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Monday, January 27, 2014

Scripture Sunday- Week 4


This is the fourth post in an ongoing series on 1 Thessalonians. Find the first post here.

"We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed"
-1 Thessalonians 2:6-10

Continuing our study of the letter from Paul, Silvanus and Timothy to the Church in Thessalonica, they were outlining their characteristics and qualifications, to remind the Church of who they are and their past time with the Thessalonians.

"We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority." In this the authors assert both their status as apostles of Christ but also that they have laid aside any privileges of praise that they could have demanded. This is key because not only is it true that as Christians we are not to seek to please people but to instead please God, but also to follow Christ. Christ who was equal to God but chose to lay that aside and live and die as a mere and lowly human out of love. Following Christ doesn't mean we are less than others, just as Paul and the others had authority in Christ, but it means we choose to not assert our rights in order to sacrifice them in love for the kingdom of God. This is how Christians lay down their lives.

"Instead, we were like young children among you." This is the apostles expressing both their vulnerability and humility amongst the Thessalonians.

"Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you." This metaphor expresses their bond and sacrifice. A nursing mother is sacrificing her energy, sleep, and body to nourish and cherish her child, and they similarly labored spirit and body to minister to the Thessalonians.

"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." Oh what a delight! I love when I've had those times fellowshipping with my brethren in Christ where you feel you can really share your lives with them. Remember that no work we do for Christ can be done unless it's done in Christ and nothing can be done in Christ unless it's done in love.

"Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. " This is a principle of establishing churches Paul outlines elsewhere, that the apostles relinquish any right to earn a living off of the fledgling congregation but instead "tent makes" or relies on donations from elsewhere to survive, so as not to demand money or other material burdens from the people they are trying to bring to Christ.

"You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed" Bearing witness is actually a not oft talked about part of the Christian life. That is, we will say things like "my witness" or something meaning 'how others see me' but we don't talk much of how we see others, and how that is not judging others, but experiencing and living lives with others so we can see their heart for God, their motivation. It's something to think about.

Read week five here.

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