Friday, October 23, 2015

Getting Established

A few subjects are on my mind this morning from our conversation at coffee last night.

One is prophecy in the Hebrew scriptures versus in the Greek scriptures.

The other is the desire to see people 'established'.

This passage (a long one) contains both ideas.

"But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you - I, Paul, again and again - but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. 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 be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you - for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you," - 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:12 ESV

Old testament prophets gave glimpses of future events. The Messiah had not come yet. The Greek NT scriptures are all written after the cross and point back to what has happened not what will happen but there are some rare instances where that is not the case.

Paul told these believers at Thessaloniki that the team was going to suffer hardship before it happened and he later feared that somehow these people would leave the faith and get taken out by deception but then the opposite happened. God kept them.

Can you see the love in the words?

I think seeing people established makes our suffering seem worthwhile. We see a miracle in other people's lives when they persevere also.

Grace is what is able to establish people. It is what is able to establish us. It is the only thing that can truly establish us on the rock that can't be moved.

"To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I," - Psalm 61:1-2 ESV

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." - Matthew 7:24-27 ESV

I so want the people in my sphere of influence to be established. The Gospel of Grace is what establishes people. Jesus died for sin and rose to reign and we as individuals just believe in what He has done and who He Is. Mysteriously those who mix faith with that truth can persevere because they are anchored to the eternal reality of God and not the transitory difficult situations that we all must face sooner or later.


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