1916 28 There is a danger of being satisfied with what is of the tongue only, and the apostle John warns the whole family of God as to this. "Children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18). Nor is he alone in this, for St. James asks, "If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled: notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful for the body; what doth it profit" (James 2:15-16)? Such conduct is only a veiled form of apathy, or Laodiceanism, so utterly distasteful to the Lord.

In writing to the young converts at Thessalonica so dear to the heart of the one whom God had used to them — the Apostle speaks of being bound to give thanks always to God for them, and styles them "brethren beloved of the Lord" (2 Thess. 2:13). What a depth there is in these words, recalling John's favourite appellation of himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved"! And then Paul brings out that God had from the beginning chosen them to salvation — the soul now, the body by and by through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. In no way was it of works, but the gift of God, and God's testimony was believed. He then goes on to show that they had been called by the glad tidings they had received to nothing less than "the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." The Saviour Himself had spoken of it as an accomplished fact in speaking with His Father "the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them" (John 17:22). The apostle then exhorts them to stand fast and "hold the traditions." We are better off than they, as we now have the whole completed word of God to which we may ever refer, but may we not say we need more than they the exhortation to hold fast? Thank God we have equally the abiding Spirit.

He then bursts out into a lovely prayer, "Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself." When you have "our," you have what appeals to the affections. Take one example, "The God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus that great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant "(Heb. 13:20) "and "Himself "is the exquisite addition in Luke 24. "Jesus Himself drew near and went with them" (ver. 15). "Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you" (ver. 36). Where it is "the Lord Jesus Christ," we have authority, as for instance, 2 Thess. 3:12, "Now them that are such (i.e., unruly) we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work and eat their own bread." Coming back to our verse (2:16) the apostle adds, "God, even our Father." In "God "we have all power. "My God shall supply all your need." In "our Father," we remember how He spoke when He rose from the dead on that first of the week, putting that relationship first, "My Father and your Father." "Which hath loved us (how deeply, who can tell?) and hath given us (not a passing, but an) everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort (or encourage) your hearts, and establish you in every good work and word "(for such is the order). He then desires their prayers for him "that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, even as it is with you."

Further, we may observe, practical fellowship in addition to prayer is of great value. Paul speaks of men and also "women who LABOURED with me in the gospel "not merely wishing him God-speed and it was a woman who had learnt in measure the truth of having the sentence of death in herself, who prayed and said, "Jehovah is a God of knowledge and by him actions are weighed" (1 Sam. 2:3). Let us ponder this; it is an admirable answer to any of Satan's suggestions, and preserves us from being occupied with what is within. God knew how to weigh the action of Abraham when he offered up Isaac, and Paul could say with a lovely calmness that disposed of all questions as to his preaching, "From henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus" (Gal. 6:27). May we have grace to be "doers of the word and not hearers only" (James 1:22)" W.N.T.