Pastoral Care
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Pastoral Care

Grieved by a prolonged separation from the church at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul sent a representative to them. As Alistair Begg explores the motive and mission of this man, Timothy, we gain an important insight into what pastoral care means. Biblical evangelism involves a process of strengthening and encouragement. We must be willing to exercise both with great affection in the places we are called to serve.

Series Containing This Sermon

A Study in 1 Thessalonians, Volume 1

Belief and Behavior 1 Thessalonians 1:1–3:13 Series ID: 15201

Sermon Transcript: Print

Well then, let me encourage you to turn back to the portion that we read here in 1 Thessalonians as we return to these studies.

Now, the focus here as we have been looking together at these verses—actually, since the beginning of chapter 2—has been on the nature of Christian ministry. And in this particular section—indeed, right up until the end of chapter 3—we have a very wonderful example of how pastoral ministry should take place. The question is often asked: How should pastors treat their people, and how should people respond to those who are in pastoral ministry? And if we’re in any doubt, Paul gives us a wonderful statement here of how pastors are to serve both the gospel, which they proclaim, and the church, which is the context in which those who have come to respond to the gospel are then discipled and built up in their faith. And Paul makes it very clear that pastors are going to have to be committed to the Word of God and committed equally to the people of God. They are going to have to effect some kind of reasonable balance between the expressions of truth and the expressions of love.

The context of the letter is that Paul has received news of the Thessalonians as a result of Timothy’s visit. You can see that in the sixth verse. We didn’t read it, but it’s there: “Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought [us] good news about your faith and [your] love.”[1] I’m looking forward to getting to those verses. That’s next time.

But for this evening, we noticed that Paul has been accused of various acts of insincerity. He’s been accused, along with his colleagues, of having ulterior motives in ministry. And that’s why in 2:2–6, he addresses those issues. Also, as we saw last time, Paul and his colleagues were being criticized for their failure in not showing up, once again, in Thessalonica. Somehow or another, the people were saying, “Oh, they just came into town, they made a big splash, we scared them off, and they’re so afraid, they’re never coming back again.” And from 2:17, Paul has begun to respond to that accusation.

And as we pick it up again here at 3:1, we discover that he is still addressing the same issue. And these five verses, which we read and which we now consider, provide for us a wonderful example of pastoral care. And I think I put something of an outline in your bulletin, if you have one this evening.

One character stands out to the fore in these events that are described, and that is this man Timothy. Who was he? What caused Paul to send him? What was the effect of the news he brought back? These are the kind of issues that would come to mind as we look at the text and we try to come to an understanding of it. And I’ve endeavored to summarize it under these three words: the motive, the man, and the mission. So, let me trace a line through them with you, aided, as I say, by the outline that you have before you.

The Motive

The phrase which opens the chapter and then recurs again in verse 5 conveys the intensity of Paul’s concern: “when [we] could stand it no longer.” There’s something about that phrase, just the saying of the phrase. It has a forcefulness, just the way you say it: “I can’t stand it any longer!” And when you read that—and he says it again in verse 5, identifying himself peculiarly in that condition—you begin to understand what is the driving motive of his concern for the Thessalonians.

And I outlined it, first of all, in terms of unbearable suspense. There is in Paul’s heart a tremendous frustration. He says in 2:18, “We wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again”—“I wanted to come to you”—“but Satan stopped us.”[2] In verse 17, he speaks of his “intense longing” and of making “every effort to [come and] see you.”[3] They were frustrated by the fact that they couldn’t get back to Thessalonica, and their frustration was compounded by the fact that there was no news coming from Thessalonica. It’s one thing to be separated from your loved ones by a vast distance and over a period of time, so long as there is information filtering in. But when you’re a long way away for a long period of time, getting no news at all, you will be filled, if there is any love relationship there, with simply an intense longing.

If I might be forgiven a personal illustration of this, I was sharing it at our pastoral staff team meeting on Thursday. I was saying in illustration of this fact that when I wrote to Sue across the Atlantic Ocean for some four years, trying to make sure that no big, strong, muscular, short-haired American was able to secure her affections, that I would write all these letters, and she would never write back—well, not as frequently as I would have liked. And there would be these periods of time, hours and hours, when I wouldn’t hear from her. And eventually, it would just get to an unbearable pitch, and I would look at my meager resources, and I would see if there was a way that I could muster up a telephone call. And I would go and make a telephone call, often in the middle of the night, just to hear her voice, just to know she was there, and just to ensure that all is well. And we can all identify with that to some degree or another. Separated from those whom we love by distance and by time, lacking in immediate news, the only right response is unbearable suspense.

