Summary: There is no one better to learn about true spritual leadership, then the apostle Paul himself. In a day where false teachers abound, we must make sure that we are leading God’s people the right way.
Fail Proof Spiritual Leadership
1 Thess. 2:1-6
For the sake of our study, I don’t want to start in Chapter 1, but rather in Chapter 2. For nearly half a century, beginning in the 1950’s, the world has asked the question, “Where have all the leaders gone?” During that time, society had placed more and more of a premium on leadership, but has found few noble leaders with skill and integrity.
Leadership is not easy. When a sports team does not win, the owner fires the head coach. When a corporation loses its competitive edge or fails in a major way to live up to expectations, the board of directors often fires the president. When a church does not grow according to people’s expectations, the pastor is often forced out.
And because spiritual and eternal matters are involved, the leadership crisis in the world is insignificant compared to the leadership crisis in the church.
Those called to be leaders in the church: pastors, staff members, deacons, teachers; are entrusted with the unequalled duty of proclaiming the gospel to unbelieving sinners, and bringing in those who believe and are baptized into the fellowship of the local church, and serve as God’s agency to fulfill His mission on earth until Christ returns.
In 2 Cor. 2:16) the well gifted Paul asked the question, “And who is adequate for these things?” He realized that no man could effectively discharge the immense obligation of spiritual leadership by human wisdom, effort, and strength alone. He knew only God could provide the power to be an effective leader.
False teachers in that day verbally attacked Paul, as they often do today, by criticizes his character and challenging his authority. So we come to the opening verse of chapter 2 and see the how Paul defends himself against these attacks after being chased out of town by his attackers and show us today how we can have a church full of fail proof spiritual leadership.
I. Paul’s Opening Reminder (v. 1)
• Paul opened his defense on his spiritual leadership with a general statement about the effectiveness of his ministry.
o Paul urged his audience in Thessalonica to remember their own experience with him and his companions, what had occurred was obvious and self-evident.
• He was basically saying, let my work speak for its self.
o A firsthand witness, is always far more creditable then a secondhand report.
II. Paul’s Confidence in God’s Power (v. 2)
• Paul’s confidence in the power of God, both to energize his ministry and protect him from harm, gave him boldness, courage, tenacity and fearlessness in the face of his enemies.
i. I believe a majority of our Christian leaders today would have threw in the towel if they had faced the opposition that Paul and Silas faced in Philippi and then in Thessalonica.
• Paul’s confidence was not in him, but rather it was resting solely in God.
i. Paul wholeheartedly trusted that God would sustain him.
ii. Later in Ephesians 6:10 Paul would say that he was, “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”
iii. In 2 Cor. 12:9-10 he wrote that his human weakness was the best tool for God’s power.
• It is when we recognize that we are weak and unable to perform on our own merit that God can fully use us with His power.
III. Paul’s Commitment to God’s Truth (v. 3)
• Paul knew he could be confident in God’s power, because he was committed to God’s truth, not only in his preaching but also in his living
i. Enemies of God’s truth often try to destroy ministers of the gospel by persecution.
ii. But when that does not work, as it didn’t with Paul, they try to undermine people’s trust in the spiritual leader’s message or his personal integrity.
• That often happened to Paul and his associates.
i. Paul believed that it was necessary to defend his integrity by affirming his unwavering commitment to God’s truth, in both speech and conduct.
1. First Paul declared, our exhortation does not come in error.
a. Paul’s critics must have accused him not only of error but of outright heresy.
b. Perhaps the opposing Jews accused him of ignorance of the Old Testament.
c. But such charges were completely false.
d. Paul made evidently clear in his earlier letters to the church in Corinth when he wrote in 2 Cor. 2:17, “For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.”
e. When you teach and preach directly from the Word of God and not your own opinion, you cannot be found in error before man or God.
2. Second, Paul affirmed his commitment to God’s truth by declaring that he had not come by way of deceit.