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1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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August 11, 2021 6:00 am

1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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They will get strong delusion because they did not receive and have the love of the truth.

That is at best. God knows how to turn them over to it. You want to believe that rock looks as a lizard and therefore there's life there.

What did the lizard eat? Is he just there? They go on and on with these things, but we all know this. We are aware of it.

They mock us and we mock them. The only difference is we're right. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of 1 Thessalonians.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 for today's edition of Cross-Reference Radio. Well, if you have your Bibles, let's open to Paul's first letter to the church in Thessalonica chapter 3, 1 Thessalonians chapter 3.

Now, were I facing some fearsome foe, I would want the righteous to encourage me to be strong in the Lord and I really wouldn't want anything less. When the Christians were sent to the lions, they were singing hymns as they were being devoured. We have an example of the alternative illustrated for us in the book of Esther.

Most of you know the story. Haman was a wicked man. He hated the Jews and Haman had devised this plan to wipe the Jews out. Unfortunately for Haman, he was on Satan's side, not God's side. And God had allowed Mordecai to find favor with the king at the time and they rewarded Mordecai late in the game for saving the king's life sometime earlier. Haman, who had the support of his family in the destruction of the Jews, comes home to them and tells them how his enemy, Mordecai, was rewarded by the king when he thought it was going to be himself. And we have it, this section picked up in Esther chapter 6 verse 13 when Haman told his wife Zaresh and all his friends, everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zaresh said to him, Mordecai, from whom you have begun to fall is of Jewish descent. You will not prevail against him but you will surely fall before him. Just a while ago they were saying, you go Haman, you get those Jews. We don't like them either. You can't fail.

This is a great plan. Then he comes back with, you know, hey, things have gone wrong and they turn on him. Oh, you're done now. I don't want people to encourage me to be weak.

I can do that on my own. No matter what it is we are facing as believers, we must face it in Christ. Well, what does that have to do with this third chapter in Thessalonians?

Well, everything. Because, you see, Paul in chapter 2 he had been talking about how he was worrying about them. Paul being chased out of Thessalonica, ran to Berea, chased out of Berea, headed down towards Athens.

From Athens he dispatches Silas and Timothy to go check on the churches they started in Philippi and Thessalonica and Berea while Paul heads on to Corinth from where he wrote this letter. And he was very anxious over what was going on there. His encouragement for them was not, oh, be weak. Capitulate. Do anything to get the pressure off of you. Get in the corner, huddle, and shiver. That was not his approach.

This is not being macho. This is realizing what our role is when bad news comes our way. We pick it up in verse 1 of chapter 3 and there Paul writing to this church says, therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone. Now what he is saying is that we feared that you would renounce your faith under the scourge of persecution.

Couldn't take it anymore. So when I arrived in Athens I dispatched Silas and Timothy to check on the churches as we said. I just want to briefly go over the timeline that we're looking at here on these events. Paul goes to Athens while leaving Silas and Timothy to head out to check on the churches. Then Paul goes down to the church in Corinth but before he does he preaches in Athens with not much success. He tries to fight them on their terms.

He tries to appeal to the intellectuals of Athens, the pseudo-intellectuals who are really educated morons. We have them today. And they can take one of our Christian youth that go to college and they can twist them into an apostate in a matter of time and not much time. And if you are dumb enough to throw Christ away for an educated moron, you have it.

There are others who have not. There are other Christians who have gone to the universities and gone to the workplaces and they have not left their faith in the face of cultural persecution. Cultural persecution is persecution that is not physical yet for whatever reasons. Not developed to that state where they can outright come against us with rocks and scourges and imprisonment and the banks and all the other things that they have in their supposed possession to come against the church. Well, the church was born under these circumstances. Rome was the authority in the world.

There were no political rallies for Paul to be interested in going to. He was rallying people to the cross of Christ. There's room at the cross for you.

