March 4 - 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 4 - 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.

How many times of being ‘shamefully treated’ would it take for you to stop doing something?  How many times were you punished as a child for a specific behavior before you figured out that the activity was not worth the punishment?  What is your number for behavior modification?

We are quite fortunate in that we don’t face persecution for telling people about Jesus Christ. Oh, there are plenty of people who think they do, but honestly, we have a lot of freedom when it comes to expressing our faith.  We don’t know what it is like to be tossed into prison for no other reason than that we spoke Jesus’ name aloud, or because several of our friends gathered in our home to talk about how God has changed lives.  We don’t understand true persecution and I often worry that if I were faced with the horrendous things Paul faced I might not have the strength or courage to stand up for my faith.

Peter didn't   We might consider those final moments of Jesus’ life to be some of the most important of all time, but Peter chose to run rather than stand up for his faith.  That’s what I’m afraid of.

Paul had been there when Christians were persecuted. If you remember, he held the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death (Acts 22:20). He knew what was coming at him when he chose to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

He went forward anyway.  When things got bad at Philippi, he moved on to Thessalonica. When things got bad, he moved forward to Berea.  Sharing the message of Jesus Christ was more important to him than anything else.  His fear was set aside, his pride and thoughts of self were pushed to the back. The only thing of any importance was that people come to know who they were in Jesus.  He was an apostle of Jesus Christ.