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1Thessalonians 2

Thursday Evening Bible Study

September 14, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words Video = 75 wpm

Paul and his team had been in Philippi when they got into trouble by casting a demon out of a fortune-telling slave girl.

They were beaten and thrown into jail overnight before being asked to leave town.

They made their way south through Macedonia to the city of Thessalonica.

Thessalonica was the capital city of Macedonia – a major trade center and seaport.

The city of Philippi didn’t have enough Jews to form a synagogue, because Paul found people praying near a river, not a synagogue.
In contrast, Thessalonica had a large Jewish synagogue.

Paul and Silas preached in the synagogue for three weeks before the Jewish leaders turned on him.

Paul had seen many come to Christ, especially among the Gentiles, and the Jewish leaders got angry with Paul. When they couldn’t find him, they took one of the other believers, and had him beaten.

Paul and his team moved on to the city of Berea where they had more fruitful ministry until some of the Jews from Thessalonica showed up and stirred up trouble for Paul.

The church in Thessalonica was a church birthed in a hostile anti-Christian environment.

2:1-20 What Ministry is about

We have a vision statement for our church:

Win the Lost

Equip the Saints

Send the Servants

It is important that we reach out to those we know who don’t know Jesus.

Once a person finds Jesus, they are “saved”, they are a “saint”, and our goal is to “equip” them, or give them the tools to grow.

The mature Christian is one who has learned to serve. They have learned that Jesus wants to use them, and a church’s responsibility it to encourage them to find ways of serving God – whether it’s in doing something at church, serving others in their neighborhood, or even going to the mission field.

I want you all to know that God has called each of you to ministry.

God wants you to serve Him.

What does ministry look like?

Paul gives one of the greatest peaks into what true ministry is all about.

:1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.

coming to youeisodos – an entrance; the place or way leading into a place (as a gate); the act of entering

vainkenos – empty, vain, devoid of truth; metaph. of endeavors, labors, acts, which result in nothing, vain, fruitless, without effect; vain of no purpose

:2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.

suffered beforepropascho – to suffer before

spitefully treatedhubridzo – to be insolent, to behave insolently, wantonly, outrageously; to act insolently and shamefully towards one, to treat shamefully

we were boldparrhesiazomai – to use freedom in speaking, be free spoken; to grow confident, have boldness, show assurance, assume a bold bearing

conflictagon – the assembly of the Greeks at their national games; hence the contest for a prize at their games; generally, any struggle or contest

:2 we were bold in our God


Ministry: Don’t quit

After the beating and imprisonment at Philippi, you might think Paul might think twice before speaking up too much.
But he didn’t.
When you learn to say to God, “I will serve you”, you can expect that you will be attacked.
True ministry doesn’t quit easily.

:3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.

exhortationparaklesis – a calling near, summons, (esp. for help); importation, supplication, entreaty; exhortation, admonition, encouragement; consolation, comfort, solace

errorplane – a wandering, a straying about; error, wrong opinion relative to morals or religion

uncleannessakatharsia – uncleanness; in a moral sense: the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living

deceitdolos – craft, deceit, guile

:3 our exhortation did not come from error …


Ministry: Truth

The Jewish leaders might not have liked what Paul was teaching in their synagogue.
They may have felt Paul was teaching bad doctrine.
They may have felt that Paul was going to take advantage of the people.
Not true.
Real ministry doesn’t need to resort to tricking people into doing things.
Real ministry deals with truth and honesty.
Some folks feel they need to only show the “positive” things about serving the Lord, as if your life will be healthy and wealthy if you follow Jesus.

That’s not the truth.

:4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

approveddokimazo – to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals

Perfect tense

entrustedpisteuo – to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in; of the thing believed; to credit, have confidence; to be entrusted with a thing.

