Summary: The second in a series on the book of 1st Thessalonians. This sermon discusses how we as Christians are stewards of the Gospel. We are to share it, no matter the cost.
Stewards of the Good News
Text: 1st Thess. 2:1-12
By: Ken McKinley
If you remember this letter was written to the Thessalonians around 50 AD. That means that Paul, Silas and Timothy had probably been in Thessalonica around 15 to 20 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. They stayed there for a period of time but then were forced out of the area.
Now in the ancient world, there were a lot of… I guess what you would call, wandering philosophers. Men who would travel from town to town and offer the latest teaching. Some of them sincerely believed in what they were saying, most were what we would call “snake oil” salesmen. They were just trying to trick people and make a buck here and there. And this is what Paul’s enemies were most likely accusing him of. They argued that he came into town, he spoke flattering words, eloquent words, that he was seeking glory, fortune and fame, and then they tried to prove their point because Paul left abruptly in the middle of the night. Again, in the book of Acts, chapter 17 is where we read about all of this happening.
So anyway, these people were slandering Paul and defaming him, and accusing him of being a shady character who left to save his own skin; so what Paul does in his first letter to the Thessalonians is try to answer these false claims against him. Now Paul wasn’t trying to make himself out to be something big… his fear was that all the talk about town was causing the Thessalonians to falter and stumble in their new faith. So Paul took the time to answer the charges against him. Now let me just tell ya’ll that I think Paul would’ve written this sooner had he known the charges against him sooner.
I think that all of us probably know how rumors can destroy the credibility of our witness. And I hope that if you all ever hear a rumor about me that you will come to me and let me know, so that I can address it – so that I can either confirm it and explain it, or deny it and refute it; and not only me, but against any brother or sister in Christ. Because I can tell you this, even though I am by no means a “Paul,” or even a “great pastor” My hearts desire is to see people come to faith and be saved, and I don’t want some rumor to hinder anyone from that. Whether it’s a rumor about me, my family, OR my church family.
You see; Paul knew that he was a steward of the Good News. He knew that he had been entrusted with the Gospel, and even though it was demanding, and that people would say things about him, and that he would probably never be a rich man, it was also the most rewarding thing in the world. Listen to how Paul talks about this in 2nd Corinthians 4:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” Now remember Paul had been stoned, he had been beaten, he had been imprisoned, he had been in a ship-wreck… here he was being slandered… But what does he call of that? “Light affliction!” He says its but for a moment, but something better; something MUCH BETTER is coming.
Let’s turn back to our text in 1st Thessalonians.
Notice that Paul says 3 times (in vss. 2, 8, and 9) that his message is the Gospel of God. Nowhere in the rest of the NT will you find such concise, exact terminology. You see it a few times in the NT, but Paul uses it 3 times in a single passage of text.
Paul was a steward of the Good News. That’s why Paul said, “Woe unto me if I do not preach the Gospel.”
When Paul came to Thessalonica he knew exactly what the mission was. He wasn’t confused about it or afraid of it; even though he had just come from Philippi and had suffered persecution there. But he didn’t change the message, he didn’t alter it so that maybe he would be better liked in Thessalonica. He preached the same message to the Thessalonians that he had preached to the Philippians.
If you remember Acts 16, Paul and Silas had been attacked, they were publically beaten and put in prison, but God moved on their behalf and brought an earthquake which freed Paul and Silas and resulted in the jailer being saved.
But even though Paul had gone through so much, he didn’t change his content, he still preached the truth. Verse 2 says that he came to Thessalonica to “declare the Gospel of God!”