Yesterday at Saar Fellowship our text was 1 Thessalonians 2.17-3.13 and Paul ends with this wonderful wishlist and prayer:
Now may God our Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we do for you, so that your hearts are strengthened in holiness to be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
1 Thessalonians 3.11-13
The way that Paul wrote this, God our Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct…tells us that he sees God and the Lord Jesus as one and the same in essence, unified as one indivisible person. Sometimes slowing down when reading can benefit us so much!
Paul writes that he wants the believers there to increase and abound in love for one another and for all, and again puts himself our there as an example to be followed: just as we do for you. We should live such Christian lives that we could tell younger Christians, “Love other people just the way that I do.” Can you do that?
Paul goes on to say why this is his wish for the Thessalonians: so that your hearts are strengthened in holiness to be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. I read recently that “nothing can encourage us to holiness like remembering that Jesus might come today“.
What do we take from this then? We know we are not the Thessalonians. We know we are separated from them by time, geography, language, culture, and context. However, now in 2021 we are also temporarily separated from our church family face to face but not heart to heart (1 Thessalonians 2.17), aren’t we?
Well, let’s try to learn from what Paul urged them to do. It’s important to:
- Stay connected,
- Do things to reassure one another, and
- Pray for God to direct our ways to one another.
Paul wanted to know so badly how people were he sent his right hand man to find out and was willing to be alone whilst he waited.
We too have got to be intentional about being connected.
Please remember too, social-media-connected is not real-life-connected. It’s not real. It’s a curated and carefully chosen and revealed reality. Please, stay authentically connected.
Paul wanted to know so badly how people were he took action about it: “…when we could bear it no longer, we decided to stay on in Athens alone. We sent Timothy…“
Do things to reassure one another
We are doing everything we can to keep connected, we hope you are too. Reach out, take time to reach out to one another. Spend time with one another where possible. Something so simple and easy as a phone call. Fire up FaceTime or Zoom and call someone. If you have a bit of social anxiety about answering the phone and you haven’t called people since 2005, that’s ok, send someone a message. I cannot tell you how encouraging it is to receive a message as simple as “Hey, how are you? How’s your week going? Was thinking about you this morning…Is there anything I can do for you?“
Paul wrote that “in all our distress and affliction, we were reassured about you, brothers and sisters, through your faith. For now we are alive again, if you stand firm in the Lord“.
So, let us work hard to stay connected and reassure one another.
Pray for God to direct our ways to one another
If it’s good enough for Paul here, surely it’s good enough for us too. Here Paul prays for his people. In John 17, Jesus prayed for His people and He hasn’t stopped since. Hebrews 7 tells us that Jesus always lives to intercede for the ones who come to God through Him…
We’ve seen this last few months that we can do everything right, we can make wise decisions that honour God, respect national leadership, and make clear our love for one another and still we are left needing more. Our wise decisions and respectful and loving actions have not banished this pandemic, have they?
So we’ll keep on keeping on. We’ll work as if it all rests on us. We’ll pray as if it all rests on God.
We pray earnestly night and day to see you in person and make up what may be lacking in your faith. Now may God our Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you.
This is possibly, possibly, the most relevant passage in the Bible for our situation now as a body of believers. I would encourage you to read and re-read it as we move forward in this time of uncertainty together. Learn from believers who have been there before us. See what they did. See how they moved forward. See where their hope lay. See where their comfort and encouragement came from. Then, as Paul wrote more than once in his writing, let us be imitators of him, just as he also was of Christ, and let us pray that
God our Father himself and our Lord Jesus [directs] our way to [one another]. And may the Lord cause [us] to increase and abound in love for one another and for al…so that [our] hearts are strengthened in holiness to be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
To listen to the full message, check out the
Saar Fellowship Podcast.
The full message should be there in a day or so. You can get it here: