2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil.
I. HE TRUSTS IN THE LORD.
1. The Lord is faithful. All men have not the faith; the faith is not the possession of all. These unreasonable and wicked men seem to be beyond its saving influences. But the Lord is faithful. He is the Truth; his promises are sure. Amid the tumult of opposition, the rude fanaticism of the Jews, the sneers of the philosophic Greeks, St. Paul still trusted in the Lord. "The Lord is faithful." It is a great word; we may well pray that it may be engraven in our hearts, as the centre of our hopes, the strength of our souls.
2. He will strengthen the Thessalonians. It is what St. Paul prayed for in the last chapter. He knows that his prayer is heard. God will stablish the Thessalonians. He has built his Church upon a rock; the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The rain may descend, the flood may come, the stream of adversity may beat vehemently against the Church of God; it cannot fall, for it is founded upon the rock. God is faithful. He will keep them from the evil - from the evil which surrounds them in the world, from the power of the evil one. The words sound like a reminiscence of the Lord's prayer. Compare also 2 Timothy 4:18, "The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom." St. Paul, it seems, was accustomed to use the same holy words which we say in our daily prayers. How many generations of Christians that prayer has helped in their heavenward journey! They are safe now with Christ. We are marching onwards to that rest which they have reached. We have the same helps which they had. Let us seek that holy confidence which St. Paul had. The Lord is faithful; he will stablish you; he will keep you from the evil.
II. HE HAS CONFIDENCE IN THE THESSALONIANS. Or rather in the Lord touching them. It is in the Lord always that he trusts; but that confidence in the Lord reaches to the Thessalonians; he believes that they are doing now, and will continue to do the things which he commands them, because he is sure that the Lord will stablish them, and keep them from the evil. It is an exhortation delicately expressed in the language of confidence. He trusts them; the consciousness of being trusted is a strong motive for obedience; there is a sense of shame in disobeying a master, a teacher, who reposes implicit confidence in his pupils. Mark the delicate tact of the apostle.
III. HE DOUBTS THEM NOT, YET HE PRAYS FOR THEM.
1. For growth in love. In 1 Thessalonians 3:11 he had prayed that God would direct his way to the Thessalonians; here he prays that God would direct their hearts into the way of love. The way of love is the way that leads to God, who is love. We need to be directed thither. Our attention is often distracted by the various paths which lead this way and that in the journey of life. God can direct us by his Spirit into the one path which leads to God. That path is love, self-denying, self-forgetting love - the love which comes from God and ends in God. For love is of God, it is his gift; it comes from him who is the only Fountain of pure and holy love. And it ends in him; for God only is the true Object of our highest love; only in him can the deep yearnings of our souls find their proper satisfaction. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart." It is his commandment, the first of all the commandments. He does not mock us with commands which we cannot obey; he giveth his Spirit; and the gift of the Spirit is the gift of power. He can direct; he will, if we seek it in persevering prayer, direct our hearts into the love of God.
2. For growth in patience. The Church of Thessalonica needed patience; it was much afflicted from the first. The Lord Jesus Christ was the great Example of patience. He endured the cross, despising the shame. If we would run with patience the race that is set before us, we must consider him, always looking unto Jesus. In our sufferings we must meditate on the sufferings of our Lord and Saviour, and pray for grace to follow his example. We need his patience, such patience as he had. We must pray for it. The Lord will direct us to it.
1. The Lord is faithful; trust in him. He is true; he will establish the hearts of his chosen.
2. We must be stern with ourselves, but gentle with others; gentle words of confidence win those whom harshness would only repel.
3. Pray for love; pray for patience. - B.C.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.