I am teaching II Thessalonians this semester for my Monday night study. We met last week and began to do the overview lesson. During the lesson, we wrote down what we learned about Paul from II Thessalonians. In fact, we wrote down what Paul reveals about himself in II Thessalonians. One of the things that we noticed was the importance of communication and how Paul was a master at communicating.
I. Paul worked as a team
This is an important aspect of ministry. God always wants us to be part of a team when we seek to make disciples. Paul is working together with Silvanus and Timothy. They are investing the Word of God into the lives of others. In order for a team to function properly, there has to be proper communication. There is a clear order of command. Paul is the leader and Silvanus and Timothy are the helpers. Commands are given and orders are followed. Paul did his part while Silvanus and Timothy did their part. When Paul could no longer minister, Silvanus and Timothy stepped in and continued what was begun. Are you part of a team where you have to communicate? How are you doing with your communicating? Are you able to follow orders? Are you able to be led? Are you working with the rest of the team to invest the Word into the lives of others?
II. Paul expressed his feelings
As we were studying II Thessalonians, we discovered that Paul was intentional about sharing his feelings with others. Paul put forth great effort to reach out to the Thessalonians and communicate with them. Paul’s communication was a great encouragement to them. In II Thessalonians 1:3, Paul shares with the Thessalonians the fact that he is very grateful for them and their walk with the Lord. He tells them that he thanks God for them constantly and he is very specific about the things that he is thankful for in them. Paul recalls their growing faith and because of their growing faith, their love has also grown. Who would not be encouraged to hear such words from a beloved mentor and teacher? It is not enough just to think these thoughts; we need to share them with others for their own edification. Paul is not just blowing smoke at them; they really have grown in their faith and love. He wants them to continue to grow. Are you sharing your positive feelings towards those whom you love and are investing the Gospel in?
III. Paul speaks highly of his disciples to others
How do you talk about people to other people reveals your true feelings. Many times, we are encouraging to people when we are face to face with them but, as soon as they are gone, we end up talking bad about them to others. This is wrong but it is a reality. Paul speaks very highly of the Thessalonians when he discusses them with other believers. He writes to the Thessalonians and let’s them know this. This is another sign of healthy communication. Paul actually uses the Thessalonians as a positive example. He shares with the other believers about the Thessalonians’ faith and perseverance in the midst of heavy persecution. They are an example of endurance in the midst of the storms of life. Do you speak highly of people to others? How do you treat people when they are not around to defend themselves? This reveals a lot about your communication.
IV. Paul constantly prays for the Thessalonians
Paul is specific in his prayers, praising God and praying for their spiritual lives. He lets the Thessalonians know that he is praying for them and the specific things that he prays. First of all, Paul is thankful for their salvation, that God began it, is continuing it, and will complete it one day. Paul also prays for their sanctification, their process of becoming more and more like Christ in their daily lives. Again, Paul communicates these truths and prayers with the Thessalonians to encourage them and to motivate them to continue on this path that they have begun. Finally, Paul prays for their faith. He is thankful for their faith and he desires that it will continue to grow. Do you have disciples that you pray for constantly? Do you communicate this fact with them often? Do you seek to encourage spiritual growth in their lives?
May the Lord help us learn to communicate the way that Paul learned how to communicate as we seek to make disciples by investing the Word of God in the lives of the people within our sphere of influence!