Tuesday in the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Thessalonians 3:6-12

What Sweet Consolation Fellowship Can Be

As best as we can reconstruct the events, Paul was very concerned about the new-born believers in Thessalonica.  He was not there long after the church was formed when he was run off; and then, adding insult to injury, the locals began smearing the Apostle before the believers (Acts 17:1-10).  He had not had sufficient time to encourage and teach them in the faith as he would have liked.  Now that he was absent, how were they getting along?  So Paul relates that he sent Timothy to check on their progress, only to discover now upon his return that his fears were completely groundless.  And what wonderful news that was to the Apostle!

So now Paul rejoices in the news Timothy reports of the Thessalonians’ well-being.  And not only that but “that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you—for this reason brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.  For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.”  Paul faced affliction on a daily basis, a sample of which he provided in 2 Corinthians 11:22-29, in which list he specifically mentioned his anxiety for all the churches.  He didn’t bemoan these afflictions but fully expected them and assured the Thessalonians that they would endure the same (3:4).  How did Paul cope with his numerous sufferings?  How did he manage under all the stress?  No doubt, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was his primary comfort.  But here we learn of another which was that the churches were continuing in the faith despite persecution AND longing to see the Apostle again.  And it was their welfare and reciprocal desire to see him that made the Apostle’s day.

And the point I wish to emphasize in all of this is that Christian love and fellowship is one of the many bulwarks our Lord gives us against the struggles of this world.  Christians need encouragement in their walk.  The world, our own sinful natures, and the devil are ever present to trip us up.  It is the knowledge that we are loved by our brothers and sisters in Christ, that they long to see us, that they are only a phone call away, or a prayer of intercession away, that oftentimes brings us through our times of trial.  In one place, Paul calls the Thessalonians his hope and joy before the Lord at his coming (2:19), and here says he lives if they stand firm in the Lord.  We might suggest that these are hyperboles as Paul lives and rejoices because of the Lord, but we get the point: It is sharing in the Holy Spirit and hope of Jesus’ coming that binds believers together, which unbelievers cannot understand.  We carry one another and shall one day carry one another across the finish line.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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