What a blessing to be part of a congregation seeking and desiring to be close to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. We are in week two of our three week fast. God is so good and has really met us in prayer and in our fast with a deeper heart for our community and for the knowledge of God. Thank You Jesus!
We had a prayer event this Tuesday focusing in on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. During this time we interacted with various prayer stations around the sanctuary and meditated on the scripture. We followed this by sharing what God was putting on our hearts. We then went into worship and intercession for our city. Many heartfelt prayers were said and there seemed to be a focus for "prodigals" to return home to a place of faith.
We also met this Saturday and Pastor Dan shared a message on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. (Message below)
This has been an exciting time for our church as we grow closer to the Lord. If you are struggling or are feeling discouraged please reach out to us via email or call some of your church family. God put us in communion with one another for a reason. God bless you all!
Prayer to Stand Firm (2 Thess 2:16-17)
(Pastor Dan's Sermon)
Pastor Dan started with a recap from last week. The prayers of the apostles are usually:
Pastor Dan also shared the three petition themes he found in the apostolic prayers:
Moving into 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. This prayer was written by people who were actually with Jesus and knew His character. Jesus taught them how to pray and the line, "Jesus Himself," is a testimony to the continuing interaction with the resurrected Jesus, and God our Father, that is still available not only to the apostles but to the saints who call on Him today. This prayer is especially useful when someone is needing to be spurred on.
The Context for this prayer in scripture is following a passage on the end times and Jesus return. Paul was warning the church not to be deceived in any way. Paul is asking them to stand firm in what they were taught about Christ. The “now” in verse 16 is the post positive “δὲ” which indicates a transition or a contrast between the following verses. This contrast is to indicate that the disciples cannot “stand firm” by themselves alone” But be encouraged because the Lord will “Establish you.” "The antichrist is coming and persecution may increase and many may fall away but be encouraged in the truth and stand firm," is a summary of the verses preceding and including these two verses.
This verse is God-Centered:
"The Lord Jesus Christ Himself," allows us to focus in on the true giver of peace, truth and comfort. There is no intermediary here. We can interact directly with Christ and the Father. What a blessing!
The word, "Himself," does not only refer to Christ in this section but to Christ and the Father. The two participles following refer equally to Christ and the Father as an attribute of themselves. When it says, "who loved us and gave us," it is referring to God's character. He is the Loving one and the giving one. He loves and gives because that is who He is. Out of His love flows a generous sharing of His own nature and character.
What has/will God given/give us?
Eternal Comfort. Eternal means it lasts forever. There is no end to this comfort. It is not just a band-aid it is true comfort that is satisfying. We can look at the troubles of today and seek God alone for true lasting comfort that helps us to look past this mire of the present.
He also gives us a good hope that abounds far above our expectations(Romans 15:13.) This is a well-founded hope and not wishful thinking. We can look forward with confidence to the One who is good and is faithful to save us.
This prayer is a positively asking prayer:
"May He...comfort your hearts," Paul is asking the Lord to encourage their hearts in light of him being the everlasting comforter. Paul knows that Christ is more than able to provide comfort in every circumstance and doesn't pray against the circumstance but for encouragement for the believers to be able to persevere through the circumstances.
"May he...establish your hearts in every good work and word." Not that God would just establish them in some good works but in every good work. That He would root them down in righteous deeds and words. That they wouldn't be pulled up from righteous living just because times get rough. Paul is mindful that circumstances are for a time and those who are rooted in Christ and who follow Him are the ones who get the reward eternally. We remain faithful to God through God's own strength and comfort. He establishes us in every good work and word. He is able.
Establish is something that isn't easily torn up. It's permanent actually. When God establishes us, He does it with everlasting power. We may grow tired but we must then wait on the Lord to renew our strength to continue in these words and deeds.
Paul prays that the encouragement provided in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ may be appropriated inwardly—literally, “encourage your hearts”—as a motivation for giving them strength for “every good deed and word.” Disquiet regarding the coming of the Lord (v. 2) was the need to be met. As God undertakes their cause, they can “stand firm and hold to the teachings..." of the Lord and the true Apostles of Christ.”
Final Words and Prayer Requests
Well Church, again, we are so thankful that you take the time to read through these important updates to stay abreast of the events/sermons at our church. Please continue your prayers for the Wheelons, Gesslers, and Faheys as they welcome their babies in the coming months. Also continue to pray for our church to reach out to Parkland with God's Love and Truth. Thank you again and God bless you as you continue to seek Him with all of your heart.
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