Sep 22, 2019
1 Thessalonians 2:1-3:5
For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.2 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. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 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. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. 9 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. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 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. 13 And 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. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! 17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again— but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy. 3:1 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.
Towards the end of 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul makes a short diversion from the narrative of his ministry in Thessalonica to deliver some shockingly harsh words for the unbelieving Jews of his day (2:14-16). They “oppose all mankind” specifically by attempting to prevent him from taking the message of salvation to the Gentiles (2:16). With that in mind, notice all the encouragements to evangelism in the hymns and psalms we sing this morning. The Psalter assures us that God will ensure that His Word will be made known (O Sing A New Song—Psalm 98). In the hymn Take My Life And Let It Be, we pray that our lips would be filled with messages from the Lord and that our feet would be “swift and beautiful” for Him (echoing the language from the passage we will read just before it, from Romans 10:15). We are called to speak the Gospel to our own families (Within Your Temple Lord—Psalm 48) and strangers alike (To Our Redeemer’s Glorious Name), so that “the whole creation would join as one” to bless the name of the Lord (My God, My Portion, And My Love). I hope that these words are an encouragement to all of us to seek the joy that Paul speaks of in verses 19-20, the joy of seeing friends and neighbors come to faith. In spite of fear and persecution, let’s be bold to, in the words of Psalm 9, “Declare to all His mighty deeds.” —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Vain, Error, Flattery, Greed, Glory, Mother, Father Keystone Verse: For you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:20)