1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
3 1 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing d to be left behind at Athens alone, 2 and we e sent Timothy, f our brother and God’s coworker 1 in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that g we are destined for this. 4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, h just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5 For this reason, i when I could bear it no longer, i I sent to learn about your faith, j for fear that somehow k the tempter had tempted you and l our labor would be in vain. Timothy’s Encouraging Report 6 But m now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of n your faith and love and reported o that you always remember us kindly and p long to see us, as we long to see you— 7 for this reason, brothers, 1 in all our distress and affliction q we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you r are standing fast in the Lord. 9 For s what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly t night and day u that we may see you face to face and v supply what is lacking in your faith? 11 Now may w our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, x direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord y make you increase and abound in love z for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may a establish your hearts blameless in holiness before w our God and Father, at b the coming of our Lord Jesus c with all his saints.
1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
3 1 Διὸ μηκέτι στέγοντες εὐδοκήσαμεν καταλειφθῆναι ἐν Ἀθήναις μόνοι 2 καὶ ἐπέμψαμεν Τιμόθεον, τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἡμῶν καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς τὸ στηρίξαι ὑμᾶς καὶ παρακαλέσαι ὑπὲρ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν 3 τὸ μηδένα σαίνεσθαι ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν ταύταις. αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε ὅτι εἰς τοῦτο κείμεθα• 4 καὶ γὰρ ὅτε πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἦμεν, προελέγομεν ὑμῖν ὅτι μέλλομεν θλίβεσθαι, καθὼς καὶ ἐγένετο καὶ οἴδατε. 5 διὰ τοῦτο κἀγὼ μηκέτι στέγων ἔπεμψα εἰς τὸ γνῶναι τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν, μή πως ἐπείρασεν ὑμᾶς ὁ πειράζων καὶ εἰς κενὸν γένηται ὁ κόπος ἡμῶν. 6 Ἄρτι δὲ ἐλθόντος Τιμοθέου πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀφʼ ὑμῶν καὶ εὐαγγελισαμένου ἡμῖν τὴν πίστιν καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην ὑμῶν καὶ ὅτι ἔχετε μνείαν ἡμῶν ἀγαθὴν πάντοτε, ἐπιποθοῦντες ἡμᾶς ἰδεῖν καθάπερ καὶ ἡμεῖς ὑμᾶς, 7 διὰ τοῦτο παρεκλήθημεν, ἀδελφοί, ἐφʼ ὑμῖν ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ ἀνάγκῃ καὶ θλίψει ἡμῶν διὰ τῆς ὑμῶν πίστεως, 8 ὅτι νῦν ζῶμεν ἐὰν ὑμεῖς στήκετε ἐν κυρίῳ. 9 τίνα γὰρ εὐχαριστίαν δυνάμεθα τῷ θεῷ ἀνταποδοῦναι περὶ ὑμῶν ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ χαρᾷ ᾗ χαίρομεν διʼ ὑμᾶς ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν, 10 νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ δεόμενοι εἰς τὸ ἰδεῖν ὑμῶν τὸ πρόσωπον καὶ καταρτίσαι τὰ ὑστερήματα τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν; 11 Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ ἡμῶν καὶ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς κατευθύναι τὴν ὁδὸν ἡμῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς• 12 ὑμᾶς δὲ ὁ κύριος πλεονάσαι καὶ περισσεύσαι τῇ ἀγάπῃ εἰς ἀλλήλους καὶ εἰς πάντας καθάπερ καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς, 13 εἰς τὸ στηρίξαι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας ἀμέμπτους ἐν ἁγιωσύνῃ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ μετὰ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων αὐτοῦ, [ἀμήν].
Be prepared for affliction Introduction How to answer the prosperity gospel? More subtle - how to answer our prosperity mindset; our desire for comfort and security (even if not blatant wealth) We cannot miss the Bible's answer: affliction and hardship are normal, and they take many different forms ('all our distress and affliction' v7). Affliction a key word in this passage. Affliction smokes out whether our hope is true or not. 1. Paul sent Timothy to strengthen the church in the face of hardships (v1-5) 'establish and exhort you that no one be moved by these afflictions' 'told beforehand that we were to suffer' Yet the fear that the tempter had tempted you [parable of the sower] Do we believe this? Types of affliction. How the devil tempts us in their midst. Are you prepared? 2. It is a deep encouragement to see Christians standing firm in the face of hardship (v6-10) 'good news' of your faith and love 'long to see us' - cf last week. This love and longing is not limited to the apostles. 'we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord'; thanksgiving, joy. Supply what is lacking - we do this for another all the time in the course of normal church life. Is it a joy to you? 3. Pray that God would increase our love, and so find us blameless at Jesus' return (v11-13) His thoughts run naturally into prayer and back again. Note link between love and holiness/blamelessness. Is this a reason to be fearful and dreading the Lord's return? No. Rather, the hope spurs us on to more love for one another, which leads to holiness. Affliction a key word. Affliction smokes out whether our hope is true or not. God's glory: he sustains his people amidst affliction. And even makes our love abound in the midst. FCF: We turn back when hardship comes; we lose faith and lose heart when tempted. Person of Jesus: models faithfulness in hardship and persecution and pain and affliction and death. He is the suffering servant, the afflicted one. Huge theme in the Psalms, fulfilled in Jesus. Work of Jesus: was abandoned in affliction, so that we might never be. Bears on his own body the marks of his affliction, and has taken that body into the very presence of God. His wounds and blood are my security before the father. Union with Jesus: in him I know that affliction is par for the course for now. In him I know that suffering identifies me as his, orients me within the overlap of the ages. In 'all our distress' - v7. Wrap-up Affliction smokes out true or false hope. Are you prepared to answer your heart's prosperity gospel?