06/01/14 Pray the Prayer!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, June 2, 2014 Under: Sermon

“BE OF GOOD CHEER” Series: Week 6 – (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5)

Text: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (NKJV)

“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.”

Intro: What a prayer to have prayed, a prayer asking “that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you.” The main section of the letter of 2 Thessalonians has been completed. This passage begins the final words ever written to the church by Paul so far as we know. In the final words, two subjects jump to the forefront immediately: prayer and the Lord's faithfulness.

Application: God is Faithful.

1. A Prayer of Distribution: vs. 1 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you.”

There was the request for prayer. The believers at Thessalonica were suffering and the prayer was focused on encouragement, with that said Paul also was under spiritual warfare and needed prayer and encouragement. If you recall in my 1Thessalonian Bible Study near the end of the Book Paul reminded the church to: “Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I don’t believe Paul’s prayer to include himself was selfish; as a matter of fact his whole focus was upon the spread and success of the gospel. His was concerned with the distribution or scattering of the Good News of Jesus Christ. There was the need for the Word to have free course and to be glorified. The Word of God is often hindered, hampered, and blocked; too often it has no power or influence among a people, a people with an unprepared heart, because their carnal in natural. I’ll even add there not being DISCIPLED!

The KJV uses the word “free course” in verse one: “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.” "Free course" means to run. It is a picture of an Olympian athlete running in a race, the picture of the Word of God spreading all over because it is, focused, active, strong, urgent, vigorous and yes powerful. It is all the things a medal winning Olympic athlete is. The Christian should feel like they have won the Gold Medal!

If the Word of God had free course, it would be glorified; souls would be saved and lives changed. People would be freed: from sin and its enslavement, from guilty consciences, from immoral and evil behavior, from unjust treatment, from ignorance and from worldliness. Doesn’t this make the urgency of prayer vital? Ocean View we need to pray the prayer of DISTRIBUTION! People would no longer experience emptiness, loneliness, purposelessness, or lost-ness. They would be set free to know the Lord and to commit their lives to reaching and meeting the needs of a world full of desperate people.

“Because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NIV) I don’t think our conviction is that deep anymore, how deep is your conviction – is it worth praying for?

What would happen if the believers of a single church prayed often every day for their pastor and teachers? One thing is known: God could not sit still, for He would know that those believers were as sincere and genuine as they could be. He would know that they desperately wanted to reach their community for Christ. They would become distributors of the Good News.

2. A Prayer of Deliverance: vs. 2 “That we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.”

There will always be as long as we live in this world a need for the Christian to pray for deliverance. Part of the problem is, we forget to pray for protection and God’s security and we allow the Armor to be taken off because it is too hot, maybe it is no longer in style, whatever the excuse we become vulnerable (exposed) to sin and its desires. There are wicked people in this world and they will do whatever is necessary to destroy your walk with God. As crazy as this might sound, there are those who live in this world, your neighbor, co-worker, boss and even family member who oppose your teachings of love, joy, peace, morality, discipline, brotherhood, salvation and even eternal life.

Why would people want to attack a person who preaches and teaches that God loves the world—that He has provided the way for man to escape death and to live forever? A reasonable and honest person would never oppose or attack a person who was preaching and teaching this message. But; “not all have faith.” The world is full of unreasonable and wicked persons, persons who want to live like they want without any interference from God. They deny and ignore God—deny and ignore the evidence within the world and within their hearts and thoughts that God exists and that His love and judgments are real. They want nothing to do with a message that puts restrictions upon their behavior, especially a message that demands so much love—a love that demands that we give all we are and have to meet the needs of the dying and poor masses of the world.

Believers need to be constantly praying for God to deliver His people from unreasonable and wicked persons. There needs to be a constant prayer of DELIVERANCE! “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:18-20

3. A Prayer of Defense: vs. 3-4 “The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”

(Regardless) There is the faithfulness of the Lord to the believer. Believers may fail us: when we stand in the greatest need, when people oppose and persecute us, when the most terrible trials confront us—believers may fail, may fail to pray, to encourage, to support, to speak kindly or even to help, but not the Lord. The Lord God is faithful. He will do things for the believer. The Lord will establish the believer and keep them from evil. The word "establish" means to strengthen, secure, make stable or firm, and set fast. Even if we fail to help one another, God will strengthen and guard us against Satan and his evil followers, He is our defense. The Lord will strengthen and guard us against all evil no matter what it is. Even if the evil seems to be conquering us, it will not—not in the final analysis. God will deliver us by working all things out for good. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Pray the prayer of Defense, pray for protection that He will guard your heart and mind from the struggles of the flesh. God will deliver us by overcoming our failures and completing His work of salvation in us. We need to be confident of this: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

How often have you bought something and in small print on the package you notice it says Batteries not included? Have you ever bought something and forgot to buy the batteries? A lot of stuff just won’t work without the batteries. The battery is the source the power to make the product work, without it, it just doesn’t work. With a spiritual application in mind, if you don’t pray the prayer for Christ to come into your heart and life, He can’t give you the batteries (Holy Spirit) to make the product work.

