Faithful is our God!
God alone is the one who can give us victory over our adversary. He is the one who shields, leads, guide, protects and strengthens us for the journey and He protects us along the way from the evil one.
Our God is the one who makes a way where there is no way. He is the Lord God who sees what we cannot see, and He is the God who makes provision for us before the need arises. He is the God who clears the path for us to travel.
Our God is the one who promises never to leave nor forsake us, but to be with us always.
As humans we often fail one another but God CANNOT fail. His Word is true and will NEVER return void for what He says, He will accomplish.
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so, through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians. 1:20, NIV).
God is faithful to His people and all His promises to them can be received with assurance and confidence in knowing that He will do just what he said concerning us.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV).
Great is the Lord’s faithfulness always and forever is a promise from God to His people on today.
Who besides God can we truly call faithful? NONE!
Faithful is our God! There is none like Him!
Faithful is our Savior, Jesus Christ!
Faithful is God the Holy Spirit to intercede for us when we cannot or know not when or if we ought to intercede for ourselves.
Faithful is our God to hear our prayers! There is none like Him!
Faithful is our God to answer our prayers! There is none like Him!
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 New American Standard Bible
Request for Prayer
3 Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the word of the Lord will [a]spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it was also with you; 2 and that we will [each] be rescued from troublesome and evil people; for not all have the faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, [b]and He will strengthen and protect you [c]from the evil one. 4 We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing, and will do, what we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the perseverance of Christ.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
MUTUAL PRAYER FOR DIFFICULT TIMES
“Mutual Prayer for Difficult Times” is an exposition of 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5.
There is a powerful dynamic that works and reveals itself when the Body of Christ, the Church, pray for one another, when saints pray for one another.
In this brief letter to the young church at Thessalonica, Paul teaches about the last days or end times. There was confusion about the second coming of Christ.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul discusses the coming of the Lord to rapture the saints. In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Paul discusses the Day of the Lord that will consummate history. But confusion apparently remained. So, Paul wrote this second letter to the Thessalonian church.
In chapter 1, Paul again discusses the coming of the Lord. In chapter 2, Paul discusses the man of lawless who will oppose Christ. In chapter 3, Paul exhorts the church to live in light of the imminent return of Christ.
This is the pattern when the Second Coming of Christ is addressed. There is an explanation and then an exhortation. The New Testament is emphatic Jesus is coming again. The Lord will return to the earth physically and majestically and unexpectedly. But Christ’s imminent return is not an excuse to disconnect from the real world or to really live irresponsibly. We are to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that true blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. God’s word? 100% faithful.
This letter begins with the reality of the last days. It ends with the responsibility of the saints as we live in the last days. Between these two sections there is the resource the church can access until Jesus returns. It is the privilege and power of prayer. Paul was facing difficulties in Corinth. And the saints were facing difficulties in Thessalonica. But Paul knew a way they could help one another through their difficult times. He says, “You pray for me. I will pray for you.”
There is a dynamic power that works and reveals itself when the Body of Christ, the Church continually and continuously prays for one another, when the saints continually and continuously pray for one another. It can only be accessed when our focus is on the Lord. Paul and the Thessalonians prayed for one another.
But the primary concern of their mutual prayers was not about themselves. It was all about the Lord, who is mentioned four times in these first five verses.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 teaches several critically important spiritual priorities that should consume our prayers for one another.
I. THE WORD OF THE LORD
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 says: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”
Chapter 2 of this letter ends with Paul’s prayer for the church at Thessalonica.
Chapter 3 begins with a prayer request Paul makes to the church.
Verse 1 says, “Finally, brothers, pray for us.” This request is not unique.
Paul frequently solicited the prayers of the saints.
1 Thessalonians 5:25 also reads: “Brothers, pray for us.”
Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. The Thessalonian followers were brand new Christians. Yet Paul did not think they were too little to pray for him. And he did not think he was too big to ask for their prayers. Paul humbly requested, “Brothers, pray for us.” This request is in a grammatical emphasis that denotes continual action. He freely solicited their ongoing prayers. Paul’s example reminds us we never reach a place where we do not need others to pray for us.
This prayer request also tells us that the Thessalonians needed to pray. The saints at Thessalonica were facing difficulties for which Paul prayed the Lord would comfort and establish them. But Paul did not consider the difficulties these young Christians faced so great that he should not ask them to pray for him. They absolutely needed to pray as much as they needed to be prayed for.
This is the irony of prayer. The heavy load you carry is often lifted as you take on the burdens of others. Job 42:10a says, “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.” Job’s friends were not good friends.
