By Pastor Wayne Moore,
1 Thessalonians 3:1-4 “Steadfast and Unmovable”
Please read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-4. Paul could stand it no longer. Although he could not go back himself, he cared deeply for the Thessalonians and sent Timothy in his place while he and the rest of the missionary team stayed in Athens. Timothy was saved during Paul’s first missionary journey. In a personal letter to Timothy, Paul calls him “my own son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). Yet, here, Paul calls him “our brother.” This shows us the humility and meekness of Paul. Timothy was much younger than Paul in age and spiritual maturity. When it comes to salvation, we are all on the same level. I remember when a young boy in our church trusted Jesus as his Savior and made it public. He asked, “Does this mean I can be called Brother?” “You better believe it,” I told him. When another young man in our church preached his first sermon as a ten-year old, I told the church that the Word of God is just as authoritative from a ten-year old as it from a grown man. In Christ, we are all brothers and sisters. Paul also refers to Timothy as a minister of God. The word minister means servant. Timothy went to the Thessalonians as a humble servant of God. He was also a fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ. Without the gospel of Christ, our work is of no eternal value. While we may minister well to the earthly needs of mankind, without the gospel of Christ, we will fail to address the greatest need of humanity: the forgiveness of sin against God. What is the gospel? It is this: “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). And why do you need the gospel? Because you cannot save yourself. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Apparently, this was Timothy’s first solo ministry. It speaks highly of him that Paul entrusted him with such an important endeavor. Paul was concerned that the affliction that the Thessalonians continued to suffer would cause them to waver in their faith. So, he sent Timothy to establish and comfort them concerning their faith. The word “establish” means to make steadfast. The word “comfort” means to encourage. Paul wanted Timothy to encourage the believers to be steadfast in their faith and unmoved by afflictions. Does that describe you, steadfast in your faith and unmoved by afflictions? What a goal for us to set for ourselves. Why do we need to be steadfast in our faith and unmoved by afflictions? Because “we are appointed” to have afflictions; we will “suffer tribulation.” Steadfast faith in Christ does not mean the absence of suffering; it means that we will not be moved by suffering. Some have preached that if you have enough faith, you will not suffer but prosper. To that false teaching, I apply the Apostle Paul’s declaration in Romans 3:4, “let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written” in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” As it is written in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” As it is written in 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” Don’t just believe what a person says about God’s Word without reading God’s Word for yourself. When you read the whole Bible, you will find that God does save us from some afflictions, and He will certainly save the followers of Christ from the wrath to come, but He does not save us from all afflictions. He works in our lives according to His will. Faith that trusts God will not be moved by the affliction that comes according to His will. Don’t take my word for it; read the Bible for yourself.
If you are presently experiencing a trial in your life, let me encourage you to trust God with it. He loves you and cares for you. He will give you peace that the world cannot give. He will strengthen your faith so that you will not be moved by your affliction. Continue reading 1 Thessalonians 3 to find out more about Paul’s love for the believers there. And could it be possible that verse 13 is the purpose of our suffering on this earth? You do not have to suffer alone. Reach out to someone you know who is faithfully following Christ.