1 Thessalonians 2
1 Thessalonians 2:1-20
· Paul reminds the Thessalonians that he, Silas & Timothy also experienced persecution and suffering (being beaten) in Philippi before they arrived in Thessalonica
· Paul also reminds the Thessalonians that he & his companions shared the gospel in Thessalonica as well in the face of strong opposition from the Jews
· Paul states that he and his companions are apostles of Christ, approved by God and entrusted with the gospel by God, who tests their hearts and motives and is their witness that they were not motivated by greed but to please God.
· Therefore Paul and his companions did not use flattery to please people or exercise their apostolic authority to receive compensation for their work.
· Rather they demonstrated their love and care for the Thessalonians by sharing their lives with them, working hard to provide for their own material needs and living “holy, righteous and blameless” lives among them
· Paul likens their shepherding to spiritual parenting—like a nursing mother and a father
· Paul, Silas and Timothy thank God that the Thessalonians received the gospel as the word of God vs. a human word
· Paul acknowledges their suffering at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders puts them in good company—with the churches of Judea, the Lord Jesus, the prophets and Paul & his companions
· Such opposition to God’s work, especially to the Gentiles being saved, has brought God’s wrath upon the Jews
· While Paul was physically separated from the Thessalonian believers he tried multiple times to go back to Thessalonica but was prevented each time—due to spiritual opposition from their adversary, Satan.
· Why did Paul have such an “intense longing” to see them? Because the Thessalonian believers were their “hope, our joy, or the crown in which they will glory in” when Jesus returns
· Shepherding is like spiritual parenting. Like nursing moms or fathers, I should not proclaim the gospel and shepherd expecting any earthly or material return but rather shepherd those entrusted to my care knowing they will someday be my joy and reward when I am in the presence of Jesus.
· For the Lord is the one who entrusts shepherds with the gospel, tests their hearts and will ultimately hold them to account—not their flocks. I need to remember who I’m ultimately serving.
· There are times when being blameless means toil and hard work not to be a burden to anyone and there are times like when Jesus sent out the 70 disciples that we are to receive generous hospitality from others
Thank you for example of Paul, Silas and Timothy who demonstrate that “people work” in your kingdom requires the sharing of life on life. I confess that I hold back my time, my affections and even my own toil and sweat at times when serving your church. Father, cleanse my heart from impure motives and help me to see people as you see them and to toil knowing they will be my joy and crown when my life’s work is judged by you. Spirit—realign my motives and may I receive shepherding from others as well as provide spiritual parenting to younger believers. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Posted on Tue, March 17, 2015
by Rob Schultz