Chapel notes, 2/19/09
[Read the official chapel live-blog at Towers Online. Hear spring semester chapel sermons of Southern Seminary HERE.]
Dr. Mark Dever. 1 Thessalonians 3:10-13,
10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?
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. (NKJV)
3 goods Paul prayed for the Thessalonians:
1. That he might be present with them to supply what is lacking in their faith.
"Even those who outdistance others are still a long way from their goal."-John Calvin
a. Paul is not hesitant to publicly mention the lack in the Thessalonians' faith.
b. Paul's prayer demonstrates and depends on the sovereignty of God.
c. Paul's prayer demonstrates and depends on the deity of Christ.
2. That the Thessalonians' love would be increased.
a. The prayer is that the Thessalonians would increase in love without reference to a change in those who are loved, which demonstrates that the love is not dependent on the worthiness of the one loved.
b. Paul set the example of love to the Thessalonians, and we must set the example of love for those to whom God has called us to minister.
"God does not consider what we can do, but demands of us what is beyond our capacity, so we may learn to ask of Him..."-John Calvin
3. That the Thessalonians would be accepted by God.
a. The love Paul desires for the Thessalonians is intended to make them persevere in godliness and character.
b. Our claims to love by God are mocked if we do not love others.
c. The "blamelessness in holiness" is a manifestation that God has done a saving work in the heart.
Notice what Paul does not pray for- sheer numbers of attendees- instead, he focuses on spiritual growth. This is the kind of church growth we must be passionate about in ministry.