More standing up. Less bowing down. 1 Thessalonains 3:1-13
Bible Theme: Stand up or Bow Down?
-Jesus Christ – stood on earth, before enemies, judge, executioner, empty tomb, COMING!
-XN’s – stand up & pressure to bow down (=Witness)
- Days Daniel: 300,000 bow down, 3 stand up (“believers” bowed)
I need a photo of this book: https://religionnews.com/2023/09/07/the-great-dechurching-explores-americas-religious-exodus/
“More people have left the church in the last twenty-five years than all the new people who became Christians from the First Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, and Billy Graham crusades combined… The 2020 Faith Communities Today study…found the median congregation in the United States stood at 65 people, down from 137 two decades ago.”
Public Religion Research Institute of mainline “Christian” pastors finds 90% are pro LGBT, 79% support gay marriage, 73% are pro-abortion, 44% have considered joining a different religion
1 Thessalonians 3:8 “standing fast in the Lord”
- Harder life w/God fighting for you & being rewarded forever
- Easier life w/you fighting God & being judged forever
You go through a little hell on your way to Heaven
1 Thessalonians 3:1–5 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.
- There are faithful XN leaders, churches, people
- We are “destined” for 1. salvation 2. suffering = learn to suffer well
- The “tempter” whispers to the wounded
Lies. Condemnation. Accusation (Rev 12:10) = 2nd person (HOMEWORK)
learning + obeying = blessing.
1 Thessalonians 3:6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7 for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
Context: Paul was away, there was no tech, he was concerned, sent Timothy w/letter & to see
They knew little, but obeyed much
- Jn 13:17 [Jesus] “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
- Lk 11:28 [Jesus] “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
- Jam 1:22 “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Love grows deeper when things get harder
1 Thessalonians 3:11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 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.
- God is present with people you cannot be present with (far away, deployed, hospital)
- You can be with someone spiritually even if you cannot be with them physically
“pray…earnestly day & night” (if sensitive to HS you feel it)
Wrote letter (call, text, email, letter, social media, photo, video etc.)
- Ministry of Presence – “see you face to face” = non-anxious presence
6 Signs the world is ending
- 1 Thess. (esp. ch 4-5) 3:13 “the coming of our Lord Jesus”
- World = Darker until Jesus Christ light of the world returns!
Bible = “last days” before Jesus return – 6 increased evil/demonic activities
- 1 Thess 5:3 “labor pains”
1. An increase in stress, anxiety, and mental illness (2 Timothy 3:1-4) “in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…”
2. An increase in scoffers who mock the Bible and those who believe it (2 Peter 3:3) “scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.”
- Comedians –
3. An increase in mockers of Christian morality who encourage pleasure, especially sexual sin (Jude 18 NASB) “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”
- Critics – Bible/Christianity is immoral/wrong & justice = deconstructing
4. An increasing love for false teachers and corresponding hatred for Bible preachers (2 Timothy 4:1-4) “preach the word…the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,and will turn away from listening to the truth”
5. An increase in people who are anti-Christ, leading a massive counterfeit “Christian” apostasy, which paves the way for the Antichrist (1 John 2:18-19) “it is the last hour…antichrist is coming…many antichrists have come….it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.”
- Anti – oppose & replace Christ
6. An increase in wealth, comfort, and a sense that God is not needed for a successful life or concern for eternity (James 5:3) Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.
BAND UP. CLOSE
? Where is God calling you to stand? (work, school, family,
1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…you became imitators…of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit…
STAND – Pray for the joy of the Holy Spirit