1 Thessalonians 3:7-10
Therefore, brothers, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:…
I. HIS WELL-BEING DEPENDED ON THEM.
1. Paul's distress while he was at Corinth is represented as a species of death, as he says elsewhere, "I die daily." But from this, as it were, he revived. He felt himself raised again to the full enthusiasm and activity of life by learning of their faithful adherence to Christ. When Jacob had the good news brought to him that Joseph was alive, and governor of Egypt, "his spirit revived." His years of mourning had been a kind of death to him, and the tidings delivered him from it. In the same way was Paul quickened in the midst of all his sorrows. As Newman says, "He felt all his neighbours to be existing in himself." We may further say that he existed in them — his life was bound up in theirs.
2. This identity of interest and aim can only rightly manifest itself in those who are one in Christ. Human character in its nobler elements can be developed alone in sympathy with others, in the willingness to share in each others joys, sorrows, failures, triumphs. Isolation of spirit is spiritual death. It is with hearts as with the embers of the hearth — "Do you not see glimmering half red embers, if laid together, get into the brightest white glow"
3. What a striking contrast to the apostle was such an one as Goethe, the apostle of mere worldly culture, the picture of a man living in "the miserable dream of keeping the course of his inward development free from all foreign interference," reluctant to devote himself and his inner life to anything, or any one outside of himself; consumed with the desire, as he expressed it, "to raise the pyramid of my existence, the base of which is already laid, as high as possible in the air; that absorbing every other desire, and scarcely ever quitting me." There is no more revolting picture to the Christian than that. We can never rise to God as long as we try to do so in the way of selfish isolation. We can only find ourselves when we first lose ourselves in others. It is thus that Christianity extends itself. "Till each man finds his own in all men's good, and all men work in noble brotherhood."
II. THEIR STEADFASTNESS REVIVED THE APOSTLE. What is implied in it?
1. That individually and collectively the members of the Church are "in the Lord," abiding in Him both in faith and practice.
2. That while in the Lord they are exposed to the danger of wavering. The language seems military (1 Corinthians 16:13). Christ's Church, each section of it, is exposed to assault. The army of the living God is subject to having its ranks broken in upon. This is the aim of the tempter, of whom the apostle had just been speaking. Hence the exhortation to steadfast adherence to God and His truth, for "by faith ye stand"; steadfast adherence, too, to one another, that so they may present the strength of a united phalanx to the enemy, and at last rejoice in a day of triumph.
(J. Hutchison, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: