1THESSALONIANS 2:1-16 (NIV – UK)
Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica
1 You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition.3 For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, 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. 5 As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; 6 nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, 7 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. 8 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.
9 You remember our labour 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. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was towards you believers. 11 As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, 12 urging and encouraging you and pleading that you should lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own 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. 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,15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone 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.
SHARING THE GOSPEL
It’s quite common to find people who always want to please others – and in some ways, we all want to please others. But, as a Christian, why do we tell others about Jesus? Paul says ‘not to please mortals, but to please God’ (v. 4).
Proclaiming Jesus to the world can be fraught with difficulties – Paul himself says ‘we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition’ (v. 2). Sharing the Gospel of Jesus with friends, family and neighbours isn’t generally a way that we are going to make ourselves very popular. There will always be great opposition – after all, Satan does not want that to happen!
But, as Paul says, we don’t share the Gospel of Jesus to please mortals – we share the Gospel of Jesus to please God. Out of the overflow of our heart we share the great love that we have received.
And we can have confidence that when we share the Gospel the Lord will anoint our words: ‘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’ (v. 13). Words are usually just words – but the Gospel of Jesus is different – it has great power – the Gospel of Jesus is God’s word – and it’s this that he wants us to share.
Question: Have you ever shared Jesus with someone? If so, did you face opposition? If not, what are the things that might be stopping you?