God put His trust in Paul to give him the gospel, the gospel of putting our trust in God.

pleasingaresko – to please; to strive to please

who testsdokimazo – to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals

Same word translated “approved”

:4 not as pleasing men, but God


Ministry: Pleasing God

When you learn to serve others, you can fall into the trap of feeling like you’re not successful unless everyone is smiling.
The problem with that is that some people will only smile if you tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.
Pleasing people will only lead to trouble.
(John 12:42–43 NKJV) —42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
There are times when God’s servants have to take a stand for what is right, and that’s not always a popular thing to do.

:5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.

flatteringkolakeia – flattery, flattering discourse

cloakprophasis – a pretext (alleged reason, pretended cause); show

covetousnesspleonexia – greedy desire to have more, covetousness, avarice

:5 a cloak for covetousness


Ministry: Not about money

Paul wasn’t in the ministry for the money.
He didn’t come to Thessalonica to make money off the people.
Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers.
The first boy says, “My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, they give him $50.”
The second boy says, “That’s nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100.”
The third boy says, “I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon... and it takes eight people to collect all the money!”
I guess it’s possible to make a lot of money in ministry, but most of the pastors I know don’t make a lot of money.
Ministry isn’t about what you are going to get from people, it’s about what you are going to give to them.

:6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.

might havedunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favorable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

demandsbaros – heaviness, weight, burden, trouble

:6 Nor did we seek glory

seekzeteo – to seek in order to find; to seek i.e. require, demand; to crave, demand something from someone

glorydoxa – opinion, judgment, view; in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory; splendour, brightness; magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace


Ministry: Not about attention

For some, the allure of ministry is not in the money, it’s in the glory. There’s something very enticing about people saying lots of good things about you. It’s not difficult to start out with the right motives, but once you taste of the “glory”, it’s kind of hard to not hear it once in a while.
In C.S. Lewis’ Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, the younger brother Edmund is separated from his siblings and runs into the wicked “White Witch”. She wants to destroy the four children, and to do this she will use Edmund to betray his brother and sisters. She tempts him with a treat called “Turkish Delight”.
Video: Narnia – Turkish Delight
Once Edmund got a taste of Turkish Delight, he was willing to do whatever the witch asked him, as long as he got more.
“Glory” is like that. Once you’ve got a taste, you can become addicted to it.

You will find some ministries try to do things simply for attention.

The real test of ministry is when you do something for others, and very few people know about it.
Would you still do it even when nobody knows?

:7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.

gentleepios – affable; mild, gentle

nursingtrophos – a nurse. Don’t think of a hospital. Think of a mother that is breast-feeding her child.

:8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

affectionately longinghimeiromai – to desire, long for, esp. the longing of love

well pleasedeudokeo – it seems good to one, is one’s good pleasure; think it good, choose, determine, decide; to do willingly

livespsuche – breath; life; the soul; the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.)

dearagapetos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favourite, worthy of love

:7 as a nursing mother cherishes

cherishesthalpo – to warm, keep warm; to cherish with tender love

Paul paints a picture that we see in our family on a daily basis now with baby Ruth.


Ministry: Tenderness

Ministry involves the heart.
I’ve heard more than a few of us pastors exclaim, “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people”.
Those in leadership will tend to chuckle over comments like that.
Some leaders are very rough and callous towards the people they work with.
If you don’t care about people, then don’t get involved in doing ministry until you get your heart fixed.
How can I get my heart for people back if I’ve grown calloused?
Try praying for them.
I find it hard not to start caring for people when I pray regularly for them.

:9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.

laborkopos – a beating; a beating of the breast with grief, sorrow; labor; trouble; to cause one trouble, make work for him; intense labor united with trouble and toil

toilmochthos – a hard and difficult labor, toil, travail, hardship, distress

laboringergazomai – to work, labor, do work; to trade, to make gains by trading, "do business"; to do, work out; exercise, perform, commit; to work for, earn by working, to acquire

burdenepibareo – to put a burden upon, to load; to be burdensome

:9 our labor and toil


Ministry: Hard work

Paul had a “day job” that he used from time to time to support his ministry.
He was a “tent-maker” by trade.
While Paul was in Thessalonica, he supported himself financially by making tents.
He also had some financial support from the little church in Philippi.
When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he talked about how the Philippian church had supported him financially from time to time over the years. It is some twenty years later that he writes…
(Philippians 4:10–16 NKJV) —10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.

