Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Scripture Sunday- Week 3
This is the third post in a series blogging through 1 Thessalonians. One and two can be found here. (I know it's not Sunday anymore, this is just proof that when Ryan is around I don't get the computer much!)
"You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness." - 1 Thessalonians 2:1-5
Okay, so we're continuing from last week! "You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results." Paul, Silvanus and Timothy transition from talking about the reputation of the Thessalonians and instead referring more to their personal relationship with them. I assume that what they mean by their visit was not without results is that likely many currently hearing this letter came to the Lord since the next verse speaks of preaching the gospel.
"We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition." They mention suffering for the Lord, and we know from last week that they think imitating them is to receive affliction in joy. This is in many ways an emphasis on the previous passage's message that way. They are saying though they suffered, still they preached the gospel with the help of God, which enabled their visit to not be without results. I do love the words "with the help of God", as they are not claiming that having the courage and words to do this can happen under man's power alone.
"For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives nor are we trying to trick you" I admit I read through looking to make sure I understood what they meant by 'the appeal'. I think they mean the gospel message itself for I do not see another appeal, though if anyone else sees another candidate I'd be interested in knowing. They are continuing to build a case for their own authority, that is, that their authority comes from God and a place of love.
"On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel." See? Actually reading this again, what strikes me is "entrusted with the gospel". We know from Jesus that the Word never returns void, right? So to be entrusted with the gospel is a huge thing, since the Sword of the Spirit is cutting. It's a high calling.
"We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts." Such an important thing! I admit at times I am guilty of trying to be a people pleaser, and I have to keep coming back to this. It is both a "fearful" thing to know our job is to please God who can test our very hearts and also a freeing thing, not just because it frees from having to please people but also because we know that God knows us better than we know ourselves. People often misunderstand us or even just dislike us or hate us for impure reasons, as the people attacking Paul and the others. However, they did not answer those people, but instead to God.
"You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed- God is our witness." Paul and the others are stating these things to reiterate who they are, in their character, before getting to other matters in the letter. They are reminding the Thessalonians who they are and their motives, and upholding God as their witness. Often that is what we need to do as well. Since God knows our heart when we are attacked we know God knows what is really going on.
Week four can be found here.