Being True to the Gospel
(How Can I Be Sure Of My Message)

1 Thessalonians 2: 1  -  16

1  For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: 
2  But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. 
3  For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 
4  But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 
5  For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 
6  Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 
7  But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 
8  So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. 
9  For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. 
10  Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: 
11  As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 
1Th 2:12  That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 
13  For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 
14  For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 
15  Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 
16  Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. 

After being persecuted in Philippi, Paul and his companions had travelled to Thessalonica and began to preach the Gospel in the synagogue. Many Jews and Gentiles were so impressed with them that they turned to Christ.
The Thessalonians listened and observed them and saw something in them that caused them to accept the Gospel.
What they saw and heard was the disciples being true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There are four points that we should take note of in our evangelism:
1. We should learn the Word.
2. Live the life.
3. Love the body of Christ, (our fellow Christians).
4. Be an example in the world.

In these verses, Paul is showing that, “A little example can have a big influence.”
People would rather see a sermon any day than hear one.
In reality, they should both hear it and see it.

 How can we react to Opposition and Indifference.


(1) Refuse to be intimidated. One of the reasons Christianity is so ineffective in our culture is that we are easily intimidated. In other words, we have more fear of people than we have fear for the Lord. We need to pray for a spirit of boldness.
(2) Rely on prayer. Persevere in prayer despite discouraging circumstances. We need to pray that God will prepare the ground for the seed of the word.

(3) Keep pressing on .Don’t stop sharing Christ and living the Christian life because people reject you. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to keep on doing what you are already doing, whether anyone pays attention or not. If you keep serving with a pure heart long enough, sooner or later God will bless your work.
Our Christian lives and ministry are all about perseverance. 

In this chapter we see the false accusations laid against Paul and he felt that for the sake of the Gospel he needed to counteract the charges. If his reputation was damaged by these false accusations, then so could the Gospel be damaged as well.

The charges his enemies were accusing him of were:

"Paul has a police record and is therefore untrustworthy"  In Philippi.

1Th 2:2  But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. 

Act 16:20  And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 

21  And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 

22  And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 

23  And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 
24  Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 


"Paul is delusional" (1 Thessalonians 2:3).
3  For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 

“Paul's ministry is based on impure motives" (Uncleaness) (1 Thessalonians 2:3).
3  For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 

"Paul deliberately deceives others" (1 Thessalonians 2:3).
3  For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 

"Paul preaches to please others, not God" (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
4  But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 

"Paul is in the ministry as a mercenary, to get what he can out of it materially" (1 Thessalonians 2:52:9).
5  For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 
9  For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. 

"Paul only wants personal glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:6).
Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 

"Paul is something of a dictator" (1 Thessalonians 2:7).
7  But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 

Paul answered his critics.
1 Thess 2:3 “For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit” 

Not from Error.
We need to make sure that our message is not based on error, rather, it is supported by God’s Word. (Learn the Word)
If your message is based on the Bible, you have a successful ministry.
An effective ministry is not based upon our preferred interpretation, our own opinions, or our own thoughts…it is based on God’s truth.
We should recognise the great advantage that we Christians have is that our holy book (The Bible) is accurate.
 Even though people try to find contradictions and errors in the Bible, their attempts are always foiled. In fact, many of Christianity’s greatest opponents have become believers during their quest to disprove Christ or His resurrection.
This is why it is important for us to not only read the Bible, to learn it, especially the verses that relate to salvation. It is good for us to commit to memory, those verses that talk about sin, separation from God,
repentance, justification by grace through faith in Christ alone.

Not from Impurity

Paul’s ministry did not come from impurity for he was a man of purity. In this context, the word “impurity” is broader than sexual immorality (cf. 4:7). The NIV renders the word “impure motives,” which means, not from “ambition, pride, greed, and popularity.”
 Paul is saying, I am doing this for the right reasons, I am doing this because it is what I am told to do by Christ and you Thessalonians can see that we are living the way that children of God should live.

1Th 2:5  For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness: 
6  Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 
7  But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 
8  So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. 

9  For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. 
10  Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
11  As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 

 

Our motives must be pure and our lives must be pure.

