When Jason was in college he interned for a small business and by God’s grace had a Christian boss. Other non-believing co-workers, with long tenure, instantly noticed a connection between Jason and the boss. Not as a point of jealousy, but that because they were Christians, even though they knew each other a short time, they quickly had relationship. We all serve one God and fellowship comes freely between believers even when you first meet them.
As we move deeper into Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, we find that he was moved to send Timothy to assist them; he missed fellowship. In v.2:17 we see that Paul was “torn away from you, brothers…”. Paul has shared the gospel and witnessed the transforming work of the spirit in their lives, but due to being driven out (2:15) was unable to teach them as disciples. We can imagine the prayer and heartache involved. Anyone who has been on a mission trip can surely sympathize, as you build gospel-centered relationship, but then leave for home. Only in this case, Paul did not want to leave but was forced out.
- What two main tasks did Timothy come for? What was Paul’s greatest fear for the Thessalonians souls? How can you establish and exhort faith in new believers? What is the painful reminder about suffering that Paul brings up in v.4-5?
- Timothy brings Paul back an encouraging message of the Thessalonians faith and love. They think kindly of Paul and long to see him. This news comforts Paul. What does Paul do night and day in response? How do you long for fellow believers? How do you cherish your time together?
- Summarize Paul’s prayer in v.11-13. What is Paul petitioning God for? What is his main goal through these trials? As we imitate him, lets focus on the strong desire for fellowship.