As we come to the close of our time in Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, I have been reflecting on some of the common themes of the two books. Over and over, Paul gives words of comfort (“may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way,” 2 Thessalonians 2:16) and encouragement (“do not grow weary in doing good,” 2 Thessalonians 2:13; “encourage one another and build one another up,” 1 Thessalonians 5:11). With those words in mind, I chose the two hymns which close our service this morning: Great Is Thy Faithfulness and There’s A Wideness In God’s Mercy. Great Is Thy Faithfulness, based on the passage from Lamentations 3 which is used for today’s Call to Worship and Assurance of Pardon, encourages us with the “bright hope for tomorrow” we have in the promises of God. The line “there is no place where earth’s sorrows are more felt than up in heaven” from There’s A Wideness completely captures Paul’s sentiment towards these new Christians in Thessalonica. Though sorrows and persecution will come, we can take comfort in our loving Savior, a gentle shepherd who would have us “come and gather at His feet.” —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Obey, Ashamed, Enemy, Brother, Peace, Grace
Keystone Verse: Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:15)
2 Thessalonians 3:14-18
13 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.