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I THESSALONIANS (8)
A FLAWLESS MINISTRY: PAUL’S PRACTICE
I Thessalonians 2:7-12
Victor M. Eskew
A. It seems as though some of Paul’s enemies had done everything they could do to call into question and to harm Paul’s work at Thessalonica.
B. When Paul writes his first letter to the church, he spends some time reminding the disciples of his work among them.
1. We have already seen Paul’s discussion about his preaching (I Thess. 2:1-6).
2. In this lesson, we want to look at Paul’s practice among the Thessalonians (I Thess. 2:7-12).
C. In this section, Paul again calls upon the saints in Thessalonica to testify on his behalf.
1. “For ye remember” (v. 9)
2. “Ye are witnesses” (v. 10)
3. “As ye know” (v. 11)
D. In this section, the apostle describes his practice among the Thessalonians in five different ways.
I. A GENTLE NURSE (I Thess. 2:7)
But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children.
A. Three words need to be defined in this passage.
a. The word comes from a Greek term meaning “to nourish,” or “to bring up.”
b. In the context, Paul is referring to a “nursing mother,” “as a nurse cherisheth her children.
a. Strong (2261): affable, mild, kind
b. Thayer: affable, mild, gentle
c. Vine: mind, gentle
a. Strong (2282): to brood
b. Thayer: to warm, keep warm, cherish with tender love, to foster with tender care
c. Vine: to heat, to keep warm, as of birds covering their young with feathers.
B. Paul saw himself as a caregiver to the Thessalonians.
1. He was gentle (II Tim. 2:24).
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.
2. The picture is
a. A babysitter with trying children
b. A teacher with rowdy kids
c. A parent with children that test their limits
3. Paul’s gentleness can be described with such words as calm, kind, mild, non-argumentative, accepting, firm, tender, loving, warm, and caring.
4. Paul was gentle because he cherished them.
a. He was unto them as a mother hen.
b. He longed to keep them under the care of his wings.
5. Two interesting points:
a. Paul had only recently met the Thessalonians.
b. Paul was a Jew and many of these new converts were Gentiles, having converted from idolatry.
c. LESSON: The blood of Christ breaks down the barriers of culture, destroys prejudice, and ties individuals together with brotherly love.
II. SACRIFICIAL SERVANT (I Thess. 2:8)
So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
A. In this verse, Paul again expresses the closeness that he had with these brethren.
1. Affectionately desirous
a. Yearning, to long for, a longing of love, a strong affection for
b. Paul had a deep-seated emotional attachment to these brethren.
c. Example: When I first leave my grandchildren for a few miles down the road there is this longing for them.
2. Dear unto us
a. “Dear” means “beloved, esteem, favorite, very dear.”
b. Paul’s love for the Thessalonians fulfilled I Peter 1:22.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeign love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
B. Paul’s love for these brethren was manifested in two ways.
1. The preaching of the gospel.
2. A willingness to die for the Thessalonians if need be.
…we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls.
a. In this context, the word “souls” refers to their lives.
b. One willing to give his life for another truly manifests the care and love he has for that person (I John 3:16).
Hereby perceive we the love of God because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
C. LESSON: There is no greater display of love for another than to sacrifice one’s life for him.
III. PERSONAL SUPPORT (I Thess. 2:9)
For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
A. Paul wanted his ministry to be so flawless that he refused to be paid by the brethren for preaching the gospel.
1. He makes too much.
2. He’s doing it for the money.
3. He has an easy job for the amount he makes.
4. If he were not getting paid, he wouldn’t do it.
B. Thus, Paul worked in his own trade.
1. Most likely, it was doing the work of a tentmaker (See Acts 18:3).
2. He refers to his work as involving “labour” and “travail.”
1) Strong (2873): toil (as reducing strength) pains
2) Thayer; labor, intense labor with trouble and toil
3) Vine: toil resulting in weariness, laborious toil, trouble
1) Strong (3449): toil…sadness :- painfulness (II Cor. 11:27)
2) Thayer: hard, difficult labor, toil, travail, hardship, distress
3) Vine; labor involving painful effort
3. He said that that he did it night and day.
a. If he preached in the day, he worked at night.
b. If he preached in the night, he worked during the day.
C. He could have been paid.
1. He taught that is was right to be paid (Gal. 6:6).
2. Paul merely protected his ministry by refusing to be paid in certain places.
IV. GODLY LIVING (I Thess. 2:10)
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.
A. Up to this point, Paul has expressed his love and care for the church.
B. He now turns the focus upon his personal life. He describes it using three terms.
a. Strong (3743): piously
b. Thayer: piously
c. Vine: pure from evil conduct, and observant of God’s will
a. Strong (1346): equitably
b. Thayer: just, agreeably to right, properly, uprightly, agreeable to the law of rectitude
c. Vine: in accordance with what is right
a. Strong (294): faultlessly
b. Thayer: blameless, so as not to cause censure
c. Barnes: not charge against him, every duty performed faithfully, consistency of character.
C. Paul was extremely cautious as to how he lived his life.
1. He sought to be holy as God is holy (I Pet. 1:15-16).
2. He sought to be fair and equitable with his fellowman.
3. He sought to live in such a way that no charge could be brought against him.
D. LESSON: All Christians ought to live in such a way that their lives will bear a close inspection.
V. FATHERLY APPEALS (I Thess. 2:11-12)
A. The Work of A Father (I Thess. 2:11)
As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a Father doth his children.
1. A mother gently nurses her children.
2. A father’s work is different.
a. He exhorts: urges one to pursue a course of conduct
b. He comforts: he calms and consoles
c. He charges: to implore, command
3. LESSON: The father stands in the position of the authority figure of the home. He is not a dictator, but one who moves his children forward in their spiritual lives through various methods.
B. The Words of A Father (I Thess. 2:12)
That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
1. The call to action: “walk worthy of God”
a. Walk: to tread all around, to make one’s way, to live, the whole realm of activities of an individual’s life
b. Worthy: appropriately, suitably, the Christian walk as it should be
2. The cause of this action: God has called us to His kingdom and glory
a. We have been given many blessings through the call of God.
b. We are part of the spiritual kingdom that is separate from the world.
c. We have been called unto the glory of God. Our ultimate glory will be received when we are able to live with our Lord in glory in the hereafter.
3. LESSON: Every faithful minister should express this same desire to the church among whom he labors. Surely, he wants the members to walk worthy of God (See Eph. 4:1).
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation, wherewith ye are called.
A. The minister fulfills many roles as he seeks to serve both the Lord and the church.
B. Paul was meticulous and very cautious to live in such a way that no charges could be brought against him.
1. The enemy still made his false accusations.
2. But, Paul knew that he could appeal to the knowledge of those among whom he labored to see the true minister that he had been while he was with them.