Also, genuine affection. His desire to know about them was more than matched by his love for them. He didn’t just want to know about them to know about them; he wanted to know about them because he loved them. And last time, we noted that they were to him, he said, his joy and his crown and his glory.[4] When he opened the letter, he was able to say to them, “I’m so glad that I can speak to you or write to you concerning your faith, which is an active faith; concerning your love, which is a laboring and strong and intense love; concerning your hope, which produces endurance in your lives.”[5] That’s in the opening two or three verses of the first chapter. His absence from them was on account of having been “torn away,” he says in 2:17. Their desire to be reunited was intense, and his action that he took in sending Timothy was motivated by love.

William Barclay, the New Testament commentator, writes of Thomas Carlyle, who on one occasion said of London, “There are three and a half million people in [the] city [of London]—mostly fools!”[6] Not exactly what you would call high praise. Not the kind of thing that would get you invited to the prayer breakfast, the mayor’s prayer breakfast, so that you could speak to the city of London. No man who feels that way about a majority of men will ever have an impact for good upon them. Barclay immediately follows the statement by saying, “The man who begins by despising men or … disliking them can never go on to save [them].”[7] And when we look at the heart of the apostle as we have it pulled back for us here, and he begins to explain something of his motivation, we realize that he is driven by unbearable suspense, by genuine affection, and also by pressing need.

When a parent has trained a child with love and with sacrifice and with affection, the parent is always concerned, always anxious to learn how the child is coping with the challenges and changes of life that is presented to it. Watch the events as a group of parents gather around some event where they have a number of their children involved. Watch as they all produce their video cameras, and find no surprise in realizing that everybody trains their video camera on the focus of their peculiar interest. It is a very magnanimous person who uses the wide-angled lens and includes the whole orchestra. I must confess, there’s about one second of that in mine, and then it narrows down, and it narrows down. And I think you may be the same way.

Watch the swimming coach, having prepared his team, stand at the side of the pool as the gun is fired and his athletes begin. Watch his gaze. Watch his eyes. He swims every stroke with them, takes every breath with them. He has given himself to them, and he longs now to know just how they’re doing. It is not a matter of superficial concern; it is a matter of pressing need. He needs to know, and he needs to take action.

Well, that’s something of the motive.

The Man

What, then, of the man who is sent? “Brothers, when we were torn away from you, our intense longing was to see you.”[8] “When we could stand it no longer, we decided we would rather be lonely in Athens and give up Timothy than have the privilege of Timothy and have no news of you. So,” he says, “we sent Timothy.” Since Paul himself could not go (that’s what we’re told), the best plan seemed—and you’ll notice the little phrase there, “We thought it best”; we’ll come to that at the end, if we have time—the best plan seemed to be to send Timothy.

When God looks down for people to use, he doesn’t look for the brightest and the best and the most obvious.

This was a significant sacrifice on the part of Paul, who probably was actually on his own by this time. Because when he’d previously been in Athens, he hadn’t had a very wonderful time. In fact, in Acts 17:16, we’re told by Luke that “while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.” There was almost a sense of oppression on the spirit of Paul in his previous experience here. “And yet,” he says, “we decided that we would rather be alone again in Athens and experience all that sense of emptiness and loneliness so that we could find out about you. And so we decided it was best to dispatch Timothy.”

Timothy. Timothy, the boy. Timothy, the one who has to be told, “Let no one despise your youth, Timothy.”[9] Timothy, who was propelled into a position of usefulness beyond his natural chronological age. Timothy, who was naturally timid, of whom Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16, “When Timothy comes, put him at his ease, because he’s not the kind of young fellow that is able to go into a group and immediately take charge.”[10] Timothy: comparatively young, naturally timid, physically frail. You remember he says to him, “Timothy, take a wee drop of wine for your tummy’s sake. I hear that you keep getting a bad stomach, son. You better take some medicinal approach to that.”[11]

I love Timothy. I love the encouragement that he is. I love the fact—don’t you?—that when God looks down for people to use, he doesn’t look for the brightest and the best and the most obvious. He hasn’t chosen to use people simply because they are naturally talented. Indeed, there is many ways in which Timothy was classically unqualified for the position that he was given, and yet God had purposed that Timothy would be his man. And Paul understood that.

