Summary: In chapter 2 of 1 Thessalonians, Paul reminded them of the ministry he conducted among them. His description of his ministry provides us with an excellent model for our ministry.
A. Last week, in our sermon, we worked our way through 1 Thessalonians chapter one and noticed why the church at Thessalonica was a model church.
1. We discovered that they were a model church for at least three reasons: (1). Their Faithful Service. (2) Their Open Receptivity. (3) Their Evangelistic Influence.
2. Today we want to continue our study of the letters to the Thessalonians by moving into chapter two.
3. What we will notice is Paul’s description of his ministry among the Thessalonians.
4. From that description we have the opportunity to learn some important lessons about being model ministers and having a model ministry.
B. Before we get into the text let’s think for a minute about what model ministers and model ministry should look like.
1. Sometimes the best way to gain insight into something is to think about its’ opposite.
2. What would bad ministers or bad ministry look like?
C. Let’s look at a few cartoons to get us thinking.
1. In this first cartoon, the minister is being carried like a king by his followers. He says: “Just remember guys: you are doing this for God, not for me.” (Right! Some ministers are all about being served, rather than serving).
2. In this second cartoon, take a look at the door of this minister’s office…what is wrong with this picture? (If he is a humble servant, why is he listing his many degrees and credentials?).
3. I had to use this last cartoon for those “Lovers of Apple Technology” (Can a preacher minister effectively without an Apple I-Pad? I just don’t know!).
D. So far in our study of 1 Thessalonians, we have seen how the church at Thessalonica was born.
1. As I mentioned, last week we learned about how the church at Thessalonica was a model church.
2. Certainly the church would not have been planted nor would it have become a model church without the work of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
3. But as I mentioned in the introductory sermon, God always uses people to plant churches.
4. Not only does God use people to plant churches, God also uses people to grow churches.
5. The church at Thessalonica was born through the faithful preaching of the apostle Paul and his team, and then the church was nurtured through the faithful ministry of Paul and his team.
E. In the first 12 verses of chapter 2, Paul reminded the Thessalonians of the kind of ministry he had conducted among them as he taught and cared for that young church.
1. The first-century world was full of false spiritual leaders and charlatans, so it was easy for Paul’s critics and persecutors in Thessalonica to lump him in with those charlatans who ministered merely to gain personal power, wealth, and prestige.
2. Therefore, it was necessary for Paul to remind them of just how different and godly his ministry had been among them.
3. Let’s notice the three pictures of his ministry that emerge and see how they can be a model for our ministry.
I. A Model Ministry Includes Being a Faithful Steward
A. Let’s look at verses 1-6: 1 You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2 We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.
B. Paul points out that he and his team had been “entrusted with the gospel.”
1. Paul saw himself and his ministry as the stewardship of the good news about Jesus.
2. As you know, the steward owns nothing, but he possesses and uses everything that belongs to his master.
3. In the OT we read about the story of Joseph.
a. Joseph was a steward in the household of Potiphar (Gen. 39).
b. Joseph managed his master’s affairs and used all his master’s goods to promote his master’s welfare.
4. Every steward must give an account of his stewardship.
5. If the steward is found to be faithful, he will be rewarded; but if he is found to be unfaithful, he will suffer.
C. Let’s notice two things that were a part of Paul’s faithful stewardship.