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WHAT DOES GOD WANT US TO DO WHEN WE HAVE UNEXPECTED DELAYS IN LIFE? We have learned that the theme of this book is EXPECTANT LIVING – A life awaiting Christ that pleases Him. In 5 chapters Paul gives the five aspects of this kind of living.
1. Ch. 1 – It starts by being BORN RIGHT and thus he teaches there are those elements of true saving faith.
2. Ch. 2 focuses upon being NURTURED or DISCIPLED RIGHT.
3. Now our text this evening bridges the nurturing and leads us to the 3rd chapter’s theme, BEING ANCHORED RIGHT.
Paul wants to teach nurturing by example and to help the saints to be firmly grounded or anchored. The Apostle gives us a slice out of his very personal life and shows us his activities while on standby – what he did while he was WAITING. Have you ever thought of how valuable those unplanned times of unexpected waiting can become?
-It’s when someone doesn’t show up for the appointment times.
-When your car isn’t repaired by when you were told.
– It’s those layovers at airport times.
– Sometimes it’s a hospital and doctor’s waiting room times.
– It’s waiting to get picked up at work or school times.
– Just plain old waiting time that Paul models the best use of.
Now let’s set the scene. In I Th. 2:17, it says Paul was bereft awhile, then in 3:1, he was left at Athens alone. So as we start this section remember, Paul left Thessalonica and was in Athens alone.
Turn to Acts 17 and let’s see the big picture of I Thessalonians and Acts.
• v. 1 Came to Thessalonica.
• v. 10 Sent away amid problems
• v. 16 Paul waiting
• v. 17-34 Paul ministering
• 18:1 goes to Corinth
Now back to I Thessalonians.
The setting is, Paul is WAITING at Athens – He MINISTERS – Done – goes to Corinth.
This passage 2:17-3:10 is his testimony to them of what a spiritual giant does and what we should emulate… seven pursuits of godly men and women in their spare time.
Paul directs his heart and mind toward his ministry to these saints… Things he did while waiting and out of their presence.
What a blessed endeavor to model in our lives… use those spare time thoughts for God!
REMEMBER, WE ARE READING THEIR LETTER!