What a wonderful description he gives of Timothy. How it must have encouraged Timothy to discover that he was described in this way. Because the way we’re described by those whom we love and who love us means a lot to us, whether we say it or not. Oh, lots of people say lots of things about us that we can allow to run like water off a duck’s back. Some will be accolade. Some will be criticism. We pay attention to a wee bit of it, but it doesn’t worry us unduly. But to the people to whom we look, those who are over us in the Lord, we need to know what they’re saying of us. We need to know their guidance and council for us. We all need a Paul in our lives, and we all ought to be looking out for a Timothy. “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker.”

It’s not easy being the second guy. That was Timothy. They tell me that the second place in the orchestra is a hard spot to fill. Second fiddle is not the one that most people choose to play. Most would like their hands on the first fiddle. And if you’ve ever had the privilege of playing second fiddle, you’ll know that it is a challenge. Because there will be people come to you and say, “You know, you could play that fiddle better than him or better than her” and appeal to your ego. But you need to play your part just the way the score is written. And also, when you play and when you minister in that second place, there will be people who say to you, “What in the world are you doing here? We thought the proper fellow was going to come.”

If you ever read James Herriot’s books… And incidentally, some of you will know he recently just passed away, the writer of the Herriot books, Wight. And if you read those books, you will discover that as a young vet, many of his most humorous experiences emerged from the fact that when he showed up on the farms, the crusty old Yorkshire farmer said, “Hey, lad, what you doing here? We wanted a proper vet. We don’t want you!” And he said, “Well, I’m the only one you’ve got.” They said, “Yeah, but we wanted the right guy. We don’t want some novice coming here.”

Let me tell you something: God’s men and women are put in position as he intends. And it’s not for us to pick and choose who ministers to us. When it seems best to send Timothy, then let Timothy be sent—and all the Timothys like him.

Now, I know what this feels like, ʼcause I’ve been there. I’ll never forget the situation of going to make a hospital visit at the age of twenty-three in Edinburgh, Scotland. I went to visit a man—indeed, a wife of a man. The man was the professor of cardiac surgery at Glasgow University, Philip Caves. His wife had just had their third child, I think it was, and had had her gall bladder removed, and she was in the Western Infirmary in Edinburgh. And my boss, Derek Prime, suggested that I should go along and see her. It was one of my very first visits at Charlotte Chapel.

And I remember going along and going in and sitting down on the edge of her bed. She was half-asleep, and she woke up to find this kid sitting on the end of her bed. And I’ll never forget her response: she said, “Who are you, and what are you doing here?” And I drew myself up to my full height, and I said, “I’m the assistant to the pastor at the thing.” She was singularly unimpressed by it all.

“We thought it’d be best to send Timothy.”

Are you prepared to play second fiddle all of your life, if that’s the place God has for you? Do you know how many people are disgruntled in ministry because they don’t have the first chair? And do you know how tough it is in the first chair?

“We thought it best to send Timothy, our brother.” “Our brother.” One of the favorite designations of Paul in this letter. The man is Timothy. Who is he? He’s the brother. If you look quickly, you will see that the word brother comes in chapter 1 in verse 4; in chapter 2 in verse 1, 14, and 17 (I told you, you’d have to look quickly); in chapter 3 in verses 2 and 7; in chapter 4 in verses 1, 9, and 13; in chapter 5 in verses 1, 4, 12, 14, 25, 26, and 27. You think brother’s an important word for Paul in this? It really is! And as I said to you before, it might equally read “brothers and sisters.”

And he says, “Listen, Timothy is our brother.” This is the thing that marks him out. This is the wonderful thing! He doesn’t say, “Timothy, my understudy.” He doesn’t say, “Timothy, my lackey.” He doesn’t say, “Timothy, my junior.” He says, “Timothy, our brother.” For the ground is flat at the cross and in the ministry of the Lord Jesus. That’s the real thing about us: that we’re all brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are members of the family. We haven’t joined a society. We haven’t become members of a club. We’ve been made members of God’s family. And God has no grandchildren, and he has no stepchildren.

