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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

ABOUND IN LOVE

1 Thess 3:11-13 Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

The two verses that precede the lesson text tell us that Paul could not express, in a sufficient manner, his thankfulness to God for the joy that overwhelmed him. This rejoicing resulted from his knowledge of the faithful manner of life demonstrated by the brethren of Thessalonica. Along with his fellow servants in Christ, Paul longed night and day, to visit them again, that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith. This tells us that, even though one may be living to the best of their ability, a life faithful in the sight of God, one's cup of faith is never full. There is always room to grow in faith; there is always a need for one's faith to be strengthened day by day. In his absence, this was Paul's prayer to God on behalf of the Christians in Thessalonica.

It was also Paul's earnest prayer that God, Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you, so he, Paul, and his fellow laborers in Christ, could encourage them, and strengthen their faith, through inspired face-to-face teaching. Paul was a chosen vessel of Christ. Jesus told Ananias that Paul, was chosen by Me,to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15). Paul was given this divine commission by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Reading Ephesians 3:7-12, this commission was expressed in detail to the Christians in Ephesus. Because of his divine calling, Paul was providentially led where he should go, in order to carry out this assigned mission, of preaching the gospel of salvation, through Jesus Christ, to the world. Therefore, his prayer to God was, that the way before him would be directed by God's providence, that would enable him to revisit these Christians of Thessalonica.

However, if his return to Thessalonica was not within God's plan for him, Paul wanted this inspired and prayerful message to be foremost in their minds: ...the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you. Reading the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians we know that, among all of the graces that Christians are to exemplify in their lives, love is to abound to the greatest extent. Why? Because this was the exact message taught by our Savior, Jesus Christ. To all that believed in Him and followed His teachings, both then and now, Jesus gave these spiritual mandates of God: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:37-40). The importance of love, as a guide to all of God's children, is not to be taken lightly; it is not to be glossed over; it is to be obeyed by all faithful Christians; it cannot be expressed in stronger terms than those of the Son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ.

A newborn Christian must learn the importance of love. The love that God required of all of His faithful children, is not gained all at once; it grows throughout one's life on earth. Love is to be plentiful; it is to exist in greater quantities each day we live, toward our husband or wife, toward our children, family, friends and neighbors, fellow Christians, and toward our Heavenly Father. It is to overflow, and bring about exemplified works of righteousness. Love is to abound! Paul wrote that God will, if we properly seek it, give each of His faithful children all sufficiency in all things, (that we) may abound in every good work (2 Cor. 9:8). It is through charitable works of love, demonstrated toward all mankind, not only to those that know and love us, that faith, within the soul of a Christian, spiritually grows and prospers.

Notice what happens to a Christian when love abounds toward others. Their faith becomes established; it becomes permanent, stable, settled, and firmly planted. Expressing true love toward others fulfills the whole law of God. When we love God and all others as ourselves, we become holy in His sight. And, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, on the day of final judgment, we will appear before our God, as His faithful children, without blame. No greater gift can be attained than that found in abounding in love.