The message of the Lord may spread rapidly
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5; BCBC/IOUC; 11/7/2021; Rev. Paul Wang
Paul’s team has been moving forward in troubles, growing up under persecution. Some people do not follow the rules in the newly-built church, and there have been people on the Aegean coast where they first came to report trying to do some damage. However, Paul did not stop the pace of the gospel because of difficulties. He said: No matter what the time is, we must preach the word of God, and we must save some people! Let’s look at the first point:
Open the way by prayer
Paul’s team encountered various obstacles in serving the church in Thessalonica. Among them, the one that worries Paul the most is that someone got into the church to “impose”. First, resist temptation. Paul said: “I have something to say”, what did he say? That is the content of the previous chapter 2, verse 2. As soon as Paul’s team finished speaking on one end, someone immediately opened another “small class” on the other end to bring people into the group. The sign presented is still very spiritual: “The day of the Lord is now here!” Not to mention it, it is really attractive. There is nothing new under the sun, and people like this may still be in different churches today. Have you seen it? It is not difficult to recognize, they love darkness, not light. If everything is willing to be shared in the church frankly, Satan will not be easy to take advantage of loopholes, find breaches, control divisions, spread rumors, tell gossip, set traps, and gang. If these temptations are not dealt with, how can the message of the Lord be spread quickly?
Secondly, it shows up. I hope that everyone will understand the truth, that is, God’s way of doing things is not based on human flesh and intelligence, but based on His will, according to His time and way, to reveal all kinds of things. The original text of “obvious” is απο-καλυπτο (apokalupto) is the meaning of revelation. The original intent of revelation is to open the lid so that people can see the truth, follow the truth, imitate Christ, and live a true life. Paul was the man who was revealed by the great light of God on the road to Damascus, and he eventually became an apostle to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter was personally led by the Lord for more than three years. After Jesus’ resurrection, He asked Peter three times, “Do you love me”, to show that the authority of the early church was placed on Peter’s shoulders. The church after Acts, looking for the pastor of the church? The same is true of the two main principles of preaching and prayer. The Lord’s will is not revealed, how can the gospel be spread?
Finally, pray and persist. What is prayer? You can have ten thousand answers and a million different explanations. However, if you don’t think that prayer is the life of a believer, then maybe you don’t know prayer yet. Let us ask ourselves: Are we interested in prayer? Do we believe in prayer? Do we depend on prayer? Can we not pray? Do we pray every day? Do we pray for everything? Do we pray when we make a decision? Do you pray when you are discouraged? Do you pray when it goes well? Did you know that the church’s ministry started from the Wednesday prayer meeting! The leaders of the church must also be chosen from the prayer meeting! Without prayer, there will be no church ministry. Similarly, without prayer, there is also no church leader. Do you want to find a spiritual friend? It depends on whether he prays and loves prayer! The so-called devotion is the record of our daily prayers, do you agree? Without a stable life of spiritual prayer, the preaching will easily deteriorate. Let’s look at the second point:
Strengthen in faith
Faith is the cornerstone of the relationship between God and man. People cannot please God unless they have faith! What you hold in good times may be just a feeling of good self, not necessarily faith. First, meet adversity. Sometimes, we will fall into a helpless situation. It seems that a bunch of troubles are happening all of a sudden, and it feels like the sky is falling down, will it? The car door was broken, the tiles fell off, the ceiling leaked, the water heater exploded, the house was eaten by termites and so on. What’s worse, the job is lost, the children are sick, and the bills come… Have you ever experienced it? There is no worst, but there are worse things! Agree? I want to say, this is life, do you agree? I want to say, this is grace, do you agree? The Bible says to be thankful in everything, what would you say? Would you say, what is there to be grateful for? Do you know? Be grateful to God for everything that goes well, and be grateful for everything that doesn’t go well. God values it even more! Therefore, when we encounter adversity, it is the time when we learn to be grateful.
Second, not everyone can trust. We often misunderstand the object of faith, thinking that people can be absolutely trusted. Some people are the ones whom we can trust in the past, even those who can be called friends, who become the wicked in a blink of an eye. Have you ever experienced it? I remember that Pastor Yu Ligong taught me when he was alive: Some people are like boiling asphalt, which burns their skin when they stick to their bodies and is difficult to shake off. He said to stay away from this kind of person, I asked, what if you encounter such a person unfortunately? I remember that Pastor Yu said sincerely: If you don’t know or come into contact with such people in your life, God has bestowed you a great grace. Of course, if you run into it, pray for God’s strength to help you stay away from such people! Not everyone can trust, but we must unconditionally believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Finally, only believe in the Lord. Believing in the Lord is not an abstract concept, but a real journey of trust. Is fame and fortune lost, is He still the Lord? Do you still believe in Him after all the people betrayed? A lot of trouble is coming, do you still love Him? Tell a lie and you can pass the test, are you willing to choose to insist on telling the truth? If you tell the truth, you may lose your interest. What is your choice? Abraham offered Isaac, what kind of faith was that! Moses stepped into the Red Sea, and it was faith that led him to dry land. Jesus walked on the water. Why did Peter fall after taking two steps? You only follow with the Lord, and the Lord grants you eternity! Jesus said: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)” Let’s look at the third point:
Follow in patience
Preaching the gospel is not just a show, an evangelical conference, a short-term mission, and a long-term mission. It is to love the Lord with all your heart, strength, mind, and soul. First, obey the Lord’s command. Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. (John 14:23) The Israelites walked the wilderness road for forty years, and they often followed the way of the Lord out of fear of God. When he arrived in the promised land, they were soon captured by the traditional culture and idols of the Philistines in Canaan. Apostasy, idolatry, adultery, secularization, etc. have devoured the lives of God’s people. After returning from captivity, the Israelites were still trapped in the fear of legalism and could not be released. For this reason, Jesus Christ became flesh and lives among us, full of grace and truth! He gave his life for us, and everyone who belongs to him should know what love is! Therefore, our only motivation to obey the Lord’s command is love! The lessons we learned from the time we first believed can be maintained, only because of the Lord’s love! It is impossible for a person without love to obey the Lord’s orders!
Second, be attentive to the Lord. Of course, to obey the Lord’s command cannot be based on the rules of the law, but to be attentive to the Lord. It is obvious whether a person’s behavior is intentional or not. However, being absent minded is not the same as being absent of the spirit. God’s expectation of us is to worship Him with our heart and honesty, rather than using our own emotions, moral kidnapping, and ethical rules to replace the motives derived from God’s love. Human love is unreliable, short-lived, and will twist, do you agree?
Finally, be patient and follow. Patience is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and is often used by the Bible alone to teach us. God wants us to be patient, showing that it is not easy to follow the way of the Lord, right? Paul exhorts us: “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)” We can devote ourselves to the Lord, and it is also the guide of the Lord, right? We are able to follow God’s truth because the Holy Spirit tells us to love God, do you agree? When we encounter difficulties in following God’s truth, the Holy Spirit teaches us to learn the patience of Christ on the cross.
Dear brothers and sisters, how can we spread the message of the Lord quickly? Please note that it is to live out, not just to spread. The gospel is the power of God to save everyone who believes! If you have a good skill in talking, and speak well, but don’t pray, what you preach becomes really propaganda. When you encounter adversity, you no longer praise and be thankful. What is the difference between you and an unbelief Gentile? People believe in God, and you believe also, but you are full of bitter resentment and heartless towards the Lord, are you believing? Preaching starts from living out the truth!
Let us pray……
1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.
2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith.
3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command.
5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.