Specifically, I am trying to connect 1 Thessalonians 2:1 and 2:2 in my head and it seems that what Paul is saying is that his purpose in Thessalonica was spurred by his suffering in Philippi. There is significant connections in Pauline writings about the suffering of those who follow Christ. See Philippians 1:29-30 and Jesus' words in Luke 9:23. What are your thoughts?
In Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, he wrote openly about the gospel and its potential impact in their lives. Just like Paul, we also are entrusted to deliver the message of the gospel. Whether with our mouths or through our actions and deeds, we should always be a witness of the power of the gospel. And here are four points we need to remember about the power of the gospel:
It’s a superior message. The gospel is more important than anything we’ve ever heard, because the mind of God is in it.
It’s a simple message. We can never fathom all the wisdom of God, yet His saving message is easy enough for a child to comprehend.
It's a sure message. Anyone from anywhere can be saved when they embrace the gospel.
It’s a sufficient message. The Bible contains an answer for every trial or situation we encounter.
The Key Verse in our passage (1 Thessalonians 2:1-8) is verse 4:
...but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
(1 Thessalonians 2:4, ESV)
The first several verses in the passage alludes to what had happened in Philippi to Paul and his companions. Apparently, they went to Thessalonica after they had been in Philippi. We have to read Acts 16 and see what happened to Paul in Philippi to fully understand what he is talking about here. He was "mistreated" in Philippi and he says to the church in Thessalonica that they had already heard about how he had been mistreated. Even though Paul had been mistreated there, he writes in our passage that they had the boldness to declare to the Thessalonians the Gospel.
Paul was not discouraged by what had happened in Philippi. He was emboldened! He didn't let the circumstances that transpired in Philippi discourage his mission. A few things regarding observation:
λαλέω is the Greek word for declare and it is used twice in our passage. It is in verse 2 and verse 4. Implications?
The priority of the Gospel getting to all people was forefront for Paul and nothing was going to stand in the way. He was a mission minded man who kept his eye of the job at hand. What are the implications of this today for us who suffer?
"...we speak to please not man but God who tests our hearts..." It is clear that humankind does not "test" our hearts. It is God who tests our hearts and knows our intentions. What are the implications of a life that lives with this truth in mind?
Great passage. There is lots happening here. Until next time,
My text for October 23, 2011, is 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8. The title of my sermon is "The Gospel Life." It's amazing that I have a couple extra weeks to work on this sermon! LOL. So, putting procrastination behind me, let the study and talking begin.