The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet #5136 KC1Thes2

 Paul will now recount to the Thessalonians (and us) how it came to be that they received the truth.

The apostle Paul felt a deep love and affection for his "family" at Thessalonica and he was really excited when Timothy returned from visiting them and brought back with him a most favorable report that not only were they continuing in the faith but they were carrying forth the gospel far and wide with much zeal and enthusiasm.

That was especially good news to Paul considering the fact the Thessalonians were heavily steeped in heathenism and idol worship prior to Paul's "reasoning with them from the scriptures".

Then too, the fact that Paul desired to but was not able to visit them made his heart grow even fonder of them.

What a tender man this once vicious hunter of Christians had become.

In today's study we are going to learn more about the "manner" of Paul and see to what lengths a true man or woman of God will go to do the will of our Father.

Paul will now recount to the Thessalonians (and us) how it came to be that they received the truth.

1 Thes. 2:1
For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:
Although Paul was only together with them for a short while, the time he did spend with them certainly proved to be very fruitful.

Of course just getting there was not an easy task because the enemies of truth do not like those to whom God has entrusted His Word and who go forth planting seeds from it.

[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.
Shamefully entreated?

I'll say.

Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison at Philippi, but that certainly is not enough to intimidate a servant of the Most High God.

Here is an excerpt from Acts 16 detailing their delivering up.

Acts 16:22
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 jailer to keep them safely:

With good upstanding magistrates who would command the beating of innocent men, "charging" the jailer was probably more like "threatening" the jailer because in the next verse the jailer puts them in the maximum security cell.

The jailer was not about to take any chances.

[24] Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
And you thought you were having a bad day?

Let's just see how rattled and despondent Paul and Silas became.

Acts 16:25
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Good grief!

They are handling their trials and tribulations exactly the way James said we should handle ours: James 1:2 "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [adversities]."

Most Christians would probably pray all right but it would probably be a sobbing, "oh God, help, help, have pity on poor me", wouldn't it?

But Paul and Silas sang praises unto God.

And why not?

They knew their Father knew where they were and that they were imprisoned for righteousness sake, for His name's sake!

Our Father takes that very personally, you know!

Read the rest of Acts 16 and see how things turned out for Paul and Silas.

We continue now with the account of Paul's exhortation to the Thessalonians in his first letter to them.

1 Thes. 2:3
For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
Paul and Silas and Timothy had no "hidden agenda" in bringing the Word of God to the Thessalonians.

Their motives were purely to teach the true Word of God for the joy and happiness that it brings to those who will hear it and believe.

They were not seeking to gain monetarily nor acquire glory unto themselves.

[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 knew and appreciated from the bottom of his heart what an awesome privilege and honor it was and is to be put in TRUST with the gospel, the very TRUTH of God's Word, the most precious gem in the entire universe!

Think about that!

We need to pause and seriously consider our own trustworthiness with those priceless pearls!

You see, Paul knew that he was a chosen vessel (Eph. 1:4) given charge of the precious Word of God and he was not about to compromise that Word for any reason, not because of imprisonment nor threat of death, and especially not to merely please men.

He taught "straight on" with compassion and love knowing full well that only the truth can save and bring one to the joy of knowing Him.

So what if teaching the truth "straight on" gets you delivered up and tossed in jail.

Though we use wisdom and common sense to avoid trouble whenever possible, we also know it is also an honor to suffer for His name's sake, for righteousness sake, and when that happens His servants "count it all joy" and they sing praises to Him.

1 Thes. 2:5
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
God knows each and every one of our hearts and motives and a wise person with only minimal discernment can easily spot a preacher or a ministry with an agenda for self gain.

They usually spend most of their time talking about "material blessings" and how your "giving" to them will cause God to bless you materially.

Paul did not seek anything for himself from the Thessalonians, not money, not supplies, and certainly not admiration.

[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.
Do you want to be popular among the religious community?

Then you will have to use flattering words and teach the traditions of men and not the unadulterated TRUTH, because as the saying goes, "the truth often hurts" and though it is not the intent of God's servants to offend people, some will be offended.

[7]But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
Are you able as Paul was to teach the truth as gently and lovingly as mother nurses her babies?

Some people get real "pushy" in their desire to "convert" others to their way of thinking.

It makes you wonder if their desire is to really bring someone to the truth or to seek glory by showing how great his or her own knowledge is.

We must always be gentle and caring for God's children and not try to force feed meat to babies who need first to be lovingly nursed and nurtured.

[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.
There was such a bond of Christian love that developed between Paul and those at Thessalonica that Paul could hardly contain himself and he thought about them often and surely wondered how they were doing.

That is why he was so excited when Timothy brought the good report to him that they were carrying forth the Word of God with zeal and enthusiasm.

They were like family to Paul and rightfully so because they were now part of the family of God.

1 Thes. 2:9
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 and his traveling companions supported themselves, paying their own way.

People could never accuse them of trying to rip off folks or of preaching the Word of God merely for monetary profit.

What kind of work did they do to support themselves?

We know from Acts 18:3 that Paul was tent maker.

[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,

Paul entreated the Thessalonians as a loving father does his own children.

What interest does a loving father have in his children?

Certainly it is not to rip them off or profit from them monetarily or impress them by flatteries, is it?

[12]That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
God makes the calling to partake of the kingdom and the glory whenever the Word of God is taught but the choice as to whether one will answer that call is left to each individual*.

Paul presented the Word of God to those at Thessalonica with no other motive than to share that Word with them that they may come to know the joy Christ brings to those who believe.

He was so excited by the fact that they believed the Word of God as TRUTH, i.e. as being really God's Word and not just religious words.

* Note: God's elect were chosen before the foundation of this world (Eph. 1:4). They were also justified and given a destiny at that time (Romans 8:29-30). So when God is ready according to His purpose, He will directly interfere in their lives just as He struck down Paul on the road to Damascus to fulfill his predestined part in the plan of God.

1 Thes. 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.
The Word of God is a real "power" in the lives of those who truly believe it.

That "power" changes their hearts and their lives not through mere conformity, i.e. a showing of a goodly outward appearance in following a "religion", but by a uniting of their hearts and minds, their spirit, with the Holy Spirit, His Word (Jn. 6:63).

It is evidenced by their spiritual blessings and the fruit they produce.

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them {the ancient Israelites} for ensamples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

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