1 Thessalonians 3

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Read 1 Thessalonians 3

So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

Timothy’s Encouraging Report

But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Go Deeper

Paul longs to see the Thessalonians again but there is someone stopping him: Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18). The church was dealing with continuous persecution, and he is afraid that Satan’s tactics have taken root and distracted the church. In suffering, Christ followers are to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) knowing that God has something better in front of us (Romans 8:18). In other words, we have to be anchored and rooted in God’s eternal promise. In order to assess their spiritual health, despite his direct inability to go, Paul trains, equips, and sends Timothy. Timothy is to go establish and exhort them in their faith so that no one is “tempted and labors in vain”. If the enemy cannot keep us from eternal life with Jesus, he will distract us from experiencing that eternal life here and now (John 10:10, 14:6).

Paul was not simply content with them coming to salvation. He wanted them to grow in their faith, too. He knew well that no one stays stagnant in their faith. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14). 

Timothy returns with good news: the church is marked by faith and love. Their faith had indeed taken root and Paul simply rejoiced at God’s work in their lives. He desires to see them again and begins to pray for them. Of all the things Paul could have prayed for them, he prays for increasing love and confidence. “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” Love for one another is not something that can be fabricated by will power–it is drawn from the deep well of God’s love. The deeper we grasp God’s love for us, the more we love from the overflow. God’s love revealed in Christ victory is what anchors believers amidst suffering.


  1. Are you aware of Satan’s current schemes against you personally?
  2. Who in your life is going through a difficult season that you could encourage today?
  3. Are you actively praying for growth and perseverance for brothers and sisters in the faith? Why or why not?

A Quote

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.” – John Stott

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8 thoughts on “1 Thessalonians 3”

  1. We see Paul’s ministry become a beautiful network of the gospel spreading to the world. It would not be without trials and persecution, yet as we’ve seen before in scripture, suffering can showcase the power of God in unbelievable ways. I’m reminded of Christ’s words in John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” He was referencing the cross and his crucifixion, knowing his death would bring life to many, yet his heart was troubled. He would willingly give his life triumphing over Satan and death and all people, regardless of ethnicity or race, would be drawn to him. This was the message Paul passionately preached, and years later we can be encouraged and equipped to continue to carry the torch of the gospel into our homes, neighborhoods, communities and around the world. I loved Nate’s message on Sunday charging us to pray and boldly proclaim the gospel throughout our city that could reverberate around the world for the kingdom of God. Let’s be inspired by Paul’s example to be agents of change wherever we go, remembering 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

  2. We are ministers of the Gospel. We have the responsibility to share this good news so that others may come to know God. This is something I am working on but have not yet found my way in. BUT GOD is showing me, helping me and I am learning. Satan is roaring but my God has won (I read the end of the Book). We will have troubles but with God all things are possible. With God I am trusting in that perfect peace because I am endeavoring to bring every thought captive. With God who is for me, who can be against me. Nate’s sermon was terrific and I am proud of him. Starting in our home with our family, with our life group, with our co-workers, to our neighbors, out to the church you attend, to the grocery store that you go to, to the school you go to, into the local shops you buy from, to our city government (police, fire fighters, EMT, mayor etc.) to our state, to our country we pray for God to be with and in all these people but it starts with me/you opening our mouths to tell them about Jesus.

    God thank You for doing a work in such a time as this, in and for all those listed above and anyone else that I forgot. God I am learning more and more about being more kingdom minded. All of these folks are a part of my kingdom. Thank You for letting me know specifics about what and who to pray for in these seasons. God You are worthy of blessing and honor. Thank You for Your power in my talk and my walk. Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. Thank You for my life blessing YOU in these minutes of this day in Jesus name amen

  3. Taking this with me today . . .

    12 “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else,“


    I loved the John Stott quote, but the phrasing above was a little confusing… so I looked it up. It reads:

    “Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done BY us” – John Stott

    Hope that helps!

  5. Diane Frances Rogers

    Our Christian life involves obedience to Christ despite temptations and hardships.
    vs.12 speaks volumes to my heart. It is not enough merely to be courteous to others; we must actively and persistently show love. My confession is that I need work in this area. Abba Father, forgive me where I have had blinders on in regard to loving your people. Thank you for shredding off my sinful pride and teaching me a better life in Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.

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