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I THESSALONIANS (11)
Timothy’s Visit (2)
I Thessalonians 3:6-8
Victor M. Eskew
A. Paul had been hindered from returning to Thessalonica to see the saints again.
B. When he could no longer forbear, he determined to send Timothy, a brother in Christ, a minister of God, and one of Paul’s fellow-laborers.
C. Timothy made the trip and returned to Paul with an analysis of the condition of the church.
D. Let’s look at “The Analysis” in I Thessalonians 3:6-8.
I. TIMOTHY’S RETURN (I Thess. 3:6a)
But now when Timotheus came from you unto us…
A. Paul was at Athens alone when Timothy was sent to Thessalonica (I Thess. 3:1).
B. Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. It was there that Timothy met with Paul once again (Acts 18:5).
And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia…
1. This journey was about 355 miles by land.
2. They may have made the journey by ship on the Aegean Sea.
II. TIMOTHY’S REPORT (I Thess. 3:6)
A. Good tidings (I Thess. 3:6b)
…and brought unto us good tidings of your faith and charity.
a. Strong (2097): euaggelize, to announce good news.
b. Thayer: to being good news
c. Proverbs 25:25
As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
1) How true this was for the apostle Paul.
2) Many times his messengers returned from visiting churches only to hear of bad news.
a) The divisions and problems at Corinth.
b) The influence of the Judaizing teachers among the churches of Galatia.
2. Two areas of their spiritual lives reported on
a. Their faith
1) Remember: Paul had sent Timothy to know of their faith (I Thess. 3:5).
2) Faith is the motivator of all we do in our Christian lives.
3) He could have found:
a) Great faith (Matt. 8:10)
b) Full of faith (Acts 6:8)
c) Standing fast in the faith (I Cor. 16:18).
d) Having perfect faith (James 2:22).
b. Their charity
1) This is the Greek word “agape.”
2) The word involves many things: affection, benevolence, good will, and seeking the best interest of others.
3) Charity is usually directed three ways:
a) Toward God
b) Toward brothers and sister in Christ
c) Toward all men
3. Question: If we, as a congregation, were to be evaluated as to our faith and charity, how would we fair?
a. Both are demonstrated by actions (James 2:15-16; I John 3:17-18).
b. Some individual members might fare better than others in their demonstration of faith and charity.
B. Good remembrance (I Thess. 3:6c)
…and that ye had good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you.
1. The members of the church remembered Paul and his labors among them.
a. They held him in their minds.
b. The things that were remembered were “good,” that is, pleasant, agreeable, joyful and happy.
2. They also desired greatly to see the apostle.
a. The words “greatly desire” express a very intense longing.
b. It was just like the desire Paul had to see them (I Thess. 2:17).
…endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
III. PAUL’S REACTION (I Thess. 3:7-8)
A. Paul found ease in his afflictions (I Thess. 3:7).
Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith.
1. When Paul listed the numerous difficulties he had suffered as a minister of Christ, he closed the list with an interesting statement (II Cor. 11:28).
Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
a. Ministers can be afflicted by physical trials.
b. They can also suffer internal affliction and strife because of their concern for the church.
1) Their minds never turn off.
2) There is constant concern over this individual and that individual.
2. When news comes that a certain person or a certain church continues to be faithful, it truly comforts the heart and eases the spirit of the man of God. Paul wrote: “We were comforted.”
B. He was enabled to live (I Thess. 3:8).
For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.
1. The word “live” “zao.” It means “to enjoy life,” and “to have a full and blessed life.”
2. Example: When a person’s family has gone through a tragedy and you cannot contact them, your life comes to a stop. You are living, but it is not a blessed life. When the good news comes that they are safe, life comes again.
3. This is the way Paul felt when he got the news about the Thessalonians from Timothy. He was revived. His life came again because he heard they were standing fast in the Lord.
A. We can almost feel Paul’s emotions when he received the good news from Timothy: joy, warmth of soul, ease to his aching heart, and new life within him. This is one concern that he can set aside now.
B. Many lessons can be learned from brief text.
1. Christian relationships can bring us deep concerns.
2. How we live impacts others.
3. As a congregation, we need to stay focused upon our faith and love.
4. When we demonstrate these aspects of Christianity, others who hear of them are impacted in a positive way.
5. We should give thanks for
a. Men like Paul who care so deeply
b. Men like Timothy who are truly servants to others.
c. Churches like Thessalonica who live their faith and practice true love