Home > English Sermons > Apostolic Prayer for a Model Church.

Apostolic Prayer for a Model Church.

Key Scripture:

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (KJV)  Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

SUMMARY

Apostle Paul is the most important person after our Lord Jesus in our Christian faith. In his first letter to the Church at Thessalonica, Paul gives us a glimpse into the early church, as to what was happening. What would have St Paul prayed if he was invited to our church and we gave him the pulpit? This sermon helps us understand the prayer which Paul made for the Thessalonians, which is the outline of his letter itself.

SERMON POINTS

Background of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.

 1 Thessalonians 3:6 (KJV)   But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:

Thessalonica was a big city in Greece. Apostle Paul started a church here but because of some opposition, he was driven out of the city and was never to return. (Acts 17:1-9)

Though Paul tried real hard to go back to visit the Church at Thessalonica, he wasn’t able to do so. With lack of proper means of communication, the only way Paul could know about what’s going on with the Church he started, is by physically sending Timothy there to find out the welfare of those who were part of the church.

Paul had a special relationship with this church. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7,11, Paul says that he was as mother and father to them and this made him more anxious to go see them and hear from them.

Therefore, Paul writes this letter to the Church from Corinth, after Timothy comes to him with news from the believers at Thessalonica. (1 Thessalonians 3:2,6).

St. Paul’s Apostolic Prayer for the Church.

 1 Thessalonians 1:7 (KJV)   So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

St. Paul calls this church a ‘Model Church’ for all the other churches to follow. (1 Thessalonians 1:7). Being the exemplary church they were, Apostle Paul makes a prayer which echos God’s desire for each one of us. This three-point staple prayer becomes the place of spiritual growth for every believer.

Apostle Paul prays that we may-

  • Grow in Purity-living a blameless and holy life.
  • Be prepared for the Coming of the Lord- living in the light.
  • Grow in love-pursuing love and generosity towards all.
  1. Grow in Purity-living a blameless and holy life.

 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (KJV)  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. 

Apostle Paul gives an explanation for his prayer for the Thessalonians in chapters 4 and 5 of the letter. We are all broken people, chronically sick with sin and only the Holy Spirit whom God gives can help us live a holy life.

God wants us to have an intention, a passion for purity, especially in our sexual lives. Jesus Christ in His sermon on the mount, said,

Matthew 5:8 (KJV)   Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

We see and hear these days of people being exploited sexually by those above them . The superiors take advantage of the position they have and violate the sexual integrity one should have. It was not different in the times of the Thessalonians too. Sexual misconduct was prevalent and St Paul tried to address this in this letter. We know David, the Man after God’s own heart also fell in this trap as he killed Uriah and took Bathsheba to be his wife. That incident invariably started the downfall of David. God desires that we be pure and holy –especially in our sexual conduct.

God’s ultimate purpose for giving us the Holy Spirit is to enable us to live a pure life and control our passions. Let us seek the help of the Holy Spirit to be passionate for purity.

 

  1. Be prepared for the Coming of the Lord- living in the light.

 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV)   But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

 The second thing that Paul prays for the believers is that they will be prepared for the Coming of the Lord. The Early Church believed in the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. However they had some questions regarding when He would come. Apostle Paul states the following in his explanation

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (KJV)   But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Our curiosity with regard to the exact time of Jesus’ Second Coming takes the better of us. This proves to not only be a distraction and waste of time, but it has also been false thus far. Nobody should try and speculate the time of the Lord’s coming because the Lord Jesus Himself said that no one knows the time. However we ought to be prepared anytime for His coming.

The real question is no matter when the Lord would return, are we prepared to be taken up with Him, when He does come? Apostle Paul calls us to live in the light and not in darkness.

HOW DOES ONE LIVE IN THE LIGHT?

1 John 1:7 (KJV)   But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

We can be prepared for the coming of the Lord Jesus by keeping our focus on living in the light. We live in the light, when we have fellowship with one another; wherein we share our struggles and confess our sins to one another. Living alone and keeping to ourselves, as a Christian means that we are living in the dark. Since there is a greater chance of dying before the Coming of the Lord, let us stop being distracted in speculating the time Jesus Christ is coming back and focus on living in the light, by being connected with others.

 

  1. Grow in love-pursuing love and generosity towards all.

 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (KJV)   But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Most of Paul’s prayer for the Churches always include that they grow in love. (Phil 1:9) He makes a special connection to growing in love and how one works.

The believers are urged to lead a quiet life, without unnecessary conflict with one other. He also encourages them to put their minds to their career and work diligently with their hands, so that they may earn the respect of outsiders.

 

3 THINGS HAPPEN WHEN WE WORK HARD AT WHAT WE DO:

  • By working hard,we earn the respect of non- believers.

 Sometimes, even today, at our areas of work, we tend to get lazy and procrastinate our duties. In doing so, we give an impression of being irresponsible. This destroys our testimony in the workplace and an oppurtunity to witness the gospel there is lost. Let’s become diligent and disciplined and excel in the places where God has placed us.

  • We stop becoming dependant or burdensome to others.

There were some people who were found to be idle in the church of Thessalonica. Apostle Paul asks them to get to work and not become burdensome to those around, especially when they are physically and mentally able to work. In this way, we can make sure that we don’t profane the name of the Lord by being lazy and dependant on others.

  • We will have enough to share with those in need.

Ephesians 4:28 (KJV)    Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Apostle Paul while writing to believers, asks them to not steal! Instead, he says labour hard so that you can give to those who are in need. Apart from Tithing, we need to grow in generosity towards those in need. Generosity is the way we grow in love. Tithing should be just a start of our life of giving.

 

THE MACEDONIAN SECRET:

 2 Corinthians 8:2 (KJV)  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

This unbelievable passage indicates how the Macedonian believers even in their affliction and deep poverty, abounded in liberality and abundance of joy. They had learnt this secret of generosity, which is the reason why they were liberal in their giving even in their suffering.

 

CONCLUSION.

 

This prayer of Apostle Paul for the Thessalonians is also the desire God has for His children today.

He wants us to be holy and blameless, pursue purity. The Lord wants us to walk in the light like He does by being in fellowship with other believers, thereby getting ready for His coming. Last but definitly not the least, the Lord wants us to love without calculating, love even those who don’t deserve it.

Let us make it a point to live out what St Paul prayed for the Church at Thessalonica.

 

 

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