A recent survey by Arizona Christian University found that most American adults believe a gospel of works, that is, they don’t believe the true gospel at all. About 48 percent think that if they are generally good or do enough good things during their life they will be accepted into heaven. Shockingly, 52 percent of self-described American Christians say the same.
Having shared his prayers for the Thessalonians, Paul went on to share two prayer requests of his own. His first was for the speedy spread of the true gospel (v. 1): Our salvation depends entirely on Christ’s work of redemption, not on any merit of our own. His request demonstrates an instructive posture of humility: Even a veteran church planting team needs prayer, and even a young church can meet this need. Any believer can and should pray for any other believer, regardless of age, social status, experience, or maturity.
His second prayer request was for protection for himself and his fellow missionaries from wicked men (v. 2). He was likely thinking of those who had originally stirred up trouble for him in Thessalonica and Berea (Acts 17:5–14), as well as those who were attacking him in Corinth at about this same time (Acts 18:12–13).
Paul was confident that these prayer requests would be granted because of God’s faithfulness (v. 3). In fact, God had just given him a special promise of protection regarding the situation in Corinth (Acts 18:9–10). The Thessalonians, too, would be protected by Him from the “evil one” (Satan).
The appropriate response to God’s faithfulness is our obedience (vv. 4–5). In that sense, Paul was also confident that the Thessalonians would stand firm and hold onto his teaching, establishing their hearts in Christ’s perseverance and God’s love.
>> Does your church support home and overseas missionaries? Why not pray for these men and women by name today? There may even be a map and pictures in your church lobby.
Today we remember the missionaries we support, and we pray for their physical and spiritual protection. May the enemy’s every plan be disrupted so that the gospel may spread unhindered.