MISSIONARIES AND THEIR DISCIPLE CHURCHES (SUPPORTING CHURCHES) PURSUE A PATH OF STEADFASTNESS (DESPITE THE PERIL OF EVIL) WITH THE CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD THAT COMES FROM MUTUAL PRAYER
I. (:1) SUCCESS — PRAYER FOR CONTINUED MISSIONARY SUCCESS —
BASED ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE WORD OF GOD
(Key = Power of God’s Word as Previously Demonstrated)
“Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you”
Ritchie: When the word of the Lord is “glorified,” it means that its hidden character is revealed as the word of life. righteousness and truth As soon as the word is accepted by faith it begins to adorn the life of the believer That is what the apostle wants prayer for.
II. (:2-3) SAFETY — PRAYER FOR CONTINUED MISSIONARY SAFETY —
IN A CLIMATE OF PERSECUTION
(Key = Faithfulness of the Lord according to His Promises)
A. (:2) Climate of Wicked Opposition
“and that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.”
MacArthur: The apostle was not concerned merely about self preservation or personal comfort and safety (2 Cor. 4:7-12; 11:22-33; Phil. 1:19-30; 3:7-14; Col. 1:24-29); but he did desire that God would protect him as he ministered (cf. 2 Cor. 1:8-10); otherwise people would not hear his message.
B. (:3) Confidence of God’s Faithfulness and Protection
“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
Hendriksen: By a very natural transition Paul, having dwelt for a moment upon the theme of his own conflict at Corinth, returns to the very similar battle which the Thessalonians are waging. Inwardly the young, struggling church is in need of strengthening. Outwardly – for Satan is surely an outsider! – it needs to be guarded. Paul now assures the readers that what he had wished with respect to them … will also come to pass.
III. (:4) SUBMISSION — CONFIDENCE IN THE STEADFASTNESS OF THE DISCIPLE CHURCHES – TO CONTINUE TO OBEY THE LORD’S COMMANDS
(Key = Ongoing Obedience)
“And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.”
Military tone of commanding and expanding obedience
Hiebert: This authoritative tone is softened by the gracious acknowledgment “that ye both do and will do” these things. It gives them full credit for their present performance and notes that they confidently expect this to continue. The writers have no occasion to question the loyal obedience of their converts and have no reason to doubt their ready compliance in the future.
IV. (:5) SECURITY — PRAYER FOR THE STEADFASTNESS OF THE DISCIPLE CHURCHES – ROOTED IN THE LOVE OF GOD
(Key = Spiritual Maturity)
“And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.”
Two models of spirituality to emulate: (subjective genitives)
A. The Love of God for His people
B. The Steadfastness of Christ in the face of Severe Suffering and Opposition
Hiebert: The verb direct conveys the picture of opening up the way by the removal of obstacles so that the desired goal may be reached. Its New Testament usage implies that this is brought about by the divine providential controlling of human action.