Note from Jesus
Paul was confident that he taught the truth I wanted the Thessalonians to know. He claimed the authority of an apostle, an emissary sent by Me, yet he ministered with the loving touch of a tender parent (1 Thessalonians 2:4-12) and a protective shepherd. Paul was aware that there were many who would steer these new disciples astray with false teaching or use persecution to try to intimidate these new believers so that they would abandon their faith. The Thessalonians faced both of these forms of the evil one’s opposition to their faith, yet there were still faithful disciples there!
Paul lived in the same world as these disciples did. He also faced bitter opposition from false teachers, and he endured persecution from opponents to My message. So while he was confident in his authority as an apostle and teacher, he also recognized his own need for the prayer support of these new believers.
As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians a second time, the intensity of every issue was turned up a notch or two compared to when he wrote his first letter to them. Persecution was worse. False teaching was more apparent. Laziness and idleness among believers were worse. Paul’s authority and motives were more deeply questioned. Questions about My coming in glory still remained. But Paul carried his loving and supportive tone throughout his second letter. His confidence was in Our — Father, Son, and Spirit’s — work among these new believers. Paul was quick to affirm the good things these new disciples were doing even as he acknowledged the difficult things they were facing and the hurtful things they had done.
Underneath Paul’s message, he pointed to three things he trusted:
- His confidence in the message he preached and taught: “[A]ll you need to do now is stand firm and hold tight to the line of teachings we have passed on to you, whether in person or in a letter.”
- His confidence in the Father’s work: “[T]he Lord is true to His promises; He will hold you up and guard you against the evil one. We do not doubt the Lord‘s intentions for you…”
- His confidence in these new believers: “[W]e are confident that you are carrying out, and will continue to carry out, the commands we are sending your way.”
As you look at the challenges to faith in your time, what is the basis of your confidence? How are you going to help encourage the faith of those new disciples around you and those whose faith is weak or beginning to fail? I want you to do more than see what Paul did to bless these new disciples; I want you to be looking for new or struggling disciples to encourage and bless!
Verses to Live
Feel the love and the longing Paul has for these new believers as he writes them. Paul fills this letter with words of assurance, challenge, comfort, and confidence.
We cannot help but thank God for you at all times, because from the beginning He handpicked you for salvation through the Spirit’s sanctifying work and your belief in the truth. He called you to this when we shared our good news with you. Now you can take part in the glory of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King. So, brothers and sisters, all you need to do now is stand firm and hold tight to the line of teachings we have passed on to you, whether in person or in a letter.
(2 Thessalonians 2:13-15)
Brothers and sisters, having shared all this, let me ask you to pray for us. Pray that this message of the Lord will spread quickly and receive the praise and respect it deserves from others as it has with you. Pray also that we would all be rescued from the snares of harmful, wicked people — after all, not all people are believing. Still, the Lord is true to His promises; He will hold you up and guard you against the evil one. We do not doubt the Lord’s intentions for you; we are confident that you are carrying out, and will continue to carry out, the commands we are sending your way.
(2 Thessalonians 3:1-4)
Response in Prayer
Father, I am touched by Paul’s way of speaking to these new believers. I am reminded of several new believers that I need to encourage and support as they seek to grow in Jesus. Open my eyes to see new or struggling believers You want me to encourage and bless. Spirit, please give me the right attitude and the right words and demeanor to help them. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.