Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Missions in II Thessalonians

"Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith." II Thessalonians 3:1-2

Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians is one that we don't generally pay much attention to. When it comes to world missions, is there any connection at all? If so, what is the key thing Paul has to say? (To read the first post in this series, click here).

Paul writes something significant for missions in 3:1-2. The apostle addresses the importance of prayer as it relates to world missions. Paul, who was a gifted man, realized that anything good he could accomplish would come through the grace of God. His giftings were from God, and anyone's changed heart was from God. Success for Paul came only through Christ.

Paul makes some specific requests of the Thessalonian believers. First, he asks for prayer that the gospel message would move effectively to those who need to hear it. He's hoping for no roadblocks. His desire is that the word be honored through acceptance of it. Second, Paul hopes for delivery from the wicked men who are opposing him. We know, based on other passages (for example this), that Paul is not scared of suffering for the gospel. In this verse, he appears to desire deliverance so that his efforts won't be slowed down through imprisonment, etc.

It is somewhat ironic that when we attempt to share our faith, we sometimes take our eyes off Christ. We learn from Paul that it is only through Christ that anything good can be accomplished. This is a solid reminder that prayer should be the first missions activity of the church. We see this in Acts 13 as the church in Antioch first sent out Paul and Barnabas.

Let's all be praying missionaries. All success for Christ comes from and through Christ.

To read any or all of the posts in this series, click here.

No comments: