any human child can walk they must learn to stand!

It is usually the mother and the father of the child that teaches the child these things.

The Apostle Paul is like a spiritual parent to all believers!

But Paul can only be with us at this time by the Inspired Word of God!

God said we need all of His Words in order to stand in this world we live in.

Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, “to stand”.

“To stand” is to be established!

The entire ministry of the Apostle Paul was first to get people saved and then, to make Christians who could stand, out of “Babes in Christ” who struggle to take a stand!

What is wrong in America today?

The Christians are not taking a stand on the unchanging Word of God!

People try to modernize the commandments of God into something they have never meant.

As Americans, we brag about the freedoms we have in this nation but our own freedoms are disappearing at a fantastic rate and the freedom of religion is under constant attack, especially on those who call Jesus Christ their Savior!

Christian persecution is on the rise throughout this world we live in!

It is not time to fail as a Christian, it is time to stand!

One of the greatest needs of the Church is to stay encouraged in these latter days and “to stand” on the Word of God.

The Lord said these days would come:

Jer 23:20 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: “in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly”.

God’s plan is going just as He has decided for it to go!

It’s God’s plan and not for us to try to change. God does not need our help!

Our hope lies in the return of Jesus Christ as did these Thessalonians.

And we are fools if we think we are not in the last days.

What other proof exist of this?

Rev 11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
Rev 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
Rev 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

In just this week we have seen again that there is nothing that happens on this Earth that cannot be seen by the entire world while it is taking place.

Smoke from a plane shot out of the sky, bodies that laid on the ground for three days, while the world went about it’s business.

Wars in Europe, wars in the Middle East, wars in other places and even a greater threat of major war while men strive to make weapons of mass murder.

There is no other time in history when these two men mentioned in the Book of Revelation could lie dead in the streets and be seen by the entire world.

This a prophesy that can only be fulfilled in our time and forward.

If we are to take a stand, we need to do it now, the time of the church is running out!

Let’s begin.

*****1Th 3:1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;
1Th 3:2 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:

Here again in this chapter it will be hard to miss the love Paul had for this newly formed church.

Paul was beginning his ministry in Athens but he still had a deep concern for those young converts in Thessalonica.

Paul, Silas, and Timothy were a missionary team but Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to establish this new church.

“Wherefore” means because of our earnest love.

“Forbear” means that Paul could not endure the suspense in knowing the welfare of these early Christians.

Athens was the most celebrated city in the ancient world at that time.

Athens was the home of Greek literature.
Athens was the home of the Greek civilization.
Athens was named after the goddess Athena, sometimes called Minerva and home to her temple.
Athens was home of the Temple of Zeus, sometimes called Jupiter.
Athens was home to the Acropolis, which was at the time of Paul, the center of architectural splendor in this city.
Athens was the place where it was said, “it was easier to find a God in Athens, then to find a real man”.

Almost everyone that lived in Athens worshipped a different god.

Sounds a whole lot like America today!

Paul was left alone in this great city of sin.

**Paul describes Timothy as a brother in Christ.

In other places Paul says Timothy is his dearly beloved son but to these Thessalonians, Paul wanted them to know Timothy was his equal.

**Paul describes Timothy as a “Minister of God”.

Timothy was called of God and not called by Paul to preach the “Gospel”.

**Paul describes Timothy as his fellow laborer.

Timothy, just as Paul, had a specific purpose in the work of the Lord.

Timothy even at this young age, was uniquely qualified to establish and comfort this group of new believers.

Timothy was Greek and familiar with the ways of these people.

Timothy spoke their language and could relate to their way of living.

Act 16:1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:
Act 16:2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.

Timothy had a special gift from God for these type situations.

1Ti 4:14 Neglect not “the gift that is in thee”, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
1Ti 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

Paul could trust Timothy to be obedient to the Word of God!

This new church was forming in in the midst of a godless, pagan world and they needed someone such a Timothy to calm their afflictions.

We all need a Timothy!

*****1Th 3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

Those afflictions are the same trials and temptations we all go through!

Without going through these things we will never appreciate the “Grace” of God!

We should keep in mind, the same afflictions that make a child of God better will harden the heart of that lost sinner.

The Apostle Peter said it like this:

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1Pe 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

The Bible is very clear, we should expect these things to happen.

It is in these things that we must have victory but that victory can only come by Jesus Christ!

Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

*****1Th 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.

It is important for every preacher to preach “all the truth” of the Bible!

