Summary: IN THIS SERMON WE SEE THE COMMITMENT OF PAUL AS A FAITHFUL STEWARD, WE SEE THE CONCERN OF PAUL AS A LOVING MOTHER, AND WE SEE THE CARE OF PAUL AS A COMFORTING FATHER.
THREE PICTURES OF PAUL THE PASTOR
INTRODUCTION: A boy and his father were visiting a wax museum when the boy said, dad, lets go home where the people are real. Well this was a real Church with Real born again believers in Christ.
Chapter 1 introduced us to Paul the evangelist. This chapter introduces us to Paul the Pastor. In chapter 1 we saw the Church was born, in chapter 2 we see the Church nurtured.
When I went to Mobile College, they took three different pictures of us for the annual. One was a headshot with a Suit, one was outdoors in causal clothes, and the other was in a classroom setting. But they only put one in the annual, the outdoor one.
Well God put all of Paul pictures as a Pastor in our scripture reading tonight. So in these verses, three pictures of his ministry are shown to us.
I-WE SEE THE COMMITMENT OF PAUL AS A FAITHFUL STEWARD:
A steward owns nothing, but possesses and uses everything that belongs to his master. Joseph was a steward in the household of Potiphar. He managed his matter’s affairs and used all his mater’s goods to promote his master’s welfare.
A-HE WAS A COURAGEOUS STEWARD: V-1-2
He had been beaten and humiliated at Philippi; yet he came to Thessalonica and preached. Most of us would have taken a vacation or found an excuse not minister.
But Paul was courageous-he was not a quitter. He had a holy boldness that was born of dedication to God.
Just as you use a highlighter pen to make something-important stand out, God uses persecution to highlight the true character of a godly ministry. Persecution highlights supernatural boldness instead of hindering it.
Sharing Christ is one of the fundamental tasks God has called his church. Jesus’ final marching orders to his church were to share the message of Christ with all people everywhere.
An example of what it means to have your boldness in God is the Scots Covenanter Hugh Mackail. He was a Presbyterian in Scotland in a bloody decade (1660’s) when that was viewed as seditious. He was tortured with what they called the boot to force him to reveal other members of his band. His leg was inserted into an iron case and then a wedge of iron was inserted between his knee and the case snugly. When he refused to answer, the executioner struck the wedge with a mallet. Eleven times the mallet was struck until Mackail’s leg was shattered. He said, "I protest solemnly in the sight of God, I can say no more, though all the joints in my body were in as great anguish as my leg." The leg would not be much use to him anyway. He was sentenced to be executed. His final words were famous and became the cry of some of the later martyrs. Here’s what he said. And what these words illustrate is what Paul meant by having his boldness in God.
Now I leave off to speak any more to creatures, and turn my speech to Thee, O Lord. Now I begin my intercourse with God, which shall never be broken off. Farewell, father and mother, friends and relations! Farewell, the world and all delights! Farewell, meat and drink! Farewell, sun, moon, and stars! Welcome, god and Father! Welcome, sweet Lord Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant! Welcome, blessed Spirit of grace, God of all consolation! Welcome, glory! Welcome, eternal life! Welcome, death! (Men of the Covenant, pp. 150)
Hugh Mackail’s life was not lived in vain. His death was not in vain. Because he had boldness in his God.
B-HE WAS A CREDIABLE STEWARD: V-3A
The NIV says, “for the appeal we make does not spring from error.”
Here he assured them that his message was true. Six times in this letter he mentioned the Gospel.
If you’ve ever been to a carnival where the carnies shout out at you as you walk by, trying to entice you to try their games, that’s similar to what the religious climate was like in first century Greece.
One historian says, "There has probably never been such a variety of religious cults and philosophic systems as in Paul’s day… ‘Holy men’ of all creeds and countries, popular philosophers, magicians, astrologers, crack-pots, and cranks; the sincere and the spurious, the righteous and the rouge, [all] jostled and clamored for the attention of the credulous and the skeptical."
But Paul Preached God’s Word in truth and not in error.
When I think of preaching God’s Word, I think of Pastor Henry Ward Beecher who preached a series of sermons on drunkenness and gambling. One day he met a man on the street that said, “take it back, right here or I will shot you right here on the spot.” Brother Beecher turned and walked away from him and as he did, he said, “Shoot away, I don’t believe you can hit this mark as well as I did.”