Summary: Paul gives a great example for pastors and believers to seek to be God-pleasers, not man-pleasers.
1 Thes. 2:1-12
A funny thing happened to me on the way to studying for my message today.
I discovered that it’s easy to find stuff that will help you grow in your walk with Christ, but when it gets personal, it gets uncomfortable.
We’re quick to offer advice, but slow to accept advice, aren’t we (esp. pastors).
That’s what’s happened to me this week.
I discovered a passage that speaks primarily to me, a pastor.
How many women have trouble hearing about the Prov. 31 woman?
There are a lot of pastors who have trouble with 1 Thes. 2.
I’m glad the Board didn’t use this passage as a basis for my interview last year!
Every week I try to challenge you in your walk with and pursuit of Christ.
Today, it’s my turn to be challenged and humbled and convicted.
We’ve begun a new sermon series on 1 Thes. entitled, “Be Ready”.
It’s all about living for Christ now as we get ready for His return.
Warren Wiersbe calls Ch. 1, “The Ideal Church”.
Here is a church with a great testimony for the world to see.
By the way, did people see Christ in you these past 2 weeks?
Ch. 1 - Ideal Church, whereas Ch. 2 speaks of the Ideal Pastor (turn there).
If you could create the perfect pastor, this is what he would look like.
I’m not going to go through this passage just so you can watch me squirm.
There’s a lot in here for all of us, as we’ll discover at the end of the message.
In this passage, Paul reviews his love and concern for the Thessalonians when he first visited them and pastored them.
He does this to defend himself against the charlatans and scam artists of the day.
In so doing, Paul in essence gives us 10 qualities of an ideal pastor.
1. An ideal pastor endures suffering. vv. 1-2
1YOU KNOW, BROTHERS, THAT OUR VISIT TO YOU WAS NOT A FAILURE (futile, we saw that in Ch. 1). 2WE HAD PREVIOUSLY SUFFERED AND BEEN INSULTED IN PHILIPPI (cf. Acts 16:16-40), AS YOU KNOW, BUT WITH THE HELP OF OUR GOD WE DARED TO TELL YOU HIS GOSPEL IN SPITE OF STRONG OPPOSITION.
They knew all about Paul’s suffering, not only in Philippi, but also in Thessalonica.
No fraud or scam artist would be willing to suffer for his/her own gain.
Paul stands apart from them because he’s willing to suffer for the Gospel.
Pastors need to have broad shoulders, they need to put up with a lot of grief.
James Street (Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1) "A pastor needs the tact of a diplomat, the strength of Samson, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon--and a cast-iron stomach."
2. An ideal pastor exercises boldness. v. 2
2b WITH THE HELP OF OUR GOD WE DARED TO TELL YOU (we had the boldness/confidence to proclaim) HIS GOSPEL IN SPITE OF STRONG OPPOSITION.
In the midst of great opposition, Paul held firm to his one true calling – to preach the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It’s easy for me to have boldness behind this pulpit.
The real test is outside those doors.
3. An ideal pastor pursues integrity. vv. 3-12
3FOR THE APPEAL WE MAKE (our exhortation) DOES NOT SPRING FROM ERROR OR IMPURE MOTIVES, NOR ARE WE TRYING TO TRICK YOU.
(BKC) Three aspects of Paul’s preaching that he defends:
His message was truthful.
Was not deceptive, not in error (to lead astray)
His motivation was pure.
Was not impure, contrary to the many pagan religious rituals.
His method was sincere.
Was not to trick, mislead them (to catch with bait).
His appeal to them of the Gospel was an illustration of integrity.
4. An ideal pastor is approved by God. v. 4
4ON THE CONTRARY, WE SPEAK AS MEN APPROVED (tested, analyzed, proven) BY GOD TO BE ENTRUSTED WITH THE GOSPEL.
They got their letter of recommendation from God Himself.
Paul was entrusted with the Gospel. It was an incredibly high calling.
What did he do with it? He entrusted it to others.
2 Tim. 2:1-2 YOU THEN, MY SON, BE STRONG IN THE GRACE THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS. 2AND THE THINGS YOU HAVE HEARD ME SAY IN THE PRESENCE OF MANY WITNESSES ENTRUST TO RELIABLE MEN WHO WILL ALSO BE QUALIFIED TO TEACH OTHERS.
We all have been entrusted with the Gospel!
We need to be faithful to God to preach the Gospel and entrust it to others.
God has approved me to be entrusted with the Gospel in order to entrust it to you.