1 Thessalonians 2:3-5

In 1 Thessalonians 2:3-5 Paul makes it clear that the message they were delivering was God’s truth. Many ministers in competing religions were motivated by greed and gain, but that is not the case for Paul and his team. “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.” Paul was doing his work for an audience of One – God alone. He was not about trying to please man and soften the message so it felt good to those who heard.

Guzik explains “The city of Thessalonica sat on the Egnatian Way, the famous highway that went east to west through Macedonia. Thessalonica was also an important port and a melting pot city with cultures from all over the world. There were a staggering variety of religions and religious professionals in Thessalonica. Most of these religions were missionary minded, and sought to spread their faith using itinerant evangelists and preachers. Most of these missionaries were opportunists, who took everything they could from their listeners, and then moved on to find someone else to support them.”

Paul never used words that were designed to sound noble and draw people with falsehood. “For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness.” Morris said this about flattering words: “We can use this English term of remarks which, though insincere, are directed to the pleasure of the person being flattered. The Greek term has rather the idea of using fair words as a means of gaining one’s own ends.” The locals were accustomed to ministers who were focused on their own gain and saying whatever was needed to gain benefit for themselves. Paul refuses anything of that sort.

Calvin further explains “Where greed and ambition hold sway, innumerable corruptions follow, and the whole man turns to vanity. These are the two sources from which stems the corruption of the whole of the ministry.” Because Thessalonica was such a well traveled city, Paul had to communicate clearly that he and his team were there for one reason and one reason only – to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There were no ulterior motives or efforts to gain anything for themselves except God’s pleasure. And that should be our focus as Christ Followers – to live for God in a way that is pleasing to God without regard for what those around us might do. We need to live for an audience of ONE!

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