I Thessalonians

I Thessalonians 1:8-2:12 Labouring With Sincerity.

Not only had the Thessalonians heard the word and had become living examples, they also were messengers of the word, for from them it “sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place” (v. 8). It was their life of faith toward God which had become known. Formerly they were idol worshipers who had turned “to serve the living and true God” (v. 9). The hope he had spoken of earlier, was a hope which inspired a patient waiting for the Lord Jesus who would deliver from the wrath to come, a hope based on the reality of Jesus’ resurrection (v. 10). It was because of these reports which Paul was receiving concerning their faith, conduct, and labour in the word, that Paul was confident that his own labour was not in vain when he took the gospel to them, even with conflict (vv. 1-2 Cf. Acts 14:5; 16:19-24; 17:1-9). There was nothing selfish or deceptive in the work of Paul and his colleagues rather, they were “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel…not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts (vv. 3-4 Cf. II Cor. 7:2; Gal. 1:10).”

God sees the inner person. God knows whether we seek to please Him or others. Paul expresses confidence in having God as his witness, that they did not use deception for some sort of covetous gain (v. 5 Cf. II Cor. 2:17). As apostles, they did not seek glory from men for they had all the approval anyone could want or need from God Himself (v. 6). As apostles, they would certainly have been entitled to make some demands (Cf. I Tim. 5:17; I Cor. 9:1-4). Instead, they were gentle with the people, with the affectionate longing of a nursing mother, that they might impart the pure gospel to them, giving their very lives to this work (vv. 7-8 Cf. Rom. 1:11). Paul again calls to their memory how he and his colleagues had laboured among them so that they would not be a burden to them (v. 9 Cf. Acts 18:3; 20:34-35; II Cor. 11:9; 12:13-15). Again he calls both God and his readers as witness to how they “exhorted, and comforted, and charged…as a father does his own children…that they would walk worthy of God” who called them “into His own glory and kingdom” (vv. 10-12).

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