1 Thessalonians 3 – HOW TO HELP A HURTING CHURCH
From time to time we will hear of churches and pastors that are hurting.
Sometimes churches hurt because of persecution.
Sometimes they hurt because of misunderstandings.
Sometimes they hurt because of sin in the pastor, the members, or both.
Sometimes they hurt because of physical problems, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, famine etc.
There are times when other congregations can help those churches that are hurting.
In our text the Apostle Paul is talking to a church that was hurting because of persecution. In these verses Paul shows us some definite ways to help hurting groups of believers.
SEND A GOOD MAN – Vss. 1-3
When Paul could forbear no longer, he made a personal sacrifice to send Timothy to the Thessalonians. Vs. 1
In verse 2 we find reference to Timothy who was an excellent man of God. I believe Hallmark Cards once used the slogan, “When you care to send the best.” Paul cared enough to send one of his best helpers.
The reason Paul sent Timothy was “That no man should be moved by these afflictions;” Vs. 3
He wanted the Thessalonians to remain strong during inevitable persecution. Vs. 4
SEEK AN ACCURATE REPORT – Vss. 5-8
Another reason Paul sent Timothy was to find out the truth of what was going on. He wanted to know from a reliable source, just how his “children” were bearing up under persecution.
Timothy returned with a good report.
In trying to help other churches, we must remember not to draw conclusions from the report of one individual in the church. It is always good to get the “whole story” before deciding who is right and who is wrong.
SPEAK A THANKFUL PRAYER – Vss. 9-10
Paul prayed for the Thessalonians, even though he was not able to go immediately to help them.
His prayers included thanksgiving a desire to personally to them for the purpose of ministry.
We can intercede for other churches even when we can do nothing else.
SHARE AN ENCOURAGING WORD – Vss. 11-13
Paul encouraged the believers in these verses!
We have more ways to encourage today than the Apostle Paul did. We can encourage by way of telephone, letter, tape, and e-mail.