Life that Overflows
Life that Overflows
Words of Faith 3-19-19
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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1 Thessalonians 3
 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.  May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.  May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
Paul concluded the opening section of his letter with a simple but powerful prayer from the heart. So far, Paul's letter had mainly been personal encouragement, concern and his desire to confirm their continued walk with God. In the verses ahead, he would deal with weighty matters. For now, he had this prayer to God.
Of course, Paul prayed that he could return to Thessalonica. He expressed this before God who is the Father of Paul and his missionary brethren and the Thessalonian believers. Paul addressed the Lord Jesus equally in prayer with the Father.
The language here is technically magnificent in communicating Paul's passionate commitment to the lordship of Jesus, "may He clear the way, even the Father and Jesus" rather than "may They clear the way.” One can hardly conceive of a stronger way for Paul to indicate his unquestioning acceptance of the lordship of Jesus and His oneness with the Father.
Paul prayed that the love of the Thessalonian believers might abound meaning to increase (pleonasai) and overflow (perisseusai) even more. It has been said that the one thing in the Christian life which cannot be carried to excess is genuine Christian love. The image Paul sketches is of love overflowing its container.
We see here a welling up of love from within a person who is born of the Spirit. Paul knew that this overflow was at the heart of the contagious movement of the faith in the towns he visited. The overflow was not just to Christians in the church but to everyone. Paul had modeled that life of overflow everywhere he visited.
The Thessalonians needed strengthening by God in their hearts, or inner beings. The word strengthen (sterizai) is the same as that used to describe Timothy's strengthening of the Thessalonians in their faith. The word means to set fast or literally to turn resolutely in a certain direction. The prayer was that the Lord would set their hearts steadfastly toward God.
It is interesting that Paul did not pray that they would be sinless. Perhaps this was because that was impossible. He did pray that they would be blameless, that is, that having received the grace of Jesus, they would deal with failure as God requires and so be free from any reasonable charge by their fellowmen.
Paul prayed that before God they should be holy, separated to God in their hearts and habits. Paul longed for the time when Jesus would return and that He would find them blameless before men and holy before God. He spoke of the "holy ones" accompanying Christ at His coming. These are probably the souls of the saints who have departed this life and gone to be with Christ, whose bodies will be resurrected when He comes (4:16). That is, they are Christians rather than angels.
What do we gain from such a prayer? We can receive it and make it our own. What better prayer for our own lives and for the Body of Christ?
We pray that our love might abound-- increase and overflow-- such that it washes over those we encounter. We pray that the inner being of believers might be strengthened and that we would be found blameless before God because of a regular walk and relationship with God. We pray that should the Lord return at any moment, we might be found faithful and blameless by Him. In Jesus' name.