Title: "A Prayer for Spiritual Growth"
Text: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
1. 1 Thessalonians 3:9-10 is pivotal in Paul's letter to this young church. What is Paul thankful for in v. 9? What is he hoping for in v. 10?
2. The Christian life has this mix. On the one hand, we are secure in our relationship with God. At the same time, we have an appetite to continue to grow spiritually. Have you seen that to be true in your life?
3. In vv. 12-13, Paul prays for their growth in love and holiness. Why do these to things "cover all the bases" when it comes to spiritual growth?
4. He first prays for love that would increase and overflow, for one another and for everyone else. What does this look like within the church community? What does this look like in relating to those outside the church?
5. The Nile River is an analogy of the influence of overflowing love. For centuries, the Nile has been a life-giving influence on Egypt. How can the church be a life-giving influence in the lives of people?
6. Paul then prays for that they would be blameless and holy. What are some of the ways that the word holy is misunderstood?
7. God's plan for our holiness is to make us more like Jesus. God is getting his bride ready for the wedding of Christ and his church. How does this thought give you a new love for the goal of holiness?
8. When you look at Jesus and see his compassion, his purity, his teachings, his obedience to his Father, his cry of "forgive them" from the cross--do you see his holiness as beautiful?
9. What is your biggest practical takeaway from this passage?