Year 3 Day 2
Read - 2 Thessalonians 3v1-5
Message - Scott Woodburn
It is said that when Charles Spurgeon was asked about the secret to his powerful ministry he replied "my people pray for me" It remains a challenging statement. Even the giants of the faith need prayer. Paul understood this long before Spurgeon and he urged the Thessalonians to pray for him and his companions (v1).
Paul's desire was straightforward enough - that the Word would go forward with power and be honoured among those who heard it (v1b). This remains the pressing need in any church in any nation. We preach Christ crucified and we must pray that this Word would speed ahead and be met with good fruit. This work relies on the activity of the Holy Spirit, only He can convict sinners and raise the spiritually dead to life. As the Word is preached in your church, do you pray that it would be met with success?
Additionally Paul asked that the Thessalonians would pray for Paul's deliverance from wicked and evil men (v2a). The ministry of the Gospel will always know opposition. Sometimes this comes from outside the church but more often it comes from inside. Paul reminds us that in every fellowship "not all have faith." (v2b). That's a sombre statement isn't it? Perhaps you don't see it but not everyone in your fellowship is a Christian. They might look the part and sound the part but ask yourself, why do they attract gossip? Why do they never seem to be happy? Why does their conversation drip with discontentment and accusation? Paul's answer would be "not all have faith."
It isn't all doom and gloom. Paul knew this too and reminded the Thessalonians that the Lord is faithful (v3). There might be those who oppose the Gospel and stir up division but the Lord establishes His people and guards them against Satan's schemes (v3b). Therefore Paul was confident that the Thessalonians would listen to his words and carry out his commandments (v4). The Lord had established the Thessalonian church in the faith, He had enabled them to endure the attacks of the enemy and now He was working obedience in them.
As Paul sought the prayers of the Thessalonian church, he responded to them in prayer. His desire was that the Lord would direct their hearts in one direction. Not to self-praise or bitterness or division but instead to the love of God and steadfastness of Christ (v5). We would do well to pray the same. Our hearts our deceitful and wicked, they are like little magpies which chase after the latest shining thing. May the Lord direct our hearts to Him and may He cause us to be steadfast in Christ.
Spurgeon understood what we may have forgot. If a church is to grow and a preaching ministry succeed, then the people of God must understand that the work belongs to the Lord. We must seek Him in prayer and call upon Him earnestly.
Are you convicted by this? If so, so what? You could start the work of prayer tomorrow or at the next less busy moment...or...or....we could pray now...
Father God, I call upon you today and I pray for my minister. May you protect him from the schemes of wicked men. May the barbs of the enemy not cause him hurt. I pray for his ministry and I ask that he would be diligent in preparation and preach truthfully in the pulpit. May the Word speed forward and be honoured as many respond to it in repentance and faith. Father you are endlessly faithful and so I ask that you would establish my church in the faith and protect our fellowship from the evil one. May my church be marked by eagerness in hearing the Word and zealousness in obeying the Word. Lord God, direct our sinful hearts away from this world and instead may they be focused on your love and the steadfastness of Christ. Forgive my apathy in prayer! Hear me today as I call upon you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Q10 How did God create man? God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.