2 Thessalonians 1 … Consider Him Who Greatly Enlarges Our Faith

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater, (1:3).

Today we experience this glorious place in Scripture where the Old and the New perfectly intersect, almost as though this letter to the church in Thessalonica continues Isaiah’s letter in looking ahead to what is surely coming.

Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad,
And your bones will flourish like the new grass;
And the hand of the Lord will be made known to His servants,
But He will be indignant toward His enemies,
(Isaiah 66:14).

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left,” (Matthew 25:31-33).

 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (1:6-9).

As a reminder, the two letters written by Paul to the church in Thessalonica are primarily concerned with two themes: persevering through persecution, and the Second Coming of Christ.

The Thessalonian church was founded during Paul’s second missionary journey after preaching the gospel in their local synagogue.

Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, (Acts 17:1-2).

And it did not take long for persecution to break out, ushered in by a bitterly jealous and frenzied mob, to the point that Paul and Silas were sent away for their safety and protection.

But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people 10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews, (Acts 17:5, 10).

And this church of new converts now found themselves in the heat of tyrannical discrimination and oppression. And it was out of Paul’s concern, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that he writes his letters to send encouragement through the truth of the steadfastness of hope they have in our Lord Jesus Christ.

…steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father (1:3).

“Because of its similarity to 1 Thessalonians, it was likely written not long after the first letter­—perhaps six months… Paul probably penned it in Corinth, after Silas and Timothy had returned from delivering 1 Thessalonians,” NIV Study Bible.

And Paul begins this letter with thanks, thanks for what God is doing in the believers in the midst of their persecutions and afflictions, thanks that He Greatly Enlarges their Faith to endure.

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure, (1:3-4).

Consider Him Who Greatly Enlarges Our Faith

To begin with, we must consider what God’s Word reveals about Faith. Faith is a gift from God, and therefore it is only God Who Greatly Enlarges Our Faith; it is always His Great Work, never our own.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast, (Ephesians 2:8-9).

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, (Philippians 1:6).

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure, (Philippians 2:13).

And God has told us exactly what Faith is.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, (Hebrews 11:1).

God Greatly Enlarges Our Faith so that we will have assurance of every Word He has said and that we will have conviction in His faithfulness to bring it all to pass. And when Our Faith is Enlarged, nothing becomes more important than knowing Jesus, and when Our Faith is Greatly Enlarged, God is pleased and we are rewarded with more of Him!

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (Philippians 3:8).

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him, (Hebrews 11:6).

But if, like me, you found yourself wondering how in fact He Greatly Enlarges Our Faith, God has provided righteous counsel in this first chapter written to this beloved church.

  • He Greatly Enlarges Our Faith as We Love Others.
    • We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; (1:3).
      • make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 2:2-6).
  • He Greatly Enlarges Our Faith through Our Persecutions and Afflictions.
    • therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure, (1:4).
      • Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, (James 1:2-4).
  • He Greatly Enlarges Our Faith through Our Suffering.
    • This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering (1:5).
      • In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed, (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV).
  • He Greatly Enlarges Our Faith through Knowing and Believing His Word.
    • when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed. (1:10).
      • So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, (Romans 10:17).
  • He Greatly Enlarges Our Faith through His Power.
    • To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, (1:11).
      • that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man… 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen, (Ephesians 3:16, 20-21).
  • He Greatly Enlarges Our Faith through His Grace.
    • so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ, (1:12).
      • And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong, (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

How do we respond to Him Who Greatly Enlarges Our Faith?

Paul wrote to believers who, through God’s grace, had placed their Faith in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ and had received His Peace.

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, (1:1).

Before God can Greatly Enlarge Our Faith, we too must have Faith in what Christ alone has done.

But then, even as believers, we so often find ourselves trying to live in our own abilities and strengths. Oh, that we would stop trying to live in the flesh, but we would grow to live by Faith in Christ alone.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me, (Galatians 2:20).

And in that place of living the crucified life, let us look to Him to Greatly Enlarge what He has begun in us through Faith.

  • Lord, please Greatly Enlarge Our Faith as We Love Others, that others will know we are Yours.
    • “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” (John 13:34-35).
  • Lord, please Greatly Enlarge Our Faith that You would manifest Your Life in us, even in our persecutions and afflictions.
    • we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body, (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
  • Lord, please Greatly Enlarge Our Faith that we would trust You to perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us in our suffering.
    • After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you, (1 Peter 5:10).
  • Lord, please Greatly Enlarge Our Faith through Your Word, that we would be able to detect deceptions and lies as You root us in knowledge and strengthen our belief in Your Truth.
    • See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ, (Colossians 2:8).
  • Lord, please Greatly Enlarge Our Faith, for we know it is only as we depend on Your Power that we will glorify You as You empower us to walk in godliness.
    • seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence, (2 Peter 1:3).
  • And, Lord, please Greatly Enlarges Our Faith as we depend on the sufficiency of Your Grace for every need in this life.
    • And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed, (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Lord, grow us to trust and depend on You to bring it to pass. You are Faithful, and You are the Only One Who can Greatly Enlarge Our Faith.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass, (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Let’s Grow Together!

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