That was his message. And it is a cross, incidentally, it is a place of death and shame and bloodshed and persecution for now. But it has a glorious ending opposite the world. The world is that carrot on a stick before the horse, chasing after it, never getting it.

And in the end, unlike for the horse, it's worse. It's eternal condemnation. So the things we're talking about in the scripture, they're not about religion. They're about a person's eternal state. Where are you going to be when you finally start pushing up daisies?

Where are you going to be? That's what it's all about. When you leave this life, Jesus said, those who believe in him shall never die. I believe Jesus.

He's right about everything else. And that is what the letter is all about, encouraging the saints. In verse 2, he continues, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ to establish you and encourage you in your faith.

Well, he was concerned about them doctrinally, of course, and then their physical safety came second. But their relationship with Christ was paramount. It is the objective of the pastor, as Jesus taught us in John chapter 21, to feed the lambs, the new believers. They need to be fed scripture.

They need to be fed scripture not only on their own, but also in a formal setting. We are told that we are to tend the sheep. We are to know the state of the flock, and that's what we are compared to.

We are the flock of God. And then Jesus said to Peter, feed my sheep. So he wants the pastors to feed his lambs, to tend his sheep, to feed his sheep. This is the role of the pastor.

It is also the role of the flock to subject themselves to this voluntarily by consent, an act of the will based upon the revelation of Jesus Christ. The objective of Satan, however, is to destroy. And when he cannot destroy, he tries to obstruct with the intention of destroying.

Whatever sheep or shepherd he can get his talons into, that is what he is looking to do. Listen to what we read in Matthew chapter 13 verse 19. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. Well, Paul was worried for the Thessalonians. There is the word of God that was sown in their hearts like seed, and some of the seed fell by the wayside where all the traffic and all the activity was where the seed could not get into the heart because there was too much traffic for the ground to be ready to receive. Some of you may be like that, or you know someone like this.

All of us have been there at one point in our life where there is too much activity for anything of God to get into us. And he always presents this as something that is to be avoided. Some Christians, they just like shallowness. They never pull the ship out into the deep waters, and therefore they end up shipwrecked on the shoals, on the rocks.

Navigation is wrong. Luke's gospel, we read, Luke in the writing of his gospel said, to write to you, O Theophilus, that's who he's writing to, an orderly account. A lot of Christians believe order does not belong in the church, that somehow disorder is something from the Holy Spirit.

It is never, ever from the Holy Spirit. He is the cure to disorder, not the cause of it. Anyway, he writes to an orderly account that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. Well, that's what Paul wanted for the church in Thessalonica and all the other churches.

In fact, once he gets word from Timothy how the Thessalonians are doing, it is going to stoke him in Corinth. We'll get to that in a little while. And so, if we don't hear it from a man of the word, we will hear it from the man of the world. Those are the terms. That's how it is. It's either you're for the Lord or you're against the Lord.

It's either going to be set in Christ or set in the world. That is, there's nothing else. And this, you know, looking for Mars, look at that rock, it must be a lizard and other such things that they do. You know, they want an excuse. They're looking, they're hoping science is going to give them the evidence to prove that they do not have to come under the authority of God and His word.

It ain't going to happen. At best, they will get strong delusion because they did not receive and have the love of the truth. That is at best. God knows how to turn them over to it. You want to believe that rock is a lizard and therefore there's life there.

What did the lizard eat? Is he just there? I mean, it's just so, they go on and on with these things, but we all know this. We are aware of it. They mock us and we mock them. The only difference is we're right. And aren't we glad?

We have the evidence. They think we don't because they've closed their mind to it while insisting that they're open minded. Now you say, why are you picking on the world? Why not?

I used to be in it, dumb as a stump. And thought I knew it all or enough to get by. Someone says, well, I've gotten this far without Jesus Christ. Well, you can go all the way in this life without Jesus Christ.

That's as far as you can go because at death, whatever it is that got you all the way here will get you nowhere there. Well, the Greek word that Paul uses here in verse 2 to establish them, to encourage them, the word encourage there is sterizo in the Greek, not that you need to even remember that. But it means to support, to establish, to the very thing that he is trying to say. But I want to illustrate it from the Old Testament. The Old Testament was essentially or primarily written in the Hebrew language. But when the Jews were pushed out of Israel and they began to find themselves in other communities, they picked up the Greek language. And so they put together a Bible for Jews who did not speak Hebrew but read Greek and spoke Greek also. That's called the Septuagint. And so in this translation, the rabbis and the scholars used the same Greek word in this section of Exodus chapter 17.

And hopefully you'll catch the connection and come away with it, understanding a little bit more about what it means to encourage another person. Exodus 17 verse 12, Moses' hands became heavy so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. And Aaron and her, a man named her, very unfortunate passage in the English language, supported his hands. One on one side, one on the other side and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. We have a picture of this in the lobby. It was a photographer there that day.

Of course it's a painting but not in the lobby, in the hallway, in the prayer conference room. But, and I want to say something about a man named her. A lot of you young men, you don't look like men, you don't look like women. You don't know what you look like. I don't know if you're here but I know you're in the malls and you're in the Targets and the moral march and line wherever I, it's like boy he doesn't even look. Grow some hair on your face.

Wear some clothes that show your biceps. I mean it's just walking huh, huh, huh. And the girls love it. Look, if you let women pick your clothes you'll be wearing a tutu, a pink one and fluffing around, fluffing around. You got to know who you are men.

Don't ask society who am I. Well okay, and they're doing it all over. So you know one of the brothers sent me a text that did I see that the Marine Corps was thinking about having a unisex hat which would not have been the Marine Corps anymore. But anyway, I couldn't even answer the email. I just threw my phone in the water. I just, so disgusted with the idea of it all.

Well look, this isn't about being macho. This is about Satan trying to get rid of the bucks. He did it in Eden. He neutralized Adam's authority. Adam was given, he was given dominion over everything and one swoop of his wife.

Taste this Adam, it's good baby. And he whoops it down and here we are. So this man named her was a he. And let's just make sure we understand that.

Come up to me saying, her was a her. He was not. Anyway, back to this point in the Greek. When it says Moses hands became heavy so they took a stone and put it under him. There is the same Greek word, seirizo, that is in the this text here in Thessalonians 3 2. The same Greek word to encourage.

So it means more than just saying now you'll be alright, have a good day. It means to support them so they can make it through whatever it is they're facing and whatever contribution to it. Moses, for him, it was the battle against Amalek. If they lost this fight, the chances of them surviving in the wilderness would have been gone.

This was a turning point in their trek across the desert. They had not faced such an enemy as this before. Up to this point, God had been bumping off their enemies but now they had to engage in hand to hand, sword to sword combat. And here Moses was growing weary in prayer because prayer is weary to the flesh. Our carnal nature does not respond well to praying. It has all sorts of restless responses to prayer and faithlessness and doubt and a Christian must train themselves to pray. But what allows us to progress with our prayer life is communion, not the breaking of bread and the cup. That's the symbolism of the communion. The real McCoy is in a relationship with Christ and too often Christians go into Christian service with zeal, not from God. They have no deeper relationship with Christ. If there's a weakness that they have, they're going to look for a way to make it biblical instead of saying, you know, this is a problem and I've got to deal with this. I may have to deal with this forever but I'm going to face this and I'm not going to try to spin it and make it sound like it's something that's acceptable to the Lord. And so if you have a problem with your prayer life, well, that's understandable. It's just not acceptable. Well, it shouldn't be. Not to others, to you. I mean, no one else is going to come along and say, hey, let me see your prayer card and how many times you checked the box that day.

