2 Thessalonians 1: Thanksgiving, Encouragement, Prayer
July 19, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
We have here, in this first chapter of 2 Thessalonians, thanksgiving, encouragement, and prayer.
First, Paul gives thanks. But for what does he give thanks? He gives thanks for three things. One, that their faith is growing. Notice the interesting choice of words. What Paul is grateful for is that their faith is growing. They not only know more about God, they are also trusting God more. But then, two, Paul also gives thanks that their love is increasing. Again, notice the particularity of what he gives thanks for — that their love for each other is increasing. And then, three, Paul gives thanks for their perseverance, even in the face of persecutions. Now what a list of things for which to give thanks! Is that what we give thanks for? Increase in faith, increase in love, and perseverance in the face of trials?
Second, Paul encourages. His encouragement is based upon an eternal perspective. It is easy when in the mist of trials to give up and back down. But Paul encourages the Thessalonians to realize that their faith, love, and perseverance are signs that God has indeed saved them. He encourages them that those who oppose them and the gospel will be punished for their disobedience to God. We don’t tend to use this sort of language anymore. But there is no greater encouragement towards holy living and perseverance than an eternal perspective. Do you think about the eternal perspective? Do you realize that eternal destiny is playing out based upon whether we obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus? (And by the way, notice how he describes the response to the gospel: obey the gospel. Faith in Christ is submission and obedience to Christ).
Third, Paul prays. One, he prays that God would make them worthy of his calling. That is, he is praying that they would increasingly reflect the character of Christ and live up to the high calling of the holy God himself. Two, he prays that God would bring to fruition every desire for goodness and every deed prompted by faith. Three, he prays that God would be glorified in them. Again, is that what we pray for? Do we pray that we and others would live up to the calling we have received as Christians? That we would live in a way worthy of the name of Christ? Do we pray that God would bring to fruition the good desires and the faithful deeds, the plans and holy ambitions that we and others have? And do we most of all pray that God would be glorified in us, in the way we live and speak and think and act?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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