by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1 February 21, 2015 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(057)Thesis: Prayer is an integral and necessary aspect of God's work in this world.
Introduction: As we begin our studies in the third chapter of 2 Thessalonians, we are immediately introduced to a lesser thesis in the two letters: prayer. The concept is addressed by Paul's general term for prayer in only four places in the two letters. But, though lesser in terms of focus and content, it is not to be dismissed as either unimportant or ineffective.
I. Pray for Us.
A. This request is not a "finally", but an "additionally".
B. This request is a kind of bedrock issue in Paul's view of Life.
1. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul makes "prayer" a continuing aspect of Life (don't ever quit praying).
2. In 1 Thessalonians 5:25 he requests prayer for himself and his team in exactly the same terms as in the text before us.
3. In 2 Thessalonians 1:11 he declares his on-going prayer for the Thessalonians as a constant.
4. Then we have the text before us in this study, a repetition of 1 Thessalonians 5:25.
C. The request is addressed to "brethren" as those whose interest is sufficiently strong as to make the request more likely to be fulfilled.
II. The Contents of the Prayers.
A. Regarding the future of Paul's ministry to others.
1. He wants the "message of the Lord" to "run".
a. The primary focus: The Message of the Lord.
1) In all ministry issues, and throughout all spiritual gifts, the bottom line is "The Message of The Lord".
2) There is absolutely no place in the ministry for the "let's forget about our doctrinal differences and just love one another".
a) There is a place for patient longsuffering in teaching and clarifying the Truth and for the willingness to be taught and corrected.
b) But there is no place for any willingness for Truth to be set aside for the sake of the pursuit of ministry.
3) There is sufficient revelation to settle doctrinal differences among believers, but it must be combined with a genuine desire to know and believe the Truth; false agendas create false doctrinal commitments.
b. The primary desire: That The Message Will "Run".
1) The metaphor of "running" signals a hurried and deliberate pursuit of an objective.
2) The idea of "The Message Running" is more of a rapid spread (like a fire in a wind with plenty of dry fuel) than of a rifle shot (where the idea is reaching the objective rather than pursuing the lives of many).
2. He wants the "message of the Lord" to "be glorified.
a. The message "glorified" means that it will be understood.
b. The message "glorified" also means that it will be effective.
B. Regarding the future of Paul's ability to minister to others.
1. In the pursuit of people, there will always be some who are "out of order" and "evil".
a. The "Truth" has always had opponents whose motives are both "out of bounds" and "overtly evil".
b. The problem with such people is that they are often violent in their opposition.
c. Paul says of them that the faith is not "of them"; no ownership.
2. The request is that Paul and his team will be delivered from such opponents.
III. The Foundations of the Request.
A. Prayer is viewed as an integral and necessary aspect of God's activities in this world.
1. That the Spirit sometimes takes over the prayers indicates that God wants prayer to be an involved aspect of His activities, but that it must also be accurate.
2. That "prayer" is invoked as the means to the end indicates that what James said is true: we have not if we ask not and we ask and receive not because we ask amiss.
3. That "prayer" is the incense upon the altar whenever God is ready to respond to the needs of men indicates that it is a "must".
B. The prayer was for Paul and his team; God was not tying His grace to human activities overall, but Paul was aware of his own weaknesses and infirmities in respect to his own involvement and he requested prayer because of them.
1. God's plan will proceed apace and He will motivate the prayer that is involved.
2. But any individual's part in that plan is attached to the prayers of brethren.