That is absurd. But individually we take stock of ourselves. So learning to talk to the Lord is something that is born out of learning to love the Lord back. And, you know, there are a lot of Christians, I think, they say they love the Lord but really what they're saying, they love to be loved and that's it. Who doesn't love to be loved? We all do. Puppies like it.

Everyone. It's a good thing. But if that's all there is, then it is a very stunted love. It is not developing and it should be developing. The Christian faith is loaded with superlatives and ideals and high standards that we can't get but we're commanded to go at them like we can get each and every one of them.

So when our kids go up to teen camp, they get flooded with the word of God with times of devotion and prayer and song and some fun time in between. But we know that this does not guarantee anything in and of itself. They're still going to have to fight for it. They're still going to have to walk away and say, you know, I've got to do this now. I've taken this course on flying, now I have to fly.

And anything short of that, they're just going to become a disappointment. The world is very alluring. You know the Amish, they have that rum and springer. Okay, you want to make your decision. You're going to stay in, you're in or you're out. You get two years to figure it out. We don't really have such a thing. We do things a little differently.

But we do share the recognition that if you're raised in the house of God, Satan is going to come along with a bucket of something to tempt you, to lure you over, and it will always have these three letters on the outside of his little bucket. Fun. Moses said it's fun for a while.

It's pleasurable for a season. You know, the mouse, I wonder if he ever gets a bite of the cheese. Either way, he won't digest it.

When that trap hits him, that's the end of it. Well, verse three, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions, for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. Now there's an encouragement. You guys are getting persecuted up there, I'm worried about you.

But this is how it is. So when your pastor says, trust God, what's he supposed to say? Trust Smith and Wesson. Well, it's tempting to say that, but in most cases it's illegal.

So you got a bully in school? Oh, you can't even bring those two up together. They wish they could come and cuff me for that, but they have no jurisdiction here.

Anyway, I'm not trying to be cocky or anything. I'm just disgusted with the stupidity that's on the throne in the hearts of so many people who have more power than they should ever have. And you know, not enough brains to bait a fish hook, but that doesn't stop them from running for office and getting elected. I mean, it's bad. You have to watch it as a Christian. We used to, you know, go somewhere and you look at someone and, well, is he saved or not saved?

Now it's like, who'd you vote for? And you can't allow that stuff in. So anyway, that no one should soon be shaken by these afflictions. Now the Greek word here for shaken is to wag the tail. If a Greek were writing about my dog, it's kind of cowardly and he wags his tail and fawns over me whenever I show up because I've broken his spear.

That's the Greek word he would use. And so Paul is saying to them, no one should be wagging their tail in these afflictions. We're not going up to people, oh, I'm sorry I'm a Christian. You tell me how I should live. I'm sorry you don't agree with my views on homosexuality in Islam. You tell me how I should think. And that would be certainly spineless and faithless and it would, it would break the heart of God for people who claim his salvation to live in this way and, and Paul was on top of this. And so he said, look, it's not going to be easy being a Christian, but it's going to be harder living in hell. Wouldn't you like to just sometimes take wings and fly away from all this political stuff and all things are going on in the world? But you can't.

Why? Because Jesus commands us to go into the world. I mean, when, when we say, oh, look at that fireman run into the fire, aren't we happy for them?

Well, same thing with us. We're running into the fire for the same reasons, though ours is spiritual more than physical, to save souls. And I don't think there's anything attractive about a church sneaking around apologizing for what it claims it should believe, but to be strong in the Lord. Again, this is not bravado.

There's no alternative to this. When Paul came to this church, they, they knew that his back was bruised from upholding Christ. So they knew what they were getting into when they converted.

And this is why we admire the testimonies of the martyrs because we ask ourselves, will we be this way too? The temptation to abandon Christianity and purchase exemption by renouncing our faith is from Satan and not the Lord. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of 1 Thessalonians. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry, visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Once you're there, you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app as well. That's all we have time for today, but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the book of 1 Thessalonians right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-16 07:07:37 / 2023-09-16 07:16:57 / 9

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