For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. (I Thessalonians 3:5)
After Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison in Philippi, they came to Thessalonica. They were there for only three sabbath days when the unbelieving Jews used some lewd men to set the city on an uproar. Paul and Silas were sent away by night for their safety. They went to Berea and were well received until the Jews came from Thessalonica and stirred up the people against them. Paul went to Athens and then Corinth. It does not mean things will be easy when we are where God wants us.
Because Paul and the others did not get to spent much time in Thessalonica, Paul was concerned about their spiritual condition, therefore, he sent Timothy to find out how they were doing.
Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. (I Thessalonians 3:1-8)
There were two main things Paul was concerned with, faith and love. The word, faith is used twelve times in First and Second Thessalonians. The word, love is used eight times and charity is used twice. Without faith that produces salvation, we do not really know what love is. We have already looked at love, so let’s look at faith.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:1, 6)
I. FAITH PRODUCES WORKS.
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; (I Thessalonians 1:3)
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
(II Thessalonians 1:11)
- “Faith without works is dead.”
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:18-20)
- Faith, not works, saves.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- We are saved to do the work of God.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
II. THEIR FAITH WAS SPREAD ABROAD.
For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. (I Thessalonians 1:8)
- Paul did not need to tell others about their faith because they had been busy in reaching out to others.
- When people get saved, they can’t keep it to themselves.
III. PAUL HAD A DESIRE TO PERFECT THEIR FAITH.
Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? (I Thessalonians 3:10)
Even though they had faith, they still had some needs in developing their faith.
IV. FAITH, LIKE LOVE, SHOULD BE A COVERING FOR OUR HEART.
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. (I Thessalonians 5:8)
- We are in a spiritual battle and without faith and love we will fail to be a good soldier for the Lord .
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (II Timothy 2:3-4)
- The devil is out to destroy God’s children.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (I Peter 5:8)
- We need the whole armor of God.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
V. THEIR FAITH WAS GROWING.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; (II Thessalonians 1:3)
- When we trust God as we should, our faith will grow in the face of persecution.
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (II Thessalonians 1:4)
- As we see God work in our lives, it will cause our faith to grow and enable us to endure even greater battles.
- Victories will lead us on to greater victories.
- The greatest test of our faith is defeat.
- Sad to say, but there are some who are weak in faith.
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. (Romans 14:1)
VI. NOT ALL MEN HAVE FAITH.
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. (II Thessalonians 3:2)
- Those who have no faith are lost.
- Faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is required for salvation.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)