And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men; for not everyone holds to the faith.
I. MINISTERS NEED THE PRAYERS OF THEIR PEOPLE. "Finally, brethren, pray for us."
1. Because their work is a great work.
2. Because it is weighted down with opposition and hinderance.
3. Because ministers feel their need, not only of human sympathy, but of Divine grace, wisdom, and strength.
4. Because such prayers knit the hearts of pastor and people more closely together.
II. THE DOUBLE PURPORT OF THE PRAYER FOR THE APOSTLE. It was for no mere personal or selfish object, but had exclusive reference to the furtherance of the gospel. To pray for ministers is to pray for the gospel.
1. It was a prayer for the rapid spread of the gospel. "That the Word of the Lord may run and be glorified, even as it is also with you."
(1) There were grave hindrances in its way presented by Jewish prejudice, Gentile fanaticism, and the jealousy of the Roman power. He is anxious that the gospel should not go halting and picking its steps, but "like a strong man rejoicing to run a race," overleaping all barriers of space and prejudice and hatred, Ministers have their "feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." It is God only who can remove all impediments and make the mountains a plain before Zerubbabel.
(2) The apostle was anxious that the gospel should be glorified - as "the power of God unto salvation" - by the conversion of large numbers of people, by their cheerful obedience to the truth, and by their orderly walk in the gospel. He quotes the example of the Thessalonians themselves - "even as it is with you" - as worthy of imitation in spite of some exceptional defects. The courteous reference would lead his converts to pray for him with deeper interest and. fervour.
2. It was a prayer for deliverance from obstructive enemies. "And that we may be delivered kern unreasonable and wicked men." The impediments to the free progress of the gospel were evil men. They were his Jewish enemies at Corinth who rose against the apostle and brought him to the judgment seat of Gallio (Acts 18:12).
(1) It was a prayer that his career might not he cut short by their malignity. The apostle's life was, perhaps, the most valuable in all the world in that generation, but it seemed to be at the mercy of men without scruple or mercy. He was, indeed, "in deaths oft." His enemies either lay in wait for him to destroy him, or roused the fanaticism of mobs against him.
(2) It was an enmity directed by men without any check from' reason or principle. His most persevering enemies through life were the Jews. No reason or argument could satisfy them or mollify their hatred. Their conduct was easily explained by the fact that "all men have not faith." As if nothing better could be expected from godless and blaspheming Jews. - T.C.
That we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men
(J. L. Nye.)
All men have not faithI. WHAT FAITH IS.
2. It is trusting Jesus at His invitation. The Jews who had no faith, had no profit (Hebrews 4:2); Peter who had little faith, had little comfort (Matthew 14:28, 30, 31); the woman of Canaan, who had great faith, had a great blessing (Matthew 15:28); the centurion, who had most faith, had most honour (Matthew 8:10). Trust your souls to Christ's care (Acts 7:59); trust your sins to Christ's cleansing (1 Peter 1:18, 19); trust your life to Christ's keeping (Colossians 3:3, 4).
II. WHENCE FAITH COMES.
III. HOW FAITH WORKS.
1. It overcometh the world (1 John 5:4).
2. It purifieth the heart (Acts 15:8, 9).
3. It worketh by love (Galatians 5:6). Two great benefits come from faiths.
(1) (2) (Archdeacon Richardson, M. A.)
(2) (Archdeacon Richardson, M. A.)
(Archdeacon Richardson, M. A.)