The Philippians had supported Paul after he left Macedonia and went on to Achaia (southern Greece, Corinth).

Before that they had even supported him when he first showed up in Thessalonica.

Paul didn’t tie his preaching of the gospel to whether or not someone would pay him.
Paul kept his financial support separate from his outreach ministry.
The big picture here in regards to ministry is this – it’s hard work.
Ministry is not about having people look up to you, but about learning to lay down your life for others.

(John 15:13 NKJV) Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

:10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;

witnessesmartus – a witness; one who is a spectator of anything, e.g. of a contest

devoutlyhosios – piously, holily; from hosios – undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious

justlydikaios – just, agreeably to right; properly, as is right; uprightly, agreeable to the law of rectitude

blamelesslyamemptos – blameless, so that there is no cause for censure

These people knew firsthand about Paul’s character.

:11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,

exhortedparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech; to strive to appease by entreaty; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort

comfortedparamutheomai – to speak to, address one, whether by way of admonition and incentive, or to calm and console; to encourage, console

chargedmartureo – to be a witness, to bear witness; to utter honourable testimony, give a good report; conjure, implore

:12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

worthy – axios – suitably, worthily, in a manner worthy of

This was Paul’s goal for the people he ministered to.

He wanted them to grow up in the Lord.

:11 as a father does his own children


Ministry: Tough and Tender

Ministry is not just about being like a “mom”, it’s also like being a “dad”.
There are more than a few parallels between ministry and parenting.
Sometimes ministry is like being the “tender mom”, but other times it’s like being the “tough dad”.
Just like in parenting, you grow in ministry in how you learn to deal with things.
How parents handle …
Pacifier Falls on Floor

First Child: Mother picks it up, runs to the kitchen and disinfects it by boiling in water for ten minutes. Then, after it cools down for ten minutes, she gives it back to the child.

Second Child: Mother picks it up, washes it off in hot water, blows on it to cool it down, and gives it back to the child

Third Child: Mother picks it up, licks it off, and gives it back to the child.

Fourth child: Dog picks it up and licks it off. Mother gives it back to the child.

Just like in parenting, there will be times when you need to be tender, but there are times when you need to be firm as well.  You learn it as you grow in ministry.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

(2 Corinthians 13:10 NLT) I am writing this to you before I come, hoping that I won’t need to deal severely with you when I do come. For I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to strengthen you, not to tear you down.

That sounds like mom saying, “Just wait until your father gets home…”

When you serve others, there may be times when you have to say the hard thing to them.

But not all the time. Some folks feel that you’re not doing ministry right unless you’re rebuking somebody. Balance.

:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

thankeucharisteo – to be grateful, feel thankful; give thanks

without ceasingadialeiptos – without intermission, incessantly, without ceasing

:13 the word of God

wordlogos – word, what someone has said


Ministry: God’s Word

Real ministry has a connection between the people and God’s Word.
The Thessalonians didn’t view the things that Paul had spoken to them as common words of a man, but they recognized that Paul was sharing with them God’s own Word.
How do you view the things we study in the Bible?
There are times when I will express my opinion about things, which may or may not be God’s opinion about things.
There are also times when I’m simply explaining to you what the text itself is clearly saying.

Is this just an interesting idea that Pastor Rich is telling us?

Or do I sense that God Himself has something to say to me?

Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not claiming to be God’s chosen mouthpiece – it’s this book we’re studying that is the Word of God. I’m just trying my best to explain what’s in the book.

We’ve been talking about some difficult things on Sunday mornings from the book of Proverbs.
Some of the things that Solomon says regarding sex are way outside some of our comfort zones.
Yet don’t be quick to dismiss what God Himself says.
For those of us who teach the Bible, we ought to be trembling in fear when we speak.
We want to be careful that we’re not just giving our “thoughts” on the subjects we discuss, but we want to be careful to be as accurate and as close to what God is saying as possible.
James wrote,

(James 3:1 NKJV) My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

Ministry ought to be tied to God’s Word.
If we want people connected to God, we want them connected to His Word.