The Lord actually works within and energizes the believer to will and do God's pleasure, that is, to keep His commandments. When we sense a stirring, some energy being aroused within our hearts to do good, that is the Spirit of God working within us. The Lord will never leave the believer, not completely; so long as the believer is on earth, the Lord will continue to work within us, to stir and energize to keep God's commandments. This is the reason Paul had confidence in the Thessalonian believers, that they would keep the commandments of the Word that had been taught them.

4. Pray the prayer for Defense! A Prayer of Direction: vs. 5 “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.”

A person can tell if their a true believer or not by the working of the Lord within their heart. If a person keeps the commandments of God, then it is evidence that the Lord is working within their heart; however, if a person is not keeping the commandments of God, then it is evidence that the Lord does not live within their heart and is not working within them.

The word "direct" means to make straight, it means to remove obstacles out of the way or to open up. The Lord Jesus Christ takes the genuine believer and opens up their heart. The result is that the believer learns to love God more and more. Their attention and focus becomes more and more set upon God's love. When trials, trouble, temptation, and evil attack the believer, their able to stand in the love of God and overcome the attack. The Lord directs the believer to patiently wait for Christ's return, keeping their eyes and heart focused upon the glorious hope of Christ, the hope of conquering death and of living forever and ever in perfection with God, the hope of ruling and reigning throughout the whole universe for Christ. “So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT)

The Lord can be trusted to stand by His promises. He will save you if you will come to Jesus, He will keep you and take you to Heaven when this life is over, He will hear you when you call on Him, He will meet your needs here, He will give you grace sufficient for every trial, He will give you His peace in the midst of every circumstance of life, He will walk with you every step of the way to glory, He will keep every promise He has ever made in His Word!

What does this mean for us? It is simply a reminder that, regardless of what happens in life, “God is faithful!” Friends will fail, but God is faithful, family will fail, but God is faithful, funds will fail, but God is faithful, feelings will fail, but God is faithful, regardless of how life plays out, we have the confidence that our God is faithful and that He will stand by us even when our faith is weak. Pray the prayer for direction there a manual that goes with it!

Conclusion

Roger Simms, hitchhiking his way home, would never forget the date—May 7. His heavy suitcase made Roger tired. He was anxious to take off his army uniform once and for all. Flashing the hitchhiking sign to the oncoming car, he lost hope when he saw it was a black, sleek, new Cadillac. To his surprise the car stopped. The passenger door opened. He ran toward the car, tossed his suitcase in the back, and thanked the handsome, well-dressed man as he slid into the front seat. “Going home for keeps?” “Sure am,” Roger responded. “Well, you're in luck if you're going to Chicago.” “Not quite that far. Do you live in Chicago?” “I have a business there. My name is Hanover.” After talking about many things, Roger, a Christian, felt a compulsion to witness to this fifty-ish, apparently successful businessman about Christ. But he kept putting it off, till he realized he was just thirty minutes from his home. It was now or never. So, Roger cleared his throat, “Mr. Hanover, I would like to talk to you about something very important.” He then proceeded to explain the way of salvation, ultimately asking Mr. Hanover if he would like to receive Christ as his Savior.

To Roger's astonishment the Cadillac pulled over to the side of the road. Roger thought he was going to be ejected from the car. But the businessman bowed his head and received Christ, then thanked Roger. “This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.” Five years went by, Roger married, had a two-year-old boy, and a business of his own. Packing his suitcase for a business trip to Chicago, he found the small, white business card Hanover had given him five years before. In Chicago he looked up Hanover Enterprises. A receptionist told him it was impossible to see Mr. Hanover, but he could see Mrs. Hanover. A little confused as to what was going on, he was ushered into a lovely office and found himself facing a keen-eyed woman in her fifties. She extended her hand. “You knew my husband?” Roger told how her husband had given him a ride when hitchhiking home after the war. “Can you tell me when that was?” “It was May 7, five years ago, the day I was discharged from the army.” “Anything special about that day?” Roger hesitated. Should he mention giving his witness? Since he had come so far, he might as well take the plunge. “Mrs. Hanover, I explained the gospel. He pulled over to the side of the road and wept against the steering wheel. He gave his life to Christ that day.” Explosive sobs shook her body. Getting a grip on herself, she sobbed, “I had prayed for my husband's salvation for years. I believed God would save him.” “And,” said Roger, “Where is your husband, Mrs. Hanover?” “He's dead,” she wept, struggling with words. “He was in a car crash after he let you out of the car. He never got home. You see—I thought God had not kept His promise.” Sobbing uncontrollably, she added, “I stopped living for God five years ago because I thought He had not kept His word!” Even in that extreme case, God was faithful. He will be faithful to us too! Rest in Him. Trust Him. Serve Him. Believe Him. He is Who He claims to be, and He will do all that He has promised to do. He is The Faithful God!

Pray the Prayer of Distribution, pray the prayer of Deliverance, pray the prayer of Defense and please pray for Direction there is a manual with batteries included!

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