1 Thessalonians 2 (ESV)
Criticism is a fact of life with which every Christian has to contend. We are never far from it. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the only perfect person who ever lived, continually faced verbal barrages which ultimately led to his crucifixion. God’s choicest servants have through the years been objects of ridicule and slander. The apostle Paul was no exception. In chapter 2 he answers several implied criticisms leveled at him by the enemies of Christ.
–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.
Paul’s Ministry to the Thessalonians
1For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.
Our message and our time among you was not worthless or irrelevant.
2But 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. 3For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive,
We were not trying to spread crazy talk, corrupt you, lie to you, or lead you astray.
4but 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.
We were not trying to get ahead in this world.
5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
We were not trying to be the big cheese and lord it over you.
8So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
9For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.
We were not trying to get rich at your expense.
10You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11For you know how, like a father with his children, 12we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
“how like a father with his children . . “
HERE is “I want to be just like you” by Phillips, Craig and Dean.
13And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
We did encourage you to be transformed by Christ!
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
14For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind
We did warn you that you would face opposition as you follow the Lord Jesus!
John 16:33 (NLT)
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!
Paul’s Longing to See Them Again
17But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20For you are our glory and joy.
We did invest our lives in you, for the sake of God’s eternal kingdom!
Proverbs 11:30 (KJV)
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life;
and he that winneth souls is wise.