2 Thessalonians 3:1-4

In 2 Thessalonians 3:1-4 Paul asks the church to pray for them. He consistently does this because he knows that the success of his ministry in some ways was dependent on the prayer of God’s people. “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.” Spurgeon wrote “You cannot tell how much God’s servants are helped by the prayers of his people. The strongest man in Israel will be the better for the prayers of the weakest saint in Zion.”

Paul’s prayer request makes us wonder how often the work of God’s Word is hindered by our prayerlessness. Paul’s great concern – what he first asked the Thessalonian Christians to pray for – was that God’s Word be honored and do its work among others, even as it had among the Thessalonian church. He prayed that it would go quickly and help deliver people and his ministry from wickedness. Like many of God’s promises, we are expected to take this promise of deliverance in faith, and through prayer, to ask God to perform the promise for His glory. Paul wanted God to either deliver him from such men, or change them into reasonable and godly men.

Paul reminds us of a basic truth – the Lord is faithful. When? Always. Even if not everyone has faith, the Lord is faithful. This was the basis of Paul’s confidence in God’s ability to establish and guard us from the evil one. “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” God promised to keep Satan on a leash. He will not allow any temptation to become too great for us (1 Corinthians 10:13), and will not allow Satan to do whatever he wants with us. God is faithful and will not allow the enemy to control us or push us beyond what He Himself has ordained and equipped us to deal with.

Paul was also confident in the Lord regarding the Thessalonians themselves, that they would follow through and be obedient to God’s Word. This shows that God’s work of establishing and guarding us is done, in part, through His appeal to our will in obeying His Word. “And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command.” Paul believes the best for the church – that it would live in obedience to God’s commandments. God doesn’t just pour spiritual maturity and stability into us. He works it in us through our cooperation with His will. He builds it into us as we stand firm in our confidence in the Lord and follow the direction of His Word and will.

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