Peter Barnes: 1 Thessalonians 3:6-8
SERMON NOTES: WE LIVE IF YOU STAND FAST (1 Thessalonians 3:6-8)
– Paul is almost beside himself at Timothy’s good news, which indicates how deeply emotional is his faith and love.
- What matters is faith and love.
– 3:6; same as Acts 18:5? Illustrates Prov.25:25.
– Calvin called faith and love ‘the entire sum of true piety’, and added that if we aim at this we are safe in the Christian life. Their faith is lacking some things (3:10) as is their love (3:12). But they are real.
– Paul, and uses an expression that is almost always used in the New Testament to refer to the gospel (another example is Luke 1:19).
– Galatians 5:6 and 1 Thess.3:6b. Jeffrey Weima says that this particularly refers to their love for Paul, but that seems too narrow.
- We are to show deep Christian empathy.
– 3:7. When Paul received this news, he was in distress and affliction, from what had happened at Berea – Acts 17:13-14; Athens – Acts 17:18, 32; and Corinth – hence Acts 18:9-10; plus his concern.
– 2 Cor.7:3-7.
- We are to live in the faith of others.
– 3:8; hyperbole (exaggeration). You are faithful, so now we live!
– Evangelicals now preach in terms of identity, and it is not wrong. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: ‘I did not live for preaching.’ In fact, ‘Our greatest danger is to live upon our activity. The ultimate test of a preacher is what he feels like when he cannot preach.’
But Paul was so other-focused that he delighted – even lived – in the faith and love of others.