1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

1 Thes. 3:1-5 (ESV) "Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain."

In chapter three, we get a glimpse again of Paul's unwavering focus on the gospel message and those who are new to the faith. Paul knows how easily the enemy can come and snatch away the seed that has been planted. He indicates that he was willing to give up the companionship and support of Timothy in their work and send him to check on those believers in Thessalonica. His hope was to establish and exhort them in their faith.

How different this looks from many of our church communities today. The focus seems to be to get new believer to join our endeavors rather than make sacrifices to go to them. Some come with a critical attitude chastising newcomers for not knowing the rules. They rush in to squash their newfound freedom which comes as a breath of fresh air that threatens the way of self-piety and duty. Like the Judaizers in Galatia, they come to make sure conformity to the law and proper order are maintained. Maybe sometimes the tempter brings temptation through one whose mind is on themselves and not on God's kingdom and his glory.

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