Expository Studies

Play Video
Play Video

Daily Encouragement

Play Video

July 10, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Left Behind Today

“Therefore, when we could no endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone.”

1 Thessalonians 3:1, Page 1848  

       Paul had several friends that helped him minister to the Gentiles.  You may recall that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy greeted the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 1:1 (page 1846).  At times, Paul sent Timothy on important missions, where they each labored in different cities for a while.  In this case, the ministry team showed great flexibility, and confidence in Timothy serving as a messenger for the team.  I want to focus, today, upon the way the team felt about the Thessalonians.

       In 1 Thessalonians 3:1, page 1848, Paul used the phrase: “could endure it no longer.”  Paul had just concluded his testimony about the Thessalonians holding a dear place in the heart of the ministry team.  The team eagerly looked forward to seeing them again.  Within their hearts, they had to endure the strong desire to go to Thessalonica, but it was not possible for all the team to go. 

       In most lives, people do not have bonds of love with other believers, and often, with anyone.  Most believers could not truthfully say that they are eager to see anyone.  Yet, the ministry team had formed those strong bonds by imparting their lives and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Thessalonians.  The ministry team made a deliberate effort to plan their lives, as the Lord Jesus lead them, in keeping with their relationships with other believers, and according to the ministry entrusted to them.

       Another important point about team ministry surfaced right here.  If you build a single-person ministry, and not  a team ministry, you will not have the benefit of greater flexibility.  Jesus built the ministry team here so that it would have no problem splitting up, for a time, so that each member could go where needed.  The team did not always have to stay together, and each team member could go where needed, as Jesus lead them. 

       Ultimately, as believers, we only have one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all all who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-7, page 1830).   Within that essential unity, Jesus leads a diversity of believers, individually gifted by the Holy Spirit, to maintain the bonds of unity, and function together as one body of Christ, the church, knit together in love.  In Christ, we will never be left behind spiritually, because we can never be separated from Jesus or His love.  Facing the cross, Jesus Himself said He was not alone, even after all the disciples had left Him, because the Father was with Him (John 16:32), who would forsake Him, by delivering Him to death.

      So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

      ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we labor together in Christ, and go where Christ leads us.

      ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we encourage team members to go see other believes we love, so that we all may be strengthened together in Christ.

      ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we refuse to follow Christ’s leading, even it means separating the ministry team for a while.  Sometimes our desire to learn more about our absent friends overcomes our desire to pursue other ministry goals.  We lose our way in Christ when we ignore His efforts to use the ministry team at different places at the same time. 

Application for Today

        Today, I will watch Jesus use His worldwide ministry team to encourage believers around the world, but especially in my area of the world.  For some of my friends, I know Jesus will lead them to form new ministry teams, and visit new places.  Who will you encourage today to visit people you love together?


 Christ Assembly Basics 

Christ Assembly provides free access to various studies from the Bible, the Word of God. The studies in this website are not inspired, but God produced the Bible, consisting of sixty-nine books (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament). The Holy Spirit inspired authors to produce original autographs of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Those original authors wrote over the course of many centuries. They wrote divinely inspired words and every word was divinely inspired. The authors communicated in their own styles, and with their own vocabulary, but God breathed out every word of the final autographs. The words in the Bible really matter, and deserve careful study. 
As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
We accept the teaching of the Word of God. As born again believers, baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit, the anointing from God teaches us all things. We love to study the Word of God as we abide in Christ Jesus our Lord. God blesses all of us when we read His word, hear His word, and heed His word. We share original studies of the Word of God without cost and we do not receive donations. We support the finances of this ministry through private means, so that we are not a burden to anyone. We oppose charging people to read books, articles, journals or other studies of the Word of God. Such work should be supported by donations, but not in prescribed amounts and not as a requirement to gain access to what God has freely provided. What God has freely given, we should freely share. Just as Paul worked making tents, so we work to support this ministry. 

 Christ Assembly License

The author of all original material on this website retains all legal and equitable rights to the properties at issue. The author granted Christ Assembly a limited-use, revocable license to publish material on this website, while reserving all ownership rights to the original author. You may use any original material on this website to the glory of God, but you may not receive anything of value for such use. You may not receive any donations related to any original material on this website. All use of original material on this website is subject to the revocable, limited license above. You must conspicuously indicate on any use of the original material that it originated from ChristAssembly.org.  Any revocation of the license shall be posted on this website and all rights to use material may be revoked without prior notice. By copying and using any original material from this website, you consent to such license. Christ Assembly opposes any payment for access to studies, articles, journals, or other publications of studies concerning the Word of God. As God has freely given, so also the products of His grace should be freely shared.