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When Others Cared for You    1 Thess. 2:17-3:13    Dec. 28, 2008


Introduction 

       The Christian faith growing as it has in part happens because one believer cares for another. In this lesson Paul speaks of his concern for the new believers called the church of the Thessalonians.

 

1.   The . . Boasting When Others Cared for You. 2:17-20

       A.   The Boasting Care Of A Loving . . Association. 2:17-18

              1.    The Boasting Of The . . Desire Of A Loving Brother.

17 But as for us, brothers, after we were forced to leave you for a short time (in person, not in

                     heart), we greatly desired and made every effort to return and see you face to face.

 

              2.    The Blocking Of The . . Desire Of A Loving Brother.

18 So we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.

 

       B.   The Boasting Care Of A Loving . . Appreciation. 2:19-20

19 For who is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?

              Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy!


       God made us to need fellowship with other human beings. Normally Christians need fellowship with other Christians. This is a big reason for the church. Paul boasted about the fellowship he enjoyed with these believers and looked forward to his associations with these brothers and sisters. Satan does all he can to hinder fellowship, and goes out of his way to disrupt the churches. If all else fails He will try to block or hinder the travels of someone like Paul. He appreciated the contributions these believers made in his ministry and claimed them as his crown of glory and reason for boasting when Jesus returns to this earth. He believed Jesus would come again in his lifetime. That is the only option open to any believer. Everyone of us needs to be able to point to people we led to the Lord and now enjoy fellowship with in our church.

 

2    The . . Burden When Others Cared for You. 3:1-6

       A.   A Burden Of Care To . . Strengthen The Church.         3:1-2 

              3:1 Therefore, when we could no longer stand it, we thought it was better to be left alone in Athens.

              2 And we sent Timothy, our brother and God's co-worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and

              encourage you concerning your faith,

 

       B.   A Burden Of Care To . . Share With The Church.       3:3-4

3 so that no one will be shaken by these persecutions. For you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we told you previously that we were going to suffer

              persecution, and as you know, it happened.

 

       C.   A Burden Of Care To . . See The Church.      3:5-6

5 For this reason, when I could no longer stand it, I also sent to find out about your faith, fearing that

              the tempter had tempted you and that our labor might be for nothing.

              6 But now Timothy has come to us from you and brought us good news about your faith and love, and

              that you always have good memories of us, wanting to see us, as we also want to see you.


       Paul carried a burden for these new Christians. He wanted to know of their progress and how much they grew. He desired to strengthen them in their Christian walk. He planned to share with them so the coming persecutions did not come on them as a surprise. In addition, he simply wanted to see them. When you have a burden for someone’s growth in Christ talking to them face to face seems to help both of you. Since Paul could not go to see them personally he sent Timothy who came back with a good report. The news that the people longed to see Paul certainly increased his desire to personally minister to them.

 

3.   The. . Bolstering When Others Cared for You. 3:7-13

       A.   A Bolstering Of Care To . . Encourage. 3:7-8

7 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution, we were encouraged about you through your

              faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord.

 

       B.   A Bolstering Of Care In . . Earnestness. 3:9-10

9 How can we thank God for you in return for all the joy we experience because of you before our God,

              10 as we pray earnestly night and day to see you face to face and to complete what is lacking in your

              faith?

 

       C.   A Bolstering Of Care In . . Exoneration. 3:11-13

11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. 13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.


       If your Christian life received bolstering from a great Christian like Paul do you think it would help your growth? Look over your Christian life and think about some significant people whose example and encouragement strengthened you in your walk with Christ. Paul earnestly encouraged these believers and complimented them and exonerated them as fellow believers while bolstering their desires to increase in their love for one another. I can think of my pastor, some deacons, Sunday School teachers, and those who worked with me during what we then called Training Union. Of course my mom made a great contribution. In addition several pastor friends, and professors shared in a very meaningful way. What a list I have and am very thankful for all of them. No doubt Paul could look back to Barnabas and others and remember how they helped him in his early Christian life. I hope you can look back to your early Christian life and remember When Others Cared for You. Those kinds of memories are beneficial. Amen? Amen!