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Finding Victory in Trouble (5 of 10)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
I Thessalonians 3:1-13
There is an imaginative story told of a day when the sun did not rise. Six o'clock came and there was no sign of dawn. At seven o'clock there was still no ray of light. At noon it was as black as midnight. No birds sang, and only the hoot of an owl broke the silence. Then came the long black hours of the afternoon. Finally evening arrived, but no one slept that night. Some people wept. Some wrung their hands in anguish. Every church was thronged with people on their knees. Thus they remained the whole night through. After that long night of terror and agony, millions of eager tear-streaked faces were turned toward the east. When the sky began to grow red and the sun rose, there was a loud shout of joy. Millions of lips said, "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" because the sun had risen after one day of darkness.
We are a peculiar people. The very consistency of God's blessings seems to dull our daily gratitude. Also, the presence of trouble, even minor trouble or short-lived trouble, seems to dull our trust in the Lord.
Trouble is not a modern day phenomenon. Paul's journey to Thessalonica took him through several cities where heated opposition was expressed. The gospel's success in Thessalonica brought persecution against the young church. Paul had his own troubles in Corinth, the city from which he was writing. This letter calls his friends to renewed courage. As we look at this chapter, the first thing that I want us to notice is
I. PAUL'S VIEW OF SUFFERING (v. 1-4)
When Paul and those who were with him left Thessalonica, they went to Berea and ministered the word of God. But the troublemakers from Thessalonica followed them and stirred up opposition in Berea. So Paul left for Athens, while Silas and Timothy remained at Berea. Apparently Timothy did not join Paul in Athens, but Paul sent him back to Thessalonica to help the young church that was going through tribulatio ...
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