And people say to me from time to time, “Well, what does it mean that the church is a family?” I say, “Well, that’s part of the pilgrimage of being a family: discovering what it means.” What is a family? What is your family? What is it today, and what will it be tomorrow? Different tomorrow from what it is today. A family with tiny ones is different with a family with teenagers, and a family with grown children and grandchildren is different. And every church family has configurations. We will, as we come to chapter 4, discover that there are certain hallmarks that ought to be there in every church family. But the Parkside family should do well just to remember that we are family, and we’re brothers, and we’re sisters.

Timothy: “brother,” “fellow worker.” Whose “fellow worker”? He doesn’t say “my fellow worker”; he says “God’s fellow worker.”

You know, it would be a great encouragement to Timothy if it had simply read “my fellow worker.” I recall the first time that the gentleman that I mentioned this morning, from whom I quoted, the Reverend J. R. G. Graham, took me into the bookstore of his church in suburban London, and he said to me, “Alistair, you can choose three or four books for yourself. I’d like them to be a gift to you.” And so, I was in there for some time, and I took these books, and then I asked him if he would write in them for me. And he wrote in each one with care. And he wrote a different designation, a different inscription, in each one. And I remember gathering them up and not looking at them, saving it to see what he would have said in there. And the one which brought tears to my eyes was the one that said, “To my fellow servant in the Lord Jesus Christ.” I remember driving home, saying, “I couldn’t be his fellow servant. I could be his servant.” And I was awestruck by the fact that he would include me in ministry in that way. But it’s not simply that. Paul says he is God’s fellow servant. What an amazing and wonderful statement!

The particular sphere of service in which Timothy was to operate, you will notice, was “in spreading the gospel of Christ”: “who is our brother,” verse 2, “and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ.”

Actually, the word which is used here for “servant” is the word for a table waiter. And some of you have had the joyful privilege of being a waiter in a restaurant, and that’ll shape you up. You take all of that nonsense from everybody and have to say, “Yes, definitely. Oh, couldn’t agree more. Certainly. No, far too rare. No, far too tough. No, far too cold. No, far too hot.” You have to eat it, eat it, eat it all the time—if you want a tip, that is. If you want to get fired, you can just say what you like. But if you’re going to be a genuine table waiter, then it’s a spirit of genuine service. And that is exactly what was happening here. Timothy was preparing the meals, as it were, and bringing them out onto the table, declaring, spreading out, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are discouraged tonight, believer, and you’ve been thinking to yourself, “You know, I don’t know that I’m making much of a contribution, I don’t know that I have much of a part to play,” let this man be an encouragement to you. Timothy: comparatively young, physically frail, naturally timid, but a brother in the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s fellow servant.

It’s interesting that Paul actually uses that same phrase in 1 Corinthians 3, where he speaks of the fact of Paul and Apollos and Peter, and he says, “For we are God’s fellow workers.”[12]

The Mission

And then the third word on your outline, and the final word, is the mission that he was given. The motive, the man, and the mission.

First of all, his mission was essentially to investigate. You’ll notice he says in verse 5, “I sent to find out about your faith.” And particularly, he was concerned, at the end of verse 5, to make sure that the Evil One had not cut in on them and tempted them and thus rendered their efforts—and the word which is used there for “efforts,” the word kópos, it means “wearisome toil”—all the endeavors, all the investment that they’d put into the issues of the gospel there in Thessalonica, that that wearisome toil would not have amounted to nothing. “I was afraid,” he says, “that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.”

While your Bible’s open, you look across to 1:4 and you read, “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.”[13] Oh, well, here he’s very confident in 1:4! “We know that he has chosen you.” Here, by the time he gets to 3:5, apparently he’s worried that they may have amounted to nothing and that their faith has actually proved to be groundless and that their efforts have proved absolutely useless.

Well, that raises a question in my mind: Is this then suggesting that those whom God has chosen can in the end be eternally lost? Is that what is being taught here? Absolutely not! Timing, as they say, is everything. As soon as you understand the sequence of events, it all falls into place.

