2 Thessalonians 1:1-3
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:…
St. John tells us that he had no greater joy than to hear that his children walked in the truth (3 John 1:4); and surely next to the joy of seeing the sinner receive the truth, the next that can fill the heart of a minister must be to see him walk in the truth, but especially in these days when a profession of the gospel is so easily taken up and laid down. But a man may abide in the truth and not walk in it, have faith and not increase in it, and look back on past happy days of progress with regret.
I. There is such a thing as GROWTH IS THE DIVINE LIFE. It is so in human life. The babe becomes a boy, a youth, a man. It is so in vegetable life — the seed becomes a tree; and so there are babes, children, men, and old men in Christ; and the command is, "Grow in grace." Of this grace the central principle is faith, and in proportion as that grows all the rest will grow. There is weak faith, and it results in a weak Christianity; but as it strengthens all the virtues strengthen and flourish with it.
II. THE SYMPTOMS OF AN INCREASE OF FAITH.
1. When Christ becomes more exceedingly precious; when we are taken more and more off self and reliance in the means to dependence on Christ. The question of questions is, "What think ye of Christ?" Many, if they spake honestly, would have to answer, Only what we have been told or have read, but nothing in the way of personal value and real estimation. But a child of God regards Christ as his all, and as Christ gradually fills up the circumference of thought and action do we grow in faith.
2. When we become more and more conformed to Christ — in spirit, in word, in deed. For faith is the assimilating power.
3. When we distinguish more and more clearly between faith and feeling. Many Christians are occupied too much with feeling. Every feeling that is not based upon faith is worthless. Learn to depend on faith whether feeling results or no.
III. THE MEANS BY WHICH FAITH IS INCREASED. Its source is the Holy Spirit, but He works through means. Amongst others we may note —
1. Secret prayer.
2. A constant looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith.
(J. H. Evans, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: