2 Thessalonians 3:1–5 (NKJV)

1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.
3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.
5 Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

II Thessalonians 3:1-5

The second letter to the Thessalonians is brief, only three chapters. This part of the letter is coming toward the end, as Paul marks this chapter with the closing hint, “Finally.” He asks the church to pray for the team with Paul. He does not necessarily ask for prayers for their safety or their financial provision, but simply that the word of the Lord might spread quickly and be glorified. Even when he asks that they may be delivered from evil men, it is not just for their sakes, but for the sake of the gospel. He acknowledges that not all men are Christians, possessing the faith to be saved, and therefore they are not friendly toward the gospel or its ministers. In this section of the passage, Paul has made it clear that the team’s road is not easy, and that the gospel faces significant opposition.

In the next few verses, however, Paul explains why they continue, why they are not utterly discouraged in their plight to evangelize Asia Minor and Europe. That reason is the faithfulness of God. Paul has learned that, no matter the opposition, the Lord is faithful and will protect him and the young Christians in Thessalonica. Paul commands them to evangelize as well, and with confidence instructs them to do the work of the ministry. He has experienced great opposition and turmoil in ministry, but God has always brought Him through. With that in mind, he can confidently send his disciples at Thessalonica into the mission field around them. He knows that the same Lord who saved and preserved him will “establish you and guard you from the evil one.” Therefore, he can expect them to do and continue doing the things of which he commanded them. They know God’s faithfulness because they have seen it demonstrated in the life of Paul. He then sums up this thought with the blessing that “the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

We, today, could take a page from Paul’s book. He faced opposition and even physical threats and genuine harm, yet continued to minister in the name of Jesus. I have friends who minister in foreign countries where it is considered illegal to preach or minister in the name of Jesus, or any God for that matter, and yet they continue to witness, preach, and win souls for Christ. In America we have such freedom and access to Christianity, to the kingdom of God, to houses of worship, that we have become spoiled and satisfied. We really do not know how long this freedom will exist. With the onslaught of political correctness and the degradation of our freedoms of expression, the freedom of religion is not far behind as a target of those who deny Christ as the Son of God. Enjoy our freedom while you can, but be aware that there may come a day when we have to suffer for our faith. Be willing to be faithful to the Lord, for He will always be faithful to you.

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