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                "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS"

                             Chapter Three

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER

1) To see the very real danger of being tempted, and the need to stand
   fast in the Lord

2) To appreciate how our own steadfastness can be a source of joy and
   strength to those who taught us in the faith

3) To understand the need to increase and abound in love, in order to
   establish our hearts blameless before God when Christ returns

SUMMARY

As Paul expresses his concern for their faithfulness, he explains why
Timothy had been sent to them while he himself remained in Athens.  
Fearful that their afflictions might have given Satan an opportunity to
tempt them and render his labors with them in vain, Timothy was sent to
establish and encourage them in their faith (1-5).

Timothy brought back good news to Paul concerning the church at 
Thessalonica, telling him of their faith and love, their fond memories 
of Paul, and their desire to see him again.  This greatly comforted 
Paul who was suffering his own afflictions, and he is overwhelmed with
thankfulness and joy.  Praying night and day that he might see them 
again and perfect what is lacking in their faith, he offers a prayer 
that God and Jesus might direct his way to them.  He also prays that 
the Lord will help them to increase and abound in love to one another 
and to all, and to establish their hearts blameless in holiness before
God at the coming of Christ with all His saints (6-13).

OUTLINE

I. PAUL'S CONCERN FOR THEIR FAITHFULNESS (1-10)

   A. TIMOTHY'S MISSION (1-5)
      1. When he could endure it no longer, Paul remained in Athens
         alone (1)
      2. He sent Timothy...
         a. To establish and encourage them in the faith (2)
         b. That they not be shaken by their afflictions (3a)
            1) To which they had been appointed (3b)
            2) As Paul told them before (4)
         c. To know of their faith...
            1) Whether they had been tempted (5a)
            2) Whether his labor might be in vain (5b)

   B. TIMOTHY'S REPORT (6-10)
      1. Timothy's return brought good news...
         a. Of their faith and love (6a)
         b. Of their fond memories of Paul (6b)
         c. Of their desire to see him, just as he desires to see them
            (6c)
      2. Such news brought comfort to Paul in his affliction (7-8)
         a. He was comforted, knowing of their faith (7)
         b. He felt alive, knowing of their steadfastness in the Lord
            (8)
      3. He is thankful beyond words (9-10)
         a. Thankful to God for them, for the joy they bring to him (9)
         b. Praying night and day that he may soon see them and perfect
            what is lacking in their faith (10)

II. PAUL'S CONCERN FOR THEIR CONTINUED GROWTH (11-13)

   A. HIS PRAYER FOR HIMSELF (11)
      1. A request made to both God the Father, and the Lord Jesus 
         Christ (11a)
      2. That he may come to the Thessalonians again (11b)

   B. HIS PRAYER FOR THEM (12-13)
      1. That the Lord make them increase and abound in love...
         a. To one another and to all (12a)
         b. Just as Paul does toward them (12b)
      2. So that the Lord might establish their hearts blameless in 
         holiness...
         a. Before our God and Father (13a)
         b. At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints
            (13b)

REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER

1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Paul's concern for their faithfulness (1-10)
   - Paul's concern for their continued growth (11-13)

2) Where did Paul stay when he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica? (1)
   - Athens

3) Why did Paul send Timothy? (2)
   - To establish them and encourage them in their faith

4) What was Paul fearful of that might have shaken their faith? (3)
   - Their afflictions

5) What two reasons are given for Paul sending Timothy to learn of
   their faith? (5)
   - Lest by some means the tempter had tempted them
   - Lest Paul's labor might have been in vain

6) What good news had Timothy brought back to Paul? (6)
   - Of their faith and love
   - Of their fond memories of Paul
   - Of their desire to see him again

7) How did this news affect Paul? (7-9)
   - Brought him comfort in his affliction and distress
   - Made him feel alive
   - Overwhelmed him with thankfulness and joy

8) For what did Paul pray night and day? (10)
   - To see their face and perfect what was lacking in their faith

9) For what did Paul pray concerning himself? (11)
   - That God and Jesus direct his way to the Thessalonians

10) For what did Paul pray concerning the Thessalonians? (12-13)
   - That they increase and abound in love toward one another and to
     all
   - That their hearts be established blameless in holiness before God
     at the coming of Christ with all His saints
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