Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

Appointment with Affliction
1 Thes. 3:1-7

1 Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone; 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, 3 so that no man may be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. 4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain. 6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, 7 for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; NAS

Introduction
I have a relative who has been in the hospital recently. They did not find anything specifically wrong with her except they said she is very depressed.

She had by-pass surgery in 1997 and because of that she has been in the hospital 4 times. In addition she is a diabetic, and take 27 different pills a day. About 9 months ago she fell and broke her pelvis.

Also about 9 months ago her son in law came in one day and said he was leaving his wife (her daughter) before their second child was born.    I say that to say here is a lady who is a Christian and never the less has great adversity in her life. In the text Paul talks about a destiny or appointment with adversity or afflictions.
 
 

1.    Appointment with Affliction through . . Disappointment. v 1

1 Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone;

A.    The Disappointment In . . Process. v 1 a
            ". . . Therefore when we could endure it no longer, . . . "
 

B.    The Disappointment In . . Privacy. v 1 b
        ". . . we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone; . . . "

Illustration
Eight-year-old Frank had looked forward for weeks to this particular Saturday because his father had promised to take him fishing if the weather was suitable. There hadn't been any rain for weeks and as Saturday approached, Frank was confident of the fishing trip. But, wouldn't you know it, when Saturday morning dawned, it was raining heavily and it appeared that it would continue all day.

Frank wandered around the house, peering out the windows and grumbling more than a little. "Seems like the Lord would know that it would have been better to have the rain yesterday than today," he complained to his father who was sitting by the fireplace, enjoying a good book. His father tried to explain to Frank how badly the rain was needed, how it would make the flowers grow and bring much needed moisture to the farmers' crops. But Frank was adamant. "It just isn't right," he said over and over.

Then, about three o'clock, the rain stopped. Still time for some fishing, and quickly the gear was loaded and they were off to the lake. Whether it was the rain or some other reason, the fish were biting hungrily and father and son returned with a full string of fine, big fish.

At supper, when some of the fish were ready, Frank's mom asked him to say grace. Frank did--and concluded his prayer by saying, "And, Lord, if I sounded grumpy earlier today it was because I couldn't see far enough ahead." No doubt much of our complaining is because we 'can' t see far enough ahead."

Application

Have you noticed the times Paul said something like what he says in this verse?
                ". . . we thought it best . . ."

v 1 Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone;
 
 

2.    Appointment with Affliction through . . Diversion. v 2


v 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,

A.    The Diversion In . . Sending. v 2 a

        " and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, . . . "
 

B.    The Diversion In . . Strengthening. v 2 b
            ". . . to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, . . . "
 

Illustration
Former Boston Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs used to hate going to Yankee Stadium. Not because of the Yankees--they never gave him that much trouble--but because of a fan. That's right: one fan.

The guy had a box seat close to the field and when the Red Sox were in town he would torment Boggs by shouting obscenities and insults. It's hard to imagine one fan getting under a player's skin, but apparently this guy had the recipe.

One day before the game, as Boggs was warming up, the "fan" began his typical routine, yelling "Boggs, you stink" and variations on that theme. Boggs decided he'd had enough. He walked directly over to the man, who was sitting in the stands with his friends, and said, "Hey fella, are you the guy who's always yelling at me?" The man said, "Yeah, it's me. What are you going to do about it?"

Wade took a new baseball out of his pocket, autographed it, tossed it to the man, and went back to the field to continue his pre-game routine.

The man never yelled at Boggs again; in fact, he became one of Wades' biggest fans at Yankee Stadium.
 

Application

Paul diverted the Affliction by sending Timothy to Find out about the people.
 
 

3.    Appointment with Affliction through . . Destiny. v 3-4


A.    General . . Knowledge of Paul's Destiny. v 3
v 3 so that no man may be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this.
 

B.    Graphic . . Knowledge of Paul's Destiny. v 4
4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know.
 

Illustration
A woman in Terre Haute, Indiana, called the police station to report a skunk in her cellar. The police told the woman to make a trail of bread crumbs from the basement to the yard and to wait for the skunk to follow it outside. A little later the woman called back and said, "I did what you told me. Now, I've got two skunks in my cellar."
 

Application

        Paul knew affliction was coming his way.  They were appointed or destined.
 
 

4.    Appointment with Affliction through. . Distress. v 5-7


A.    Conclusion . . In Distress. v 5
v  5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain.
 

B.    Communication . . In Distress. v 6
v  6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you,

        1.    Communicated about Faith. v 6 a
        2.    Communicated about Love. v 6 b
        3.    Communicated about Kindness. v 6 c
        4.    Communicated about Desires. v 6 d
 

C.    Comfort . . In Distress. v 7
v  7 for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith;
 

Illustration     Quoted
Have some of your carefully created castles been washed away? Mine have. Several times along my life's journey, I had nowhere to turn except into my heavenly Father's arms. There I remained quiet, soaking up his love for as long as I needed. Then I saw his hand begin a new creation for my life, a new direction, a new service for him and his kingdom. Waves need not always destroy. We must allow our heavenly Father to use them to redirect our lives. Jean Otto
 

Application You and I might just have an appointment with affliction.

Appointment with Affliction

        through . . Disappointment.

            through . . Diversion.

                through . . Destiny.

                    through. . Distress.