2 Thessalonians 3:1-5; 2 John 4-11
We do not yet know the words we will utter prayerfully to our heavenly Father in the coming year. There will certainly be the petitions we lift up on behalf of the sorrowing and sad, and we will make supplications to our Father as we go through the things we experience in 2019.
Let us not overlook, though, prayers for the advancement of the gospel as we await the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus. In the third chapter of 2 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul requested the saints to “pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may speed on and be glorified and triumph.” Pray for your pastor, Sunday school teacher and everyone who speaks of Christ and His cross. Pray they will let their light so shine before people everywhere that God may be glorified.
Ask the Lord to let the gospel run, not merely creep along, without opposition because “not everybody has faith and is held by it.” Plead with Him to change the minds, if not the hearts, of people who are in positions to hinder the advance of the kingdom, and permit the good news flow freely to lost souls.
Paul assured the Thessalonians the Lord would never fail them and He would strengthen, or establish, them on a firm foundation. Without God, there is no order, no purpose and no basis on which to live. With Him, believers have direction and security from evil, the things that would cause us to slip and fall spiritually.
“We have confidence in the Lord concerning you,” Paul wrote. Notice he did not say he had confidence in the Thessalonians. His confidence was in the Lord. They had been obedient to the Lord’s commands, because they yielded to the Lord who set them on a firm foundation. We must inspect our spiritual foundation, and perhaps, as Joshua said “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15). Today could be a day of decision that will set the course for your life.
Paul prayed the Thessalonians would be so in love with God they would constantly experience the reality of His love for them. We often talk about God’s love for us, but do we tell God we love Him? The apostle also desired there would be the “steadfastness and patience of Christ and in waiting for His return.” Sincere faith in Christ Jesus is and always will be joined with our love for God. Waiting for Christ’s return is a daily expression of our faith.
The apostle John, in writing to the “elect lady,” expressed his delight that some of her children walked in the Truth as they obediently followed the Lord. The point of this is the believers’ walk with the Lord was obvious to John. A changed life cannot be overlooked.
He urged the lady to remember the command to love one another. “This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you,” Jesus said. There are many, John said, who will lead people astray from this command, and will not speak of the Savior’s return. Some of the deceivers will “run ahead,” or wander away from God for their own wicked reasons because they are not content with the teachings of Christ Jesus.
The gospel is always and only belief in the teachings of the Savior, and it is in this the apostle said we have the Father and the Son.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]