"What God Will Do"
God is faithful and will establish us in every good work, guard us against evil, and direct our hearts.
What God Will Do
(2 Thes. 3:1-5)
A. When the church began in Acts 2, we find that the early disciples devoted themselves to the apostle teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. Most every Christian I know talks about prayer as a vital part of our relationship with God. Prayer was taught and practiced by Jesus in the flesh. Now, Jesus becomes the very intercessor of our prayer before God.
B. There was a time in my ministry that I tried to stay so positive and upbeat that if someone said, “Is there anything I can do for you?” I would have smiled and said, “Nope. Everything is great; I don’t need anything.” That was when I was young and dumb. I thought if I admitted I had a need it would show that I was weak. I AM weak. I need your prayers. I am learning to ask people to pray for me.
C. I read a quote by Corrie ten Boom that hit me. This woman faced horrible circumstances during the Holocaust. She once asked the question, “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” You see, for a long time I treated prayer like it was a spare tire in my car. It was there when I needed it. It was kind of my protection in case something went wrong. But I am learning to treat prayer like the steering wheel to direct my life. Prayer is not simply a protection piece, but a direction piece in my life.
D. Paul asked the church to pray for him. The reason was not simply for him alone but because Paul knew what God would do and used prayer as the avenue for bring it about. READ 2 Thes. 3:1-2. Paul wanted to take God’s message of grace and truth to a world that was facing only wickedness and evil. He need their strength of prayer.
E. There is a reason why Paul is so confident in prayer. His confidence is not in himself or those praying for him. His confidence is in the God we pray to. Look at how verse 3 begins, “But the Lord is faithful.” Paul shares 3 areas in which God is faithful to we who follow the truth.
I. God will Establish Us In Every Good Work
A. Keeping the context of the passage, Paul shared part of his prayer for them before he asked them to pray for him. READ 2 Thes. 2:16-17
B. Paul’s prayer is that God will continue to establish them, and us, in doing what the will of God is. God’s desire is to keep you firm in doing what is right and saying what is right. Every good work and word. God is at work in you when you go that extra mile with that person that rubs you the wrong way. God is at work in you when you send that note of encouragement to that Christian few people even notice, but is here every time the doors are open. God is with you when lift a burden from a stranger and to it in the name of Jesus. God will establish us in every good work and word.
C. Paul would tell the church in Rome to present themselves as a living sacrifice. Now listen to the rest of that passage (Rom. 12:2). Knowing God’s will is not generally my issue. God makes himself fairly plain to understand. I simply need to discern God’s will and then act on it. In our text, Paul prays that God will establish us in every good work and word.
D. But there is more to God at work than guiding us in doing a great ministry for Him.
II. God will Guard Us Against Evil
A. Just as Paul asked them to pray for him that he may be delivered from wicked and evil men, Paul share his prayer of what God will do for them (READ 2 Thes. 3:3-4).
B. Do you pray this type of prayer? Jesus prayed “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matt. 6:13). I trust that God’s direction is always towards him. God knows how to protect me from evil. God has given me His armor to protect. God has given me His Spirit to lead me. God has given me His word to shield me. God has done everything to protect me from evil.
C. Paul’s confident that these Christians will be protected by God in face of this lawless one. There is no doubt that God will protect you. You have His strength.
D. I love how Paul speaks to the Christians in Corinth where he tells them (READ 1 Cor. 10:13). Look at this God is faithful. Just like our text. God is faithful that He will not, did you catch that? God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to bear up under it, or to face it. God is with you when you fight against sin. He doesn’t leave you helpless and hopeless, but instead, gives you himself if you and I will simply accept His help. We are not like the animals that cannot say no to their own self desires. We can practice self-control and keep in step with the Spirit of God.
III. God will Direct our Heart
A. So how can I have confidence in my prayer that God will do what Paul says God will do? Let’s look at verse 5 as we close. I love the way the Message puts it, “May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance.”
B. God will direct your heart. That idea is not directing your emotions, clearing the way for your whole being to be filled with love and steadfastness of Jesus. What kept Jesus going in his earthly ministry? I believe the answer was love. Because of the fullness of his love, Jesus endured the cross. God will clear your way to have that love and perseverance in your life.
A. I love to watch a great conductor bring an orchestra together in such a way that sound they bring stirs something deep within me. As that one lifts his baton every instrument comes to attention. As he directs, they grow louder or softer. The conductor of our lives is God. He directs our hearts.
B. Is your heart and life being directed by the Lord, or are you the director? Do you care about others who still need to hear the good news about Jesus? Pray! Are you getting hit hard with the obstacles of life and opposition? Remember that the Lord is faithful! Accept His strength and provision. Yield yourself to Him and obey Him fully. Stay in His love and don’t give up!