Last week we spoke about the family unit that God provides for us through his church. This week we will discuss the dynamics of walking as such through the adversities that inevitably come in a fallen world.
1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
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
Interconnected in Affliction
Know your enemy before the fight
The tempter comes in the midst of trials to discourage the people of God and lure them back to old destructive ways as coping mechanisms. What would that be for you?
Do not go into isolation or hiding during times of struggle. Allow your brothers and sisters in Christ to be there for you.
What Does it Look Like?
Stop, Drop and Roll
STOP running from God and other believers when you face afflictions. Paul was concerned that his labor for the Lord with the Thessalonians would be in vain if they threw off their God-given anchors in times of trial. Identify your church family with whom you will share life in Christ and stay in the pocket.
16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
DROP to your knees In prayer. Drop facades, protective walls, and defenses. In your community groups, establish your go-to people with whom you willingly choose to be vulnerable and to divulge the realities of your life. Give them permission, as Timothy did with the church in Thessalonica, to “check in” on you as well. The cross of Jesus Christ levels the playing field so that no man or woman should feel inferior or superior to another. We are all saved by grace through faith, forgiven of damnable sins and can encourage one another in the mercy of God that is available to us all.
Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction.
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. - C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
ROLL with the people who are in your immediate vicinity, who can see the whole picture and give godly counsel which can be followed-up upon. Identify the things in life that are trying to burn down your faith, confidence in God, health, marriage or family. They may be emotional, financial or circumstantial struggles. Apply the water of the Word of God to these things and contend for the salvation (rescue/deliverance) of God with those whom Christ has given you. Christ’s resurrection from the dead gives us access to an eternal life that begins with our reconciliation with God. The life abundant that Jesus promises is developed through life shared with those who also are longing for their heavenly home in Christ.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend, and do not go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away.
I have no duty to be anyone's Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival. - C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Second City Church - The Macedonian Call - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2018