Think about it. Paul and his companions had evangelized Thessalonica. Having engaged in evangelism there, they’re then forced to leave. While they were there evangelizing, a number of people in Thessalonica had appeared to accept the gospel. They had appeared to profess faith in Jesus Christ. They had appeared to become believers. But given that they had to go away, they had the thought in the back of their minds, “I wonder if their response was genuine faith, or was it just some kind of emotional reaction?” And then, having been separated from them, in their absence, the missionaries find themselves wondering about this—wondering about what persecution will have done to them, wondering whether the persecution will have revealed the genuine character of their faith, whether they have understood that persecution is part of God’s plan for those who are his children or where, as soon as the heat of the battle is picked up, they’ve turned around and they’ve said, “No, no, no, no. We want nothing of that Jesus. It’s far too hard, and we don’t want to follow him.” So they would be wondering that.

And while they’re wondering that, they send Timothy to find out exactly what’s going on. And when Timothy comes back, he comes back with a glowing report, in verse 6: “Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought [us] good news about your faith and [about your] love.”[14] And so Paul, then, thoroughly convinced that their acceptance of the gospel has been a genuine work of the Spirit and not merely something outward, sits down to write this letter to them. So it’s a little bit of past tense. He says, “The reason that we did this: because we were concerned. As soon as we sent Timothy and he came back with the report, we realized that our concerns we ungrounded.”

Well then, Timothy was not only to investigate, but he was also to strengthen: “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen.” “Strengthen.” When you read in the Acts of the Apostles, after the missionary journeys of Paul, you find this word comes with frequency. For example, in Acts 14:22: “They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.”[15]

The word stērixai was a technical term for the consolidation and building up of things—and in this case, the building up of converts. And here Paul makes something very clear: that evangelism that is not then followed carefully and effectively by some process of strengthening and encouraging is an evangelism which has no foundation in biblical example. There is no encouragement given to us in the New Testament to simply, as it were, go flying around the universe just proclaiming, proclaiming, without any notion of how those who profess faith in Jesus Christ may be strengthened, may not collapse, may be prevented from toppling.

And as he strengthens, so he is to “encourage you,” verse 2, “in your faith.” The word which is used there for “encourage” literally means “to call to the side of.” It is the word that is used for a defense attorney in a lawsuit, one who is called alongside to help. The Greek word is parakaleō, from which we get the noun Paraclete, which is one of the designations of the Holy Spirit himself. And it is said in the New Testament that the Holy Spirit is our Paraclete. He is the one who comes alongside. He comes to dwell with us, to strengthen, and to encourage.

Evangelism that is not then followed carefully and effectively by some process of strengthening and encouraging is an evangelism which has no foundation in biblical example.

Interestingly, if you have the King James Version, the word which is used there is the word “comfort,” “to comfort.”[16] But that actually needs to be understood in terms of its Latin derivation. Because comfort comes from the two words in Latin con fortis. And it doesn’t mean a gentle soothing. It means a fitting for battle. And there is in the Bayeux… Is it the Bayeux Tapestry? I think it is. There is a classic picture there—it’s a random thought that just came to mind—there is a classic picture there of a soldier who is on horseback, and he has his sword, and he’s taking his sword, and he is gently sticking it in the rear ends of the soldiers who are in front of him. And in the inscription in the tapestry below, it says, “The captain comforts his troops.” And it is, you see, from the Latin. It doesn’t mean that he sang them, “Oh, have a happy evening.” No! It was that he mobilized them for action.

And some of us want simply to be comforted as per some kind of soothing songs: “Oh, comfort me, would you?” And most of us, what we need is to be prodded and prepared and established for battle. Most miserable Christians that I have ever met, running here and there looking for comfort, would do better to take front place in the enemy ranks and, having been strengthened and encouraged, take their place in the front line of battle.

Why, then, did we send him? What was the mission? Well, the mission was to investigate, to strengthen, and to stabilize. Verse 3: “so that no one would be unsettled by these trials.” One of the best ways to help people not to be unsettled by trials is to prepare them for the trials that are about to potentially unsettle them. That’s why when I’m flying, I always like it when the guy up front, having seen the radar screen, announces what we might expect. It helps you in the experience of it to know that he knew it was coming. I don’t like it the other way around, particularly. I don’t like that long, long silence.

