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"PRAYING FOR A GREAT CHURCH"
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
Wednesday AM Bible Study
February 18, 2004
This section of his letter concludes Paul's words of appreciation for
the Thessalonian church with his prayer and wishes for them. It shows
us the sorts of things that we, too, can be praying for a truly great
and godly church.
I. A STRAIGHT WAY TO SEE THEM (v. 11).
A. Paul offers a prayer to God the Father and Jesus the Lord; who works
sovereignly over all that we do. In this he both expresses his desire to be
with the Thessalonian believers, but also his dependency upon God.
B. It's a prayer that a way may be clear for Paul to see them:
1. A way that needs to be made "straight" because of the resistance he
feels from the enemy (2:18-20).
2. A way "to them" because he longed to be with them (3:1-6, 10).
II. AN INCREASE OF LOVE AMONG THEM (v. 12).
A. He offers a prayer for the quantity of this love; that the Lord would
cause it to increase and abound (4:9-10).
1. "Increase" (literally "be more") speaks of the depth of their love for
2. "Abound" (literally "overflow") speaks of the breadth of their love that
B. It's a prayer for the objects of this love; that it would be directed
not only to the saints in Thessalonica, but also to "all".
C. It's a prayer concerning the model of this love; that they would follow
the pattern of Paul and company toward them.
III. AN ESTABLISHED HOLINESS IN THEM (v. 13).
A. He here states the purpose of his prayer in verse twelve: that this love
would cause them to be "established" in holiness. This teaches us the
principle that 'love establishes holiness'. "If you love Me," Jesus said,
"keep My commandments" (John 14:15).
B. This concerns a holiness that reaches down into the heart being
blameless in the sight of God at the arrival of Christ, along with all the
saints (Jude 24-25).