Summary: Today we want to look at what made Paul and his team successful as they traveled around sharing the good news about Jesus. Several dynamics emerge from these verses in 1 Thess. 2 that will help us become more effective in sharing God’s grace with others.
Dynamics of God’s Good News
Intro: Have you ever felt like a failure in something you were trying to accomplish or be successful at? Sometimes we feel discouraged in our life roles (as a student, as an athlete, as a friend, as a parent, as a husband or wife, as a role model, as an employee or tradesman, etc.). If you are a Christian and have committed your life to Jesus, to love and follow Him, I have no doubt that you’ve felt like a failure at one time or another. The reason I can say that with confidence is because I know a little bit about our common enemy. His name means adversary (aka the accuser, aka father of lies). He would love nothing more than to take the same Bible you read for encouragement and spiritual growth and give you a smack down with it, accusing you of failing God in so many areas. I am very grateful for verses like Romans 8:33-35 33 “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-- more than that, who was raised to life-- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” If God is for us, who can be against us!
-The world often fails to recognize true success. In 1902, the poetry editor of Atlantic Monthly returned a stack of poems with this note, “Our magazine has no room for your vigorous verse.” The poet was Robert Frost. In 1905, the University of Bern turned down a doctoral dissertation as “irrelevant and fanciful.” The writer of that paper was Albert Einstein. In 1894 an English teacher noted on a teenager’s report card, “A conspicuous lack of success.” The student was Winston Churchill. Another student once graduated 42nd out of a class of 58 at military school. This student with so little potential was named Napoleon Bonaparte. The world often fails to see the potential for success that God has placed within a person. But God Himself knows us and He sees our true potential (Steven Dow, sc.com). And when we open our hearts to Him and receive His grace, that is the beginning of a life of lasting success. All other success will be left behind when we leave this earth. But knowing Jesus and making Him known is something we can take with us!
-Today we want to look at what made Paul and his team successful as they traveled around sharing the good news about Jesus. Several dynamics emerge from these verses in 1 Thess. 2 that will help us become more effective in sharing God’s grace with others. Let’s take a look at these dynamics of the gospel, the good news about Jesus.
1. It is often met with opposition
1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 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.
-Paul’s visit to Thessalonica was possibly only a few weeks in length. Acts 17 tells of the strong opposition they faced there, causing them to move on the Berea. Still, Paul was not ashamed or afraid to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in spite of all the opposition he had faced not only in Thessalonica, but also previously in Philippi. The suffering in Philippi that he alludes to here is detailed for us in Acts 16:16-40. In Philippi there was a slave girl who was possessed by a demon and she made a lot of money for her owners through fortune-telling. The girl was following Paul and Silas around shouting and detracting from the gospel, and one day Paul cast the demon out of her. Her owners were very angry because now they couldn’t make any money off of her anymore. So they took Paul and Silas to the magistrates who had them stripped and severely flogged and thrown into prison. During the night their chains fell off during an earthquake and their jail door was opened. But they remained there and were able to lead the jailer and his entire family to Christ. The next day they were released, said goodbye to their friends, and headed for Thessalonica.
-In spite of this harsh treatment in Philippi they still dared to proclaim the gospel to the Thessalonians even though they were facing opposition there too. Acts 17 tells us that the Jews in Thessalonica became jealous of Paul’s ministry so they formed a mob and started a riot in the city. Jason, the man in whose house Paul was staying, was arrested and later released on bond. So that night Paul and Silas left for Berea under the cover of darkness.