Journal – June 20, 2021
14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
PAUL ASKS FOR PRAYER
2 THESSALONIANS 3:1-5
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.5 Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
Vs. 1 ,2Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. Paul desires these Thessalonians pray that whatever remains to be said or written will be under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, for truths sake and God’s glory. Finally, brethren, pray for us. Ever since he had to make that hasty departure from Thessalonica the apostle had been praying for them. Now he asks for prayer for himself, Silvanus, and Timothy, he desires that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified. Paul is wanting them to pray for himself and his colleagues in connection with their necessary labors, coupled with the end these labors will have. There are two aspects in connection with the purpose of the prayer, (1) that the word of the Lord (or gospel) may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you. Luke had told us about the three weeks Paul had with the Thessalonians before he had to depart abruptly, he wants the Lord to continue making the word run swiftly and be glorified just as it has been with them, in other words Paul wants immediate result of his and the two associates preaching to be received and believed; in other words, all barriers of every kind removed; its rapid spread is not enough. (2) Paul wants the prayer glorified, have a cordial reception everywhere among Jews and Gentiles when the Savior whom it reveals is savingly embraced; when its divine power is felt unto salvation and all its ennobling influences are seen to mold the character into spiritual symmetry. It is the duty of Christians to pray for their own pastors, and for all good and faithful preachers. Pastors need and look for and appreciate the prayers of their flock. How remarkable is the humility, and how engaging the example, of this great apostle, who was so mighty in prayer himself, and yet despised not the prayers of the meanest Christian but desired an interest in them. The great thing that Paul was concerned about was that God’s name might be sanctified, His Kingdom advanced, and His will be done, then he was about his own daily bread. He desired that the word of the Lord run (so it is in the original), that it might get ground, that the interest religion in the world might go forward and not backward. All the forces of hell were then and still are, more or less raised and mustered to oppose the word of the Lord, to hinder its publication and success. We should pray that oppositions be removed, that the gospel should have free course to the ears, the hearts, and the consciences of men, that it may be glorified in the conviction and conversion of sinners, the silencing of gainsayers and the holy conversation of the saints. God who magnified the law, and made it honorable, will glorify the gospel, and make it honorable, and so will glorify His own name, and good ministers and good Christians may be contented to be little, to be anything if Christ is magnified and the gospel glorified. (vs.2) As we have seen in the first verse, the apostle is serious, he wants all of them to be kept and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men, the world and too many of the churches then and now have in their membership individuals that have not faith. I like what Doddridge says of them, “individuals whom No topics can work on” A man with a reprobate mind has no capacity for the truth, the Jews and some Gentiles were of that class of men that Paul had to deal with and from which he desired prayer to be kept from. He had good reason for while at Corinth Paul was brought by the Jews to the judgment seat when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia. It appears Gallio was an honorable man for he ran the Jews off saying he would not judge matters of their law.
Vs. 3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish and guard you from the evil one, But the Kurios (Lord) is faithful, the Lord is faithful, who will establish and guard you from the evil one. Now Paul probably had several encounters with evil, but there is one the Spirit provided us in the book of Acts, I will refer to the 18th chapter we find Paul at Corinth reasoning with the Jews and the Greeks in the synagogue every Sabbath testifying that Christ was the long- awaited Messiah. When Silas and Timothy arrived and assisted Paul, the Jews blasphemed, the apostle shook his garments and said your blood be upon your own heads; from now on I will go to the Gentiles. Many of the Corinthians hearing the message were saved and baptized. I believe the Jews were more afraid of Paul because now he had his two contemporaries with him, they tried to get some sort of a trial against him and failed. In Acts 18:9 the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision. Do not be afraid, but speak, and do no keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city. And he continued there a year and 6 months, teaching the word of God among them, I imagine Paul was doing the thing he loved, preaching Christ, and the Lord kept him safe, not only these 18 months, but in several other locations. Paul told the Thessalonians they would be kept from the evil one even though Peter was letting it be known that the Devil went around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but the Devil is Christ’s Devil and can go no further than Christ allows.
Vs. 4, 5 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. 5 Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ. Not only is our reliance on the Lord who is faithful, but we also have confidence towards you in the Lord. we have confidence in the Lord concerning you. The apostle having set forth his confidence that the Thessalonians will obey both the Lord and Paul and his companions. No trust could be satisfactory to Paul, unless it were based upon obedience to the Lord, His grace being required to bring about these desired results. Paul had prayed that they would be established in every good work and word; they are established and kept safe from the evil one by the faithful Lord. Whether it be neuter or masculine, Paul’s promise is God will establish you for the conflict and protect you in it. (vs. 5) Now may the Lord direct your hearts, this little prayer is somewhat in contrast to the previous assertion—we have confidence toward you that you are doing, but over and above—may He direct your hearts. We need both good purpose and cooperation from above. The heart is the reservoir of the entire life power, is the center of the spiritual nature also, its impulses, energies, resolves, and thoughts. The heart is capricious and wayward and needs to have its way pointed out to it and be kept in that way by Him who alone knows it. The direction of the heart is His work, who is Savior and Lord, who by His grace and His Spirit guides and blesses His people. Self-led hearts are usually misled hearts. He prays that their hearts be directed into the love of God and into the patience of Christ. The phrase the patience of Christ could be translated out of the Greek agapn orcould have been translated the love of Christ. Patience under suffering characterized Christ—perfect submission to the divine will—and such steadfastness and unmurmuring should mark all who are Christ’s. The Thessalonian believers were subjected to persecution, and they needed this patient endurance and therefore the apostle implores Christ to lead them in this grace, which distinguished Himself with prominent fulness—no suffering like His in depth and severity, and no patience like His in its serene and self-supporting power. The apostle in the first epistle had given several warnings and premonitions about social disorders creeping into the church from the day of the Lord was on them (1 Thess. iv:11-12). But the restlessness and irregularities had been growing, and the wrong impressions had been deepened by forger revelations, utterances, and letters. Idleness and habits of gossip and aimless gadding about had been perilously increasing. The jeopardy was imminent, the credit of Christianity was at stake, and the apostle is the more earnest and severe in his dissuasion and rebukes. The church itself in its center was sound, but there were attached to it those busybodies whom the apostle marks as he exhorts the better portion to withdraw from fellowship with them.
WALKING WITH GOD
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:24.
The antediluvian world was a place of awful sinfulness. The wickedness of man became so great that God destroyed that world with the flood. Only Noah and his immediate family were spared. But during the midst of that awful, wicked time we read that Enoch walked with God. Although Enoch was only one man, and was an exceedingly godly man, we may draw some comforting observations; first, it was possible to walk with God in a very wicked and sinful world. Second, we may have to walk alone without any or very little fellowship with others. Third, God preserved him from the judgment of the age. Fourth, walking with God implies a sacred, an intimate communion with God. Thus, Enoch must have been a man of prayer, one who knew God, His Word, and the consciousness of His presence. May we also in this wicked age, walk with God as did Enoch of old.
Catechism Question 68
Q: Which is the fifth commandment?
A: The fifth commandment is, “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”.
12 Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.