Encouraged

We all need it, and we all should give it.

1 Thessalonians 3 (3)

Pray Psalm 113.1-3.
Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
Praise the name of the LORD!
Blessed be the name of the LORD
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The LORD’s name isto be praised.

Read 1 Thessalonians 3.6, 7.

Reflect.
1. Is there a difference between comfort and encouragement? Are they the same? Is one more important than the other?

2. Timothy was an agent of encouragement for Paul. Should you be an agent of encouragement to the people in your Personal Mission Field?

Meditate.
It’s difficult for us to imagine how great Paul’s concern for the Thessalonians must have been. He prayed for them continually (1 Thess. 1.2), shared in their sufferings (1 Thess. 2.14-16) to the point of being afflicted and in distress (1 Thess. 3.7); he longed to see them again and to make sure of their wellbeing (1 Thess. 1.17-20); and finally, when he “could no longer endure it,” he sent his trusted colleague Timothy to learn about their condition, hoping and praying as he did that he would find the Thessalonians unshaken and steadfast (1 Thess. 3.1-3).

Timothy could not have brought a better report for Paul’s encouragement. The Thessalonians were standing fast in faith and love (v. 6), and they fondly remembered and eagerly longed for Paul, as he did for them. Paul was greatly encouraged (παρεκλήθημεν, comforted NKJV) by this news. I prefer the translation encouraged here, because Paul didn’t merely breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Thank You, Lord.” He was emboldened to act on the Thessalonians’ behalf, and wrote these epistles to encouragethem to press on to a greater measure of salvation and life together.

Imagine for a moment how pleased Timothy must have been to see Paul so encouraged by his report. God has sent His Spirit into our hearts as the Encourager (ὁ παράκλητος). His work is to infuse our hearts with courage to overcome fears, anxiousness, doubts, reluctance, complacency, and indifference, and to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ and equip and move us for good works. And it pleases the Spirit to do His work, at least in part, through us, as we encourage one another as Timothy did Paul.

Prepare.
1. What encourages you? What makes you want to go out and praise the Lord and do something in His Name for others? 

2. Do you think that whatever encourages you might encourage others as well? How can you become more consistently encouraging to the people in your Personal Mission Field?

3. Paul sent a letter to the Thessalonians to encourage them – a letter which is now part of the Word of God. Should we expect to find encouragement in the Word of God? Can you give an example?

Paul's intention was to stir up the Thessalonians to perseverance. And, assuredly, this must have been a most powerful excitement, when they learned that the holy Apostle felt so great consolation and joy from the advancement of their piety. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 3

Make me a more encouraging person, Lord, so that Your Spirit in me will…

Pray Psalm 113.4-9.

In what ways does this psalm – with its focus on our exalted Lord and His grace reaching down to us – encourage you? Might you use it to encourage another believer today?

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 113 (Armaggedon: Who is on the Lord’s Side?)
Praise the Lord, O praise Him, all who know His Name!
From this day forever, magnify His fame! 
From the time each morning when the sun is raised 
to its evening waning, let His Name be praised!

Refrain vv. 1, 2
Praise the Lord, O praise Him, all who know His Name!
From this day forever, magnify His fame!

High above the nations,on Your glorious throne,
Who is like You, Savior, ruling all You own?

Sovereign and all-knowing, over all above,
praise to You is owing for Your perfect love!
Refrain

Though You rule from heaven,looking down on earth,
praise and thanks be given to Your holy worth!
Down You reach to touch us,clad in ash and dust,
Raising us with such as in Your favor trust.
Refrain

Seated now with princes‘round Your glorious throne,
we by grace are lifted to become Your own.
Barren women, joyous,glad their children bear;
joining in the chorus, they Your praise declare.
Refrain

T. M. Moore

Where do 1 and 2 Thessalonians fit in the unfolding of God’s covenant? Order our workbook, God’s Covenant, and find out how all Scripture fits within this redemptive framework (click here).

Forward today’s study to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link to the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Paul’s ministry and prepare for your own.


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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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