1 Thessalonians 3:1-10 – FAITH FACTOR
There is a show currently on television called “Fear Factor”. I only watched part of it once. Evidently the idea of the show is to measure how much bravery a person has and at one point fear takes over. In our text, Paul is not measuring bravery, but he is measuring the faith of the Thessalonians.
The Apostle Paul once spent about 3 weeks establishing a church in a city called Thessalonica. After three weeks he was run out of town by persecution. Acts 17:1-10
Because he loved the new Thessalonian Christians, and knowing of the persecution that they would receive about their faith, Paul dispatched young Pastor Timothy to Thessalonica to check on the new church. We have the story of Timothy’s visit in
1 Thessalonians 3. And in talking about Timothy’s visit, we find that Paul’s greatest concern was over the faith of the Thessalonians. The word faith is mentioned five times, and we learn that:
FAITH IS TO BE ENCOURAGED – Vss. 1-4
Timothy was dispatched to encourage the believers in their newfound faith.
FAITH IS TO BE EVALUATED – Vs. 5
Paul realized that because of the tough times that the Thessalonians were facing, it would be easier for Satan to come in and rob them of their faith.
So, Paul wanted to make sure that the faith of the Thessalonians was still strong.
God has appointed church leaders, particularly pastors and elders, with the duty of watching you faith. They aren’t to judge your ministry, only the Lord can do that, but they should check to make sure your faith is strong, and then help strengthen that faith. Proverbs 27:23, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:2-3
FAITH IS TO BE EXPRESSED – Vs. 6
Timothy brought good news back to Paul. In spite of the persecution and hardship being dished out by Satan, the Thessalonians were strong in their faith. And not only were they strong in faith but in love as well. And they also had a fond appreciation for their mentor, the Apostle Paul. Faith should show.
We should certainly express our faith verbally. Romans 12:9-10, Psalm 107:2
But our faith must go deeper than talk. People need to see that what we are saying is real in our lives.
People need to see us leaning on God alone, when we face the trials and troubles of life.
People need to see us trusting God for the strength to obey Him.
Think about this. We will only be obedient to God if we believe Him!
We will only be obedient to God when we have faith that He will give us the strength to do as He says.
FAITH IS TO BE ENCOURAGING – Vs. 7
Have you ever tried to comfort somebody and ended up being comforted yourself? Some people have so much faith during their tough times, that they encourage others.
The Apostle Paul was having his own problems with affliction and persecution. And when He heard about the faith of the Thessalonians, he was encouraged.
There are certainly examples in Scripture of people who encouraged others. When David was running from King Saul, Saul’s son, Jonathan went out of his way to encourage David.
1 Samuel 23:16 – And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.
When the Apostle Paul was a prisoner headed for Rome he was on a ship in the middle of a terrible storm. He encouraged those with him that God had promised that all lives would be saved.
He encouraged them with these words found in Acts 27:25
Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
FAITH IS TO BE ENLARGED – Vs. 10
Paul prayed that he might have another opportunity to visit the Thessalonians and help to increase their faith. Faith is something that should grow in our lives as we mature in the things of Christ.