1 Thessalonians 2 Bible study

 

The Pentecostal Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians

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Chapter 2.

 

The Message and its Messenger.

 

1. You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain.

 

Paul's visit to Thessalonica was not unsuccessful, since it had borne fruit in the salvation of souls.

 

2. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition.

 

This was despite the fact that just before this, Paul and Silas had been wrongfully accused, beaten and imprisoned without trial in Philippi for preaching the gospel. They were enabled by God to continue their ministry and so preached the Gospel in Thessalonica in spite of strong opposition (Acts 17:5). This was not in their own strength, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, who gave them boldness.

 

3. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery.

 

Paul stands for the truth of the gospel by saying that it did not deceive the people by leading them into error - it reveals God's truth; corrupt the people to engage in immoral conduct - it  reveals God's holiness; trick the people, by an ulterior motive, to make money out of them - it reveals God's purity.

 

4. But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.

 

The gospel did not originate with Paul or any other man. It is God's message, and the apostles were simply His chosen messengers, whom He had tested and approved of being faithful in handling the Gospel (Gal. 1:11-12). They were His stewards, handling His possessions (the truths of the gospel). They did not preach to please men, but God who tries and knows our hearts and motives (Jer. 17:10). The apostles walked in the fear of God.

 

5. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed.

 

The apostles never resorted to flattery to gain favour with the people, nor did they try to make a financial gain from the Thessalonians. God Himself was witness to their complete and genuine honesty.

 

6,7,8. Nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

 

At no time did the apostles seek to gain honour for themselves from the Christian church or from outsiders, although as Christ's messengers such honour was due to them. Rather, the apostles had a genuine care for the Christians at Thessalonica. Instead of asserting their authority, as they could have done, they dealt with the believers gently, like a devoted mother tenderly cares for her little children. It was with such deep love and affection that the apostles coveted the Thessalonians for Christ. They gladly opened their hearts to share not only the gospel of God but their own lives, their own selves, with them, for they were dear to them. Are we willing to share ourselves with each other?

 

9. You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

 

Whilst at Thessalonica, the apostles worked hard for their living, so as not to impose a financial burden on the Church. Paul did not want anyone to say that he had made a financial gain for preaching the gospel. He was careful to let men see that since he was not paid, he must have a higher motive for doing this work, which was the case. However, it should be noted that although Paul did not receive financial support for himself, he insisted that it was the right every minister of the gospel of God to receive a living from those whom they taught (1 Cor. 9:7-14 & 2 Tim. 2:6).

 

10. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers.

 

Paul, Silas and Timothy could call on both the Thessalonian Christians and God Himself as witnesses to the holy, just and blameless way in which they behaved whilst at Thessalonica.

 

11,12. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

 

Just as a father would his children, the apostles instructed, trained and commanded the Christians to live lives worthy of God, the One who called them to His kingdom and glory.

 

 

13. We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers.

 

The apostles were thankful that when the Thessalonian believers heard the message of the gospel they accepted it for what it was, not man's word, but God's - the message of His salvation provided through His Son Jesus Christ. Because they had believed God's word it was able to work in them and produce the effects that God intended (Rom.10:17). God's will was that through His word men might be saved and then continue to grow in Christ's likeness.

 

 

Persecution for the Gospel's Sake.

 

14. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews.

 

The genuine faith of the Thessalonians was seen in the way they were willing to endure persecution for Christ. Just as the Jewish Christians had suffered for their faith at the hands of the Jews, so the Thessalonians suffered at the hands of their own countrymen for the sake of the gospel.

 

15. Who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone.

 

The Jewish nation had killed the Lord Jesus Christ, and the prophets. They had tried to kill the apostles, forcing them to leave Judea (Acts 9:23 - 25). They do not please God and are hostile to all people.

 

16. By hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God's wrath has overtaken them at last.

 

They rejected the gospel message for themselves, but far worse they tried to rob others of the opportunity to hear it and be saved, especially the Gentiles. By such behaviour they are continually adding to their own guilt and deserve the full measure of God's wrath which will be poured out on God's enemies when Christ comes again (2 Thess. 1:6-9).

 

17. As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you--in person, not in heart--we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face.

 

Because of the trouble at Thessalonica, Paul was sent away at night to Berea by the disciples. Yet his heart was still with them and he longed to be able to return and help them in their trials.

 

18. For we wanted to come to you--certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again--but Satan blocked our way.

 

Though he had tried to return, he was hindered from doing so by Satan.

 

19,20. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy!

 

Paul again assures the Thessalonians of his love and affection for them, for though he is absent at this time, they remain his glory and joy - reward enough for all his labours - a crown of rejoicing is that they will be present in glory at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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