08162015ChristsNameGlorified2Th1.11–12DonRuhl


Christ’s Name Glorified 

This is the way to pray

Second Thessalonians 1.11–12

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 16, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Prelude

  1. The praying of Jacob Creath,

    When Creath prayed, it was as though one was standing in the presence of someone divine. One Saturday in June, 1854, L. B. Wilkes went to Lagrange, Missouri to preach. His appointment was to preach on Saturday night, Sunday morning and Sunday evening. When he arrived and had gone to the home of a Brother Gill, he found Jacob Creath there. About eight o’clock that evening it started raining, and it rained almost all night. But the next morning was the Lord’s Day. The rain had stopped, the sun was shining brightly, and from the distant trees the birds were warbling merrily. Creath and Wilkes came down to breakfast. Creath was very meditative and silent. After breakfast he said to Wilkes, “Let us take a walk.”

    They walked for a quarter of a mile. Not a word was spoken. Finally Creath pointed to the right and said, “This way.” They walked two hundred yards further into a woods. There was no path or road, and Creath was so silent that Wilkes was afraid to speak. “Yonder is a good place” said Creath in a moment. They walked over beside a fallen tree, and here both bowed down while Creath prayed.

    Here beneath the tall trees, the air full of the music of glad birds and redolent with the odors of thousands of flowers, all praising God, Brother Creath said: “Let us pray.” We fell on our knees and O such a prayer! The earth had drunk up the rain and all nature seemed to be refreshed and happy. Every leaf and flower and bird and being in nature around us seemed to be striving its utmost to magnify God. All this Brother Creath mentioned in his prayer, and then called upon his soul and all that was within him to bless the Lord. My soul trembled with excitement. Brother Creath talked so to God that I voluntarily felt for the moment that if I should open my eyes I should certainly see him upon whom no one can look and live. I never heard such a prayer before, and now thirty years have passed since that remarkable experience, and yet I have heard no such prayer since. At the close of his lengthy prayer, he asked me to pray. I did. During the second prayer, he would every few moments break forth in expressions of thanksgiving and praise. “Oh bless the Lord, my soul. Give thanks unto his name. His mercy endureth forever.”

    On one occasion, during the War Between the States, a company of troops was encamped near Palmyra, intending to capture the city. Creath went out to the grove to pray and the leader of the troops happened to be near. He edged closer to the grove and listened as Creath prayed for his neighbors, his town and for peace. The next day the troops withdrew without any attempt to capture the town (Earl Irvin West, The Search for the Ancient Order, Nashville, Tennessee: Gospel Advocate Company, Vol. 1, 1974, pp. 123–124).

  2. Let so pray 
    1. that we know we are speaking to the Creator of all things, and
    2. that He hears us.
      1. Let us comprehend the power that we have on the tip of our tongues.
      2. James said something
        1. that shows the power available to us,

          17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit (Jam 5.17–18).
        2. James wrote those words to persuade us of this truth,

          16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (Jam 5.16).
  1. Examine the content of your prayers. 
    1. Discover how often you thank and praise God.
    2. Discover whether you pray for the church.
  2. Second Thessalonians 1 provides a pattern for our prayers,

    11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2Th 1.11–12).

Persuasion

  1. Pray Always for the Brethren 
    1. Back in verses 3 and 4,
      1. Paul told the Thessalonian brethren
        1. that he thanked God always for their spiritual growth,
        2. which included their faith, love, and patience.
      2. At the end of verse 4,
        1. you will notice that Paul also gave thanks
        2. that the Thessalonians were faithful and patient during persecution.
      3. The apostle went on to prophesy
        1. that their persecutors would be punished
        2. by Jesus upon His return.
      4. Moreover, when Jesus returns,
        1. He will be glorified in His saints and
        2. they shall admire Him (v. 10).
      5. However, as new Christians they could easily become discouraged or
        1. frightened by the persecution.
        2. Therefore in verses 11 and 12,
          1. Paul revealed to the brethren some more reasons
          2. why he prayed to God always on their behalf, and
            1. these reasons are connected to their spiritual growth.
    2. He made incessant prayer for the new Christians at Thessalonica.
      1. Praying always for the brethren shows that he wanted the best for them.
      2. Paul depended upon the Lord to accomplish good among the brethren.
      3. While the church does not belong to us,
        1. it belongs to God, yet
        2. the Lord seeks our cooperation,
          1. which is why He encourages us to pray
          2. on the behalf of our brothers and sisters.
  2. Pray that God Would Count the Brethren Worthy of the Calling 
    1. Again the emphasis is upon God,
      1. that He is the One who started the whole thing, therefore
      2. He is the One who can finish it.
    2. It was critical that the brethren be worthy of that calling.
      1. God is the Initiator and the Finisher, but
        1. He seeks our cooperation, for
        2. He does not wish to force righteousness upon us,
          1. if we do not want it.
      2. Therefore, it is false to argue
        1. that the whole thing depends upon the Lord, and
        2. that we have no part in being worthy of His calling.
          1. It is also false to argue that the whole thing depends upon us, and
          2. that the Lord has nothing to do with our being worthy.
    3. They were not worthy, but
      1. needed the power of God to be made worthy.
      2. According to John 15, we are nothing without the Lord,
        1. without the Lord we can do nothing, but
        2. our life ends up fruitless,

