Encouragement — Problems — 1 Thessalonians 3.1-8…Handout

Have you ever had a problem and thought, this should _________me! When was your last problem? ________ Problems are a big part of God’s plan for us. Job 14:1~ Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of ________. (NIV) If we have a biblical view of our trouble, or of our problems, we will be encouraged instead of discouraged. Problems: Accelerate, Evaluate, Cultivate.

1) Problems Accelerate our________Growth (3:1-2) The Thessalonians____________problems that were part of God’s plan for their spiritual growth. Unable to return Paul sends Timothy to Thessalonica for_____ purposes to: establish and exhort. Purpose #1—Establish: (στηρίζω stērizō) to________, or make firm. Purpose #2 Exhort: (παρακαλέω parakaleō) to______1 Thessalonians 3:2~and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish (strengthen) and exhort (comfort) you in your faith, (ESV) During a problem remember James 1:4~Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be_________and complete, not lacking anything. (NIV) 

2) Problems Help us Evaluate our_______(3:3-5) Jesus tells Peter in Luke 22:31-32~Simon…I have prayed for you… that your faith may not fail…(NIV) Notice Jesus does not pray for the removal of the sifting, which is the trial or_______ Pete is about to face. Like Pete, Satan wants to do the same thing with us, because we are believers in Jesus. He wants to use our problems to blow away our faith, while God wants to use our problems so we can evaluate our faith. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised that, because we believe that our lives will be problem-_____. There is always going to be trouble in this fallen world. As Paul writes he is concerned that the tempter,_______, will shake them or undermine their faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:5) As a spiritual father Paul’s concerned about the roots of Thessalonians’ faith. Just as Jesus taught us about the 4 types of roots in His parable (Matthew 13:1–23, Mark 4:1–20, and Luke 8:4–15).

3) Problems Cultivate our___________ with God (3:6-8) How can we know if our problems are drawing us to God rather than pushing us away? Problems that draw us to God do so in at least____ways: Thoughts,_______, and Faith. A) Good thoughts about spiritual leaders. People whose problems are causing them to grow will have _______remarks and positive attitudes. Our problems ought to draw us towards God. B) A desire to be with other believers. It’s nice to know that people are thinking about us and even praying over our problems. When Jesus first appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, who was missing? ________ John 20:24~ Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. (NIV) It is important to remember Jesus_______appeared to Thomas privately. The best place to find peace during the storms of life is among fellow believers. C) Faith that__________others.  As Christians, our lives are connected, because we are all one in Christ. (Gal. 3:28) 1 Corinthians 12:26~If one part suffers, every part suffers…(NIV) Take—A—Step:________________________________________________________________________________________________.

In His Presence

Did you know that God’s holiness is of supreme importance to Him? When we begin to draw near to God, we must first acknowledge His holiness. Leviticus 19:2~Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. (NIV) That is the purpose of the white fence. We enter and our first encounter is with a sacrifice at the brazen altar. Then we wash at the laver. God is speaking to all who come closer to the Tabernacle to be made holy. Now the frames, or boards, for the walls of the Tabernacle are acacia wood (26:15). God gives to Ole Mo the specifics in Exodus 26:16~Ten cubits shall be the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each frame. (ESV) You’ll remember a cubit was the distance of the middle finger to the elbow, 18 inches. Making the sides is 15 feet long and 27 inches wide. Exodus 26:18-19~You shall make the frames for the tabernacle: twenty frames for the south side; and forty bases of silver you shall make under the twenty frames, two bases under one frame…(ESV) In total, the Tabernacle is 30 cubits long and 10 cubits wide. For the math lovers a short pause, yes 45ft X 15ft.

The frames are held together with rings and crossbars. If we were to price this out it would have been the most expensive tent ever constructed. Exodus 26:29~You shall overlay the frames with gold and shall make their rings of gold for holders for the bars, and you shall overlay the bars with gold. (ESV) Why build the Tabernacle proper like this? Well, it’s a tent, a very costly and portable tent as its name implies. This makes for easy assembled and disassembled so that it can be moved. We must grasp that God wants to live in the midst. That is to say, the creator of all wants to go where you go, and to live next to you, or better said in you. Romans 8:10~But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. (NLT) Thus God says to us, draw closer.

The Tabernacle proper has two rooms, the first called the Holy Place and the second, innermost room is called the Holy of Holies. Exodus 26:33~And you shall hang the veil from the clasps, and bring the ark of the testimony in there within the veil. And the veil shall separate for you the Holy Place from the Most Holy. (ESV) While the top of the Tabernacle proper, the ceiling or tent roof—consists of two outer coverings, one of the tanned rams’ skins and one of goatskins. (26:14) Then, there are two inner coverings, the first is of goats’ hair, (26:7) and the innermost covering, or internal ceiling, is four colored and embroidered with cherubim, using the same colors found at the gate. 

Today, take some time to read and process what the Tabernacle proper looks like by reading Exodus 26. Moreover, ask the Lord to help you with the symbolism of His holy dwelling. Also, be sure to listen as the Holy Spirit responds. After all one of the things we want to cultivate in our quiet times is being a better listener. There is such a wonderful blessing in learning and understanding how God loves His people to worship Him.

The Great Blessing

It is through the Tabernacle that God renews the relationships He had with humanity before sin caused man’s fall. Genesis 3:8~Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD…(NIV) Sin broke Adam and Eve’s relationship with God. Not just their relationship but all of the subsequent generations afterward. Paul speaks to this brokenness in Romans 7:18~For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (NIV) Does anyone live in Paul’s town? Yeah.

In the Gospels, we read about God coming to earth in John 1:14~The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (MSG) The book of Revelation tells us that in a vision John sees the new heaven and new earth. The Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down from God. (Revelation 21:1-2) Revelation 21:3~And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle (σκηνή skēnē) of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God, Himself will be with them and be their God. (NKJ) (σκηνή skēnē) God’s dwelling.

In the wilderness Tabernacle, the Lord symbolically dwelt among His people. However, one day He will literally dwell forever among His people in all His majesty and glory in the original Tabernacle in heaven. Drawing Closer to God means we are learning to apply God’s word to our lives and conforming to the ways of Jesus. It means that we worship God and live in a way that is pleasing to Him as we seek to serve those the Lord places in our lives. 

Today, why not ask God who you can minister to and then take time to listen to the Lord as He responds. Take time to pray for them and what you might be asked by God to say or do for them. Then as you head out into the wide world around you, take note of when you see the individual and respond as God has directed you. As you are going about your day, it may be that the Lord lays them on your heart to call or reach to, know that in responding you are pleasing you heavenly Father and acting just like our Savior, Jesus. Take time to be a blessing today.