Tuesday in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

The Lord Will Establish and Guard You

The warmth and humility of the Apostle Paul comes shining through in the third chapter of this letter.  Paul will often assert his apostolic authority as he will in the next paragraph, but not before he begs this church for the one thing he desired more than anything else from them—and that was their prayers on his behalf: “Finally, brothers, pray for us,.”  The Greek behind the word “pray” means “pray continuously.”  Paul was not a man who thought that he could do anything in his own strength; he needed the prayers of the saints.  We must never think that the apostles were men who would waltz into pagan cities working signs and wonders at will staring down magistrates preaching the gospel without fear.  They were subject to the same emotions we are and paid the price for their courage.  They needed to be lifted up in prayer.  But then he asks not so much prayer for himself but “that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.”  Paul wanted to see God’s word roll over cities like a great tide, conquering hearts and bringing men and women to saving faith.  But he also knew that there was an enemy standing in his path, for he also implored that they pray “that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men.  For not all have faith.”  The gospel will be opposed.  Men naturally oppose the gospel because it calls them to repent, and the devil is there every step of the way to aggravate their annoyance with that message.  So we pray both for our safety and the deliverance of sinful men from the evil one.

Paul then turns his attention to this church which he loved so much: “But the Lord is faithful.  He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”  The Thessalonians were experiencing their own troubles which the apostle referred to in his first letter to them (2:14).  But troubles do not mean that the Lord is not near; indeed, as Paul noted earlier in this letter, it is evidence of God’s approval of them and of the coming destruction of their adversaries (1:5-10).  Paul’s confidence that the Lord would guard them is buttressed by their remaining in the apostolic word, which for them was embodied in those very men.  If we shall be guarded against the evil one, we too must remain in the word and obey every command therein.  We cannot depend on God’s deliverance when we flout His directives and presume upon His grace.  Obedience is the measure of our devotion.  Finally Paul prays, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to steadfastness in Christ.”  This is what we so desperately need: to love God more and remain steadfast.  We must endure to the end to be saved (Matthew 24:13), and we will for the one who has called us is faithful, and he will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

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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