October 1st 1 Thessalonians, 3 C. The Christians Reward Why Timothy was sent
1: Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2: And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow-labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4: For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 5: For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. 6: But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: 7: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: 8: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 9: For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; 10: Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? 11: Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 12: And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Paul says, when we could not wait any longer for news about how you were getting along, under persecution, we thought it was a good idea for me to stay at Athens alone, while Timothy returned to establish you in your new faith and to strengthen you in the Lord. Paul describes Timothy as ‘our brother and servant of God and our fellow labourer in the Gospel’. ‘Brother’ has the idea of affection and closeness. ‘Servant’ has the idea of submission and obedience and ‘fellow-labourer’ has the idea of hard work to the point of exhaustion. There were three aspects to Paul’s team, 1. A very close personal affection, 2. A complete obedience to the direction of the Lord and 3. Shear hard work in the preaching of the gospel. Paul explains that he wants the Thessalonians to not be frightened by their sufferings, because suffering was part of Gods purpose for their lives. Paul had been careful to tell them that suffering for Christ was going to be their privilege. So, says Paul, when l could not stand the suspense anymore, l sent Timothy to find out how your faith was holding up, just in case you had succumbed to temptation and our work had been pointless. But when Timothy came back, he brought good news of your faithfulness and loving devotion and that you remember us with affection and are very keen to see us again. And so, says Paul, we were comforted in our worries about your faith, because we now live if you stand fast in the Lord. (The Pastors Motto) We are very thankful to God for all the joy you have brought to us. Day and night we pray for you - a very great deal, that we might have the joy of seeing your faces and that we might bring you to a more mature faith in Christ. May God direct our path to see you again. And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow in love toward each other and to all men - as we do to you. And we pray that God will establish your spiritual lives in holiness before God the Father when Christ appears with his saints.