«For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord» (l Thessalonians 3:8).
BEFORE TODDLERS WALK. they stand up. In the first two chapters, Paul put the church on its feet and now wants to help it walk. The key word here is «affirm.»
Converts should know that the new life is not easy, that trials and persecutions will come but that they can remain faithful and be missionaries. How did Paul help the church assert itself and march forward?
He sent Timothy. Paul did not abandon his sheep in their hour of danger. Timothy was ideal in helping; he shared his faith, the gospel, hope, and mission. He was a loving and patient minister. He was a disciple who had been discipled by Paul.
He wrote them a letter. Timothy’s report to Paul was very encouraging. The new believers stood firm. They didn’t believe the enemy’s lies.
The Word of God is one of the best instruments for affirming new believers. Jesus confronted the enemy with the certainty of the «It Is Written» of the sword of the Spirit. The Bible, which is inspired by God, affirms us, teaches us, impugns us, corrects us, and instructs us.
Paul indoctrinates the Thessalonians about God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin, salvation, the church, the ministry, and the Second Coming. For the apostle, the Word of God is daily food, a guiding light, and a weapon of defense.
He prayed for them.Word of God and prayer go together. Paul, like Jesus, prayed for his disciples and asked for three things.
The first was for their faith to grow. The more we use our faith, the stronger it gets. The second was for their love to abound. Some build walls and close themselves in, while others build bridges and draw closer to the Lord and His people. Loving one another is Jesus’s command.
The third was forholiness to be developed in order to be blameless before God. Prayer was neither incidental nor accidental, it was permanent, night and day and with great insistence. «From start to finish the Lord’s lessons and examples teach us that the prayer that does not persevere, does not insist on the request, and is not permanently renewed by taking strength from each previous request, is not a prayer that prevails» (William Arthur).
What can we do to win over someone else and help keep them in the faith? We can encourage them and stand by their side, share the Word with them, and pray for them. Paul did that and it went well for him.