If we are preaching the Gospel for the wrong reasons or if we are preaching a Gospel that we are not living out in our own lives, then even though the message is true, it loses its strength.

Not in Deceit

Paul’s ministry did not come from deceit for he was an honest man. The word “deceit” was originally used of a fisherman who deceives a fish with a lure.
This kind of evangelism has always bothered me, fishing with a lure.
Jesus indeed said
“I will make you fishers of men”
Mark 1:16-20 “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’

But these men were net fishermen. They cast their nets out and caught those fish that were there ready to be caught.
It is a different matter, trying to lure a fish with a worm.
There seems something deceitful in this kind of fishing.
It is like opening a coffee morning and offering coffee to passers by, just to get them in and then when they are in, cornering them to preach the Gospel. There seems something dishonest about it.
We must be up front with the Gospel, not underhanded. There is nothing wrong in asking someone to come and hear the Gospel. At least they know what they are coming for.
However to use tactics to trap someone into hearing, or to use something to lure them unsuspectingly, does seem deceitful to me.

I remember in the 70s. Moses David the leader of the cult “The Children of God” using lure tactics to win people for Christ. It was called “Hookers for Jesus”, girls would go out onto the streets and lure men by the promise of sex to get them in to hear the Gospel.

This kind of deceit, or any kind of deceit is not right.
Honesty, up front Gospel, letting people know who you are and what you are is the only correct way to share the Word of God.

Secular Greek literature also used “deceit” for a tavern keeper of the ancient world who would water down the wine of an inebriated person.
Sadly, there are those who also water down the Word. Making the Gospel easier to swallow. Eventually it becomes another Gospel, an easy believism.
This kind of Gospel hoodwinks people and does not lead to salvation. On the contrary, it leads to false Christians, professors and not possessors.

Paul didn’t use trickery or slick salesmanship to sell the gospel, assuring people of things that the gospel never promises.
Sometimes, in an effort to get people to receive Christ, we tell them how Christ will solve all their problems, but we don’t tell them the hardships and cost of following Christ. So they come to Christ under false pretences. When their problems don’t go away, or grow even worse, they grow bitter and fall away.

 

Not Flattery
 In
2:5, Paul continues to detail how to serve with a pure heart. He writes, “For we never came with flattering speech.

Flattery is also being deceitful. Telling someone what they want to hear.
We must never water down the message of the Gospel or tell people what they want to hear. It is important that people hear the pure Gospel.
This is what is happening in some churches today.
The prosperity preachers, the word faith movement are doing just this. They preach God wants you to be healthy and wealthy. You are a son of the King. Name it and claim it. If you are sick and poor, it is your own fault. You are not claiming what is yours.
This kind of message is getting lots of followers but it is not the true Gospel and it saves no one.
You can get people into the churches by giving them what they want. We can make our churches like social clubs by providing entertainment and different activities but unless we preach an unadulterated Gospel, they will not truly come to Christ. The idea is not to fill our pews but win souls for Christ.
It is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. It is the ordained way that God has provided for anyone to be saved.


Preach the True Gospel
1Th 2:13  For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 

14  For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 

15  Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 

16  Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. 
 

The Apostle Paul and his companions preached the truth, not withholding the gravity of the message but telling it as it really is.
Becoming a Christian is not all rosy. It does not mean that your problems will disappear overnight or your sickness taken away. It does not mean that you will not be shunned or laughed at or sometimes persecuted but you will be saved.
Being true to the Gospel is very important to us as followers of Christ. We should never bring reproach on the name of Jesus.

We should learn the Word.
Make sure our Gospel message is correct, that we preach the whole Gospel, that Jesus died and rose again from the dead. That Sin separates from God,  The need for Repentance, Faith in Christ,
Baptism and confession of faith.
Live the life. Glorify Christ in our daily lives, living clean, wholesome and holy lives.

Put On the New Self

Col 3:1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 
2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 

Love the body of Christ, (our fellow Christians). Loving the brethren, Sharing and edifying one another.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.


Be an example in the world.
Strive to be the salt of the earth, a light in the world, a witness to the saving grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 5:13-20 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

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