Archive for December 8th, 2017

1 Thessalonians 2

1 Thessalonians 2 has Paul writing to explain the marks of his ministry.  He wants it to be clear exactly what their motives have been and to make it clear that his character is above reproach.  “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict”.  Paul didn’t have an easy road as an Apostle of Jesus Christ sharing the gospel.  He was resisted at every turn, and often driven out of the places he went to share Christ crucified.  But he stayed the course, always speaking with boldness.  As Christ Followers today, we really don’t face much persecution or resistance to the gospel, yet we still struggle to share.  We need to have the heart Paul demonstrated – sharing Christ needs to be high on our list of things to do.

Paul makes it clear this wasn’t his agenda, but God’s.  “For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts”.  There was no hidden motives in what Paul and his teams were doing.  They were obeying God so they could take the gospel to Gentiles around the known world at that time.  He traveled tens of thousands of miles on his missionary journey, not to rack up frequent sailing miles, but to take the message of Jesus to all corners of mankind.

Impressively, Paul and his band of brothers were careful to make sure they didn’t burden those they went to share the gospel with.  “For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God”.  Paul was a tentmaker by trade and was very careful not to expect the people he was sharing the gospel with to support his efforts, even though he certainly could have asked for that.  He voluntarily gave that up to set himself apart from others in false religions who used their scam to take money from people.  Paul worked hard, and then would devote a part of the day to preaching.

As Paul and his team shared the gospel, they didn’t shy away from telling people what they needed to do.  “We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory”.  Being a Christ Follower is not a ticket to live any way we want.  In fact, we move into a place where our focus needs to be on living in a way that glorifies God.  We have a higher standard.  Paul reminds them that core to that happening is to believe God’s Word as the source of direction and truth.  “We also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers”.  God’s Word needs to be the roadmap for our life.  That’s how we know the way to walk worthy of God!

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