In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul described the way he nurtured new believers in Thessalonica. As we consider this passage over the next two weeks, let’s look at seven keys that are essential for fostering dynamic Gospel relationships.
You and I can have meaningful Gospel relationships when we:
1. Share the Gospel through adversity.
For you yourselves know, brothers,[a] that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 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. (1 Thessalonians 2: 1-3) ESV
Paul and Silas endured incredible hardship for the sake of the Gospel. Even on the occasions when they were beaten with rods and imprisoned, they continued to share the good news of Jesus Christ. They carried on “in much affliction” with as much joy as they did in good health.
If you are committed to sharing Christ and making disciples, it will cost you. It will require sacrifice at some level. You may not be beaten or imprisoned, but it will cost you – things like time, money, inconveniences, and heartache.
2. Share the Gospel with integrity.
3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 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. 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. (1 Thessalonians 2: 3-6) ESV
You can’t read this passage without seeing the integrity, Godly character, and sincerity with which Paul and his co-workers ministered to these new believers. They weren’t in it for any kind of personal gain, they didn’t have any hint of selfish motivation, and they weren’t looking to receive any kind of accolades for their effort. More than anything else, their desire was to please GOD!
3. Share the Gospel in love.
7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, 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. . (1 Thessalonians 2: 7-8) ESV
Paul and his co-workers really loved these people! Dr. Pete Charpentier helps us understand this:
“As a mother who compassionately cares for her children, Paul made every effort to be gentle with these new believers.”
They shared not only the Gospel of GOD, but also their very lives! Why? Because these new believers had become “very dear” to him!
The motivation for Gospel work must be the love of Christ. Paul elaborates on this in 2 Corinthians:
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died. (2 Corinthians 5:14) ESV
Walk in love, with perseverance, and with integrity this week, and join us again next week as we continue our examination of what fosters dynamic Gospel relationships! You are all in my thoughts and prayers, brothers and sisters!