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Pastoral Care (Part 2 of 2)

1 Thessalonians 3:1–5
Program

When the apostle Paul was unable to return to Thessalonica, he sent Timothy in his place. So what did Timothy’s mission entail? Hear the answer on Truth For Life as Alistair Begg explains why every believer is called to participate in this same mission.

From the Sermon

Pastoral Care

1 Thessalonians 3:1–5 Sermon Includes Transcript 39:03 ID: 1786

Rejoicing With Others

Rejoicing With Others

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Shared joy is a great expression of sympathy. We typically use the word sympathy to describe a shared grief—but it applies to joy too.

We understand sympathy when we use it in a sentence, but the word itself can be difficult to define. So consider its opposite: apathy. If apathy is akin to saying, “I couldn’t care less,” sympathy is akin to saying, “I couldn’t care more.” Sympathy is an identification with the experience of another person.

Many of us find it natural to “weep with those who weep.” It is instinctive for us to enter into the disappointment and pain of those we love and to cry at the sight or thought of their sadness. This is a good thing, for to “bear one another’s burdens” is to “fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). To enter into the joy and success of others, however, is often the greater challenge because it requires us to work against the grain of the fallenness of our human nature, which is prone to resentment and bitterness. Instead of someone’s success serving as an occasion for us to bless God and thank Him, it so easily becomes an occasion for envy.

Most of us know how to avoid expressing envy. But there is a massive difference between not expressing envy and not feeling envy. We can modify our behavior enough to keep from showing it, but it requires spiritual transformation to get us to the point of not feeling it. This transformation begins with a right understanding of our identity as members of Christ’s body. Paul says that “we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5). To be in Christ means we are members of Him and of one another.

To put this another way: if we are in Christ, we are all on the same team. When we grasp this, it will be as natural for us to enter into another’s joy as it is for a soccer player to rejoice at their teammate’s game-winning goal in just the same way as if they had scored it themselves. As God’s people, we win and lose—we enjoy and we grieve—together.

God’s word calls you to “let love be genuine” (Romans 12:9)—and genuine, Christlike love conforms your feelings so that jealousy gives way to joy and apathy to true sympathy. Is there anyone who you are standing aloof from in some way, either in their joy or their sadness? Have you considered whom you could encourage today? There is almost certainly someone who needs you to reach out and let them know that you are with them, praying for them and there for them as they walk a deep valley. Likewise, there will be someone whose joy you can share, and you can simply let them know that you praise God for His favor on their life. Be someone of whom it can increasingly be said, “They couldn’t care more.” Ask the God of all compassion and comfort to work in you by His Spirit to mold you into that person today.

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?

What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Further Reading

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God of All Comfort

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.1 6If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

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Footnotes
1 1:5 Or For as the sufferings of Christ abound for us, so also our comfort abounds through Christ
Topics: Jealousy Joy Unity

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotionals by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, 2022, The Good Book Company.

Finding True Rest

Finding True Rest

But the dove found no place to set her foot.

Reader, can you find rest apart from the ark, Christ Jesus? Then consider that your religion may be in vain. Are you satisfied with anything short of a conscious knowledge of your union and interest in Christ? Then woe to you. If you profess to be a Christian while finding full satisfaction in worldly pleasures and pursuits, your profession is probably false. If your soul can stretch herself at rest and find the bed long enough and the blanket broad enough to cover it in the chambers of sin, then you are a hypocrite and far away from any proper thoughts of Christ or awareness of His preciousness.

But if, on the other hand, you feel that if you could indulge in sin without punishment, that would be a punishment itself, and that if you could have the whole world and live in it forever, it would be quite enough misery not to be separated from it, for your God—your God—is what your soul longs for, then be of good courage, you are a child of God. With all your sins and imperfections, take this for your comfort: If your soul has no rest in sin, you are not as the sinner is! If you are still crying after and craving after something better, Christ has not forgotten you, for you have not quite forgotten Him.

The believer cannot do without his Lord; words are inadequate to express his thoughts of Him. We cannot live on the sands of the wilderness—we want the manna that drops from heaven; the pitchers of self-confidence cannot produce for us a drop of moisture, but we drink of the rock that follows us, and that rock is Christ. When you feed on Him, your soul can sing, "He who satisfies me with good so that my youth is renewed like the eagle's";1 but if you don't have Him, your wine cellar and well-stocked pantry can give you no sort of satisfaction: Learn to lament over them in the words of wisdom, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!"

1) Psalm 103:5

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.

Daily Bible Reading for June 25

Deuteronomy 30, Psalm 119:73–96, Isaiah 57, Matthew 5

Repentance and Forgiveness

1“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, 2and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. 5And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. 7And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. 8And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. 9The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

The Choice of Life and Death

11“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

15“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God1 that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules,2 then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Open in Bible
Footnotes
1 30:16 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God
2 30:16 Or his just decrees

Yodh

73Your hands have made and fashioned me;

give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.

74Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,

because I have hoped in your word.

75I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,

and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

76Let your steadfast love comfort me

according to your promise to your servant.

77Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;

for your law is my delight.

78Let the insolent be put to shame,

because they have wronged me with falsehood;

as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.

79Let those who fear you turn to me,

that they may know your testimonies.

80May my heart be blameless in your statutes,

that I may not be put to shame!

Kaph

81My soul longs for your salvation;

I hope in your word.

82My eyes long for your promise;

I ask, “When will you comfort me?”

83For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,

yet I have not forgotten your statutes.

84How long must your servant endure?7

When will you judge those who persecute me?

85The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;

they do not live according to your law.

86All your commandments are sure;

they persecute me with falsehood; help me!

87They have almost made an end of me on earth,

but I have not forsaken your precepts.

88In your steadfast love give me life,

that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

Lamedh

89Forever, O Lord, your word

is firmly fixed in the heavens.

90Your faithfulness endures to all generations;

you have established the earth, and it stands fast.

91By your appointment they stand this day,

for all things are your servants.

92If your law had not been my delight,

I would have perished in my affliction.

93I will never forget your precepts,

for by them you have given me life.

94I am yours; save me,

for I have sought your precepts.

95The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,

but I consider your testimonies.

96I have seen a limit to all perfection,

but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

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Footnotes
7 119:84 Hebrew How many are the days of your servant?

Israel's Futile Idolatry

1The righteous man perishes,

and no one lays it to heart;

devout men are taken away,

while no one understands.

For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;

2he enters into peace;

they rest in their beds

who walk in their uprightness.

3But you, draw near,

sons of the sorceress,

offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman.

4Whom are you mocking?

Against whom do you open your mouth wide

and stick out your tongue?

Are you not children of transgression,

the offspring of deceit,

5you who burn with lust among the oaks,1

under every green tree,

who slaughter your children in the valleys,

under the clefts of the rocks?

6Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;

they, they, are your lot;

to them you have poured out a drink offering,

you have brought a grain offering.

Shall I relent for these things?

7On a high and lofty mountain

you have set your bed,

and there you went up to offer sacrifice.

8Behind the door and the doorpost

you have set up your memorial;

for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,

you have gone up to it,

you have made it wide;

and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,

you have loved their bed,

you have looked on nakedness.2

9You journeyed to the king with oil

and multiplied your perfumes;

you sent your envoys far off,

and sent down even to Sheol.

10You were wearied with the length of your way,

but you did not say, “It is hopeless”;

you found new life for your strength,

and so you were not faint.3

11Whom did you dread and fear,

so that you lied,

and did not remember me,

did not lay it to heart?

Have I not held my peace, even for a long time,

and you do not fear me?

12I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,

but they will not profit you.

13When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!

The wind will carry them all off,

a breath will take them away.

But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land

and shall inherit my holy mountain.

Comfort for the Contrite

14And it shall be said,

“Build up, build up, prepare the way,

remove every obstruction from my people's way.”

15For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,

who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

“I dwell in the high and holy place,

and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,

to revive the spirit of the lowly,

and to revive the heart of the contrite.

16For I will not contend forever,

nor will I always be angry;

for the spirit would grow faint before me,

and the breath of life that I made.

17Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,

I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,

but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.

18I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;

I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,

19creating the fruit of the lips.

Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord,

“and I will heal him.

20But the wicked are like the tossing sea;

for it cannot be quiet,

and its waters toss up mire and dirt.

21There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

Open in Bible
Footnotes
1 57:5 Or among the terebinths
2 57:8 Or on a monument (see 56:5); Hebrew on a hand
3 57:10 Hebrew and so you were not sick

The Sermon on the Mount

1Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

2And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons1 of God.

10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that2 they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Anger

21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother3 will be liable to judgment; whoever insults4 his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell5 of fire. 23So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.6

Lust

27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Divorce

31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths

33“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.7

Retaliation

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,8 let him have your cloak as well. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Love Your Enemies

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers,9 what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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Footnotes
1 5:9 Greek huioi; see Preface
2 5:16 Or house. 16Let your light so shine before others that
3 5:22 Some manuscripts insert without cause
4 5:22 Greek says Raca to (a term of abuse)
5 5:22 Greek Gehenna; also verses 29, 30
6 5:26 Greek kodrantes, Roman copper coin (Latin quadrans) worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day's wage for a laborer)
7 5:37 Or the evil one
8 5:40 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin
9 5:47 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters
Today’s Bible Reading material is taken from McCheyne Bible reading plan and used by Truth For Life with permission. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

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