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Resources For A Strong Faith


1 Thess. 2:13-3:5

When I first started as a minister, every time someone was baptized I would write their name down in the front of my Bible.

And that is something I try to tell every new born babe in Christ.

To keep that from happening, God supplies some resources to help, not only new Christians, but any Christian, to remain settled…and steadfast when Satan does attack.

When Paul wrote this letter he wrote to encourage some new Christians.

He goes to Berea and preaches there…but once again, the Jews from Thessalonica stir up a mob and Paul has to leave again.

The whole time however, Paul is concerned about the new Christians in Thessalonica.

Now, at the time of this writing…these people in Thessalonica have been Christians for less than a year.

And notice who is busy trying to destabilize this situation and destroy these Christians and their faith. Look at verse 18. Paul says:  For we wanted to come to you– I, Paul, more than once– and yet Satan thwarted us.

And look at chapter 3: 5. Paul says:  For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain.

If you look at verse 14 of chapter 2 Paul mentions the persecution and suffering that these brethren were experiencing at the hand of their “own countrymen.”

Now, let me make a point here.

And that’s who is behind those things that hinder us…and behind the persecution and much of the suffering that we experience.

 Brother Pete made me mad and hurt my feelings.”

You and I may be the one who is making the excuse and who is reasoning the wrong way…but Satan is the one who is really behind it…he has found access into our hearts.

We must remember that there is another force at work in this world!

That is exactly what Satan does. He wants you and I to blame God!

So Satan was trying to unsettle these Christians and turn them away. But God provided them, as well as us, some resources to keep that from happening. Let me show you what they are.

Look at verse 13. Paul tells these brethren:  And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

See the word “work”?  In the Greek that is the word “energeo.

What Paul is saying is, when you/I “receive” the word of God…we receive divine energy.

But you/I have to give God something to work with.

It’s like the man who couldn’t get his car to start. So he started pushing it.

In the midst of trials and temptations, if we are going to stand firm in Christ and not give in to Satan…we must make sure that the connection is tight with our power source.

Look at the second resource that God provides to help us remain strong and stable in a time of trial and temptation. Look at verse 14:

 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews…

 I can remember as a small kid having to go to the medical clinic in Artesia and getting our polio shots and vaccinations.

But do you know what, I didn’t cry.

Listen, as Christians we are not exempt from trials and hardships and suffering, and temptations. Every follower of Christ will experience them.

You have a terrible illness…did you know someone else in here has had one too…and they are still faithful.

And you let the way you handle your suffering be an inspiration to others.

Let’s look at the third resource that is available to us to help us remained settled in the midst of trials or temptation. Look at chapter 3:1-2.

Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone; 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith…

One thing we can do to stay settled when we have trials is to draw on the encouragement of the Lord’s ministers.

Look at this verse again. Do you see the word “left?”

 And notice, Paul didn’t send Timothy to talk about the weather.

Listen, every one of us who are in Christ are ministers of Christ.

But we can’t help them at all if we aren’t willing.

And when you go…don’t just talk about how hot it has been or whether it is ever going to rain again…

Paul sent Timothy because he knew that ministers are a powerful resource that God works through to help Christians remain settled in their trials.

A fourth thing mentioned here to help us be settled in our trials is emphasizing the Lord’s teachings. Look at verse 4:  For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know.

Do we teach new Christians what Paul says he taught here?

Far too often people come to Christ…and when they do they think that all their trials and labors are over.

We will suffer affliction…and we will have troubles…and we will get sick…and we will experience death.

And finally the last thing that Paul tells us that will help us stay settled in times of trial and temptation is found in verse 19-20 of chapter 2.

19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

The thing that gave Paul joy in the midst of all these trials and suffering was looking ahead by faith and seeing the Lord coming…and all of his friends in Thessalonica standing there in His presence.

The Lord is coming…and the thought of being with your fellow Christians in His presence will keep you settled.

God never promised to exempt us from trials. They will come, Satan will see to that.

Utilize these resources that God gives…and prevent Satan from regaining your soul.