Those that preach a prosperity gospel only are not helping God’s people because they are not preaching all the truth of God.

God has said that all His saints will suffer distress in this world!

God has said that all His saints will make it to Heaven. Not one will be left out.

God has also said every Saint will suffer hardships and heaviness and not one will be left out.

Those Jews had had to travel that wilderness road to their Promised Land for 40 years.

What did Jesus say?

Luk 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Luk 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

If the Lord Jesus Christ had to suffer to enter into His Glory, what makes us think we will not have to?

It is the afflictions we suffer in this life that prove we are who we say we are, the true Saints of God!

Remember what James said:

Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

It is an absolute fact that no soldier can prove his true worth until he has been on the battlefield!

And no child of God has a testimony until they have been through some tribulation.

God will send prosperity, but in order for us to learn to praise Him.

God will also send affliction, but in order to build our worthiness.

We should not forget, Noah and his family had to sail through some mighty stormy waters before escaped the flood into salvation but it was those same stormy waters that raised the ark into safety!

1Pe 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

Those that are lost will also struggle in affliction but most just get hard in their hearts.

Remember Pharaoh became much more hardened by the plagues of Egypt because he would not yield to God and he saw the same Word of God be true and the same miracles, as did the Jews.

Again Jesus had these words:

Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luk 9:24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

It is under our own cross where we can expect God to be with us!

It is because our Savior also suffered that we can have hope in our suffering!

It is because our Savior suffered that we belong to Our Lord Jesus!

Isa 43:4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: “therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life”.

If we never suffer in our walk with the Lord, then we can only look upon those that have and wonder, if we can have that same strength that they show by their actions.

The Apostle Paul knew that these Thessalonians were suffering great tribulation and because he could not be with them to help them go through these things, Paul sent Timothy.

*****1Th 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.

The Apostle Paul could relate to these saints of God in their suffering because he had suffered tribulation in every place he had preached and had actually been the cause of tribulation to many of the saints before his own salvation and repentance.

Paul said, “I can no longer endure the suspense”.

Timothy was sent by the Apostle Paul to these Thessalonians to be steadfast in the midst of their persecution!

Why? Paul also knew the works of Satan.

That “Tempter” is Satan, the Devil.

This is the same creature that went after the Lord Jesus and failed.

Mat 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Mat 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

Satan is at work 24 hours a day seven days a week. Satan never rests from his evil!

We should realize that as the “Born Again” children of God, Satan will come with all his temptations but God has already given us the power to resist.

If you want to see a smile in Heaven, resist the devil and make him flee.

Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and “he will” flee from you.

We can only blame ourselves when we give in to Satan’s temptations!

I can see this same smile on the face of our own Pastor, when someone of our brothers and sisters have gone through the fire and have returned to the House of God stronger than they were before.

The news, that Timothy returned with, brought great comfort to the Apostle Paul.

The “Good News” of the “Gospel” is never preached in vain but sometimes it seems that the labor that is wasted on those that do not believe could have been better used on others.

*****1Th 3:6 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:

**These Thessalonians had not only accepted the “Gospel” but they had believed on the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

**These Thessalonians had not only believed but it showed in the way they lived for Jesus and before God.

**These Thessalonians had a giving love, (charity) for the work of God and toward each other.

**These Thessalonians had a clear understanding of salvation and repentance and the commandments of God!

1Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
1Jn 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

When faith is our guide, our love will always lead us to God, because God is love!

*****1Th 3:7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:

Therefore always means “for this reason”.

The Apostle Paul was still suffering persecution in every place he preached.

The Apostle Paul was still making tents when he could and still preaching at every opportunity.

So this news brought great comfort to all this band of missionaries but especially to Paul.

This great news made the Apostle Paul work even harder for his own people, the Jews!

Act 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

And this good news was also the turning point for the Apostle Paul to be the missionary to the Gentiles.

Act 18:6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

*****1Th 3:8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

The Apostle Paul was broken hearted over the Jews but got great joy from seeing the “Gospel” do it’s work on the Gentiles.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he had these words.

1Co 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

As Paul was writing to these Thessalonians, he was saying that it was the good news from the saints who remained steadfast that kept him alive.

Many a pastor has given up because they could not see the results of the “Gospel”.

We can only imagine how Noah felt after preaching 120 years with no results but if Noah had not remained faithful then we would not be here today.

Through all tribulation we must all remain steadfast in the Lord!

Noah was steadfast.
Paul was steadfast.
But no one, is more steadfast than the Lord Jesus!

