Would Paul have such confidence in you?

2 Thessalonians 3 (2)

Pray Psalm 86.11-13.
Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.
For great isYour mercy toward me,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

Read 2 Thessalonians 3.4, 5.

1. What had Paul commanded the Thessalonians to do? Why was he so confident they would do this?

2. How does God direct our hearts? How can you know when He is directing yours? 

In both his letters to the Thessalonians, Paul had essentially commanded them to press on in their sanctification. Praying, giving thanks, doing good, loving one another, resisting false teaching, submitting to their shepherds, standing fast in the Word – these are all aspect of what Paul had commanded as essential for them to continue growing in the Lord (2 Thess. 2.13-15). 

What Paul commanded the Thessalonians, he commands us as well. Nothing must prevent us from continuing to grow in the grace and salvation of the Lord. Paul expressed confidence in the Thessalonians, that they would continue in obedience and sanctification. Would he have that same confidence in us?

He knew, of course, that only as the Lord directed their hearts would they increase in the love of God and the patience of Christ. Sanctification, like salvation, is a work of grace. The heart is the focal point of sanctification, because it houses our affections. The heart must at all times be kept in submission to the fear of God (Ps. 86.11).

The love of God is essential for our work and witness. The patience of Christ allows us to bear up under trial and to hold fast to the teaching of God’s Word. Only the Lord can give us the heart for such disciplines. We must seek Him for them daily.

1. How can you tell when you are making progress in the love of God?

2. Can you identify any areas in your life where you need more of the patience of Christ?

3. Who prays for you concerning these matters? For whom do you pray?

We are convinced that action taken by one or two pious men is done through the counsel of the Spirit. Since there is no human motive placed before their eyes, and saintly men are moved to action not with an aim of personal advantage but after having proposed to themselves what is pleasing to God, it is evident that it is the Lord who directs their hearts. Basil the Great (330-379 AD),Letters 229

Direct my heart – all my most earnest desires – into love and patience, Lord, so that I…

Pray Psalm 86.

Let this psalm lead you to cast yourself entirely on the Lord and His mercy, seeking grace to help you for the day ahead in all aspects of your calling.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 86 (Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
Lend me Your ear, O Lord and hear me; I am afflicted and much in need!
Rescue my godly soul, be near me; save me, O God, all my crying heed!
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
All day long I pray and plead.

Lift up my soul, fill me with gladness; Lord You are good, You will soon forgive.
Show me abundant lovingkindness; let all who call on You ever live.
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
Heed to my poor pleading give.

When in my trouble, Lord, I call You, You answer me; there is none like You!
There are no works like Yours, and all whom You have created shall worship You.
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
All shall glory give to You!

For You are great, You wondrous deeds do; You are the only and sovereign Lord.
Teach me Your way, let me give heed to, with all my heart, Savior, all Your Word!
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
Praise Your Name forever, Lord!

Great is Your mercy, Lord, toward me; You have delivered my soul from hell.
Though dreadful foes and threats arrayed be, You will Your grace and Your mercy tell!
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
Slow to anger, loving well!

Turn to me, Lord; be gracious to me; grant me Your strength; save Your servant, Lord!
Let me a sign of something good see; shame all who hate me beneath Your Word.
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
For You help me, sovereign Lord!

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).

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Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you gain a better overall understanding of the narrative and primary themes of Scripture, and of the best ways of approaching the study of God’s Word. For more information, or to enroll in this free course, watch this brief video (click here).

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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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