TEXT: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 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;
4 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:
5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
11 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:
12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
— PRAYER —
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 358 messages in this series.
This is message #359 titled, 3 Prayers for a Persecuted Church, Part 3.
Gene Edward Veith said, “One of the greatest paradoxes in Christian history is that the church is most pure in times of hostility. When things are easy and good, that is when the church most often goes astray. When Christianity seems identical with the culture and even when the church seems to be enjoying its greatest earthly success, then it is weakest. Conversely, when the church encounters hardship, persecution, and suffering, then it is closest to its crucified Lord, then there are fewer hypocrites and nominal believers among its members, and then the faith of Christians burns most intensely.”
By way of introduction to Second Thessalonians, allow me to share the following from The Bible Knowledge Commentary: “The epistle gives evidence that Paul had recently heard news about conditions in the church. Probably this information came to him from the messenger who delivered 1 Thessalonians and returned to Corinth. Perhaps other people who had news of the church informed the three missionaries (Paul, Silas, and Timothy) also. Some of the news was good: the Thessalonians were continuing to grow and to remain faithful to Christ in spite of persecution. But some was bad: false teaching concerning the day of the Lord had entered the church and was causing confusion and leading some of the Christians to quit their jobs in expectation of the Lord’s return. In view of these reports Paul felt constrained to write this epistle. He commended his children in the faith for their growth, corrected their doctrinal error about the day of the Lord, and warned of its consequences.”
As we saw in our last message, the church at Thessalonica was enduring severe persecution. At the same time, they were being threatened by false teachings about the second coming of Christ. In the midst of this, Paul praises them for their love, their perseverance, and their faith, and he encourages them with the knowledge that, one day, the Lord Himself will avenge them of their persecutors. Paul also describes three ways in which he and his companions are praying for the Thessalonian believers.
He starts out by saying, “Wherefore also we pray always for you…” The Greek word translated as “always” means “at all times.” Another translation uses the word “constantly.” This was not an occasional shoutout, but daily, perhaps multiple times a day, intercession for this persecuted church. All of us ought to have a heart for those who are being persecuted. We ought to pray that they would grow in love and faith and be encouraged in the midst of their trials.
Then, Paul continues with the first of three specific requests on behalf of these saints. He prays “that our God would count you worthy of this calling.” Dr. Thomas Constable writes that this request is for God to “reckon or declare the readers worthy of the calling they had received, to come to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul consistently made what God has done for believers the basis of his appeals for them to lead lives in keeping with their destiny. Christians do not live worthily in order to obtain salvation but because they have been granted salvation.”
God’s calling of believers is without repentance. However, each of us face a journey to live up to that calling. Discipleship and Bible study are a part of that journey. Church attendance is a part of that journey. Correction and admonishment are a part of that journey. Trials, tribulation, and, yes, even persecution are a part of that journey. God uses all of these events in our lives to move us closer to Christlikeness, to reckon us worthy of His calling.
Regular prayer to God can get us through the tough times that constitute the journey to being made worthy of our calling. While persecution may not be part of the journey for all of us, it is part of the journey for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. And, like Paul, we ought to pray that they would remain steadfast in their faith and trust God to make them more like Christ through the refining fires of persecution.
Harriet Auber wrote:
Arrayed against our church and faith,
The powers of darkness rage,
And the tyrants of the earth
Unholy warfare wage.
They say, O God, Thou wilt not hear,
Thou, Lord, will not regard;
But each dark crime is known to Thee,
And meets its just reward.
The Father of the fatherless,
The helper of the weak,
Thy hand shall every wrong redress,
Thy voice shall comfort speak.
And soon shall dawn that blessed day,
When sin and woe shall cease,
And earth, beneath Messiah’s sway,
Enjoy perpetual peace.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “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 whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.