As Job suffered, they showed up not so much to console, but to question and condemn him, rather than comforting him. Yet he prayed for them. And God intervened for Job when he prayed for his friends. God will also restore some things for you when you pray for your friends. Paul understood the benefits of mutual prayer. So, he asked the saints to pray for him and his missionary team. Specifically, Paul makes two prayer requests concerning the word of the Lord.
A. PRAY FOR THE OPPORTUNITY THAT IS BEFORE US.
Verse 1 says, “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.” This request was not so much for Paul and Silvanus and Timothy as it was for the word of the Lord to go forth.
It is an affirmation of the primacy of the word of God. No one in the church is indispensable. But the word of God is. All that the church is and does is to be rooted and grounded and go forth into God’s Kingdom, in the word of God.
Reverend Dr. Warren Wiersbe comments: “Too much Christian work these days is accomplished by human plans and promotion, and not by the word of God. We trust our programs and do not publish the word of God.” May this not be true of us. May the Lord give us a holy passion and preoccupation with the word of God. May we preach it, teach it, believe it, obey it, share it, defend it, and pass it on to the next generation. This requires prayer. Pray and the word of God are inextricably tied together. Both must be alive and well for the church to be healthy. So, Paul asks the church to pray for the ministry of the word.
PRAY THAT THE WORD WILL GET OUT.
Paul asked the saints to pray “that the word of the Lord may speed ahead.” The verb Paul uses here means “to run.” It is an athletic term used of one who runs a race. Here Paul pictures the word of God as being a strong well-trained, long-legged, long-distance, high endurance runner speeding ahead on its course.
This prayer request makes an important statement about the nature of the word of God. The word of God is not dead or idle or passive. It is forever alive, forever active and forever on the move. It is forever going forward enduring all things.
Psalm 147:15 says, “He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.” This prayer request is also a statement about the urgency we ought to have for continuing the momentum progress of the word of God. If we believe the word of God, must absolutely go forth no matter what, then we should pray earnestly that the word of God would continually and continuously speed ahead to reach those who are lost. The word of God must be that diesel locomotive that knows no quit, whose engineer and engine stoker know the Gospel must move. It is absolutely imperative every last ounce of energy keeps this train moving!
PRAY THAT THE WORD WILL GET IN.
The word of God can get out without ever getting in.
It can reach a person’s ears without reaching his or her heart.
So, Paul asked the saints to pray “that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored.” The word can be translated as “honored” or “praised” or “glorified.”
Psalm 138:2 says, “I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”
God exalts his word as much as his name. And it is God’s will that his word be exalted among men. So, pray the word of God would be honored everywhere in your towns, villages, your cities and states and nation and among the nations.
The word of God is fully honored when it is affirmed and believed and obeyed.
At the end of verse 1, Paul gives us a frame of reference: “as happened among you.” When Paul preached the gospel in Thessalonica, they honored it.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul writes: “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” Paul asked the church to pray that what happened among them would happen in Corinth: the word of God would speed ahead and be honored.
B. PRAY FOR THE OPPOSITION THAT IS AGAINST US.
In verse 1, Paul testifies about the positive response the word of God received in Thessalonica. But in verse 2, Paul testifies about the negative response the word received in Corinth.
In verse 1, Paul asked the saints to pray for the proclamation of the message. But in verse 2, he will ask them to pray for the protection of the messenger.
In verse 1, we see Paul’s humility. But in verse 2, we see his humanity as he asks the saints to pray “that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men.”
Paul was doing the will and the work of the Lord. Yet he still faced significant opposition he described as “wicked and evil men.” “Wicked” here refers to stubborn, unreasonable men who oppose the word. One commentator called them “morally insane.” Paul also calls them “evil men,” indicating they were actively involved in mischief to actively hinder the progress of the word of God.
This is as specific as Paul gets about his opposition. But we know from the record of Paul’s time in Corinth that he is referring to religious people both outside and within the church who opposed his work.
Concerning this text, Reverend Dr. J. Vernon McGee wrote: “I find that the spreading of the Gospel is hindered more by people in the church than by anything else. No liquor industry, no barroom, no gangster ring has ever attacked me – at least I have never known about it. But I have had so-called saints in the churches attack me.”
Paul could surely relate. Yet he does not spend a lot of time talking about the opposition. He mentions them only to make a prayer request: “that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men.”
The word “deliver” is the same word used in Matthew 6:13, where Jesus teaches us to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” Why does Paul ask for the saints to pray for deliverance? “For not all have faith.” Apostle Paul did not take personal attacks personally. He rather viewed it as a spiritual matter of faith. So, he would ask of the church to pray for his deliverance for the sake of the word of the Lord.
