1 Thessalonians 3:6–13 (NKJV)
Paul addresses the situation in his life and the life of the Thessalonians after Timothy’s visit to the church. Paul outlines three basic hopes or goals for his ministry team and for the church in Thessalonica. He has comfort from Timothy’s report, and longs for the church to exhibit Christian love and live in holiness.
6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you—7 therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.I Thessalonians 3:6-10
9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?
Paul rejoices over the good news, delivered to him by Timothy, of the faith in the Thessalonian church. The young church remembers Paul and his team, but more importantly, remembers the truth and doctrine he taught them while in Thessalonica. He applauds their faith, and tells them that their faith helps him during his troubled times. He goes so far as to announce a causative link between their faith and his very life. If they stand fast in faith, Paul’s team will live! How deeply Paul seems to be invested in the life of this young church. He also shares with them that he prays for the opportunity to visit them and see them while supplying whatever they may lack in their walk of faith and doctrine. Paul received comfort from the young church of Thessalonians.
11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.I Thessalonians 3:11-13
After his tender message in the first part of this passage, Paul then moves to a couple of admonitions or teachings concerning the course of their lives. He lets them know that–as the Lord directs–he plans to come to them. In the meantime, he calls them to allow the Lord to increase their love one for another, and to everyone. He wants them to follow his example as he has loved them. This love is selfless and sacrificial, and a hallmark of the early Christian church. Paul then moves on to another admonition, to allow the Lord to establish or solidify their hearts in holiness before God. Paul wants them to be ready when Jesus returns, so that they will be caught up to heaven with the saints to live with God forever. Holiness is required by God, provided by God, and should be taught in the church. Holiness is appropriated to the Christian through the loving bestowal of the Father in grace. However, the outgrowth of that positional holiness before God should be a practical holiness that translates into everyday life, walking out the holiness given by God.
The final words here should resonate the tones of comfort, love, and holiness. Live in a way that your mentors are comforted by your walk with God, your brothers and sisters experience the love of God through you, and God recognized your holiness because He has made you holy. Live in a way that glorifies God and calls others to salvation. That way includes comfort, love, and holiness.