Read 1 Thessalonians 2.
Unlike his relationship with some of the other churches he started, Paul had a great relationship with the church at Thessalonica.
In yesterday’s reading, Paul described how the Thessalonians received the gospel from him and how they began spreading that gospel in their region.
Today’s reading in 1 Thessalonians 2 described his first contact with the Thessalonians in more personal terms. Verses 1-7 stated how Paul and his companions came to Thessalonica after suffering persecution in Philippi (vv. 1-2a). Despite “strong opposition” (v. 2b) they spoke the gospel plainly and clearly to the Thessalonians without trying to enhance it for human acceptance with “error or impure motives” (v. 3a), tricks (v. 3b), people-pleasing (v. 4b), flattery (v. 5a), or a hypocritical face to cover up greed (v. 5b).
And yet, he said, “our visit was not without results” (v. 1). In other words, some in Thessalonica received the gospel “as it actually is, the word of God” (v. 13). God’s word was, from that time forward, “at work in you who believe” (v. 14b). What a rebuke to many “ministries” today. Instead of giving the uncorrupted, unadorned gospel, many churches have turned to entertainment and gimmicks in order to get results.
A few years ago, I read about a church whose band performed the song “Highway to Hell” on Easter Sunday. That may have gotten the attention and approval of some in their audience, but it did not bring glory to God. Just the opposite; God’s heart must have been grieved by such an ungodly act.
Living for God and giving his gospel requires us to guard the message from corruption and to deliver the message in a way that is “worthy of God” (v. 12). Since we believe that salvation is his gift of life delivered to those who hear and believe his word, we should do nothing more than faithfully, clearly, and consistently deliver the message. God will bless his word; there will be “results” (v.1)—as God sees fit to deliver them.