:13 effectively works in you who believe

effectively worksenergeo (“energize”) – to be operative, be at work, put forth power; to work for one, aid one


Believe and Receive

There is a sense in which God’s Word is going to accomplish things whether we believe it or not.
But there is also a sense that once we recognize it for what it is and trust it, the Word of God that it takes on new power in our lives.
We don’t receive as much benefit if we don’t recognize it for what it is.

Are You Listening?

The story is told of Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who came down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir.” It was not until the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Not quite knowing what to say, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”

The writer to the Hebrews was talking about how important it is that we be sure that we enter in to all that God has for us. We need to be careful about not getting sidetracked or letting our hearts grow calloused. We need to be careful that we don’t come short because of some sort of disobedience in our lives like some of the folks did in the Old Testament. And how do we keep our lives on track?
(Hebrews 4:12 NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

powerfulenerges – active

Comes from the same root as the word for “effectively works”

The power of God’s Word to work in your life will be related to whether you recognize it and trust it.
Some people will come up to me and tell me how much the message impacted them. Sometimes I even get notes about it.
I can see some things just bounce off people without affecting them.
Others people avoid me like the plague at the end of a service.
Some people will tell me what was wrong in my message, or about some other problem they’re having at church.
How can this be? Though I’m willing to carry much of the blame, I’ve learned that part of the process lies in the heart of the hearer.
I’ve sat under pastors where I’ve been unable to receive, and when I realized that the problem was in my heart, I was able to get back to the place where I could receive from the Lord again.

:14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,

followersmimetes – an imitator

:15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men,

contraryenantios – over against, opposite; of place, opposite, contrary (of the wind); metaph.; opposed as an adversary, hostile, antagonistic in feeling or act; an opponent

:16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.

forbiddingkoluo – to hinder, prevent forbid; to withhold a thing from anyone; to deny or refuse one a thing

:14 imitators of the churches …which are in Judea

The Thessalonians were finding that they had a lot in common with the churches back in the land of Israel.

Those churches had been experiencing persecution from Jewish leaders.
Those same Jewish leaders had killed Jesus, as well as the prophets.
Those leaders had also forbade the apostles to share the gospel with those pagan Gentiles.
They were keeping people from hearing about how to go to heaven.

Just like the Judean churches, the folks in Thessalonica were learning to persevere and follow Jesus, even in difficult times.


Ministry: Example

How did the Thessalonians do this?
I think part of their success had to do with the example of Paul before them.
Paul had just come from Philippi.

I imagine he still bore the scars of being beaten.

They had seen how Paul lived out his life.
Much of ministry is “caught” more than it’s “taught”.
Ministry is not about always knowing the right words, but about knowing how to live the right life.
People in your ministry will grow in a healthy relationship with Jesus if you are setting the example.

:17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire.

endeavoredspoudazo – to hasten, make haste; to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence

:17 having been taken away from you

having been taken awayaporphanizo (“from” + “orphan”)– to bereave of a parent or parents

Do you see the continuation of the “parenting” theme?
Paul had been grieved because it felt like the Thessalonians had been “orphaned”, losing their spiritual father.

:18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.

:18 but Satan hindered us

hinderedegkopto – to cut into, to impede one’s course by cutting off his way; hinder

When Paul went on to Berea, the Jewish leaders from Thessalonica tracked him down and made life difficult for him.

Rather than going back to check on the Thessalonians, Paul had to keep moving further south until he came to Corinth, where he’s writing this letter from.

:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?

:20 For you are our glory and joy.

:20 you are our glory and joy


Ministry: It’s about people

Paul got much joy from his ministry.
Ministry is about working with people.
When Paul got to heaven, he wasn’t going to be proud of the buildings he built or the cars he drove.
Paul was looking forward to introducing the Thessalonians to Jesus when they got to heaven.
There are only two things in this room that will go into eternity:
The Word of God.

Focus on what lasts.