II. THE FAITHFULNESS OF THE LORD
Verse 2 ends with a sad indictment: “For not all have faith.” Verse 3 begins with a wonderful assurance: “But the Lord is faithful.” We live in a world where loyalty is a scarce commodity. And we are often left to ask, who can you trust? Paul answers, “The Lord is faithful.” His character never changes. His love never ceases. His compassion never ends. His promises never fail. His wisdom never errs. His purposes never come short. His strength never wanes.
No matter the state of the restless sea of humanity, be it the muted ebb and flow of indifference, or the violent swell of fierce opposition, the Lord controls the waves, and he is faithful in every circumstance. (Psalm 107:23-30)
He is faithful in salvation.
1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “But God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.”
He is faithful in temptation.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
God is faithful in confession.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he if faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
God is faithful in sanctification.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
He is faithful in every circumstance.
Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
God is faithful in answering our prayers.
Psalm 16 New American Standard Bible
The Lord, the Psalmist’s Portion in Life and Salvation in Death.
A [a]Mikhtam of David.
16 Protect me, God, for I take refuge in You.
2 [b]I said to the Lord, “You are [c]my Lord;
I have nothing good besides You.”
3 As for the [d]saints who are on the earth,
[e]They are the majestic ones; all my delight is in them.
4 [f]The pains of those who have acquired another god will be multiplied;
I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
5 The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
6 The measuring lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my inheritance is beautiful to me.
7 I will bless the Lord who has advised me;
Indeed, my [g]mind instructs me in the night.
8 I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
10 For You will not abandon my soul to [h]Sheol;
You will not [i]allow Your [j]Holy One to [k]undergo decay.
11 You will make known to me the way of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
In 2 Thessalonians 3 verses 3-4, Paul states the Lord can be absolutely trusted to do whatever it is which needs to be done in you and through you.
We serve a good and faithful God, who has promised to work His good work in the lives of all His children and establish each one in every good work and word. But we must be aware that we have a powerful enemy, who desires our downfall and seeks to shipwreck our faith. No wonder Paul was keen to remind this little group of believers that God is faithful to guard us against the evil one… that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan.
Man may be, and frequently is, faithless and false – God is faithful despite our inconsistencies. And He expands this promise of grace even further, for the Lord our Salvation has pledged to strengthen and establish His children in the truth of His Word – for we are HIS. In His grace, HE works in us and through us, for His good purpose. God knew us before the foundation of the world. He knows the number of hairs on our head and keeps our tears in His bottle.
God knows our weakness, and He understands that our faith may fail, “BUT the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and guard you from the evil one.”
We cannot be faithful to God as God is faithful to us. So, we pray, and we pray ….
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us pray,
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful promises… to strengthen, establish, and protect me, even when my faith falters and I prove faithless and false to You. Keep me ever mindful of this truth and guide me in the choices I must make today. Use me as an instrument of Your grace and keep me from all evil, so that I may grow in grace and in a knowledge of You, and in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! AMEN.
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When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Cor 13:11.(NLT).
What was the sign that he had grown up?
“Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet ‘I will show you the most excellent way’. 1 Cor 12:31.
His ability to discern the ‘more excellent way’ is proof that he had grown up.
How did he come by this ability?
“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”. Hebrews 5:13-14.
There is nothing wrong with milk but that’s all the baby receives. Solid food is not given to make a person mature but is given because he is mature enough to receive it.
What are the spiritual senses?
“For we walk by faith and not by sight”. 2 Cor 5:7.
So anytime he works his faith he is exercising his spiritual senses.
How does he work his faith and exercise his spiritual senses?
“For [if we are] in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but only faith activated and expressed and working through love”. Galatians 5:6(AMP).
Through good works or works of love .
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”.Phil 1:9-11.
What is the prescribed order of growing to being eligible for strong meat?
1. Feed on milk to build your faith.
2. Work your faith through good works or works of love, till you are filled with the fruits of righteousness.
3. Become skilled in the word of righteousness by being filled with the fruits of righteousness.
4. Become able to discern the more excellent way by being skilled in the word of righteousness.
5. Become eligible for strong meat.
What does it mean to be skilled in the word of righteousness, which is a result of being filled with the fruits of righteousness?
“And now, little children abide in Him, that when He appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at his coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practises righteousness is born of Him”. 1 John 2:28-29.
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him”. 1 john 3:18-19.
Skill comes though practise. He has worked his faith by practising righteousness through good works, so he has become too familiar with the ‘knowing’ that he is righteous and has therefore been initiated into the ‘Confidence of Sonship’
So therefore, having met these requirements, he makes himself able to receive strong meat.
What is this strong meat? For truly when the heir is mature he longs for it.
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God”.
Strong meat is the right of the heir, the promises of God, our inheritance in Christ.
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