1 Thessalonians 3:6
But now when Timotheus came from you to us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity…
With what anxiety a father entrusts his son with a commission to visit an estate in a distant land and to investigate its affairs, which are threatened for the time being. He is in suspense until he receives intelligence of the safe arrival of his loved messenger, and of the prosperity of the estate. But when his son returns and assures him that everything is prosperous, the father's satisfaction is complete. "As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Such, in a higher sense, was the experience of Paul here.
I. THE APOSTLE WAS GLADDENED WITH GOOD TIDINGS OF FAITH MAINTAINED.
1. Their faith in the great truths of the gospel was maintained. The revelation of Divine truth is the basis of all faith. This truth as it affected their salvation had been successfully declared to them. They comprehended its meaning, felt its force, embraced it, were transformed by it. Amid the shock of persecution, and the insidious whisperings of false teachers, they held fast to "the form of sound words."
2. Their faith as a principle of active spiritual life was maintained. True faith is not simply a belief, but a life: not merely an assent of the mind to truth, but the impartation of a spiritual force. It forms a new era in the experience and history of the soul. It unites us to the Living God, and expands to our view, however dimly, the vast outline of the life of God as the pattern of our own.
II. THE APOSTLE WAS GLADDENED WITH GOOD TIDINGS OF LOVE MANIFESTED. "Brought us good tidings of your charity." Love is the fruit of faith, both in its inward experience and outward manifestation. Faith and love are indissolubly combined (1 John 3:23). The first exercise of love is towards God; and then towards all whom God loves. Such love is impartial and universal — manifested towards all in whom we discern the image of God, whatever their country or condition. Where faith and love reign there is a living, healthy, and prosperous Church.
III. THE APOSTLE WAS GLADDENED WITH GOOD TIDINGS OF CONTINUED PERSONAL REGARD.
1. The apostle was fondly remembered. "Ye have good remembrance of us always." There are some scenes of nature which, beheld but for a moment, never fade from the memory; there are some faces we can never forget; and there are some individuals whose influence remains with us through life. The Thessalonians had good reason to remember Paul. The minister who first led us to the Cross, will ever have the preeminence in our affection, and the choicest spot in our memory. A high appreciation of the Christian minister is one of the evidences of possessing genuine faith and love.
2. They were as solicitous as the apostle for a renewal of Christian fellowship. "Desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you." There is no bond so tender, and strong, as that existing between the preacher and his converts. He must needs love the souls he has been instrumental in saving, and who are his glory and his joy. The intercourse between such is of the purest and highest kind. Never was there a more loving heart than that of the Apostle Paul. The Thessalonians warmly reciprocated that love; and longed to renew the fellowship by which they had so richly profited.Lessons:
1. That church has the best reputation where faith is maintained and love manifested.
2. The Christian minister is cheered by the affection and stability of his converts.
Parallel VersesKJV: But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: