THE BOOK OF 1 THESSALONIANS
Ministry with a passion of a parent
1 Thessalonians 2:7-12 SCC 3/30/14
Do your Ministry with the Nurturing of a mother 7-9
WITH THE GENTLENESS OF A NURSING MOTHER 7
1. He says they were literally; like an infant, as a professional nurse nursing her own children. The reason is the missionaries had a fond affection, desire or yearning for the Thessalonians. The note of maternal affection in comes from the heart of Paul. Far from seeking any material help from their converts, they were eager to share with them all that they had, and indeed all that they were. “But we were little children among you.”
2. “Gentle” was used of the kindness of parents toward children. “Children” would still stress a non-threatening presence refusing to be a burden. It was while “among you”. There was neither sense of superiority nor any attempt to lord it over their converts.
WITH THE AFFECTION OF A NURSING MOTHER 8
1. He says they gave them both the gospel and their own lives. And the reason for that was the Thessalonians had become very dear to us. Which indicates that Paul went to them with a ministry from God, not a desire for the Thessalonians. But in the process of evangelizing them they became very dear to the missionaries.
2. “Affection” is “to have a kindly feeling, to long for someone.” This is a rare word and refers to a mother’s strong affection for her child. “ “We were happy” “To share with you …” expresses the giving of something by which the giver retains a part and the receiver has a part so that they both share in the matter. Too often we are willing enough to give out the Word or our opinions on the Word, but we aren’t willing to give of ourselves. To give the gospel without the willingness to give of ourselves to others as we are able is a contradiction because the gospel is a message about the giving of God’s Son and His giving of His own life for us.
3. “Because you had become dear to us” highlight the reason. Laboring among them was first caused by the constraining love of Christ and His call on their lives but time among the people had built relationships which had produced a deep affection for these converts.
Do your ministry with the Engagement of a Father 9-12
WITH A PASSION FOR THE WORK TO BE ACCOMPLISHED 9
He reminds them of the facts, which they well, knew. Though the church at Philippi had sent some financial help, Paul, who was a tentmaker, worked to pay for his own needs. According the Lord’s teaching and Paul’s, servants of the gospel were to be supported for their work in preaching and teaching, but Paul had forfeited that right when planting new ministries. The following are a few of some possible reasons:
(a) As a protection against the wrong impressions and false accusations of being religious peddlers.
(b) We can’t expect people to support a work before they had become converts and had learned the grace principles of proportionate giving.
(c) To give the new work time to get on its feet. Remember, later they did receive gifts from the Macedonian believers.
NB: So proclaiming the gospel is work; work which is abundant, full of hardship, and goes on night and day.
WITH AN EXCELLENCE THAT DISPLAYS TRUE CHARACTER 10
First, since true godliness involves both the outward, what men see, and the inward, what God alone can see, Paul appeals to both: to what they had observed and to the witness of God. Sometimes we can fool people, but we can never fool the Lord. The Apostle was ever mindful that he was accountable to the Lord for his life and ministry.
Second, he referred to their behavior as “holy and righteous and blameless.” “Holy” describes one’s duty toward God or the god ward aspect of one’s behavior. This word was also sometimes used of one’s relationship with both God and men. It would stress one’s commitment to the spiritual disciplines of prayer and studying the Word, to worship, to loving the Lord, and acting properly toward others. “Righteous” stresses one’s relationship to men in a manner consistent with the directives of the Word—honesty, truthfulness, purity, goodness, charity or acts of love.
“Blameless” means free from charges or blame. Not faultless in the sense of sinless, but free from blame. Though his team had been accused of wrongdoing, the charges were all false.
Third, “our conduct toward you who believe” reminds us of one of the most important principles of effective ministry; it’s the principle of being an example. We can’t motivate or communicate to others what we don’t have ourselves.
WITH AN APPEAL FOR THE NEED TO LISTEN AND BE HEARD 11
Then he describes their work as what a good father would do for his own children; exhorting and encouraging and imploring them.
1. Note the emphasis of “each one.” While he taught and dealt with them as a group, he also dealt with them as individuals. Like a father with his children, he found time for personal counsel and to develop personal relationships.
2. “Exhorting” is an appeal, in the sense of “obey, respond,” Children need both encouraging and challenging. The emphasis here is on obeying responsively.
3. “Encouraging” means to cheer up, console. Whereas the preceding word stressed following a particular line of behavior, this word means, “to encourage to continue on a specific course.” It works to promote endurance and staying power. A father might exhort his son to make good grades in school but he might also encourage him to stay in school, to stay the course.
4. “Imploring” means, “summon to witness,” “to bear witness,” and then “to solemnly charge. In view of the aim stated in verse 12, the emphasis here is on a solemn charge with more of an authoritative emphasis than the two preceding words.
WITH THE AIM OF WALKING IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE LORD 12
1. The precise aim is expressed in the words, “That you may walk in a way worthy of God.” This reminds us of our greatest need. We are not here just to do religious things.
“Walk” means to walk about and is used metaphorically of one’s course of life in all areas. “Walking about in all spheres of life in a way worthy of God” calls to mind a couple of things.
2. It drives home the principal that the Lord must be brought into everything we do since we are servants and ambassadors of His kingdom. Whatever we do should be done to glorify Him.
3. But we can never actually be worthy of His kingdom. “Worthy” is an adverb and points to the manner in which we walk. We have been qualified to be a part of His kingdom by grace through the finished work of the Savior. However, we can walk and conduct ourselves in a way that will honor Him and that is in keeping with His character and purposes.
“Who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” expresses the reason and motive.
Not who has called you, but who calls you. It points to a continuous work of God through the ministry of the Word and Spirit. God, who had called them to salvation, a finished transaction, is still calling believers to His kingdom and glory, i.e., to a continued pursuit of a life of obedience and holiness under the rule of God, one that will result in rewards in the kingdom and glory. Entrance into heaven is assured, but rewards and position there are the result of faithful living.
4. Finally, note the phrase, “His own kingdom and glory.” This strongly reminds us that there are other kingdoms and other kinds of glory that are competing for our allegiance and that of our spiritual children. So we must not only be alert to these false influences but also take precautions to guard against their influences on our spiritual children in Christ.
1. New babes in Christ require personal care, protection, and nourishing on the milk of the Word.
2. A nursing mother imparts her own life to her child. This is the point of vs. 8. Christian pediatrics requires some sacrifices.
3. Giving out the gospel and building people in the Lord requires building bridges and relationships through which people can see the love of Christ and experience it first hand.
4. Helping people to grow in the Lord, as with growing children, takes time and requires patience. Sometimes it causes pain and priorities need to be set in our relationships. You don’t raise children overnight.
5. The objective of ministry to for people to become spiritually mature. Both a nurturing and engagement are essential to this outcome.