Looking Ahead to the Glory of God
1 Thess. 2:17-20
Looking Ahead to the Glory of God
One of the things that helps people keep going is looking ahead to the finish line, or the end of the project, or the end of the day or in this case the end when Christ comes.
Paul refers to this in v.19.
He knows that one day he will stand before the Lord. so in spite of the difficulties he faces he presses on. He encourages these believers to do the same thing.
remember acts 17 Paul was forced to flee from Thessalonica.
I. Don’t sweat the small stuff
So though he was no longer with them in presence, he was with them in heart and desired to see them again.
The fact that he was not with them is no big deal. He may not be there with them, but he is in heart. So you can bet he is praying for them.
To words describe his desire - abounding/hastening and desire/lust/epithumia
or two verbs - eager, 17; and wish, 18
Paul felt he left them orphans, but was still with them in heart.
abound-more earnestly, more frequently, exceedingly
eager-hasten or exert oneself, to be very eager to do something or get somewhere. Intent on getting somewhere, this is seen in Pauls instructions to Timothy, 2 Tim. 4:9, 21;Peters directions in 2 Pet. 1:15
He had an intense desire to come to them and continue to help them spiritually progress.
II. Don’t let Satan get you down v.18
wish-resolve, determine or purpose, desire, intend
hindered- to cut off, impede by cutting a ditch in front of you, military term for breaking up the road in front of you to slow the enemies progress.
Paul was making inroads, advancing the kingdom of God among them, but Satan attempted to stop or hinder that progress. So he got him run out of town, initiated jews to strike out against any Christians, inciting also the Gentiles.
THus, Paul tried repeatedly to come to them but Satan kept stopping him from coming.
Paul means that he was doing everything he could to return to them, but it just was not working out.
WHat are you eagerly trying to do but it seems that you are hindered at every step? Get out of debt? break or change some sinful habit that seems that just as you get two steps forward you take three backwards? Don't forget that Satan doesn't want you to get ahead, so will try to work things and people against you. But don't you stop! God is greater in you. He will accomplish HIs purposes.
III. Look at what lies ahead, v.19-20
why does he wish to come to see them?
Paul viewed the believers as his hope, joy and crown of boasting.
that is, he had high hopes for them spiritually. WHat father doesn't have high hopes of his children doing well in the world?
they brought joy to him as he saw and heard how they were fairing under the persecution. They were sticking with the faith. Again, what godly father doesn't rejoice when he hears that his children are walking with the Lord. Paul found great joy in the news he heard about them from Timothy.
They were also his crown of boasting. A crown draws attention to the one wearing it. A crown is honorable and beautiful. This is the crown of honor. It was the wreath given at the games to the victor. Paul views them as his crown. He ministered among them and the way they turned out is crown of honor.
They are his crown he will lay at Jesus feet.
What kind of influence are you being in your trial? 2cor 1 shows us trials can be for others sake.
you are our glory and joy.
Again, the concept of glory congers in the mind the glory of God, the glory we receive in heaven. He is saying that the believers in Thessalonica are his badge of honor. They have turned out to be christians who are growing stronger and stronger. He rejoices in this.
Paul wanted to continue what he had started among the new believers there. He was eager to impart to them some more biblical knowledge of growing in CHrist and putting to death the deeds of the body, to help them walk worthy of the Lord
He was eager to present them to the Lord at his coming.
Paul wants these believers to be encouraged in their faith, to keep going in face of difficulties because of the future. who is your glory and joy and crown? How are you handling what life is throwing at you or rather, what God is allowing in your life?
Take the long view and Look ahead to the glory of God.