Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 3, Daniel 7, Psalm 114-115, 2 Thessalonians 3.
“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
How does something like the word of the Lord actually “speed ahead”?
What does it mean for God’s Word to be “honored”?
Can the Bible actually “run”? Isn’t the Word an “honorable” book already? Does it really need to “be honored”?
What does Paul mean when he asks the Thessalonians to pray that as he goes, the word of the Lord “speed ahead” and “be honored”? What does that look like? How can one know if it has actually happened?
We get a strong hint at the very end of the verse. Paul says, “as happened among you.” In other words, he asks that what happened among them when they heard the Word would happen among other people.
So, what happened to them?
Paul sheds some light on this for us in 1 Thessalonians 1: “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10
Notice how Paul describes what happened when they heard the Word/Gospel. This is how, I believe, God’s Word “speeds ahead” and is “honored”:
a. The Gospel came in power and in the Holy Spirit.
b. The Thessalonians were convicted of sin when they heard it.
c. They immediately imitated Paul and his other Christian companions.
d. The Word was received in the midst of affliction.
e. The Word was received with joy – in the midst of this affliction.
f. The Thessalonians turned from idols to serve the living and true God.
g. They eagerly awaited Jesus’ return from heaven.
Let me sum it up in these words: The Word of the Lord caused radical transformation among the Thessalonians.
I believe when Paul asks for prayer that the Gospel “speed ahead” and “be honored” when he proclaims it he means that when the Word is presented, it would cause radical transformation in the lives of those who hear it. It “speeds ahead” when hearers respond to it and immediately make it known in word and deed. It is “honored” when it is heard as it really is – the Word of the Lord – and treated as such.
What happens to you when you hear the Word of the Lord? Does it “speed ahead” because of you? Is it “honored”?
What happens on Sunday morning at your church when the Word of the Lord is preached?
When was the last time you asked for prayer that the Word of the Lord “speed ahead” and “be honored” as you proclaim the Gospel to the lost?
When was the last time you prayed it for your pastor on Sunday morning?
The Word of the Lord is living and active. It has capacity to “speed ahead” and “be honored” in hearts and lives.
Let’s live expectantly, longing for the Spirit of God to do – through the proclamation of His Word – what He did in the hearts and lives of the Thessalonians.