We must take a stand and then stand on the Lord!

**The truth is that the “Gospel” will always tells what is right.
Tribulation will show us what is not right.
Conviction will teach us how to get right.
The Word of God will teach us how to stay right.

And there are not enough words in any language to show our thanks to God for what He has done!

*****1Th 3:9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sake before our God;

The “gift” of the Lord Jesus Christ and the “Gospel” are the two greatest gifts that God has given to us because these brought with it “our salvation”.

There are no gifts that we could manufacture that could come close in repayment for these wonderful things of God!

Psa 116:12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
Psa 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

That cup of salvation was filled with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Luk 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

The only thing we have to offer that is pleasing to the Lord, is our selves.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

And we should be very glad, and filled with joy at this opportunity that the Lord has given to us!

Psa 68:3 But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

And then we are to stay in touch with our God!

What father does not like to hear from his children?

*****1Th 3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

Preaching the “Gospel” was not a profession with the Apostle Paul.

Paul did not go from town to town holding meetings and then pass on and forget those that believed.

Paul carried every believer in his heart and always hoped he would get back to them to give them further instructions from the Word of God but no matter what, Paul remembered them in prayer day and night.

It is sin not to pray for the church to succeed!

1Sa 12:22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.
1Sa 12:23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
1Sa 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

Peter prayed:

Act 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

Paul prayed:

Act 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Jesus prayed:

Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

But our prayers must have a purpose:

Paul prayed that God would “perfect” their faith of the church.

That word perfect means to adjust, to equip, and to furnish.

While in this body of flesh our faith will never reach perfection.

There will always be a need to adjust and always room to grow our faith!

1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

The bottom line, it is God Himself who directs the Church!

It is when we do not yield to God’s calling and God’s direction that causes problems and the Church to fail!

*****1Th 3:11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.

We should not miss how Paul has written this passage.

Our God, Our Father, and Our Lord Jesus are all written as One.

The Lord Jesus Said these words:

Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.

God the Father is a distinct person.
God the Son is a distinct person.
God the Holy Spirit is a distinct person.

But together they are One God.

Jesus Christ is both Son of God, and Son of man.

1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

The Lord Jesus is distinguished from the Father in personality but is “One” with Him in the Godhead!

Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

This is our God who will direct our ways!

Psa 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Have you ever crossed a street and not know why?

The Apostle Paul knew he had to follow the path that the Holy Spirit had laid out before him.

Paul could only return to these Thessalonians if it was in the plan of God!

This is also our task!

When we have lost our way, it is only God who can direct our path!

Paul prayed earnestly that he might see these Thessalonians again but he was also conscious of his own inability to overcome the hindrances of Satan.

As Paul prayed he gave that matter into the hands of the Lord.

The Apostle Paul knew to pray to the One True God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost but Paul also knew that the Church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ who died and gave His own blood for it.

God must direct our steps because salvation is still God’s plan!

We must keep the main thing the main thing!

*****1Th 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

What life does to us depends on our relationship with the Lord!

Some people will build walls and shut themselves out but those that trust in the Lord will build bridges and draw closer to God and God’s people.

True Christian love must be shown not only to believers but also to all mankind!

Abounding love must not be bound but be freely given to all.

The Lord Jesus will not only direct our paths but He will also increase our love and with these things we can be established.

*****1Th 3:13 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.

It is by the will of God and our prayers that we can shall continually progress in our steps toward glorification while we live on this Earth and in these bodies.

Here again we see that as we keep our thoughts on the return of the Lord Jesus, this will encourage us to be busy about the work that the Lord has given to us.

“Stablish” means to be fixed. To have things settled. To be permanent in our beliefs.

To “blame” is to find fault with and to accuse and have no reason to praise.

God says we are to be unblameable!

Holiness is the state of living in integrity, and solid moral character.

1Pe 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1Pe 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

And again we a reference to the coming of Our Lord.

The Lord did not stay dead and the Lord will not stay gone from us!

**In chapter 1 we learned that the return of the Lord is linked to our salvation.

1Th 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

**In chapter 2 we learned that the return of the Lord is linked to our service.

1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

**Today we have learned that the return of the Lord is linked to our sanctification.

**In chapter 4 we will learn that the return of the Lord is linked to our comfort and joy.

1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

**And in chapter 5 we will learn that the return of the Lord is linked to our separation.

1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord is coming and it could be in the next moment!

Start your stand for the Lord today and then stand until He returns!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

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