At one time in his life, Paul opposed the fact that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. He was one of the most notable persecutors of Christians.
Everything in his life changed the day he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Instead of opposing the message of Christ, his primary mission became the spread of the good news.
He asked the church in Thessalonica to pray for his ability to continue to proclaim the gospel message.
2 Thessalonians 3.1-2 – Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you,
And that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not all have faith.
As we think about Paul’s passion for the gospel, let’s ask ourselves some questions.
(1) When was the last time I prayed for the good news of Christ to spread?
(2) If I prayed regularly for the spread of the gospel, would I be more inclined to share the gospel?
(3) What is so special about the good news that it needs to be spread everywhere possible?
As we ask these questions, we recognize that there is opposition to the gospel. Some resistance comes from outsiders, but there are times when misguided Christians can be the enemy of the good news.
A final question we need to ask is if our behavior causes what should be good news to end up being bad news.
God is Faithful.
The one who ultimately opposes the gospel is the evil one. Whether the devil corrupts Christian behavior or induces non-Christians to oppose the good news, the result is the same.
In the face of such opposition, we can be assured that God is on our side. He takes up his cause and empowers our actions.
2 Thessalonians 3.3 – But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.
Satan and the world’s system are formidable enemies of ours. However, God is overwhelmingly stronger.
When we partner with God in his purposes on earth, we can count on his faithful support, strength, and protection.
Returning to our questions, we need to ask:
(1) Am I praying for the spread of the good news?
(2) Am I engaged in sharing the good news of God’s love?
(3) Am I determined to not be a hindrance to the gospel?
Action in Support of the Gospel
There are certain actions that accompany the spread of the gospel. Part of Paul’s confidence in Jesus’ faithfulness was his ability to help Christians do what they had been taught.
2 Thessalonians 3.4 – And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command.
Paul had specific instructions for the church in Thessalonica. The next verses (tomorrow’s study) reminded the church of those guidelines.
People of all ages can count on the Lord’s help. He will empower us to do his will, especially when it comes to the spread of the gospel.
Near the end of his letter, Paul returned to the main themes of his prayers for the church.
2 Thessalonians 3.5 – May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
As we consider the question of whether we are people who advance the good news or hinder it, let’s look at Paul’s prayer themes.
The gospel is best represented by loving people. We need to gauge our devotion to Christ and his message by the level of our love.
It is tempting to give up in the face of opposition and persecution. A steadfast person relies on Jesus’ faithful assistance and continues with the Lord’s purposes in spite of opposition.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube. Rudy adds many insights that are not covered in my articles. The video is on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com and the Maywood prayer team will pray for you.