1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

1 Thes. 2:1-8 (ESV) "For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us."

Sometimes passages like this will give us insight into the right mindset and positioning needed to serve in God's kingdom. Paul doesn't give the Thessalonians a list of laws he followed in order to present the gospel message. He is sharing his heart here for these people and his devotion to his apostolic mission. He is leading by example walking in devotion, not duty.

He indicates that the Spirit is leading them and working all things for good even in the midst of persecution and conflict. Paul sees a higher authority than man at work in his life. He has been approved by God and entrusted with the gospel. 

Jus to be clear, Paul is not saying that it's wrong to please people or be kind to others. This reminds me of Luke 14:26 when Jesus said, "Anyone who comes to me must hate their father and mother." Things could go terribly wrong if we take this verse out of context. Jesus did not mean we should hate anyone, but in comparison to a wholehearted surrender of the temporal for the eternal, these relationships must come second. Paul did not come to flatter others or to please people in order to be heard or to get opportunities to share the gospel. He simply obeyed and followed the leading of the Holy Spirit demonstrating power and authority with the message.

Don't miss this part. Paul's and his companions came to serve with genuine wholeheartedness and affection for these people. And Paul says repeatedly that these Thessalonians welcomed the good news and received if with gladness. This is the body of Christ at work. This open and obedient giving and receiving dynamic filled them all with God's word and his Spirit. This is the kingdom life.

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