1 Thessalonians 2:1-6
There is an emphasis on the gospel because it is only through that good news that we can see lives changed, lives brought into what G-d created each person to be. Without the gospel we are without hope. Without the work of Yeshua in our lives we are broken eternally and are cut off from the goodness, love, forgiveness, and the victory that G-d wants to share with us.
1: You yourselves know: Paul is not telling them something new. He is speaking about something that they know experientially; they have witnessed it, or gone through it, first-hand.
- Brethren: Paul is writing to this G-dly group of believers in Thessaloniki.
- Our coming to you: Our entrance. Our presence in your midst.
- Not in vain: The tense that this is written in reveals to us that their presence among the Thessalonians was not in vain in the past, is still not in vain in the present and will continue to have not been in vain into the future. Paul expects that things are going to be done in the future as they are done now, and as they have been done in the past. He was expecting that his visit there was going to produce fruit. Paul is always mindful of and praising G-d for the work that He accomplishes through individuals – in this case, through those who were serving with Paul in this location of Thessaloniki.
v2: Suffered … spitefully treated: Nothing in this text suggests that Paul was suffering because of something he had done wrong – i.e. for not speaking or behaving as he should. Quite the contrary. He had presented the gospel correctly to them and that had led to his suffering and mistreatment. When he presented the gospel, he had no ulterior motives. He did not want to receive anything from them but wanted to provide them with Biblical truth – the wonderful message of the gospel.
- As you know: Again repeated. Emphasised.The brethren from Thessaloniki had witnessed Paul’s suffering and mistreatment.
- Philippi: The place where the Philippians came from.
- Speak…the gospel of G-d in much conflict: When we say yes to G-d (we become His disciple and want to serve Him) we can expect to suffer and be mistreated – just as Paul suffered and was mistreated. There is much opposition to the gospel. The gospel is a message against hell. Those who are committed to the things of the enemy do not want good news – they do not want restoration to G-d. They do not want the power of G-d to be manifested in and through the gospel. The gospel transforms lives. G-d moves through that gospel message to open up the means whereby He will bless individuals and use others to bless them, but because of that there is much conflict. When we set out to do G-d’s will we need to realize that we will most certainly encounter opposition. There is much opposition against the purposes of G-d.
v3: Our exhortation: Paul and his fellow servants came to Thessaloniki (as they did to other places) with a purpose – to set things in order, bring things under G-d’s submissive will. We are called to submit to G-d’s will, as in doing so we recognize His authority. When we move away from being under G-d’s authority, we are choosing sin and are inviting shame and defeat into our lives. But when we walk submissively to His will, doing His purposes, we are going to experience victory.
- Nor was it in guile (trickery): Paul did not try to fool people or take advantage of them.
v4: Approved by G-d: G-d had shown them to be His apostles in the past, they are still approved by G-d and will continue to be approved into the future. This verse is saying that G-d has confirmed them to be apostles.
- Pleasing…G-d who tests our hearts: When we serve G-d, by speaking the gospel, we are going to be mistreated. Things are going to be said against us. We are going to suffer. G-d revealed the heart of Paul, and those who were sincerely serving G-d, to those in Thessaloniki (Paul and his friends did not have a personal objective – they weren’t doing this for themselves and how it might impact them, but they were doing it because they wanted to serve and obey G-d, they wanted to bring Him glory. Lives that have been changed through truth are a way to bring G-d glory)
v5: Flattering words: They did not use words to flatter, manipulate or please others. They did things in a transparent way.
- A cloak for covetousness: Theywere not among the Thessalonians as so-called ‘servants of G-d’ doing religious things as a cloak to hide what they really were about.
- G-d is witness: G-d confirmed their words. Truth is not proved by just words alone but by signs and wonders- there was a power, there was anointing (1 Thess 1:5) They spoke and there was a result. G-d moved because what they were doing was approved by Him.
v6: Nor did we seek glory from men: They were not trying to exalt themselves or make themselves impressive. It wasn’t about seeking their own glory, but G-d’s glory.
- Either from you or from others: From a personal standpoint it was all about submitting to G-d, submitting to His authority in their lives. This is the only way that the work of G-d can be done.
- Made demands as apostles: They didn’t use this title as a way to manipulate or to exalt themselves. They were in a very important position, but Paul didn’t utilize that for any personal gain. He submitted to the call of a suffering servant.