In the same way, when you go to the dentist, the good dentist, in my estimation, says to you, “Now, there’s going to be a wee bit of this, and a wee bit of that, and a wee bit of the next thing coming up in the next few seconds.” Now, that covers a multitude of sins, but it’s good just to know it’s coming. I don’t like that “Ow! What was that?” “Oh, I’m sorry. I should have told you. Yes. Oh, yes, that usually happens.” One of the best ways to prevent people from being unsettled by their trials is to let them know that there are trials that are going to come. That’s why Jesus said, “In the world [you will] have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”[17] In the country-western song:

I beg your pardon,
I never promised you a rose garden;
Along with the sunshine
There’s gotta be a little rain some time[s].[18]

And that, you see, was part of the mission of Timothy: to go to the Thessalonicans and let them know, “Listen, loved ones: when it becomes dreadfully difficult, when it seems as though your faith is almost crushed out of you, it’s all in the Father’s plan.” Timothy might have taken his Pentateuch, his Old Testament, he may have gone to the very end of the book of Genesis, and he may have told them the story of Joseph—how as a teenager he was thrown into the pit, and how his brothers just stopped short of killing him, and how he went through all of that pain and agony of separation, and how at the end of it all he looks his brothers in the face and he says to them, “You intended [this for evil], but God intended it for good.”[19] And some of us tonight are in the midst of trials and in the midst of difficulties, and we need someone like a Timothy to come alongside us to strengthen, to encourage, and to stabilize.

Final Notes

Our time is gone. I put those four little notes at the bottom of the page, those of you who have the page in front of you—just something for your further investigation. You’ll note the place of sensible decision-making. I like the practicality of verse 1: “we thought it best.” Beware of people who are always explaining their Christian lives in terms of, you know, the great movements of the universe and great words from the heavens. In the vast majority of cases, God anticipates that having given us the ability of a rational mind, we would do what seems best.

Note also the fact of persecution. Note also the reality of Satan. Satan is the slanderer, our adversary, the god of this world,[20] the prince of the power of the air.[21] He tempts us to sin, and then he accuses us of sin. Dirty rascal. Isn’t that it? He tempts us to the action, and then he comes and says, “How in the world could you ever do this?” In through the back of our minds he sows a dirty thought, and then he knocks on the front door, and he says, “And how did you ever think that thought?” And we need to learn to tell him that he should go back to the place that has been prepared for him.

And finally, notice the place of pastoral care. God has purposed that we would be put together in families and in local churches, and God has purposed that he would give the privilege to some of watching and warning and leading and feeding. Those are the elders in the church. Some receive support financially so that we might give ourselves to the study of the Scriptures and the edifying of the people. Others serve as elders in our church, prepared and supported as a means of their own endeavors. But the distinction is a marginal distinction in the sight of God and in the purposes of God. And myself excepted from the thought, I trust, loved ones, that we pray for our leaders and for our elders and we thank God daily for the privilege of being nurtured and cared for as a result of a genuine commitment to pastoral care.

Let’s just pause for a moment and pray:

Father God, I do pray that your Word will take root in our lives tonight. Encourage those of us who are weary and disappointed, those of us who think we’ll never make a contribution because we’re too young and too timid and too frail. Thank you that you put your treasure in old clay pots so that the power might be seen to belong to God, not to us.[22] Teach us, Lord, how to play the role that Timothy played. Teach us how to face persecution. Teach us how to care for one another as brothers and sisters. For Jesus’ sake we ask it. Amen.

[1] 1 Thessalonians 3:6 (NIV 1984).

[2] 1 Thessalonians 2:18 (NIV 1984).

[3] 1 Thessalonians 2:17 (NIV 1984).

[4] See 1 Thessalonians 2:20.

[5] 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (paraphrased).

[6] Thomas Carlyle, quoted in William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1959), 226.

[7] Barclay, 226.

[8] 1 Thessalonians 2:17 (paraphrased).

[9] 1 Timothy 4:12 (paraphrased).

[10] 1 Corinthians 16:10 (paraphrased).

[11] 1 Timothy 5:23 (paraphrased).

[12] 1 Corinthians 3:9 (NIV 1984).

[13] 1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NIV 1984).

[14] 1 Thessalonians 3:6 (NIV 1984).

[15] Acts 14:21–22 (NIV 1984).

[16] 1 Thessalonians 3:2 (KJV).

[17] John 16:33 (KJV).

[18] Joe South, “Rose Garden” (1967).

[19] Genesis 50:20 (NIV 1984).

[20] See 2 Corinthians 4:4.

[21] See Ephesians 2:2.

[22] See 2 Corinthians 4:7.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.