          3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15.3–4).
      3. Even as Jacob prayed in Genesis 32.10,
        1. we cannot consider ourselves worthy of any blessing
        2. without the Lord’s help,

          10 “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant…” (Gen 32.10).
    4. Therefore let us see that,

      “Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is the first thing” (Speaker’s Sourcebook, p. 293).

  3. Pray that God Would Fulfill All the Good Pleasure of His Goodness 
    1. There is good pleasure in association with goodness.
    2. Let us pray
      1. that the brethren,
      2. especially new Christians,
        1. would see the good pleasure of goodness, and
        2. that they would be able to see this over and above
        3. the persecution that they endure.
    3. There are plenty of negatives in life,
      1. plenty of things that attack us and drag us down, and
      2. there are plenty of things that are bad,
        1. which we must avoid with all diligence, but
        2. let us pray for our brethren
          1. that they would experience the good pleasure of goodness,
          2. so that they may feel
            1. the joy and
            2. the blessings of being the disciples of Jesus Christ.
  4. Pray that Gould Would Fulfill the Work of Faith with Power 
    1. Philippians 1 reveals
      1. that it is the Lord who begins the good works in the brethren, because
      2. it is the giving of His word that produces faith, and
        1. He is able to continue
        2. the work of faith in our brethren,

          6 …being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phi 1.6).
    2. Galatians 3 shows
      1. that even in the first century
      2. some Christians had miss the point
        1. that if the Spirit can begin a work,
        2. He can also perfect it,

          3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3.3).
    3. Some people think
      1. that if any work is going to be fulfilled in their lives,
      2. it is all of their doing.
        1. Yet, they pray.
        2. Why pray, if you believe it is all of you?
    4. He who prays
      1. shows that he believes
      2. that God works.
    5. However, as we pray for these things,
      1. we have to remember that we do not give God instructions—
      2. we pray to report for duty.
  5. What This Kind of Prayer Does 
    1. The name of our Lord Jesus Christ is glorified in Christians.
      1. Did you know that self-glorification
      2. contradicts the spirit of Christianity?
    2. The disciple of Christ is humble, but
      1. humility does not mean constantly berating yourself, but
      2. it is taking the attention off yourself and
        1. putting it on another,
        2. in this case the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3. Christians are glorified in Christ.
      1. While the Lord forbids self-glorification,
      2. it is not wrong to have others exalt you.
        1. We do not glorify ourselves, but
        2. we wait for Jesus to glorify us.
          1. Romans 8 thrills the reader, because
          2. it reminds us of what shall come,

            17 if [we are] children, then [we are] heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Rom 8.17).

            1. The fulfillment of Romans 8.17
              1. is accomplished partly through prayer,
              2. prayers that others offer for us and
              3. that we offer for others.
            2. This should prompt us to pray for our brethren,
            3. especially new Christians,
              1. that God would count them worthy of His calling,
              2. that He would fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness in the brethren, and
              3. that He would fulfill the work of faith with power.
  6. Finally, The Grace of God and of the Lord Jesus Makes It All Possible 
    1. Nothing could happen without the grace of God and Jesus Christ.
    2. First Corinthians 15 puts both grace and our efforts in proper perspective,
      1. showing that both are involved, yet
      2. the emphasis is upon grace,

        10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (1Co 15.10).

        1. Paul did not contradict himself, but
        2. he realized that the grace of God plays the greater part, yet
          1. it was the grace of God
          2. that prompted Paul to work as he did.
    3. Grace does not mean a lackadaisical Christian, but
      1. the true understanding of grace
      2. moves us to work for Christ as we never have before.
    4. Hebrews 6 also gives the proper balance,
      1. that we are to do something, but
      2. God is the One who is in charge,
        1. therefore, we work as He permits,

          1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits (Heb 6.1–3).

Exhortation

  1. If you want to pray like Jacob Creath, start with 2 Thessalonians 1.11–12
    1. Be close to God.
    2. Jacob Creath was.
      1. Believe with your whole heart.
      2. Jacob Creath did.
        1. Follow Jesus wherever He leads you.
        2. Jacob Creath did.
          1. Die to yourself.
          2. Jacob Creath did.
  2. Right now give your heart to Jesus. 
    1. Follow Him through His
      1. death, and
      2. resurrection
        1. in baptism, and
        2. on into heaven.