1 Thessalonians 2: 1 – 16 Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica

1 Thessalonians 2: 1 – 16 Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica

You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed – God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have exerted our authority. Instead we were like young children among you.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: you suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their efforts to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.

*       *       *

What is going on in this chapter? Paul appears to be defending himself against attacks on his integrity and his motives. He denies five separate charges:

  • For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives;
  • nor are we trying to trick you;
  • We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts;
  • You know we never used flattery;
  • nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed.

Who makes these accusations?

We’re not told explicitly. It surely can’t be the Thessalonian Christians themselves, because Paul has spent the whole of chapter 1 telling them how well they are doing.

The answer is given by implication:

  • We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi;
  • you suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out;
  • They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their efforts to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved.

Thessalonica wasn’t far from Philippi, where the Jews had publicly (and illegally) flogged Paul and Silas. The Jews in Thessalonica had started a riot against the presence of Paul in their city, and had caused their host to be arrested. I think it’s a safe guess that Paul was the subject of a whispering campaign by those Jews who hadn’t accepted his teaching about the Lord Jesus.

So Paul reminds the Thessalonian Christians:

  • Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you.
  • Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
  • Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

He concludes his defence by once again encouraging them:

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

When we accept Jesus as the risen Messiah we accept the word of God, and it will work in our hearts to save us.

HALLELUJAH!

Prayer

Heavenly Father

Thank you for sending Jesus as our Saviour. Thank you for your Holy Spirit working within us to make us more like Jesus. Please help me to be alert to his words and obedient to your will.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

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