Paul claimed to deeply care for the church in Thessalonica.
He wrote to them, “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” (1 Thessalonians 2.8).
As someone whose vocation was the ministry for 50 years, I am challenged by Paul’s declaration of devotion to the church.
— How much have I cared for the people I have served over the years?
— To what degree did I share myself with them?
— Can I say of the people I’ve served that they are “very dear” to me?
I think every vocational minister would do well to answer the questions I have posed to myself.
Please pray for the ministers you know. Ask God to expand these qualities in his servants.
Action Beyond Words
Not only did Paul declare his love for the church, but he also demonstrated it through his actions.
1 Thessalonians 2.9-10 – You remember our labor 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.
You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers.
Paul taught students, while he was busy making tents. People gathered around the apostle, while he was at work.
The lessons were not limited by an hour or two in church. Students spent hours with Paul as he made tents and taught the truths of God.
These disciples quickly learned that Paul was “pure, upright, and blameless.” His words were backed up by his behavior.
In today’s video, I relate how C.F. Andrews introduced Gandhi to the gospel. Andrews joined Gandhi and other Indians, who traveled to South Africa for work.
Gandhi was greatly impressed by Andrews but disturbed by the behavior of the so-called Christian British government.
He was attracted to Jesus, but the actions of the British turned him away from the Christian faith.
Let’s pray for Christians to represent Jesus in such a way that others will want to follow him.
Worthy of God
Paul lived an exemplary life and challenged the church to do the same.
1 Thessalonians 2.11-12 – As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children,
Urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Paul was a father to the churches he served. Fathers lead their children to be responsible adults.
The greatest gift parents can give their children is to help them live a life worthy of God.
God has graciously called us to participate in his kingdom and coming glory. It is only right that we live our lives worthy of his character and grace.
Throughout these verses, the emphasis is that the CONTENT of the gospel and the CONDUCT of Jesus’ followers must match.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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