1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Last time Paul was concerned that the church at Thessalonica were wavering in their faith. Paul wanted to know if they couldn’t handle the persecution, so he sent Timothy. As it turned out, Paul worried for nothing. These people were living by faith and loving each other and others. Paul was so relieved to hear the news that it brought him great joy.
Who do you pray for?
Are you a member of a perfect church?
How powerful is love?
9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;
10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.
12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Once again we see that Paul is giving thanks to God for the testimony of this church and how it has brought great joy to Paul and others who have invested their time into this new church. Paul then tells us how he continually prays that he might see them and perfect what is lacking in their faith. That versed should catch our attention. Paul received word from Timothy that their faith was strong and their love was strong for each other and for others, so why did Paul say they were lacking in faith?
First of all there is no such thing as a perfect church. Every local church is made up of believers. Each believer has things that God is still working on in their life. As each day passes in our lives we are supposed to be more like Christ. Many of the things we go through in life are to help us be more like Jesus. We are to have the mind of Christ. We are to start seeing things in this world from His perspective. If each person is lacking, then each church is lacking. Each person can always learn more about Christ. The more we learn, the more we realize how short we come. Paul knows that a church or individual can always learn more and hopefully build a stronger faith.
Paul then mentions two things that every church needs to work on, and every individual needs help with. One is that they would abound in love for each other and to all men. This is exactly what Jesus told his disciples hours before he went to the cross. What is interesting is that Paul states that he was the example of love that they should follow. In other words, we showed you love, now we want you to show others love.
Love is extremely powerful.
Loving people changes the world and builds armies of saints.
The second thing he wants is their hearts pure or blameless in holiness before God. This statement is about separating ourselves unto God and his service. In other words do what he wants us to do, and not what the world wants us to do. Who do others identify you with, God or the world?
One of the applications here is that when we can’t make it to someone to help them, we can always pray. Ask yourself, do you care enough for others to pray for them night and day like Paul did?